Billboard sat down with the six-member boy band as they toured America with a rare four-date trek.
The group continued to feed that connection by performing their biggest hits, like their three Top 5 World Digital Songs hits including show opener “Warrior” (peaked at No. 5), “Rain Sound” (No. 5) and “One Shot” (No. 3). Plus, the fans got some super-special stages including Dae Hyun and Young Jae’s duet for R. Kelly’s “I Believe I Can Fly,” Jong Up and Zelo’s hip-hop-themed dance- and rap-off on “Teach Me How to Dougie” and Bang Yong Guk’s DJ set which led into him and Him Chan performing a blazing, unreleased dance track “Sexy Clap.”
At no fault to B.A.P, the Best Buy Theatre’s boring stage has such bare lighting and prop options that it’s difficult for any act to create a visually-impressive live stage like fellow K-poppers BIGBANG and 2NE1 could for their respective arena shows. But this might have worked to the group’s advantage as it became clear how in-synch the group moved as well as how well prepared they were for any type of stage
But after conquering the elements working against them in America, do they even consider it an important territory? Many K-pop groups first move their focus to other Asian territories (usually Japan first), but with just under a year and a half under their belts and seven song promotions, B.A.P has conquered more than some do in three years and have visited the States.
“America is definitely a place we have a lot of ambitions in,” charismatic leader Bang Yong Guk says (via translator). “One of our biggest goals is to be ranked on the Billboard charts in America. So, in order to achieve that goal, if the opportunity comes to work more out here then they’ll definitely be doing it.”
B.A.P -- who is currently studying English, Japanese and other languages -- recently hit a major accomplishment when they earned their first No. 1 on Billboard’s World Album Chart in March with the "One Shot" EP. It was quite a feathip for a group still considered new to the K-pop scene as established acts like TVXQ!, Super Junior, Wonder Girls and Girls’ Generation topped in the past twelve months.
But by seeing different fans in different parts of the country, B.A.P may find their Billboard dreams come true. The group is currently working on new music while performing tour dates in Japan, Hong Kong and Taiwan.
Past singles like “One Shot” and “Warrior” combine different elements of rock, hip-hop, pop and cinematic soundtrack elements. While Bang Yong Guk says fans won’t see as many singles from B.A.P in 2013, they will all be of a similar high quality. "B.A.P is trying really hard to create a diverse type of music," he explains. "So not only just pop artists, but we would love to have the opportunity to work with jazz artists, hip-hop artists, R&B artists so we can diversify our type of music."
B.A.P must be doing something right to become a standout group in the saturated K-pop idol field. As the group showed different sides of themselves up-close and personal at their New York stop -- despite the very un-K-pop set-up -- the show made it clear there’s further potential for B.A.P in America.
"Even though we’re only just six Korean guys, we really feel like this opportunity in America was a real dream come true," Bang Yong Guk concludes. "So, this has been really exciting for us. We’ll definitely be touring and meeting more fans around the world. We hope to come back to America to have more of those opportunities."
In fact, if the media and fans’ responses align, B.A.P may not only find more opportunities in the States, but also may have made a major step in convincing other K-pop acts to visit. The stop proved that these acts do not need to sell out an arena--nor be the biggest name in the game—to hold a successful, meaningful, faint-inducing show in the notoriously difficult U.S. market.
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