Hello people of the internet!!! On today’s ‘Monday Memos’ we’re going to review the Kpop super group that is quickly taking over the charts both domestically in the U.S and around the world. If you haven’t heard of SuperM then prepare to have your mind blown by this group of exceptionally talented vocalists, rappers, and dancers. SuperM is the brainchild of Kpop superpower SM Entertainment (home of legendary Korean pop acts such as: BoA, Super Junior, Girls Generation, SHINee, EXO, and many more artists who have broken music records and barriers time and time again), and legendary U.S. music label Capitol Music Group (which has served as home of hit making acts such as The Beatles, Frank Sinatra, Katy Perry, The Beach Boys, Jennifer Lopez, Snoop Dogg, Coldplay, and many more). Through a joint project, these two music industry giants brought together 7 exceptional artists from across SM’s vast network of talent to create a group that is able to utilize all the training that Kpop artists are known to go through and thus combines the best aspects of the individual groups that make up this super group. Now that you know the game, let’s meet the players. Ready? Ok, let’s go!
In order of seniority, SuperM is comprised of: Taemin from the group SHINee, Baekhyun & Kai from the group EXO, Taeyong & Mark from NCT127, and Ten & Lucas from WayV. For those of you who are not already familiar with these very accomplished artists please allow me to give you a crash course. Taemin, Baekyun, & Ten serve as the group’s vocalists (although Ten also raps when needed), Kai, Taeyong, Mark, & Lucas are the group’s rappers, and as is expected in Kpop, all 7 artists dance with unbelievable precision and skill. You really have to hear these incredible artists to fully grasp just how spectacular their talent is but let me tell you that once you hear a Kpop vocalist or rapper you will truly understand why they spend 3, 5, sometimes even 9 + years practicing 10 + hours a day. It’s definitely a grueling system but the results speak for themselves when you hear the incredible notes these artists hit with ease, the singing range they all have, and the impeccable flow that their rapping has which seems to come out of them as naturally as breathing. I was fortunate enough to see SuperM at their 1st stop in Fort Worth, TX as they embark on their first tour across the U.S. & Canada (with possibly more dates to be added in countries later next year). So now let’s discuss the tour itself.
As I waited for the concert to begin the whole venue had a level of electricity and anticipation running through it like nothing I had ever seen. Kpop fans are known for their deep rooted love of their favorite artists, but this felt special. Although this group is new they are far from rookies in the industry. SHINee had their debut in 2008, EXO in 2012, NCT 127 in 2016, & WayV earlier this year in 2019 (although both Lucas & Ten had been previously featured on NCT U songs in 2017, which is another subunit group under the NCT umbrella just like NCT 127 and WayV are). Why is this important you ask? Well because not only do these groups bring along years of experience with them but also loyal fans that spread across the various groups. It was truly mind blowing and beautiful to see numerous fans with multiple lightsticks (a special light with a design unique to each group that fans use to wave during a Kpop concert that often changes light pattern via Bluetooth depending on the song playing) from each of the individual groups that make up SuperM as well as the SuperM lightstick. The group performed all the songs from their debut self-titled mini album including the uniquely powerful ‘I Can’t Stand The Rain’, the hip-hop fueled bop ‘Super Car’, the Hip Hop/R&B infused track ‘No Manners’ (which utilized a bonus stage with some of the best dancing of the night), & of course their title track the fun and powerful song ‘Jopping’ which immediately got the crowd screaming and singing along. Each of the members also performed solo songs which utilized their unique talents: Taemin’s solos ‘Danger’ & ‘Goodbye’ took advantage of his smooth R&B vocals, Baekyun’s solos ‘Betcha’ & ‘UN Village’ showed off his incredible vocal range, Kai’s solo ‘Confession’ utilized his unmatched showmanship and connection to his fans, Taeyong’s solo ‘GTA’ was the perfect marriage of his standout stage presence and natural rapping skills, Ten’s solos ‘Dream In A Dream’ and ‘New Heroes’ proved he not only brings an immense amount of vocal talent to the group but also a gift of dance that few artists ever obtain, Lucas’ solo (which is currently unreleased so we don’t know the official name of it) really showed off his fun personality that fans have been able to quickly and intensely connect to, and lastly Mark the group’s maknae (a term in Kpop for the youngest member of a group) truly proved why he won awards as the hardest working trainee during the years he trained under SM Entertainment with his unmatched skills as a rapper, dancer, and showman during his solo ‘Talk About’. Overall the night was full of dancing, bonding between new and older kpop fans, and a true appreciation of how 7 young men originally from 4 different countries (South Korea, Canada, China, & Thailand) were able to make this a truly special night by sharing their unmatched gifts with their fans. If you’ve never seen a Kpop concert first hand then I highly suggest SuperM or any of the groups that make up SuperM because believe me you have no idea just how talented a group of artists can be until you’ve seen the unmeasurable talent that lies within Kpop.
