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Seoul, Seoul, South Korea | Established. Jan 01, 2007 | MAJOR

Seoul, Seoul, South Korea | MAJOR
Established on Jan, 2007
Band Pop Rock




"Rock and champagne at FT Island concert Highlights include band’s signature melancholic rock and intimate setup"

Pop-rock band FT Island showcased its first local concert in two years on Sunday, celebrating the release of its March studio album “I Will.”

Held at the Olympic Park in Seoul, the 150-minute-long performance featured the band’s signature melancholic rock music alongside a more intimate portion with mellow ballads and a toast of champagne.

The show kicked off loudly with the catchy “Love Love Love” while sparks flew up from the stage. Front man Lee Hong-ki, clad in a military-patterned jacket and sunglasses, showed off his newly dyed green hair -- which fans have been playfully calling “cabbage” and “spinach,” Lee remarked -- as he belted sorrowful tunes into the mic.

The next song, “Memory,” featured a guitar solo from guitarist Choi Jong-hoon, later joined by fellow guitarist Song Seung-hyun. Next came another energetic solo piece by drummer Choi Min-hwan, who was perched atop a sky-high steel frame installed in the center of the stage.

“The atmosphere is great tonight!” Hong-ki said as he welcomed the audience with a short talk. “Korea is crazy these days! Everybody is partying so hard.”

After “Severely,” “Hey Girl” and “Stay,” the five members moved to an island stage set up in the middle of the standing audience area.

In this more intimate setting, the members sat down, relaxed and opened a bottle of Moet & Chandon champagne.

“We told fans we wanted to play more intense rock music when we released our album ‘I Will’ this March,” Hong-ki said. “But FT Island also has a lot of really emotional ballads. We’ve always wanted to give an unplugged performance at a small live club. I think this setting is close to that.”

As a mirror ball descended from the ceiling, the concert hall became spotted with specks of revolving light. The band went on to play mellow tunes including “Last Love Song,” “Morning Coffee” and “BPM 69,” with Jonghoon’s keyboard sounds and bassist Lee Jae-jin’s crooning voice adding to the mood.

The latter half of the concert was full of fist-pumping vigor, featuring “To the Light” and a remixed EDM version of the band’s recent title track, “Pray.” Encore songs featured “Puppy,” “Flower Rock” and “First Kiss.” - Korea Herald

"FTISLAND Return With Hard-Rocking, Spiritual Sound on 'Pray'"

In January, FTISLAND told Billboard that the K-pop/rock band would preview their forthcoming music during their hard-rocking debut New York concert. Fans finally got to see just what the group meant with new single "Pray."

FTISLAND Talk New Album & How Their Fans Stayed for the Ride in NYC

The band's latest opens with thundering drums, unforgiving guitars and a powerful wail from vocalist Hong Gi. "Pray" tiptoes in between metal and emo world, but Hong Gi's dulcet vocals and belts evoke a mellower feel, keeping this in a general rock-pop category even if it is just a screamo shriek away from falling into a heavier genre.

Lyrically, the track details a prayer between the band feeling beat down by the world and begging for God's help. They sing, "See me now? I'm broken in my faith / Oh, please god hear me. I can't do anything... Oh, please god hear me, but the day I shout out / So I won't lose my way, I'll pray / I'll pray I'll pray / I'll pray for you."

During their NYC show, Hong Gi spoke for his bandmates (via translator) telling the audience, "It's been about a year, year-and-a-half that I can do the music I actually want to... I'm really happy now." The noticeably heavier music and subject material is a risk for a mainstream act like FTISLAND, but there's a catchiness and excitement in "Pray" that connects well with the quintet's past discography.

FTISLAND Rock Out, Preview Future Sound at Debut New York Concert

The accompanying video is heavy on symbolism as the members are seen trapped in small boxes; undoubtedly a metaphor for someone or something (Their record label? Economic pressures? Fan expectations? Themselves?) holding them back from feeling free. The band is also shown rocking out in a box together as clowns in business suits watch and laugh at their performance -- giving more indication it may have been a business or money motives that kept them from creative freedom. The video concludes with their box exploding after a riveting growl-belt from Hong Gi. If the video's metaphors are to be taken seriously, FTISLAND has demolished whatever was holding them back with nothing, but their undisputed talent.

