If you’ve never experienced Korean pop music in any form, then it’s really a spectacle and experience that is unique unto itself. It’s hard to avoid BTS (arguably the most famous Kpop band out there) and that gives you a little taste of the dedication that both the bands and the fans have for each other. The fans have a different view of the artists and the artists have a dedication to the music, dance and fans like I’ve never seen. The choreography is rehearsed over and over for months at a time and showcased through social media and live performances that suck you in and make you hungry for more. While the groups are typically formed by competitions or corporations (just like the boybands of yor like New Kids on the Block or Backstreet Boys) it’s what they do after they debut (officially come out into the music world and release albums) that garners fans and fame.
VAV (Very Awesome Voice) is my first foray into Kpop both in person and as a photographer. I’ve been a fan of a lot of Kpop groups over the last few years and I’ve been eager to finally start capturing them in real time. They’ve seemed so abstract, kind of like a superstar that you’ll never actually meet, but now that I’ve broken that barrier it finally feels three dimensional… “real”. As VAV danced and charmingly smiled their way through each song their supporters went bonkers, screaming and cheering and singing along despite most of the lyrics being in Korean. I can relate, somehow having half the song in a foreign language makes them more intriguing and interesting.
VAV has been around for quite some time having debuted in 2015 and has had an avid fanbase, VAV “Vampz” following them ever since. Every Kpop band has a hardcore set of fans with a special name like the BTS “Army”, Enhyphen “Engene” and VAV’s “Vampz”. It gives a sense of uniqueness, that they’re more dedicated than other fans and it’s a way of showing love to their favorite artists. Yes, the members of these bands are in incredible shape and fans obviously admire them for that and their flawless looks (heavily cultivated of course) but it’s more than that. They have a reverence for them, and just happy to love them and follow their music and public lives. It’s hard to truly understand until you’re in it, but it means that everyone at these shows are kind, supportive and excited just to be there which makes these shows a different experience altogether. I can’t wait for my next one.