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- All photos and information used in this blog belong to Twitter, Instagram, shop.supermofficial.com, YouTube, Facebook, SuperM, SM Entertainment, Capitol Records, BoA, Super Junior, Girls Generation, SHINee, EXO, NCT U, NCT 127, The Beatles, Frank Sinatra, Katy Perry, The Beach Boys, Jennifer Lopez, Snoop Dogg, Coldplay, Mark Lee, Tae yong Lee, Tae min Lee, Baek Hyun Byun, Jong In Kim, Chittaphon Leechaiyapornkul, Xuxi Huang, Lucas, Taemin, Ten, Kai, Baekhyun, Mark, Taeyong, and all companies, individuals, corporations, and/or businesses that should receive credit for any thing mentioned in this blog post other than my opinions and videos and/or pictures that I personality took/filmed If any people, corporations, businesses, companies, etc, were not previously given credit for their work, they are given credit now and their previous absence was unintentional. All opinions expressed in this blog are my own. I wrote this blog for entertainment purposes and no copyright infringement is intended
Hello people of the internet!!! On today’s ‘Monday Memos’, I have an exclusive interview with Cameron Walker from the PHENOMINAL indie rock band ‘Animal Fiction’. Last Monday (May 12th) I introduced y’all to the band and their newest amazing song ‘Walk In The Sunshine’. In this interview, Cameron and I spoke about how ‘Animal Fiction’ formed, the artists who have influenced the band’s sound, ‘Animal Fiction’s’ future plans, ‘Walk In The Sunshine’, and so much more. So please read on to learn even more about ‘Animal Fiction’, I promise that you won’t regret it!
Celinda: First thing I noticed about your band is that you have a really cool name. How did you come up with ‘Animal Fiction’?
Cameron: It’s kinda of an interesting story. I came up with the idea of using something with the word animal in it. I wanted the band to just be called ‘Animal’, but there was already a band called that. Then Eben our guitar player came up with the name ‘Fictional Animal’, and then I thought “wow that’s really cool”. Then I thought about all of the great stories, in particular I thought of the book ‘Where the Wild Things Are’, which is what our album art is loosely inspired by. From there somehow we arrived at the name ‘Animal Fiction’ which is what we went with, and I like the name a lot too, so thank you.
Celinda: Yeah, I found it really unique, and I love the story ‘Where the Wild Things Are’.
Cameron: Yeah that’s a great book. The movie came out a while ago, but I remember reading the book when I was a kid, and I always keep coming back to that. I think all of the ‘Animal Fiction’ art will in some way inspired by that book actually.
Celinda: How long have you guys in the band known each other?
Cameron: Well, I’ve known Julian (who plays Keyboard and Guitar), his whole life because he’s my younger brother. Eben, I’ve known, man I’ve known him for a long time. I’m 25 now, and I met Eben when I was 19, I think. So I’ve known Eben for 6 years.