According to record label FNC Entertainment, "Pray" is "the track that all members are proud enough to say that it is the closest to the music style that FTISLAND pursued out of their releases so far," which is in line with the band's statements from January. It's the lead single off their new full-length LP, I Will, which boasts 11 tracks composed and written entirely by the FTISLAND members.

Check out a medley of the new album cuts below and look out for a U.S. release soon. - Billboard

"F.T. Island Announce Two U.S. Concerts for Early 2015"

The K-pop/rock group will hit the east and west coast.

American K-pop fans will get the chance to see to see F.T. Island very early in the new year, as the group has announced two U.S. shows for late January marking the States' first Korean concerts of 2015.

Extending their 2015 FTISLAND [FTHX] Tour, the band announced on Facebook that they are "happy to be able to show you great concerts in NY and LA in January, 2015" -- the latter city marking the quintet's first performance since March 2012.

Watch F.T. Island's Track-by-Track Review of Personal 'All About' Album

Since that their last stateside shows, F.T. Island has dropped their full-length album Five Treasure Box, two EPs and a "personal" compilation album, All About.

"I Wish," the samba-inspired lead single off Five Treasure Box, was as one of Billboard's best K-pop songs of 2012.

The band has also teased new music for April 2015, so there's a chance attendees might hear fresh material.

The concert announcement jumps ahead of boy band Topp Dogg's February showcases as the first K-pop concerts of the year. In 2014, FT Island's FNC Entertainment labelmates CNBLUE also played New York and Los Angeles in January.

Ticket prices range from $50 to $120 with the latter including a "high touch" event where fans can meet the band by giving them a high five. Tickets can be bought via Powerhouse or AXS.

2015 FTISLAND [FTHX] Tour U.S. Dates:
Jan. 28 - New York, NY @ Best Buy Theater
Jan. 30 - Los Angeles, CA @ Club Nokia - Billboard

"FTISLAND Talk Upcoming Album & How Their Fans Stayed For the Ride"

Nevermind the fact that FTISLAND landed in New York late the night beforehand, the K-pop/rock band were in high spirits in the hours ahead of their debut concert in The Big Apple.

Meeting up with Billboard hours before the Jan. 28 show at Best Buy Theater, the members spoke animatedly about the concert, new music, fans and more. Letting their goofy sides run wild -- like when they playfully sang Apink's "Luv" and "Mr. Chu" to one another and laughed out loud amongst one another -- that good energy undoubtedly rolled into a rocking concert for the passionate East Coast crowd.

FTISLAND Rock Out, Preview Future Sound at Debut NYC Concert

Billboard: What's going through your heads ahead of your debut New York concert -- especially after making it here through a blizzard?

Hong Gi: We came from Mexico and South America, so we've been in really hot places. It's really hard to adjust to this weather; it's really cold here! We were supposed to get here two days ago, but because of this blizzard we came here last night, really late. We couldn't do any sightseeing around and we wanted to see Times Square really badly so we went there after midnight, but we had to come back in an hour because it was so cold.

Jae Jin: Since it's cold out there, we want to make a really hot, hot, exciting stage today performance. And we want to make the fans sweat. We're really excited.

What are you most excited about for this concert?

Hong Gi: The theme of the whole tour is that we're performing familiar songs in our setlist, but it's going to sound a lot different from what we've done. It's really diverse and a combination of all the skills that we have. It's going to integrate and show everything that we've got. It's going to be the real FTISLAND.

Do you have any fun stories from the tour so far from other stops like Mexico City? Paris? Santiago?

Hong Gi: We've had a really, really good time touring. It wasn't really tiring. We had to spend a long time in Chile and Mexico and we wanted to do something special, but we didn't really have anything to do! We were kind of stuck in the hotel, we spent a lot of time in the hotel. But it was our first time visiting Chile and Mexico and we were really curious, 'How do the fans know us?' I felt proud of myself, representing Korea, I felt really proud about that. The fans reactions were crazy, crazy. They were throwing their underwear, their bras onstage. So, it was a relief.

