Korean indie rock band The Rose is lighting up the charts and the stage with their “Dawn to Dusk” world tour.
It’s the morning after the group’s recent concert in Miami, and the band is on the bus and en route to Texas for the next three performances. “Dawn to Dusk” has taken them to cities throughout the U.S. and Canada since early October, with performances scheduled through mid-November.
“We always search for good food, and then a good sleep,” says the four-member band of their down time between shows.
The group kicked off the tour shortly after the release of their second full album, “Dual,” on Sept. 22.
While K-pop idols continue to attract international media (and fashion deals), The Rose is bringing attention to a less saturated genre: Korean indie rock. The band has amassed a strong core fandom, collectively known as “Black Roses,” since they formed in 2017. They went on hiatus in 2019 as members completed their mandatory military service and returned in 2022 with their first full-length album “Heal,” released on their own label, Windfall, in partnership with Transparent Arts.
“Destiny,” says Dojoon when asked how they came together. (More specifically, Dojoon recruited lead vocalist Woosung into the group, and met the other two members, drummer Hajoon and bassist Jaehyeong, through the busking scene in Korea.) “It was very natural, we were literally friends before a band,” he adds. “So that’s why we really feel we have a strong bond between ourselves before even doing a music career together. We are very human to each other.”
While “Heal” marked their return from hiatus, “Dual” marked their emergence as a group with staying power. The album, which features songs in English and Korean, debuted at number 87 on Billboard’s top 200 list, and the number-one spot on Billboard’s Emerging Artists chart.
“We got really healed by writing ‘Heal,’ and since we got healed I think we had more energy to discover and write more new sounds,” says Dojoon. “With this new album ‘Dual,’ since we have a lot of different genres and sounds that we use, there’s more diversity in terms of how [fans] perceive our music, and I think they enjoy it,” he adds. “The way they come up to us and say how meaningful the music was to them, it means a lot and we feel really happy hearing those stories.”
The band released their “Dawn” EP in 2018, and note that while “Dual” was initially conceived as a counterpart, they naturally ended up creating an album that reflected light and dark emotions. “We were aiming for dusk more initially when we were writing this album,” says Dojoon. “But it happened naturally to have the dawn side as well.”
“‘Dual’ is about balancing the duality of life, and we believe that a balanced life is the happiest life,” adds Woosung.
At a recent performance at Madison Square Garden’s more intimate theater venue, fans donned merch and floral accessories, including the band’s official lightstick, a color-changing scepter topped by a black rose. For two songs the band called for the color red (to accompany “Red” from their first EP), and then later green (for “Sour,” from their last album “Heal”), creating a uniform light experience.
The band notes that their favorite song to perform live on their current tour has been “Wonder,” a lighthearted call for unity through the collective experience of music and dance. The video for the song features the band playing in a field, surrounded by a circle of fans waving flags from around the world. “Wonder” also speaks to how the brand approaches its relationship with its fans: without borders.
“We don’t want to be more special than Black Roses. We’re not someone to look up to, we’re just all normal humans,” says Woosung, who notably featured on Agust D, aka Suga of BTS’ solo album earlier this year. “We believe music is what makes this relationship really special, and music is the one that is special and changes lives,” he adds. “We understand that we will make mistakes. We will have flaws — but the music won’t. And that’s why music is so special; that’s what we always talk about. And I think Black Roses really do understand that we’re no different than what they’re going through.”
With the final performances of this leg of their tour on the horizon, the band is focused on a definitive goal: “Just staying healthy,” says Woosung.
“Whenever the inspiration comes we always record small bits and pieces,” adds Dojoon, asked about whether new music was also in the mix. “But other than that, we’re really focusing on the tour lately. Like Sammy [Woosung] said, we are preserving good energies.”
Beyond that, The Rose is continuing to light up stadiums, with the Black Roses eagerly along for the ride.