Celinda: That’s great that you guys have had so long to build your band chemistry. What inspired you guys to come up with this new band? Because I know that you’ve had a few previous bands that you’ve been a part of.
Cameron: Yeah, I started out playing in a band called ‘WeatherStar’, back in the day when I was 19, 20. Then I joined a band called ‘The Ready Set’ for a while, and I did a lot of touring and it was cool because I played Bass in that band, and I got a lot of cool experiences through that. I started writing in a band called ‘1985’ with my buddy, and we still do that, but we don’t really play shows. So I think ‘Animal Fiction’ is almost a result of me getting antsy, and wanting to go back on the road, and wanted to do things that bands do. So I think it didn’t really make sense for me to continue, ’WeatherStar’ because the style of my music has evolved so much since then, so I think that this is just a natural evolution of everything I learned in ‘WeatherStar’, and ‘The Ready Set’, and ‘1985’, and kind of my new musical personality is now ‘Animal Fiction’ which is great.
Celinda: Yeah, I really like your sound, I find it really unique. Are y’all all from L.A.?
Cameron: The 3 of us are actually originally from Connecticut, but I live in L.A. now, and Eben lives in L.A. now. My brother actually lives in New York City now, which can be interesting at times because he’s flying back and forth for stuff now when we’re recording and whatnot. I see Eben regularly in L.A., so we’re a bi-costal band technically.
Celinda: So growing up in Connecticut, what or who inspired you to become a musician?
Cameron: That’s an interesting question. I remember being a kid and my mom had these old Beatles records, and it sounds kind of cliché but its true, I grew up listening to bands like ‘The Beatles’ and ‘The Beach Boys’, which I think got me into Rock n’ Roll and Pop music at an early age. Really I can’t remember a time when I wasn’t playing in some capacity, I think I started playing drums when I was 10, and I just kept doing that, and when I got into high school I got really into pop punk and punk rock bands, and I started playing in band in high school. Really I can’t remember a time where I didn’t play music, it sounds crazy but it was definitely those early years where I got into ‘The Beatles’, ‘Elvis Presley’, ‘Elvis Costello’, and ‘The Beach Boys’, and that kind of started me on the path to rock n’ roll.
Celinda: Did you always sing?
Cameron: Yeah I always sang. I actually did a lot of theater growing up, my mom ran a children’s theater company, so I would always participate in that, and I think that might be a big reason why I enjoy singing so much now.
Celinda: So it sounds like your mom was a really big influence in you becoming involved in music and staying in it?
Cameron: Oh absolutely, she’s my #1 supporter and my #1 fan. She’s been there the whole way and she’s still supporting me today, so I’m really grateful for her.
Celinda: Yeah I love it when the parents of artists and actors are supportive of their children, because it’s a hard business and it’s hard on the parents as well.
Cameron: Oh absolutely yeah. I think I had my entire band in ‘WeatherStar’ living with me at one point, so she puts up with a lot and I’m eternally grateful for it.
Celinda: So you mentioned in your last answer how ‘Elvis’, ‘The Beatles’, and ‘The Beach Boys’ influenced you as a child. Are there any other bands that you’ve picked up along the way that you feel have influenced your sound?
Cameron: Oh absolutely. Those were kind of my early introduction to Pop music and Rock n’ Roll, but I think as I grew up, I was really into bands like ‘Blink-182’, and I still love that band. I’m really into this band called ‘The Exploding Hearts’, which you should totally check out. ‘Animal Fiction’ is definitely influenced by ‘The Exploding Hearts’.
Celinda: What bands or artists’ have influenced you that would surprise your fans?
Cameron: That’s a tough one. I don’t know if this will be that big of a surprise but there was kind of a surge of pop-punk boy bands in England. I was really into this band called ‘McFly’, and they’re still a band today, and at the same time there was a band called ‘Busted’, they’re both pretty much boy bands from the U.K. but they’re kinda pop-punk influenced so I don’t know if it would be that surprising, but yeah I’ve listened to some boy bands. I love the new ‘5 Seconds of Summer’ track, I think it’s awesome. I wouldn’t call it a guilty pleasure, but I love my Pop music for sure.
