The world of Korean music is extremely diverse, with everything from popular pop to indie and R&B. However, while many are familiar with the hot-blooded dancing of boy and girl groups or the soulful singing of solo artists, the bands of Korean music are often overlooked. Rather than dancing while they sing, these groups choose to showcase their musical mastery by playing instruments while they perform and sing rather than relying solely on a backing track.
While these bands may be a departure from the traditional performers many are used to, be sure to give these groups a listen!
From left to right: Young K, Wonpil, Dowoon, Sungjin, Jae
With a wide range of songs, including everything from reggae-like tracks to soothing ballads, this group is shown to have a remarkable amount of talent that refuses to resolve itself to one genre. Debuting under JYP in 2015, the group has had a remarkable career, with multiple world tours and albums! The group consists of five members, including rhythm guitarist Sungjin, lead guitarist Jae, bassist Young K, keyboardist Wonpil, and drummer Dowoon. While they boast a wide range of song genres, Day6 is no stranger to epitomizing rock with head-banging songs like “Shoot Me,” “I Wait,” and “Sweet Chaos.”
From left to right: Jahyeong, Hajoon, Dojoon, Woosung
The Rose is somehow able to consistently deliver powerful songs that explore the more emotional side of rock music. From the more melancholic vibes of their songs “Sorry” and “She’s In The Rain” to the energetic and uplifting tones of “Red,” the group does an amazing job of finding a mood that they want to reach and meeting it perfectly. The group debuted in 2017 and currently consists of electric guitarist Woosung, keyboardist and acoustic guitarist Dojoon, drummer Hajoon, and bassist Jaehyeong.
From left to right: Dongsung, Jaehyun, Seunghyub, Hwesung, Hun
While N.Flying began with Japanese performances in 2013, it wasn’t until 2015 that they actually had a Korean debut with their song “Awesome.” The track featured the group bearing a unique blend of hip-hop and rock, and the band’s endeavors since have shown that they’re still willing to explore the vast world of music. N.Flying saw a rise in popularity in 2019 with multiple awards, including Brand of the Year Awards’s “Idol Band of the Year.” The group currently includes rhythm guitar and pianist Seunghyub, lead guitarist Hun, drummer Jaehyun, vocalist Hwesung, and bassist Dongsung!
Fun Fact: N.Flying gained some notoriety in 2018 through utilizing potatoes as lightsticks for the comeback of their song “Hot Potato!”
From top to bottom: Im Dong-gun, Im Hyun-je, Oh Hyuk, Lee In-woo
A departure from the other groups on this list, HYUKOH is actually an indie band that focuses more on groovy and lowkey tones. The group debuted in 2014 and currently consists of bassist Im Dong-gun, drummer Lee In-woo, guitarist Im Hyun-je, and vocalist and guitarist Oh Hyuk. As an indie band, HYUKOH provides listeners with opportunities to relax and reflect with the usual calm and nonchalant energy of their songs. However, works like “Wanli” show that the group isn’t afraid to have moments of intense instrumental talent!
The world of Korean bands is vast, and this list is just a taste of what that world has to offer. With such a wide variety, which one is your favorite? Do you have a certain groove or genre you usually listen to? Let us know in the comments!
Cover image: Day6 (JYP Entertainment)
Written by: Kyle Voong