Rising K-pop act RIIZE took the industry by storm with mix of authenticity and relatability. From breaking records as the fastest K-Pop group to hit one million followers to performing at KCON LA, the group continue to expand their fanbase in quick strides.
Having carved out a space for themselves in the expansive K-pop landscape with their self-described “emotional pop”, the band consistently forge deep connections with everyone who tunes into their music.
Chatting to Earmilk, the group delve into their recent releases, how they stand out and keep themselves motivated, what genres they’d love to experiment with, and much more.
Tell me a bit about “Get A Guitar (English Version)”. What’s the message and what was the creative process behind it?
SUNGCHAN: As ‘Get A Guitar’ is a song that marks the beginning of RIIZE, we worked on the song thinking of coming together and becoming one to the sound of the guitar. I also think the lyrics portrays these elements very well. We also tried to capture the bright atmosphere while we were recording the song.
ANTON: I think while making the English version of ‘Get A Guitar’, we wanted to keep the lyrics as true to the original version as possible. Sometimes, there are certain words or phrases that don't directly translate between English and Korean, so during the lyric writing process, I remember giving a few points of feedback to our A&R team as well.
You’ve established yourselves as a band to watch, what’s something that sets RIIZE apart in Kpop in your personal opinion?
EUNSEOK: I think showing and sharing our daily lives on social media through ‘Realtime Odyssey’ sets us apart. We are building a rapport with our fans in many different ways and not only through our music and performances.
SOHEE: As RIIZE presents its own unique genre ‘Emotional Pop’, which expresses the members’ various emotions through music, I think the biggest thing that sets us apart is that the listeners can easily relate to our music.
How do you see your artistry evolving in the future? Is there an ideal sound or sonic path you’re working towards?
WONBIN: I hope RIIZE’s sonic color become definite and clear that whenever someone hears it, they can immediately say ‘It’s RIIZE!’. I also want to try a lot of new music so we can always present fresh and great songs. For example, songs that have a calm feeling but has a strong beat to it. I also want to become an artist that overwhelms the audiences just by appearing on the stage.
ANTON: I think just like our team motto to "rise and realize", our goal is that our music and sound evolve in that very way. We brand our music as ‘Emotional Pop’, with the hopes that many people can connect with the messages in our music, but also as a reflection of the emotions that we the members may feel as well. I think we want to portray a wide spectrum of different musical genres as a whole, while exploring what ‘Emotional Pop’ may mean to each of us, so as we continue to make new music, I hope our fans can find their own ways to interpret our songs.
Who would you say are your role models or inspiration both professionally and on a personal level?
SHOTARO: I think I get a lot of inspiration from the members. Even if we work and perform on stage together, I think everyone has so many good traits. Whenever I monitor, I naturally learn a lot from it thinking ‘Wow! This is how some members express themselves differently’.
SUNGCHAN: Yu Jae-seok is my personal role model. I think it’s amazing that he’s been in the entertainment industry for a long time and also been a positive influence to many while enjoy doing what he does.
What’s the most rewarding part of making music for you and what’s the most challenging part?
SHOTARO: Because RIIZE is showing many different styles, I think it becomes a bit challenging when we are faced with new challenges while recording or preparing for the new stages. But putting in the effort and finishing the work really gives a sense of accomplishment and we feel most rewarded when our fans like our song.
SOHEE: I’m always happy that I can present my vocals in different colors and it’s most rewarding when I get positive feedback from the listeners. Still, it feel like it’s difficult to convey 100% of my emotions while singing.
Given how you’ve grown and gained fans in such a short time, has it been overwhelming for you at all? How do you deal with such feelings and keep yourselves motivated?
SOHEE: I don’t feel particularly overwhelmed, but I just want to show more sides of myself for BRIIZE who always loves me.
ANTON: It would be a lie to say there haven't been times where things felt overwhelming. We had sort of kick-started our career with a pretty large scale performance at KCON LA in 2023, and ever since then it's been a continuous effort to showcase the best music, performances, and content for our fans. While there have been some difficult moments along the way, the fact that we already have so much support is motivating in and of itself, and every time we are able to perform or show something we worked really hard for to our fans, it's a very gratifying feeling.
