In 2017, longtime bandmates Moon Kim and Sooyoon released their final album as Royal Pirates, a band that made its Korean debut in 2013. After delivering several singles and EPs together (with former member James Lee), the two decided to move on and focus on separate projects. For longtime fans of Korean rock bands, chances are you’ve had some of Royal Pirates’ catchiest tunes stored away in your playlist already.
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Now, Moon and Sooyoon are back with a couple of friends in a new band called LIVIN. EnVi chatted with the guys over an email interview on their first single, new experiences, and the meaning of living.
Meet The Band
LIVIN is a five-piece band consisting of Moon Kim (main vocalist), Sooyoon (vocals/guitar), Ji-soo (bass/MIDI), KRIX (drums/MIDI), and Kyum (piano/keys). Interestingly, the guys met through a shared love of songwriting and producing for other artists.
“After the band [Royal Pirates] disbanded in 2017, Moon started his career as a professional K-pop songwriter,” they said. “Collaborating with many other producers, he met STAINBOYS and KYUM during the songwriting process.”
STAINBOYS is the songwriting duo of KRIX and Ji-soo (aka LOG). Together, the versatile track makers have written songs for multiple K-pop and J-pop artists, such as BoA, Weki Meki, and JO1. “After Sooyoon came back from his mandatory Korean military service, he and Moon wrote songs together and decided that they wanted to start a new band,” LIVIN told EnVi. That’s when Moon suggested STAINBOYS and Kyum join their new journey, and LIVIN became an independent project of K-pop producers.
According to Moon and Sooyoon, the band was a spontaneous decision, and at the moment, it just felt right. “We had no idea that we were going to start a new band,” they said. “It was just something that happened naturally.” The idea came to the bandmates as they worked on a K-pop song together, wishing they could release it as their own. With a need to create music of their own “color,” LIVIN was born with five creative and distinctly unique talents who share the same goals.
Defining LIVIN’s Sound
When creating a new band or group, the most important element for any project is establishing the overall sound. Looking back at the Royal Pirates discography, you’ll hear its primary rock base mixed with hints of pop, jazz, and even Latin influences. Now with a new line-up and a new set of skills, LIVIN has the extraordinary opportunity to start fresh from the bottom up. According to the band, “LIVIN intends to challenge various musical challenges based on the pop genre.”
Similar to KRIX and Ji-soo, the other bandmates have also racked up songwriting credits and experimented with new genres. Most recently, Moon has worked with EXO and SF9, Sooyoon with HIGHLIGHT and Produce 101 Japan, and KYUM with UP10TION and Orbit. Between all these diverse styles, the guys were able to increase their musical repertoires across the board.
“It helped us to try out different kinds of genres that we weren’t familiar with and expanded our ability to write in all kinds of styles,” they said. “Defining our style was very similar to producing a K-pop group’s music, just adding our own flavor to the songs.” Speaking of flavor, EnVi asked the band what unique quality each member brings to the table.
“As the main vocalist, Moon writes most of the melody lines creating the band’s color. He also provides vision and direction for the band,” they said. “Sooyoon supports Moon with the toplining and writes lyrics, and adds a different spice to the band’s music with his unique voice.” Knowing the two friends have played together since 2004, the dual creative chemistry radiates off the walls.
“STAINBOYS comes up with powerful and trendy pop genre tracks that could easily catch the listener’s ears,” they continued. “And KYUM is great at making emotional ballad tracks with piano, enabling the band to challenge different genres and sounds.”
Fortunately, fans didn’t have to wait long for a sneak peek at what the band’s been cooking up behind the scenes.
LIVIN Right “Next To You”
On June 25, the members announced the debut of LIVIN via Instagram and its first single, “Next To You,” set for July 2. After its music video release last Friday, the song garnered over 100 thousand views in three days. Loyal fans who have stood by and waited for Moon and Sooyoon’s comeback are now rejoicing at hearing their sweet vocals again. And for KRIX, Ji-soo, and KYUM, they’ve already been welcomed with open arms into the fandom.
“Next to You is an easy-listening pop song for lovers who always want to be together,” LIVIN explained. “It has a chill summer vibe with a nice guitar riff and would be a great song to listen to while driving.”
As Moon sings, “Baby, so tell me where we should go. I see the map in your eyes,” the song paints a perfect summer love story. It’s clear by the visuals in the music video that the couple depicted is still deep in the honeymoon stage of love. If you’re looking for a sweet romantic song to add to a playlist for your significant other, “Next To You” might just do the trick.
The Meaning of LIVIN
As the members of LIVIN head into a new phase in their careers, they’ve taken the time to reflect on the values that are most important to them. Since everyone is on the same page with the harmonic direction, they needed an equally unifying name to set the tone moving forward.
“Based on each other’s musical colors and experiences, the name “LIVIN” contains the meaning of expressing our lives into the music itself,” the band said. “Whatever happens, we keep on moving forward, improving and enduring … we are “LIVING” the life of unexpected events, sometimes through hard days but also good days.”
It’s a mantra that anyone can understand, musician or not. It shows the tenacity and dedication that these five artists have to their craft and to make every day count. Throughout the many obstacles life has hurled at them, the point is that they’ve always gotten back up. “We keep on living regardless of the circumstances,” and it was very well-said.
Future Goals and A Message For Fans
After a year of darkness due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the light is finally ascending with a bit of hope. 2021 almost seems like the perfect time for LIVIN’s debut as people are reinventing and reshaping their future worldwide. So, what does the band want out of this experience?
“Our goal is to make music that can appeal to the public with songs of various moods, just as joy and sorrow exist in life,” they stated.
While “Next To You” is their only single out right now, fans can expect more music from the quintet soon. “We’d like to continue releasing more music this year, collecting new songs for an album or a live show in the coming future,” the band said. And as a message to their dedicated fanbase, they expressed gratitude for the support they’ve received so far on this journey.
“Since we are an independent group, the love, and support for our music is the only thing that drives us forward,” LIVIN said. “We want to say thank you to our fans, and we hope to see you guys someday after the pandemic is over. We love you!”
Looking for more interviews? Click here for EnVi’s latest with rookie group Omega X!
Thumbnail courtesy of @livintheband