Trading in their illustrious royal outfits, The KingDom emerge anew as they level up and step into the modern-day scene. On April 30, the seven-member K-pop boy group introduced a chic edge to their regal reputation with their latest EP REALIZE — the beginning of a new chapter within the group’s intricate and ever-growing storyline. Dann, Arthur, Mujin, Louis, Ivan, Hwon, and Jahan are nowhere close to stepping away from their thrones, though. EnVi chatted with The KingDom via Zoom to discuss new beginnings, changing their fate, and what the group’s future holds.

Chapter Two: Just The Beginning

Earlier this year, the K-pop group rebranded to go by their new title of The KingDom, and it left their fans curious about what the next chapter of the group’s story would entail. Their History Of Kingdom album series featured detailed costumes, musical influences from various cultures, and ultimately laid out the foundation for The KingDom’s unique cinematic universe. Previous title tracks have paid homage to culture and folklore worldwide, ranging from Chinese mythology – as seen in ”KARMA” – to their King Arthur-centric debut song “Excalibur.” With such an unwavering dedication to their time-transcending, royal storyline, one could only wonder what this new chapter holds.

Louis explained, “So basically ‘Chapter One’ is the history of KingDom, [which] is just the summary of how we got into the kingdom. And ‘Chapter Two’ is the beginning of the new story, so it’s actually the beginning of the story!” With its trendy styling, bass-filled melody, and anti-drop chorus, their latest title track “Flip That Coin” almost seems like a clean break for The KingDom. Almost. Despite being a stark contrast to the regal concept seen throughout their career thus far, both the lyrics and music video allude that their previous storyline is bound to continue blossoming alongside the group.

In the face of hardship, “Flip That Coin” encourages taking control of your own fate and turning a situation around. Dann warmly encouraged, “Every time you’re running into something, some difficulties, just flip that coin!” Although The KingDom’s evolution initially led them down a unknown, new path, it is safe to say that they will always find their way as they flip their own coin in life.

Hwon had his own flip that coin moment to achieve the impressive underwater scenes that had fans raving online. Having no sort of professional experience prior, diving into a massive pool around  five meters deep (~16 feet) is no simple task.  “… I was so scared. But since I was in front of other members, I pretended like I wasn’t scared,” Hwon confessed. Despite being afraid in the moment, Hwon tapped into his bravery and flipped the situation around for the better. Upon hearing his confession, the members cheered and clapped, showing their appreciation for Hwon tackling the challenge headfirst.

Slay The Game

REALIZE is not only the start of a new chapter, but also a testament of continuous sonic exploration for The KingDom. Priding themselves in their versatility, the EP’s B-sides range from gritty pop tracks with country rock influences to tender-hearted ballads. But for The KingDom, one of the most exciting parts of releasing new music is getting the chance to perform it live for their fans, KINGMAKER. The group are all smiles as they tease about the idea of meeting their fans across the globe. 

“We made a huge change in all of the tracks off the album and [I] really want to perform all the album,” Arthur beamed. Dann further explained, “Personally, for [Arthur], he wants to play with the crowds and KINGMAKERs onstage. [Arthur] wants to perform ‘GUNDAM’ or ‘ENERGY,’ which [are] kind of energetic songs to share the energy with the crowd and fans!”

“ENERGY” is a hopelessly romantic confession wrapped in a divergent blend of hip-hop and electronic elements. The KingDom released a performance video for the track, which captures their own fierce energy as they flex their dance skills in the choreography-centric video. Meanwhile, “GUNDAM” is gritty, witty, and beaming with confidence. Playing off the anime theme of Gundam — which are essentially mobile suits with the abilities for combat — The KingDom are prepared to soar above it all. 

With such spirited tracks, EnVi had to know which one the members preferred. Dann counted to three for a show of hands for “ENERGY” and the majority of the group shot their hands up enthusiastically. Arthur, Hwon, Ivan, Jahan, and Mujin each chose to be Team “ENERGY.” Meanwhile, Dann and Louis chose Team “GUNDAM” before playfully singing a bit of the song’s chorus. Regardless of their chosen hyped up B-side, it is clear that The KingDom are ready to ignite the stage with their high-powered performances.

To Conquer Together

New beginnings come with an array of emotions. From dealing with nerves and uncertainty to setting new goals, starting a new chapter is an entire journey in itself. Dann confessed, “We were kind of worried when we changed the concept, but I’d like to say that we did not change the concept.” Reassuring fans that they are still the same group that they have grown to love, he hoped to ease their worries. “[All of the] music that we do, it’s our own color of The KingDom. Please don’t think that we changed the concept and that we threw [out] all the royalty concept. We still have that. It’s in us. So don’t worry about that. You’re going to have that soon, or maybe even later, so don’t worry about that.”

Joining in on the sentiment, Louis added, “This is just our Chapter Two. So that means there is another [chapter]. There [are] more seasons coming up. Stay with us.” As much as they look to their beloved fans for support, The KingDom also have come to recognize the importance of their teamwork. “If you go for it as a team, there is nothing you can’t do,” Mujin stated confidently. The members nodded in agreement before Mujin shouted, “The KingDom killing it!,” resulting in multiple cheers and claps as they bubbled up with energy. 

Their energy was infectious, as they built upon each other’s drive and shared their goals for continuing forward with their second chapter. “[I] want to get first place in the music show!,” Jahan beamed. Dann smiled as he added, “And for me? Have a successful world tour!” His answer unleashed an overall fervor as all the members began to cheer in excitement at the thought. Ivan chimed in, “I really can’t wait for us to go on a world tour as well, and meet our international KINGMAKERS. We’ll be healthy, so don’t worry about us! We love you so much!”

What’s Next?

With The KingDom’s second chapter having just begun, there are endless possibilities about what could come next in their story. “There are so many other concepts that we can do. Leave everything open and just watch!” Louis told EnVi. The KingDom wrapped things up by expressing their love for KINGMAKERS and leaving them with more to look forward to from the septet. Dann tenderly vowed, “We promise that we are going to show the best performance and energetic stages! Please be with us and give us extra support. Wherever you are, we’re going to come to you KINGMAKERs, so please wait for us!” 

The KingDom profile. Members: Dann, Arthur, Mujin, Louis, Ivan, Hwon, and Jahan. Debut: February 18, 2021. Company: GF Entertainment. Fandom name: KINGMAKER. EnVi song recommendation: GUNDAM.
Image courtesy of Rebeca Gomes.

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