Celinda: So how do you prepare for a performance?
Cameron: It depends. I think there’s a certain pressure that comes with being a primary singer in a band. So like in ‘The Ready Set’ I sang quite a lot, so I wasn’t a concerned about vocal warm-ups and my voice as much, because I knew that I could handle it, I was really playing Bass and having fun. In ‘WeatherStar’ and ‘1985’, I was really conscious of my voice and drinking a lot of tea and water. Because if you don’t warm up, you’re going to sound bad, and you can also kind of hurt your voice like that too. I also do some jumping jacks, because it keeps your adrenalin up and it gets rid of the jitters.
Celinda: Do you listen to any type of music before you go on, or do you like it quiet?
Cameron: I don’t know. I guess if there’s music playing it doesn’t bother me, but I guess I prefer just a very chill, low-key atmosphere, but I’m not super picky about that stuff.
Celinda: I noticed on the band’s Facebook page, that your song ’Walk In The Sunshine’ [here’s a link to ‘Walk In The Sunshine’ Walk In The Sunshine] just got featured in a ‘Red Lobster ‘ commercial and on NBC’s ‘About A Boy’, so that’s really cool.
Cameron: Yeah it’s funny because those features happened a couple of weeks ago, I think the ‘Red Lobster’ commercial was a month ago, and that happened before we even put our record out. I didn’t really want to say what the song was for, and I really didn’t want to announce it anywhere, but once the song actually came out, I felt like it was ok to post about it, and we were really excited about it. We’re always open to getting our music out there in any way, whether it’s in a television commercial, or anywhere. We always welcome it, and we really appreciate.
Celinda: How were you approached to have your song on ‘About a Boy’, because you’ve written for NBC haven’t you?
Cameron: Yeah, to tell you the truth that stuff just kind of goes through our publisher. I actually wrote that song with a guy named Blake Healy, he was the Keyboard player for ‘Metro Station’, and we write stuff together on a regular basis now. I think ‘Walk In The Sunshine’ was placed on that show through his publisher. So to be honest I wasn’t even in communication with them.
Celinda: So did it take you by surprise?
Cameron: Yeah, that stuff always takes me by surprise. We did a lot of television commercials and stuff with ‘1985’ too, and sometimes someone at the publishing company will let you know, but other times you just turn on the TV and hear your song. It’s always a great feeling, but it’s really funny when you don’t even know about it. It’s almost better when you don’t know about it and you’re just like “oh wow!”.
Celinda: I know that you said that you hadn’t planned to have the song out yet when it was on the commercial and on the show, but was it still exciting?
Cameron: Absolutely! It was definitely really exciting, and it’s honestly a total blessing to have your music presented in that kind of way, and it always is. It’s very flattering, and it’s a good feeling to hear your music in a way that other people can hear it too.
Celinda: So you told me that you wrote ‘Walk In The Sunshine’ with Blake Healy, what’s the story behind that song?
Cameron: I think we were just trying to write a really fun, upbeat song about having a great day and rocking out. I don’t think that it’s one of those songs where there’s a really epic story behind it. I think it’s more like we were trying to create a vibe that we felt good about, and hopefully it would make other people feel good too when they heard it.
Celinda: So do you have release date yet for the music video?
Cameron: Well there’s a video for our song ’Everyday is New’ [here is the link to the ‘Everyday is New’ video Everyday is New] , which is out now. It’s up on YouTube, and I think a website called ‘Baeblemusic.com’ premiered it too. I think we’re going to shoot another video in the next couple of months but I’m not sure which song it’s for, but we’re excited. What’s cool about this project is that we can really do whatever we want, there’s no label or anything, it’s totally independent. So obviously we don’t have an enormous budget that comes with being on a major label, but what’s cool is that we can put music out whenever we feel like it. We can do a music video with our friends, and put that out. So it’s just kind of cool to have a really loose, flexible schedule, and too work around everyone’s schedule and do whatever we want, and make cool art. That’s really the goal of the project.
