We’ve found your newest obsession! Uptown Boyband is a Canadian-Korean trio with a unique sound, thanks to their multicultural backgrounds. UBB has very diverse influences, and you can hear that in every single one of their tracks; they have total respect for and have a remarkable ability to mix both western alt-pop and k-pop. Interviewing Uptown Boyband was a lot of fun, and we can’t wait for you to join Club UBB!
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Their latest project, ‘RICH GIRL,’ is the ultimate synth-heavy summer bop, with a great message too – all about combating the beauty stereotypes surrounding women, specifically around the idea of being ‘shallow’. Uptown Boyband celebrates and uplifts all women, including those who value their beauty – and why shouldn’t they?!
We love ‘RICH GIRL,’ and we were so happy to get the opportunity to interview Uptown Boyband, including finding out who inspires their incredible fashion sense!
There aren’t many alt K-Pop groups. What was the deciding factor for your sound being different from traditional K-Pop? Who are your major musical inspirations from both worlds (western and K-pop), and who has inspired your sound?
As far as we know, we are the first alt k-pop group. The deciding factor for our sound being different from traditional k-pop is our upbringing. The two cultures that we were exposed to growing up helped create our unique sound today. Our major music inspirations from both worlds include the likes of B.I.G.B.A.N.G., N.E.R.D., and A$ A.P. Mob.
And it’s been a year since your debut! What has been the most important lesson you’ve learned so far? How do you think your recent tracks, like ‘RICH GIRL,’ have differed from that debut album?
It’s been a long journey since our debut, and one of the most important lessons we’ve learned so far is being able to work with different types of producers and writing a song as one unit. Working with the likes of Matt Squire, Elijah Woods, and BNYX, we learned that our sound translates to all different types of genres. Working on the last project, we did everything ourselves. Now we have surrounded ourselves with the most talented producers and writers, helping us bring our music to an elevated state.
‘RICH GIRL’ is a powerful anthem shattering the stereotypical societal myths and challenges the misogynistic and shallow perceptions around women. What inspired you to work on this idea, and how did the recording process look?
The song started out with just the hook, and the line “she’s more than just a rich girl” inspired us to really dive into the concept of speaking up and shattering the stereotypical societal myths around women. Life started with the women that birthed us, and none of us would be here without them. If we don’t speak up about issues like this or include it in our music, then there really isn’t a point of us existing in this space.
You’ve worked with Elijah Woods on this project as a co-writer and producer. How was that experience? What’s the one lesson or piece of advice you’ve learned from him about the music industry or creating music?
Elijah Woods was the first producer and co-writer we ever worked with, and the first session we had gone better than we could have hoped for. Not only is he one of the most talented people we have had the opportunity to work with, but he’s also a huge inspiration in terms of work ethic and how he carries himself. The one lesson we have learned from Elijah is applying the structure of building a foundation of an idea, never second-guessing decisions and having fun with everything we do. Thank you, Elijah!
Much like most of this generation, you’re active on TikTok! What are some of your current favorite trends from the app? And your TikToks, were dying to know, are they spontaneous or are they scripted? Who comes up with the ideas?
We started TikTok because it was a way for us to entertain our fans, and it was another outlet for us to have fun. The TikToks we make are spontaneous, and usually, one of us are sharing a trend or an idea for us to do.
Of course, we follow you on Instagram, and we are living for the aesthetic! You also tend to rock some incredible outfits. Who or what would you say is your fashion inspiration?
We’ve always been fascinated and inspired by fashion, and it’s a part of our identity as a group. There are numerous brands and individuals we’ve been inspired by, including BIGBANG, Tyler the Creator, Pharrell, Nigo, and many more. We are going to continue experimenting and expressing ourselves through this art form, and we are excited to see where it will take us.
We can’t help but admire all of your tattoos, especially Joe and Justin! What is your favorite tattoo, and what was the inspiration behind it?
Joe: It would probably be my neck tattoo which is a symbol of my family’s last name. Where in Korea there are lots of Kim’s but behind the last name there are specific ancestral family pacts, that have different symbols. And I got it in memory of my grandfather who taught me a lot about our Korean heritage and culture.
Justin: My face tattoo has to be my favorite because it means ‘get rich’. Being rich to me isn’t about buying anything for myself but being able to provide a different life for my family and people. It’s a daily reminder that I have one goal to chase and I’ll die trying to achieve it.
Roc: I don’t have any tattoos and I don’t see myself getting any anytime soon, but I am looking into experimenting more with my hair and piercings.
As a trio, how do you split the work between you all? Who is in charge of what? Do you have assigned roles in Uptown Boyband?
We all bring different things to the table, and the work is evenly split. Whether it’s the melodies or the writing, UBB has the ability to elevate each other’s ideas and critique in a way where it pushes each song to where it needs to be. We don’t have any assigned roles because we are involved in every aspect of the creative process.
How would you say you influence each other, whether it comes to your music or your everyday life? Besides musically, what other ways do you find yourselves connecting with each other?
Uptown Boyband has a unique dynamic where we are three people that have lived different lives but can relate in almost every way. Through this journey of making music and playing underground shows, we’ve bonded in ways where it feels like we’ve been to war together. We have similar taste in music, food and all arts and there’s never a dull moment when the brothers and Uncle Andy (our manager) are together.
With ‘RICH GIRL’ being a summer anthem. What songs have dominated your summer playlists?
A couple of songs that have dominated UBB’s playlist are ‘Stay’ by The Kid LAROI and Justin Bieber and ‘Over the Top’ by Smiley and Drake. A couple of honorable mentions would be ‘Life is a B…’ by BIBI and ‘Yellow Cab’ by DPR LIVE.
Thanks so much for talking to us, Uptown Boyband! We love ‘RICH GIRL’ so much and can’t wait to see where you go next!
We created a playlist of the songs Uptown Boyband shouted out in our interview, so you don’t have to! Stream it here:
Did you enjoy our interview with Uptown Boyband? What’s your favorite song of theirs? Let us know down in the comments below or by tweeting us @TheHoneyPOP!
Featured Image Source: Momodou Sonko – The Honey POP Graphics Team