'I'm sorry to anyone who's under 21': KARD's BM on his self-produced 'adult K-pop' album

KARD's BM will drop his first EP ″Element″ on Tuesday [RBW, DSP MEDIA]

KARD’s BM has returned with a self-written, self-produced, self-arranged and self-mastered solo EP “Element” — and he doesn’t fear the explicit rating it might receive.

“Overseas K-pop fans call it ‘adult K-pop,’ and I seemingly have become the icon of the genre — and I’m thankful for that,” KARD’s BM said during a group interview in eastern Seoul ahead of the release of his first solo EP, “Elements,” on Tuesday.

“Adult K-pop,” while not necessarily referring to a specific genre of music, is a term international K-pop fans use to describe more mature and explicit K-pop songs.

“I was born in 1992 and I’m something like 32 — at least over 30 — and I think the things that fit younger K-pop artists and things that they are good at can be different from what fits me and what I can do well,” BM said.

“If people are liking me for that and they find it interesting, I’m fine with pushing that [style of music].”

BM, therefore, didn’t mind receiving an explicit, 19+ rating. In fact, he included a “parental advisory label” on the cover of his album, as part of its design and never made plans to perform in weekly music shows.

“I think that allows me to be more free, different from the albums released under the KARD name,” he said.

Lead track “Nectar” featuring Korean American rapper Jay Park, for instance, invokes the nectar of flowers to sing of making “sweet love.” BM primarily composed the song, an easy-listening score with Afro-Pop beats, using Park's input.

KARD's BM will drop his first EP ″Element″ on Tuesday [RBW, DSP MEDIA]

The KARD member made no effort to hide his excitement when discussing the collaboration with Park, whom he's long considered a role model.

“I was already a fan of Jay Park when I joined the audition show [‘K-pop Star’ (2011)], and I made the decision to be a singer looking at his stages,” BM said, making no effort to hide his excitement. “To sing the same song with him made me think that I'd come all the way here just for this moment.”

“Everyone in Korea knows who Jay Park is. He is the embodiment of coolness, and he defines masculinity.”

Nevertheless, BM did his best to be professional while working with Park and avoid being too much of a fanboy.

“I wanted him to feel that I’m a professional younger brother. I didn’t want to pressure him,” BM said. “And Jay Park, too, felt like an older brother who takes good care of me.”

BM of mixed-gender K-pop group KARD will release his first EP ″Element″ on May 7. [RBW, DSP MEDIA]

“Element,” themed around “passionate relationships,” features five tracks in total: “Nectar,” “Embers,” “Loyalty,” “Motion” and “Badgirl Badboy” featuring KARD bandmate Somin. All five songs listed BM as their main producer — and he's the only one credited for “Motion” and “Badgirl Badboy.”

A major reason BM produced, mixed and mastered his album himself was to show his capabilities as an artist. Also, it was cheaper.

“You can’t really make money with solo releases,” BM said frankly. “I wanted my company to save money as they release my album — if they save money, I also save money.”

But, he added, “I also wanted to test out my own talent and see how far it’d go.”

The artist added that he'd try his best if given the opportunity to produce and mix KARD's future albums, though he modestly admitted that his mixing skills are “somewhere in between layman and professional.”

Having tried his hand at writing, producing and mastering, BM is sure that more diverse artistic adventures lie ahead. He mentioned that he might give acting a go in the United States if he were to, in the distant future, leave the music industry.

"Koreans are starting to get recognized in the United States, so I'm sure I'd have something of my own to share," BM said.

"I'd love to have a go in action genres or even rom-com where I can show a dorky side"

But for the moment, he's happy where he is.

“I’m not starving as I pursue my career in music and I have with me the people I love,” BM said. “I debuted as a K-pop idol when I was 26, which was late, and I still, thankfully, think that my peak is very much distant. I will try my best to reach my peak, but I don’t have to reach my peak.”

“Just like my EP ‘Element,’ I think I currently have a perfect combination of elements for myself and the people around me.”

And in the meantime, he's got his first concert tour to focus on. “After the After Party,” kicks off on May 14, and will stop in Los Angeles; Dallas; Chicago; New York; Atlanta, Georgia; and Washington, D.C.

The concert, named the B-side track “ATAP” from his solo single “Lowkey” (2023), is unusually — but perhaps aptly — restricted to audiences 21 and older.

“I know people will think weird things, but I won’t be doing those kinds of weird things,” BM said with a laugh. “I’m someone who likes to talk without filtering, and I also wanted to dance in a more sexy manner. I want the audience to feel like they are attending a fun party, including booze.”

He added, “I’m sorry to anyone who is under 21, though.”

KARD's BM will drop his first EP ″Element″ on Tuesday [RBW, DSP MEDIA]

To find out more about BM and KARD, visit Celeb Confirmed!