Home > Living > People > Cover Story: JUST B on finding their rhythm and beat as a newly-formed K-pop boyband amidst the pandemic
Cover Story: JUST B on finding their rhythm and beat as a newly-formed K-pop boyband amidst the pandemic

Meet the new six-member K-pop boyband JUST B.

K-pop is a phenomenon — a global one to say the least. The musical influence, the rhythm and the beat, as well as the electrifying dance moves have had the world moving in one rhapsody. Wonder Girls. BIGBANG. EXO. TWICE. BTS. Blackpink. Seventeen. 

However, since 2020, the music scene has drastically changed.

Unlike PSY who ‘Gangnam-styled’ his way into the American Music Awards in 2012, or Blackpink who was the first K-pop female group to headline Coachella in 2019 and became one of the hottest names in the world; it seems like ‘freedom’ has been taken away from artists who are now bound in their own ‘bubble’ during the current pandemic-laden situation.

Just B Kpop boyband
From left to right: JM (추지민), DY (전도염), Lim Jimin (임지민), Bain (배인), Geonu (건우), and Sangwoo (상우).

And the message of ‘freedom’ is what newly minted boyband JUST B wants to convey right now. The six-piece boyband — Geonu (건우), Bain (배인), Lim Jimin (임지민), JM (추지민), DY (전도염), and Sangwoo (상우) made their debut on June 30th, 2021 under Bluedot Entertainment.

JUST B is born during the pandemic then the world is still battling and recovering from Covid-19. There are no meet-and-greets, concerts, and travelling. It is just the boys, and the four walls they are in. The new Korean boyband has to adapt to a new environment, thriving in the nuances of a post-pandemic world.

It’s JUST B

The ‘B’ in JUST B stands for ‘Burn’, representing the group’s resolve to work endlessly with a burning passion, befitting the title of their first mini album, “Just Burn”. Their title track “Damage” — composed, written, and produced by B.A.P’s Bang Yong Guk — conveys the message of unity to fight against the ‘darkness and pain’ together in a world where light is disappearing.

“Also, the world is going through hard times these days. We wanted to cheer you up with our song, so we hope you’ll listen to it a lot,” adds 20-year-old Geonu who is the first member revealed during the debut.

The music video also portrays JUST B’s bold attempt to escape from a nightmarish reality and step into a free world — expressing hope and resilience for everyone.

The members of JUST B were first introduced as contestants on the survival show Under Nineteen in November 2018 and I-LAND in June 2020, and the boys are no stranger to the entertainment industry in South Korea with members like Bain who made it to the final round of MBC’s idol audition program “Under 19” in 2018, and DY who won the program to debut as the former member of 1THE9.

JUST B K Pop Lifestyle Asia Interview
“The world is going through hard times these days. We wanted to cheer you up with our song, so we hope you’ll listen to it a lot.” — Geonu (건우)

“JUST B is a band full of passion. We have gone through various audition programmes in Korea and those experiences have helped us to strengthen our teamwork,” enthuses 20-year-old Bain. “And I think ‘Burn’, which is the title of our debut album, describes us perfectly.”

Lead vocalist, Geonu describes passion as the biggest asset of the group. The six gather under the JUST B umbrella with the common goals of dancing, singing, performing, and making music to their best potential. He shares: “We are happy to be able to do what we love together. This passion is what allowed us to improve our skills and exist as JUST B in the present.” 

Learning to live in the pandemic

Adapting through the uncertain times is one of the biggest challenges for everyone during pandemic. For artists, it is about building a personal connection with the fans through meet-and-greet sessions and live performances. JM slides in: “I wish I could perform in front of the fans and interact with them.”

The boys exclaim that they will one day visit Malaysia when they get a chance to fly over in the future. For now, each member is living individually while staying connected virtually to continue creating great music and content for their fans.

“Just B will continue to bring cool performances and fresh music to you,” shares Bain.

The leader of the pack, 20-year-old Lim Jimin adds: “You’ll be able to see each member’s uniqueness through our stage performances and music videos. We make sure that we practise very hard to nail the performance aspect, making us the new champion of performance!” Speaking for his bandmates, he is headstrong that the pandemic will not stop JUST B from reaching their dream to be the next big thing in K-pop.

JUST B K pop
The JUST B members show us their signature ‘B’ gesture.

“The six of us have yet to eat in a restaurant together,” laughs Sangwoo. “I hope to have a meal with them when things get better.”

Hailed from Jeju Island, Sangwoo who is the youngest member on the team believes that his best attribute is his patience. A self-proclaim skilled swimmer, the 19-year-old tells Lifestyle Asia that the pandemic has taught him to think about the livelihood, safety and happiness of others.

“We are living in this world together and if we can all give an inch to each other, I’m sure that we’ll be able to overcome the crisis faster,” he addresses coyly.

“We should take interest in various cultures and fields as we continue to learn. I believe that’s our responsibility as young up-and-coming artists,” — DY, 전도염

Challenges as young artists

As a ‘pandemic baby’, JUST B is manoeuvring through uncharted territories. These young artists (they are born in year 2001 and after) confide that their biggest strength is to be able to convey positivity through their music and their unique stories through various platforms.

“If we can capture relatable stories in our music, people from not only Korea but from all over the world will be able to connect with us,” 19-year-old DY explains. “However, we still have a lot more to learn and improve.”

He speaks on the power of social media and the internet of things. Living in a virtual world, looking out for meaningful ways to ‘reach out’ becomes more prevalent for artists. It is not just about putting up a nice photo on Instagram, but combining that with something that brings meaning to the context — just like the their debut single “Damage” that sends a message of hope for those struggling through Covid-19.

“We are accountable for every word and action. We should take interest in various cultures and fields as we continue to learn. I believe that’s our responsibility as young up-and-coming artists,” adds DY.

Never stop chasing dreams

The members of JUST B stresses the importance for young and talented Gen-Z out there to never give up on their dreams and keep pursuing them. Starting at a very young age, the boys who are barely out of their teens, have had their life planned out for them. From training to garnering exposure through auditions, JUST B is the definition of a never-give-up attitude.

What’s their secret? — To dream a little dream.

“I believe dreams are the driving force in life. Dreams are what make you look forward to tomorrow and the version you become after that. Your dream may seem small and humble at the beginning, but as you work towards your dream each day, I believe you will get closer to what you set to achieve one day,” expresses DY.

“Your day will come.”

Special thanks to Bluedot Entertainment and congratulations to JUST B — Geonu (건우), Bain (배인), Lim Jimin (임지민), JM (추지민), DY (전도염), and Sangwoo (상우) — for gracing Lifestyle Asia KL’s first-ever Digital Cover. Catch the full interview videos on Instagram.

Martin Teo
Editor
Martin has a bent for history and food culture, especially of the Peranakan heritage. Since the pandemic, he finds joy in plant parenting and continues to expand his collection of Philodendrons, Anthuriums, and Syngoniums. He's now on a lookout for the elusive Philodendron Florida Beauty to add to his urban garden.