In conversation with DKZ

When I met DKZ in Seoul, it was a warm sunny day. The boys were excited, working on a lot of projects. My first question for them was straightforward: when will we have our lightstick? They laughed, telling me they couldn't reveal any details... but still... «something will happen really soon». A few weeks later, here we are: Ari have a very peculiar bong that looks like a tambourine with a light that looks like a moon.

Let's take a step back: DKZ (디케이지) is a 7-member boy group, formerly known as DONGKIZ (동키즈), under Dongyo Entertainment. The group comprises Kyoungyoon, Munik (who wasn't present at the interview because he is currently on hiatus due to anxiety), Jaechan, Jonghyeong, Giseok, Mingyu, & Sehyeon. After their debut in 2019 with DONGKIZ on the Block, the boys changed their name in 2022. 2022 was an important year for the group: while losing a member, their former leader Wondae left the group after being on hiatus because of an injury, they gained three new ones, Sehyeon, Mingyu, and Giseok. Also, DKZ suddenly woke up one morning, finding their songs hitting skyrocketing numbers in listening.

«We were surprised but thrilled,» they admitted candidly. Going from being rookies to suddenly hitmakers, «it's something you are never prepared for». But what happened? Jaechan smiles. He knows the group's sudden success is connected to his participation in the successful BL drama, Semantic Error. «With Jaechan starring on Semantic Error, something clicked, and more and more people became interested in our music,» the boys admitted. Something due, from a really long time. Because DKZ, even as DONGKIZ, showed different kinds of colors in their songs and a compelling artistic side.

So, suddenly, songs like Lupin and Crazy Night started climbing the charts worldwide, and DONGKIZ became DKZ and started a new chapter of their life. One in which they could finally taste the sweetness of success and enjoy the results of their sacrifices.

Their last release, Uh-Heung, earned the boy group their first trophy on a music show since their debut. When asked how they would describe it in one word, the leader of the group, Jonghyeong, answered me without hesitation: «the tiger is coming». The boys started laughing, mimicking the movement in their choreography. Then, he added: «The tiger is coming has the meaning that good things are coming. We wanna stay positive looking at the future, and this is what we are telling our fans».

While the boys stick together all the time, seven days a week, they revealed that their daily routine changed in the last period. «The schedule usually starts at 7 am,» said Giseok, «but after that, if we don't have any group training, each of us works on improving himself for the better». While Jaechan is busy with multiple solo projects, Mingyu and Kyoungyoon are now engaged in the theater with the musical representation of Alexander Dumas' Three Musketeers. This is the first experience for Mingyu that revealed, «I was excited but worried at the same time but now I can't wait for the next show». With the boys, there is also ASTRO's Rocky. When asked if he gave them some bits of advice on how to survive in the industry, both Mingyu and Kyoungyoon told us, «Sunbanim is always very kind to us and, despite being at his first experience in a musical, he walks the path with us, we are working together and always tell us encouraging words».

From being a rookie to encountering sudden success, it can be overwhelming. «Right now, the only thing we are thinking about,» Kyoungyoon said, «is to be grateful for the love we are receiving and work even harder to show our full potential to those who believe in us». But now, they can dream. And dream big. When I asked them if they had any sunbae they would like to work with, the boys revealed, «there are many senior artists and groups we would love to collaborate with». Then, I asked Jaechan if he is looking forward to working with some actors or actresses. «Lee Jung Jae,» he said, «he always makes me feel like I could learn from him a lot».

Last but not least, I wanted to know from the boys what DKZ means to them. Here are their answers:

Sehyeon:«DKZ made me lighter than before and I will be delighted to be with them for the eternity».

Kyoungyoon: «For me, a family.»

Jaechan: «I think it's something like home.»

Mingyu: «Something like parents.»

Jonghyeong: «For me, DKZ are my young days.»

Giseok: «For me, DKZ are my energy drink.»

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