“It’s killing me, once again / Your traces remain / And they torture me / It’s killing me / I turned around like you’re a stranger / But why am I so lonely?”
One day, B.I from the group iKON became interested in the phrase, “It’s killing me.” He felt that it was used too flippantly considering what a serious phrase it is. When he heard the phrase, B.I imagined a couple that had separated. That’s how the title song, “KILLING ME,” on iKON’s new mini album, New Kids: Continue, came to be.
“We had a good chemistry with Millennium.”
iKON made a splash with their comeback from the beginning. New Kids: Continue, which was released on August 2nd at 6:00 p.m., has topped the iTunes album charts in 24 countries. “KILLING ME” took over the top stop on Bugs and Mnet.com. In addition to “KILLING ME,” the mini album consists of a total of five tracks including “FREEDOM,” “ONLY YOU,” “COCKTAIL,” and “JUST FOR YOU.” B.I, who is known among the other members as the “tiger producer,” wrote and composed all of the songs on the album.
“When we’re recording or practicing our choreography, B.I’s perfectionist tendencies come out. We have to keep going until B.I is satisfied, and it’s scary (laughs). He seems to have softened up a bit compared to how he used to be, but if he gets angry, his old self reappears.” (Kim Jin-hwan)
“I want to make things as perfect as possible. When I start to think, ‘This isn’t right,’ I have a serious talk with the other members. It’s good to enjoy the process, but we can’t turn things into a joke.” (B.I)
Although his own solo album is filled with songs that he penned himself, Bobby takes a step back when it comes to iKON’s albums. Instead of stubbornly pushing ahead with his own opinions, Bobby tends to follow B.I’s ideas. B.I even wrote the lyrics for Bobby’s rap in “KILLING ME.” When discussing how B.I wrote his rap lyrics, Bobby laughed as he said, “B.I used the word ‘indifferent’ when he wrote the lyrics for my rap. It’s a word that I didn’t know before, but thanks to “KILLING ME,” I learned what the meaning of ‘indifferent’ is.”
“Does it hurt my pride? Not at all! I actually think that it’s a bad idea to try and boost my own ego when we’re working on music for iKON. The team comes first, and the team works as a single unit. I just want us to create songs that are higher in quality.” (Bobby)
There’s another name that stands out in the album credits – music producer Millennium who co-composed and arranged “FREEDOM” and “COCKTAIL.” Fans of iKON might recall that Millennium co-wrote other songs with B.I in the past such as “LOVE SCENARIO,” “RUBBER BAND,” and “BLING BLING.” There was actually a time when Millennium lived with the group under the same roof, which is when the friendship between the music producer and the members developed. According to Kim Donghyuk, “B.I writes good melodies and lyrics, and Millennium is able to make [the melodies and lyrics] more sophisticated. They complement each other well.”
For the choreography of “KILLING ME,” iKON chose to go with an intense, perfectly synchronized dance routine for the first time since their debut. The choreography is different from their previous routines, which emphasized a more unrestricted vibe. “From the very time we heard the song, we thought the choreography would be important,” said Donghyuk. Koo Jun-hoe added, “Up until this point, we’ve often shown ourselves running around and having fun on stage. This time, we wanted to show everyone a style that was uniquely ours within a precisely choreographed routine.” The group supposedly dropped 6kg in order to better perform the choreography for “KILLING ME.”
Jin-hwan has been faced with huge expectations from his group mates when it comes to the choreography. “The dance for ‘KILLING ME’ really suits Jin-hwan. He has the right physique to dance well,” said Jun-hoe. B.I even went as far as saying that he wanted to name the dance the “Kim Jin-hwan dance.”
After becoming the “presidents of elementary school kids,” iKON is targeting people in their 20s and 30s.
iKON is particularly hot with little kids these days. “LOVE SCENARIO,” which was released in January, became the “it song” with kids in kindergarten and elementary school. When discussing the group’s popularity with the grade school crowd, B.I commented, “We were really proud of ourselves when we heard that ‘LOVE SCENARIO’ became a prohibited song for kids in elementary school.” iKON held a picnic-themed concert called “PiKONIC DAY” on August 4th at Sebitseom for their young fans who have shown an enormous amount of love and support for “LOVE SCENARIO.”
“We saw a video of a group of kindergarteners singing ‘LOVE SCENARIO’ all together while they were going on a hike. When we saw that, we thought, ‘What’s going on here?’ Afterwards, we started hearing more and more about kids singing along to the song. There were even articles about the song becoming prohibited in elementary schools. Kids were even changing up the lyrics when they sang the song. The version that fascinated me the most was the one where historical facts were used in place of the original lyrics. I’d like it if [the kids] would sing it for just a little bit longer (laughs).” (B.I)
When B.I wrote “LOVE SCENARIO,” he had no idea that it would be so well received by kindergarteners and grade school students. On the contrary, he’s amazed that a song about a breakup – a topic that could be hard for young kids to relate to – could become a massive hit with such a young age group. B.I laughed as he said, “I made the song with the heart of a young child, and I think that ‘childlike innocence’ connected myself and the young fans.”
The group anticipates that people in their 20s and 30s will relate to their new title track, “KILLING ME,” the reason being that this particular age group often uses the phrase, “It’s killing me,” to describe the internal struggles they face in relation to finding their path in life. The song, however, wasn’t written with any particular age group in mind. According to B.I, he’s never “written a song with a calculated result or goal in mind.”
“After I wrote the song, I realized that the lyrics to ‘KILLING ME’ could be changed easily, too. It’s nice to have a lot of people singing along to the song, but I would also like it if people changed up the lyrics to the song like they did with ‘LOVE SCENARIO.’” (B.I)
“’New Kids’ may be over, but we’ll always be ‘kids’.”
When the promotional activities for the current album come to an end, iKON will be wrapping up their “New Kids” series. The members agree that their biggest accomplishment has been creating songs with different vibes for each of their albums, which allowed them to develop musically. The members feel like they have shown different aspects of the group by releasing songs that represent a variety of genres, such as the hip-hop number, “BLING BLING,” and more pop-heavy tracks like “LOVE SCENARIO” and “KILLING ME.”
B.I says that “even though ‘New Kids’ has come to an end, [they] want to remain as ‘kids.’” B.I, who has emphasized words like “young,” “unhindered,” and “free” whenever he’s been interviewed, said, “We want to remain the same. We want to always be like kids, we want to be free, we want to be unhindered.” When asked what keeps iKON from aging, they responded, “Being immature.” Donghyuk believes that “the other members make [him] childlike” and that the time that the members have spent together has permeated iKON’s music and content.
“Our album is all over the place, in a good way. This album also has a variety of genres like rock, pop, and hip hop. I believe that not being confined to any one style is what makes iKON fresh and new.” (Koo Jun-hoe)
“I agree with Jun-hoe. We don’t restrict ourselves. We’re always trying new things. I think that’s why I can explain iKON’s genre by saying that it’s ‘well-made K-pop.’ I recently wrote a song after being inspired by the movie, Before Sunrise. I have no idea whether the song will be released or not (laughs). I want to keep having fun while making music and not be restricted by anything.” (B.I)
Translated by Jennifer Earwood