10 Things To Know About K-pop 'Concept-Dols' VIXX

Noam Galai/Getty Images
Kim Won-sik, Jung Taek-woon, Lee Hongbin, Cha Hak-yeon, Han Sang-hyuk, and Lee Jae-hwan of 'VIXX' perform at the 2015 K-Pop Festival at Prudential Center on Aug. 8, 2015 in Newark, New Jersey. 

On Sunday, K-pop boy band VIXX dropped their latest EP Kratos and their brand new song “The Closer.” The single forgoes a typical straightforward dance sound but plays upon the innovative nature of K-pop; “The Closer” begins with a suave, downbeat rhythm before building into a soaring chorus contrasted with spitfire raps.

VIXX have been a constant presence on the Social 50 chart and have appeared multiple times in the Top 10 of the World Digital Singles chart, an indication of how popular they are in the United States. Less than five years old, here’s what you need to know about the slick boy band:

1. The Members Were Introduced Through a TV Show

In 2012, the six members of VIXX -- Leo, Ken, Hyuk, N, Ravi, Hongbin -- appeared on the Korean television show MyDol. During the first half of the series, VIXX’s members competed along with four other trainees in a variety of challenges to determine which of the 10 would be included in the idol group. The remaining episodes featured VIXX’s preparations ahead of their debut.

2. “Concept-Dols”

Thanks to their theatrical music videos and musical-like stage performances, VIXX has gained a lot of attention for their intense themes. Since the release of “On and On” in 2013, where the group was depicted as unearthly vampires, VIXX has brought a variety of conceptual identities to life. The act’s dedication to combining choreography, musicality, and storytelling has set it apart from the crowd.

Over the years, VIXX has depicted cyborgs, Jekyll and Hyde, and, most notably, voodoo practitioners. The stylized, game-changing choreography from 2013’s “Voodoo Doll” transformed the men into voodoo doll-esque puppets, stabbing and all.

 

3. Their Name Is A Bit… Cheesy

Thankfully VIXX sounds alright as an acronym, because the boy band’s name stands for “Voice, Visual, Value in Excelsis.” (Alternatively, in the group’s debut song “Super Hero,” Ravi introduces VIXX as “Value in Excelsis.”) Excelsis translates to “highest” in Latin, so VIXX’s name essentially references the group’s top skills and talent.

 

4. They’re Not Only About Dark Concepts

While many of VIXX’s songs are a bit on the depressing, morbid side, the group actually debuted with a bright style on “Super Hero” and the follow up, arcade-inspired “Rock Your Body.” Since then, songs like 2013’s “G.R.8.U” and this year’s “Dynamite” have represented the sextet with a more youthful, colorful image and poppier sound.

5. VIXX Is Entirely Korean… But Their Names Aren’t

Despite the member’s stage names, and K-pop’s growing trend of multinational expansion, VIXX actually consists of solely Korean members. N (Cha Hakyeon) chose his stage name because the character for his name’s final syllable, yeon, is pronounced “en” in Japanese and symbolizes destiny. Leo (Jung Taekwoon) was picked by the company’s CEO because of the singer’s potential to dominate music industry. Ken (Lee Jaehwan) allegedly received the stage name due to his similarities to Japanese pop star Hirai Ken. Ravi (Kim Wonsik) chose his name based on the French meaning, which means to delight or enchant.

 

6. There’s a Robot

His name is Rovix. He was the group’s mascot since their debut days with “Super Hero,” and was designed by artist Charles Jang. Along with being the group’s symbol, Rovix also serves a functional purpose as an identity for VIXX’s staff, who will often precede tweets with the phrase “This is Rovix” and then tweet whatever announcement VIXX’s crew needs to alert fans about.


7. Ravi and Leo Are Burgeoning Singer-Songwriters, Often Together

Ravi’s been co-writing the group’s lyrics since day one, but the first time he wrote a song for the group was 2013’s “Secret Night.” Leo became involved in songwriting last year. The pair has since formed VIXX’s only subgroup, VIXX LR, and wrote every song on their 2015 EP, Beautiful Liar.

 

8. They’re The First Idol Group From Their Company

While VIXX is just one amongst many boy bands in South Korea, prior to their arrival on the scene in 2012 the group’s agency, Jellyfish Entertainment, was known for balladeers like Sung Si Kyung, Park Hyo Shin, Lisa, Brian Joo, and Seo In Guk. VIXX was Jellyfish’s only pop act until the company introduced a girl group, Gugudan, earlier this year.

 

9. Starlights Shine Bright For VIXX

Or VIXX shines bright because of the light and support of their fans, depending on the interpretation behind VIXX’s fandom name. According to Rovix, aka VIXX’s staff, the formal way to write the fandom name is “ST☆RLIGHT.”  The group dedicated a song to their fans in 2012.

10. “The Closer” Is The Third and Final Single of their Conception Trilogy

VIXX’s 2016 EP trilogy Conception was based around mythological deities. Each album was named after a Greek god and each single, plus the corresponding music video, reflected that god’s attributes.The group released Zelos, referring to the the Greek god of envy, with “Dynamite” in April, followed by Hades, referencing the Greek god of the underworld, and “Fantasy” in August. Kratos and “The Closer” complete the set with the attributes of the Greek god of strength and power.