You made your live stage debut in August at KCON LA. Tell me a bit about how that experience was for you.
SUNGCHAN: I still remember it vividly because it was the very first performance of RIIZE that was shown to the public and in front of a large audience. I think RIIZE has become what we are today based on that experience. It was truly a happy moment.
WONBIN: I was both excited and scared because KCON LA was my very first stage and it was a huge stage as well. I felt tremendous excitement and thrill when performing ‘Siren’ and I remember feeling sentimental after performing ‘Memories’. Just like the title ‘Memories’ suggests, for me, this is a song that I have a lot of memories about and it will still be a great song to sing in the future.
You’ve forged a deep connection with fans very quickly. What’s one message or fan interaction that’s been very memorable or precious for you?
SUNGCHAN: Although it’s only been a little while, every day every moment was a precious memory for me. I think that’s why we were able to form a deep relationship with our fans. I hope this relationship can go on for a long time. The only message I want to give to our fans is this. RIIZE BRIIZE RISE!
ANTON: Recently we filmed our latest music for Love 119 in Japan. I haven't been to Japan that often yet, and there was a day where some of the members had some free time, so I had decided to explore Tokyo. I think I still might not have a full grasp on how many people there are that know of RIIZE, so to be honest, walking around the streets of Tokyo I didn't expect anything in particular to happen. It was then when someone came up and said that they were a BRIIZE, and a part of our fan base. It was a fulfilling moment, and I think I will remember it for a long time.
What’s a genre or concept you’d love to experiment with in the future?
SHOTARO: I want to try musical styles that I haven’t tried before. For example, genres like Latin hip-hop, house, and R&B.
EUNSEOK: Since ‘Love 119’ was a song that fits well with winter, I wanted to try a song with refreshing and cool vibes that fits summer very well.
If you had to introduce RIIZE to someone in three words. What would they be and why?
EUNSEOK: Growth, Youth, and Romance. I chose these three words because RIIZE is a team that always grows, and the youthfulness and romance unique to RIIZE during that process will also be a good memory.
WONBIN: Dream, Realize, and Growth. Just like the meaning behind RIIZE’s name, I chose these three words to express the dreams that the members and I want to realize and continue to grow.
What’s the inspiration and message behind your latest single “Love 119”
EUNSEOK: I think the song was based on the word ‘first love’. It’s not so much a hidden message, but… If you watch the music video, I think the message it gives is that first love can be painful and difficult.
SOHEE: Because RIIZE presents its own genre ‘Emotional Pop’, I think the emotions in the song themselves were great inspiration for us. ‘Love 119’ is a song that compares the emotions of first love to an emergency situation. If you listen closely to the lyrics, the song becomes even better.
What was the experience like working on the choreography for “Love 119”?
SHOTARO: Before our debut, WONBIN and I used to make choreographies. I was very surprised and happy that a choreography we made became the official choreography for ‘Love 119’. I used to say that I would love to work on the choreography when I had my own team and I am really happy that my goal has already been achieved. Looking at many people doing our challenge made me think a lot and feel rewarded! I hope there are more opportunities like this in the future.
WONBIN: I put a lot of thought in while working on the choreography because the song is neither too bright nor too dark. While working on the choreography, SHOTARO is a type that gives a raw vibe as he follows how his body moves, I’m more of the type who watches that and organizes the movements, so we had great synergy and was able to make a good choreography. Using this experience as an opportunity, I would love to continue to participate in various choreographies to capture and include our own story.
Your influence as a band has been soaring consistently with you making waves even in the fashion scene. What does fashion mean to you?
SUNGCHAN: I think fashion is a way to express ourselves and also an important part to an artist. Each of our members have their own style and we are grateful that people like it!
SOHEE: Besides singing or dancing, I think one way to show RIIZE’s color would be through fashion. I am grateful that people are also interested in our fashion.
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