Where else would you like to take the tour?

FTISLAND: England, Romania, Spain...Germany...Russia...we want to go to a lot of places! Everywhere!

Hong Gi: If there are 100 or 200 people that love us in a country, we want to go to them.

You've got a new album coming in March or April. Can you give some hints about it?

FTISLAND: Each song on this upcoming album means a lot to us. And the lyrics mean a lot of things to us -- that's really it.

What kind of sound or themes can we expect in the new music?

FTISLAND: Today's performance is going to have a variety of musical elements from the upcoming album. This performance will be representative of this album.

Watch FTISLAND's Track-by-Track Review of Their 'All About' Album

This year will mark FTISLAND's eighth year together. What is your secret to your longevity and staying popular?

FTISLAND: We've been having ups and downs, but we're going through it together.

We think that when we were little and at the beginning of our careers, there were more fans who just loved us for our visuals and the "bling bling." We believe now there are more fans who love -- who truly love -- our music and trust in our musical ability and capacity. So, we recovered a lot of confidence in ourselves. We trust in our fans a lot and we want to continue.

Do you have anything else to add?

Seung Hyun: I visited New York for the first time when I was in middle school volunteering for church. At that time, since I wasn't doing music, I couldn't imagine that I would visit here to perform a concert. I feel really proud of myself and proud as a Korean man. I want to do well in New York and I want to surprise the New York fans because it's our first time playing for these fans. I want to come back.

Hong Gi: I want to thank all the fans who trust us continuously. I don't want to disappoint you ever. - Billboard

"FTISLAND Rock Out, Preview Future Sound at Debut New York Concert"

"I want to show a different side than what you see on TV or music shows," singer Hong Gi told the passionate East Coast crowd.

A blizzard earlier in the week put FTISLAND's debut New York City concert in jeopardy. While the weather was less fierce than predicted, the K-pop/rock band's passionate fans probably would have happily met the quintet at the airport if it came to that.

As a huddled crowd in the pit area awaited their arrival to the Best Buy Theater stage, FTISLAND opened their set with the sweeping rock ballad "Last Love Song," centered around lead singer Hong Gi belting into a handheld, vintage microphone. While a fun throwback, the mic may have had technical issues as his voice dropped out at different moments. But the problems appeared to fix themselves as the guys moved onto faster tracks.

Speaking for the band nearly the entire night, Hong Gi greeted the crowd after "Madly" telling them "Annyeonghaseyo" (Korean for "hello"), to which the crowd responded with an "Annyeonghaseyo" right back. When Hong Gi asked the crowd a question in Korean and it appeared that a huge chunk of attendees knew what he was saying. The almost-eight-year-old FTISLAND audience skewed older, likely indicating fans who have been immersing themselves in Korean pop culture for a significant amount of time. Noticeably, there was a row of adults hanging out at the back of the pit area shaking their glow sticks and singing along just as enthusiastically as those crammed in the pit.

Watch FTISLAND's Track-by-Track Review of Their 'All About' Album

Hong Gi switched to a regular mic to continue through the setlist as the lighting and backup LED screens enveloped the band with gorgeous, colorful designs, shapes and lines. Guitarist Seung Hyun, bassist Jae Jin and leader/guitarist/pianist Jong Hoon stood front stage alongside Hong Gi as Min Hwan kept beat on drums in back. It was tough to take one's eyes off the singer -- with his constant jumping around the stage and on its monitors -- but he appeared happy to let his members take the spotlight for instrumental solos.

"This is our first time coming to New York City," Hong Gi told the crowd via a translator. "Through this tour...I want to show a different side than what you see on TV or music shows."

With that, the quintet moved into the impressive, stripped-down part of their set that saw Seung Hyun and Jong Hoon using acoustic guitars and Min Hwan sitting on a Cajon drum. Not only a set highlight, it was a rare chance to hear the other FT talents shine through like Min Hwan and Jae Jin's beautiful harmonies during "Stay" and Jong Hoon's Spanish guitar skills on "I Wish."

