F.T. Island is a lesser-known Korean band that recently performed at KCON Paris along with big names like BTS and Shine. People expected F.T. Island to be the weakest performance there. Instead, they blew up the Internet, trending in Paris until 4 a.m. So what makes them so awesome?
1. Their music, obviously.
F.T. Island is breaking barriers in South Korea where rock music is concerned. For years, they weren't able to write and perform rock because their label felt that it would be too much for Korean listeners. They gained a following in Japan, writing and performing rock (they're all fluent in Japanese), but it wasn't until recently that they began writing and performing rock in Korea.
2. High energy performances.
The lead singer, Hongki, climbs on speakers, makes fun of the other members and sprints across the stage all while belting out songs. If he falls (which does happen pretty often) he just gets up like nothing happened and keeps running. What's even more amazing is that he still sounds great. His lung capacity is amazing.
3. Everything is live.
Everything that each member does on a track--including the scream in "Pray," the song I linked to earlier--is done completely live. No lip-syncing. It's a nice break from American artists, who often lip-synch at concerts and may not even be capable of hitting notes that are recorded (autotuned) on their albums. Every performance that F.T. Island does is live unless they are appearing on a show that literally can't accommodate a live performance. That means you can tell when they make mistakes (which in my opinion increases the quality of the experience), so they blame each other.
4. They also have slower, more acoustic selections.
They are capable of mellowing out and sitting down for slower songs, and often do acoustic versions of some of their faster songs. This song happens to be in Japanese and is an acoustic version of a slightly faster song.
5. Meaningful songs and symbolic music videos.
Okay, so I realize that I'm a strange English major, but I really appreciate the meaning and symbolism that is prevalent in a lot of Korean music videos. I feel like a lot of American music has fallen into this abyss of meaningless, shallow songs that limit themselves to partying, sex and breakups rather than introducing real issues. F.T. Island has a lot of music videos that are heavily symbolic. Again, "Pray" is a good example. Jonghoon wrote it and explained to fans that it is about someone who is lost in his faith and is crying out to God. The song I embedded here is "To The Light," but another honorable mention is "Orange Sky" -- it is incredibly symbolic and showcases Hongki's amazing vocals, but he is the only member shown in the music video so I chose not to include it.
6. All of the members can sing and act.
Aside from the band, Hongki (lead vocals) has some solo songs out and has played major roles in dramas; Seunghyun (guitarist and my personal favorite) has played in several musicals, acted in a movie and will soon be in a web drama; Minhwan (drummer) has been in musicals; Jaejin (bassist) often sings in the band and has been in a web drama; and Jonghoon (leader, guitarist and pianist) sings and has done a few small acting parts.
7. They make fun of each other.
Whether it's Hongki's constant dating, Jaejin eating like a goat, the way Jonghoon throws up (like a hydra, apparently), Minhwan's night cuddles or that time nine years ago when Seunghyun thought it was okay to borrow Hongki's lucky underwear without asking, they're never afraid to throw each other under the bus in the most hilarious way possible.
8. And themselves.
Whether it's taking purposefully ugly Instagram pictures or revealing to fans that they have incredibly furry legs, they're not afraid to make fun of themselves. It makes them seem like real people.
9. ...And their fans.
They once (half jokingly) told everyone who came to their concert with a date to leave because they're bitter that they're single.
10. They love Snapchat filters.
Jaejin and Seunghyun are especially fond of the app and spend an immense amount of time playing with it before uploading the hilarious results to Instagram. You have to act fast, though, because they take some of the videos down later.
11. They're a little too honest.
Conversations like this, which are meant to be recorded by cameras and shown to fans, are incredibly common.
12. They have no boundaries. At all.
In this specific instance, Hongki's stomach was hurting so he went to the bathroom, but the rest of F.T. Island and the film crew were waiting on him to start filming a show, so Jaejin took it upon himself to bring a cameraman into the bathroom and talk to Hongki through a megaphone.
13. They're not afraid to be weird.
In fact, Hongki is convinced that fans love pictures of them looking ugly (which isn't inaccurate).
14. They're genuinely passionate about music.
All their silliness aside, they are all incredibly passionate about music. When it comes right down to it, they can put aside their silliness and get stuff done.
15. Let's be honest: they're hot.
They break every Asian stereotype out there, thank you very much. Each one of them is attractive as I don't know what. You can't tell me that Asian men aren't hot while staring at them. I mean, look at them.