Celinda: So all of the songs that I’ve heard off of you EP and ‘Walk In The Sunshine’ are all really upbeat and fun. How do you stay so positive?
Cameron: I feel like I’ve always been a pretty positive person, I’m a firm believer that if you try to have a positive mindset even through the worst of times, then that positivity is going to be all around you. I think positive music is rare. I think lots of people feel that they have to write about heartbreak, and I’ve absolutely written my fair share of music like that, but there’s something to be said about making music for the sole purpose of making people happy. That’s definitely a driving force behind the band, just trying to send a positive message. If I can make people happy with music, even if I can make one person happy, then I feel like it’s a success.
Celinda: This next one is going to be a bit of a tough question but I think you can handle it. What’s your favorite song to perform?
Cameron: Off of the EP, I really like playing ‘London, London’. That song actually is cool, because it does have a story behind it. It’s about being with the person that you love, and just wanting to run away, and just keep moving.
Celinda: So where do you see ‘Animal Fiction’ in the next few years?
Cameron: I don’t know, I hope that we’ll have some touring under our belt, I hope that we put out another EP really soon, and maybe a full record. I hope that our sound continues to change too, because I like when bands change with every album.
Celinda: Yeah, I really love the sound you have now. I feel that it’s really unique, and is a sound that’s missing on today’s radio circulation. I would definitely like to hear ‘Animal Fiction’ on the radio someday.
Cameron: Absolutely, that would be a dream come true. But ultimately even if we can just have a few people playing our songs, we’ll be happy.
Celinda: Yeah, and right now is really the time of the “unique bands”, because you have ‘Foster the People’ from a few years ago, who I know you’ve been compared too.
Cameron: Yeah somebody compared us to ‘Foster the People’ and ‘Vampire Weekend’, which is cool because I love both of those bands, so whoever started that comparison thank you. It’s crazy right now because there is so much different music on the radio. A couple of years ago, it was really dominated by dance music and urban music, and now some Rock n’ Roll is creeping back in there, and a lot of great folk bands. I think that it’s a really exciting time to be a band right now, and I’m grateful for that
Celinda: So is there anything else you’d like to add?
Cameron: The biggest thing right now is our video. You can find it on YouTube, just search ‘Animal Fiction Everyday Is New’ and it will probably be the first thing to pop up. Please check that out, and thank you so much for reading and listening, and we’re going to make a lot more music so please keep an ear out.
Celinda: Thank you, it was really nice speaking to you.
Cameron: It was really nice speaking to you too, thanks a lot for writing about us.
Here are some links so you can keep in touch with ‘Animal Fiction’:
Animal Fiction’s Facebook: AnimalFictionOfficial
Cameron Walker’s Facebook: CameronWalkerOfficial
Cameron Walker’s Twitter: cameronwalker
Julian Walker Twitter: https://twitter.com/julian_walker
Julian Walker Instagram: julianwalker on Instagram
Eben Wares Twitter: https://twitter.com/ebenwares
Eben Wares Instagram: ebenwares on Instagram
- All photos and information used in this blog belong to Animal Fiction, Cameron Walker, Julian Walker, Eben Wares, Foster The People, baeblemusic.com, Where The Wild Things Are, Maurice Sendak, Red Lobster, NBC, About A Boy, Blake Healy, Metro Station, Vampire Weekend, Twitter, Facebook, The Ready Set, 1985, heyalex.buzznet.com, ITunes, Ben Watson, and all other original owners. I do not own anything in this blog. All opinions expressed in this blog are my own. I wrote this blog for entertainment purposes and no copyright infringement is intended.