The first indication of the true spell the band cast over the crowd came during the acoustic rendition of "Severely," when the fans started trading off lines with Hong Gi a cappella until they fell off beat -- much to the amusement of Jae Jin. During "Flower Rock" later, the singer somehow convinced the entire audience to collectively squat, jump and rock out together. He did that multiple times throughout the show, each subsequent one pulled off more impressively than the last.

"I had a lot of pressure coming to [the] United States," Hong Gi later told the crowd. "This is where so many famous pop stars are born, I wasn't sure if I should stand on a live stage here. I was really, really worried...what I want to tell you guys is that it's been about a year, year-and-a-half that I can do the music I actually want to. There are many happenings in Korea, but I'm really happy now. That's how I was able to perform here today...the music I want to show you guys is incorporated into this show."

After mentioning that a new FTISLAND album was coming in March or April, the band pushed through the rest of their with more confidence than before while embellishing their heavy, rock-pop with more high-pitched wailing, playful audience shout outs and dreamy stage lighting. Hong Gi & Co. had nothing to worry about, these fans looked like they were ready to support even if it hadn't been such a concise and technically impressive set. - Billboard

"F.T. Island reveal preview for 'Japan Best Album - All About' and 'Freedom' MV"

F.T. Island have revealed the preview for their best-of album 'Japan Best Album - All About' and "Freedom" music video.

SEE ALSO: F.T. Island drops PV for Japanese single 'To The Light'

'All About', the group's first best-of album, has already reached #1 on charts in Japan. The 10 tracks on the album can be previewed in the video below, while you can check out the members' funny antics in their "Freedom" MV up top.

From October 16 to November 24, the boys will also embark on a Japanese live tour, 'FT Island Autumn Tour 2014 - To The Light'. - allkpop

"K-Pop Hot 100: Lyn Remains at No. 1"

The Super Bowl is the ultimate indication of how important television can be to a song's longevity. This week's No. 1 on the K-Pop Hot 100 knows this better than anyone as female solo phenom Lyn spends another week at the top spot with "Turn Back Hands of Time." Her chart topper is the soundtrack to the most watched drama in South Korea, "The Moon that Embraces the Sun."

"Hands of Time" is a heart-wrenching ballad with an orchestral arrangement backing-perfect for the show's dramatic theme. With the show's popularity the song is expected to remain on the upper rank of the chart throughout February. Check out a scene from the hit drama with Lyn's No. 1 single in the background.

Other big moves on the K-Pop Hot 100 come from male solo vocalist SE7EN (who you might have heard in 2007 with premiere English single "Girls" featuring Lil Kim) who makes it big this week at the No. 2 spot, with his just-released, "When I Can't Sing." The song's warm reception comes from eager anticipation from fans as it marks the first time YG Entertainment (SE7EN's label) collaborated with their competitor label JYP Entertainment. The label's head, singer-songwriter Park Jin Young, composed the track--a medium-tempo ballad about a guy asking for reassurance in love, even after he losing his fame and honor.

12. "I Wish" F.T. Island

K-pop is known for its ability to seamless cross genre lines to make accessible, delicious pop music for fans worldwide. With a Spanish-guitar inspired sound, “I Wish” sambas right into the listener’s ears before erupting into the catchy, rocky chorus

F.T. Island, a five-member rock group who recently were as the best rock band group at the Golden Disk Awards (sometimes called the Korean Grammy Awards), made their return with fourth mini album "Grown UP" and single "Fiercely" soars up to No. 4 on the chart. Pop group Beast, who were a part of Billboard's 2011 K-Pop Masters show, drop to the No. 5 slot with their single, "I Knew It." The song was released to coincide with the boys' upcoming world tour, "Beautiful Show," kicking off in Seoul then making its way across the globe to 21 cities in 14 countries seeing them perform for more than 200,000 fans on this around-the-world adventure. - Billboard

"20 Best K-Pop Songs of 2012: BIGBANG, PSY, 2NE1 & More"

These 20 K-Pop songs represent a fantastic array of veteran artists, popular idols, ballad crooners and talented rookies.

