iKON on Moving From YG Entertainment to 143, Solo Albums & More


Under the lights of Brooklyn’s gorgoeus Kings Theatre, iKON, kicked off the long-awaited American leg of their “Take Off” world tour on earlier this month. While it marked the eight-year-old boy band’s first time properly touring the States, it was a particularly significant moment, laden with emotions, as it was their first time visiting the U.S. since undergoing a transformative label change. Amid the pulsating excitement, the absence of member JAY, fulfilling his South Korean military duty, was felt, but the remaining members—Bobby, Ju-ne, Song, DK, and Chan—more than made up for his absence with heaps of of musical talent and heart.

Amid a setlist that included revamped versions of the group’s most beloved tracks as well as solo stages for each star, the excitement remained palpable throughout the show from both crowd and the members themselves. Bobby acknowledged the fervor, sharing, “It’s so freaking hot here and it’s all because of you guys!” The connection between iKON and their fans (affectionately known as iKONICs) was undeniable.

New York City, make some f-cking noise!” DK, with infectious energy, exclaimed, early on in the show. “Thanks for coming out today, thanks so much.”

Beyond electrifying performances, the concert served as a platform for iKON to share exciting news. DK visibly couldn’t contain his enthusiasm as he announced, “We have the great news that Bobby dropped his solo album. I think there will be another one… in October.” The announcement of Bobby’s solo endeavors hinted at the remarkable synergy within the group that, while pursuing different areas in their solo careers including music, acting and modeling, the members remained unwaveringly supportive of each other’s endeavors, illustrating a unique camaraderie that few groups in the industry can boast.

The New York kickoff date points to iKON’s journey as one of resilience and adaptation. Under a new label in 143 Entertainment after leaving their founding home of YG Entertainment, iKON proves that no matter the challenges they faced, their music and passion for their craft and each other would always shine through.

Read on for more from iKON below.

Jeff Benjamin: We met the first time you came to New York, but a lot has changed and I want to say congratulations on this past year: iKON’s finally here with your own tour! Generally speaking, tell us where iKON is right now?

Bobby: Well, our company changed. We had this really great opportunity and met this really nice guy. And he was like, “Why don’t you join us and have some opportunities for yourselves to learn more about this industry and everything?” I mean, YG [Entertainment] is a very beautiful and great company. But like, they literally do everything for you, you know? All we had to do was, like, be on the stage and write music—that’s all. So, we just wanted to learn more since we were young and that’s why we go to choosing this path. It was really hard but a lot of fun.

Jeff Benjamin: What kind of opportunities have presented to you in learning more about industry?

DK: We’re able to make music freely, release our albums freely and also make music that resembles iKON’s colors and style. We also they feel really good that we are now back in New York able to perform.

Jeff Benjamin: iKON had great reactions in the U.S. and on the Billboard charts since debut. I’m curious what took so long for a proper iKON tour here, you think? Was it different priorities and plans at the company?

BOBBY: Honestly, we don’t know. [Laughs] We don’t know why it took so long to get here because, like I said, all the plans were made by the company. I believe that YG had, like you said, their priorities. But one thing that’s for sure is that, even if it was so late, we’re really happy to be here and we want to thank all the fans that came to see us. We’re so very happy and excited about everything.

SONG: It’s the first time we’re meeting American fans and the first time being here touring the U.S. being able to communicate with American fans on stage for the first time is something that we found particularly exciting and are looking forward to.

CHAN: And it’s not just like we’re coming here for an event or two [like in the past], it’s that we’re actually here and can actually be in front of our fans, perform and spend time with them.

Jeff Benjamin: iKON’s celebrating a major milestone of eight years together during this tour. I want to say congratulations how, even through the changes, you remained together. What was important about doing this as a group?

SONG: It doesn’t quite matter what company we go to or which agency we’re at, what was important in our minds is that we are together; here as iKON. I personally felt like that is most important and has a really significant meaning for all of us together.

DK: A really big point, possibly even the biggest point, was that we wanted to keep meeting our fans for a long time. But in order to do that, we have to remain together as iKON.

Have these professional changes changed or added new influences to your music or is it still iKON music is iKON?

DK: Rather than us changing as iKON, we wanted to be able to present new, exciting music to their fans—just so being able to present ourselves in an exciting and interesting fashion was very important to them.

Jeff Benjamin: So what’s happening with balancing solo work in addition to group work?

DK: Since we just did group albums, we think it’d be good to be able to focus on both group and soul albums. For example, BOBBY’s solo album recently came out—

BOBBY: And the new one’s coming in October—it’s going to be crazy.

DK: And if we can get it to where we all have solo albums, plus group albums coming out, that would be really, really cool, in my opinion.

Jeff Benjamin: DK shared how you’ve helped producing other members’ solo work. Do you still work collaboratively like this even with all these recent changes?

DK: Of course. Particularly with the TAKE OFF album, BOBBY helped me quite a bit, actually. And one thing that I particularly want to emphasize is that no matter what company we’re in, and whether it’s solo or group work, we really like to give each other feedback, collaborate and kind of just rely on each other. Us being able to all work together is quite a big priority for me and I think it’s really fun as well.

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