2012 was the year that PSY, an unlikely K-pop veteran, surpassed his contemporaries with international stardom and an inescapable single ("Gangnam Style," of course). But that doesn't mean the rest of the K-pop world wasn't also delivering excellent tracks. BoA reminded us what made her a superstars in the first place, After School said they "missed you" and went back to their sexy roots, and indie acts like Busker Busker and The Koxx showed how you didn't need a major agency to make waves in the business.

Best of 2012: Billboard's Year-End Charts & More | K-Pop Hot 100 of 2012

It was a year of fantastic tracks, exciting comebacks and these 20 singles represent a fantastic array of veteran artists, popular idols, ballad crooners and talented rookies. Check out the Billboard.com and Billboard Korea staff's picks for the top 20 K-pop songs of 2012, and tell us your personal favorite tracks of the year in the comments section at the bottom of the page.

12. "I Wish" F.T. Island

K-pop is known for its ability to seamless cross genre lines to make accessible, delicious pop music for fans worldwide. With a Spanish-guitar inspired sound, “I Wish” sambas right into the listener’s ears before erupting into the catchy, rocky chorus. - Billboard


2007-06-05 Korea 1st Full-length Album ‘Cheerful Sensibility’ / Korea Debut Album (Korea Debut: June 7th, 2007)
2008-06-07 Japan 1st Mini Album ‘Prologue of FTISLAND–Soyogi’ / Japan Indies Debut Album
2009-02-17 Korea 1st Mini Album ‘Jump Up’ / Member
Song Seung Hyun joined / 1st Korean Mini Album
2010-06-22 Japan 1st Single ‘Flower Rock’ / Japan Major Debut Single / Ranked 1st place on J-pop Chart in Taiwan G Music
2011-05-18 Japan 1st Full-length Album ‘FIVE TREASURE ISLAND’ / The first international male musician topped the weekly chart with full-length album in Japan Oricon Chart history.
2012-01-31 Korea 4th Mini Album ‘GROWN-UP’ / Ranked 1st on 9 Taiwanese charts
2013-07-24 Japan 11st Single ‘Siawaseori (シアワセオリー)’ / Ranked 1st place in Japan Oricon Chart
2013-09-23 Korea Special Mini Album ‘THANKS TO’ / Korea Debut 6th anniversary Album
2013-11-18 Korea 5th Mini ‘THE MOOD’
2014-01-22 Japan 12th Single ‘Beautiful’ / Ranked 2nd on Japan Oricon Chart
2014-04-02 Japan 13th Single 未体験Future’ / Ranked 3rd on Japan Oricon Chart
2014-05-28 Japan 4th Full-length Album ‘NEW PAGE’
2014-10-02 Korea 1st Translated Album ‘ALL ABOUT’
2015-03-23 Korea 5th Full-length Album ‘I WILL’
2015-05-13 Japan 5th Full-length Album ‘5.....GO’
2015-09-16 Japan 15th Single ‘PUPPY’ / ranked on 2nd daily and 3rd on weekly Japan Oricon Chart



Free-spirited Sensibility & Dynamic Energy, FTISLAND

FTISLAND is one of the few bands who have “made it” in South Korea. From soft to hard rock, FTISLAND has the ability to cover various musical genres, separating themselves from other dance groups that seem to fill the K-POP industry today. Along with their official debut in the year 2007, their title song “Love Sick” has reached instant success, allowing the band to fix their “Teenage band” image worldwide. From Japan to Taiwan, FTISLAND has been internationally recognized since their debut, and have released 55 official albums, leaving many hit songs such as, “I Wish,” “Severely,” “Memory,” “Madly,” etc. The band has topped the Oricon Charts of Japan with their first album titled, "Five Treasure ISLAND,” marking a record as being the first overseas male artist(s) to rank number one in the weekly charts in over 42 years.

Recently, FTISLAND attempted to change their musical genre, turning to powerful hard rock. Their title track, PRAY, from their most recent full-length album "I WILL", succeeded and was loved by the public. With this album, they have been receiving many love calls not only domestically, but also from China, Japan etc. The band has recently wrapped up their international tour and are planning to continue their 2015 Autumn tour until the end of this year.