It’s ME, It’s WE, it’s TEMPEST

Rookie K-Pop group TEMPEST discusses their debut

A storm’s brewing at Yuehua Entertainment and K-Pop septet TEMPEST is here with “Bad News.”

TEMPEST debuted just a month ago with their first EP It’s ME, It’s WE, but they’re an experienced group of rookies. Leader LEW (21) and vocalist Hyeongseop (22) were contestants on season 2 of Produce 101 and later debuted as a duo in 2017 while independently making appearances on variety shows and as actors.  Hanbin (24) was the leader and founder of a viral dance team in his native Vietnam before becoming a contestant on I-LAND. Hwarang (20) was a contestant on Under Nineteen and a backup dancer for KARD. Main vocalist Hyuk (21), vocalist Eunchan (21) Taerae (19) complete the group. 

TEMPEST follows popular Yuehua Entertainment acts like UNIQ, WJSN, EVERGLOW, WOODZ, and YENA (Iz*One) with their dynamic title track “Bad News.” Co-written by LEW and Hwarang, this anthem is a perfect introduction to the members’ unique talents and charisma. LEW’s confidence, Hanbin’s sunny disposition and distinct voice , Hyeongseop’s passion, Hyuk’s golden vocals, Eunchan doe-eyed elegance, Hwarang’s charisma, and Taerae’s deep vocals all make for an impressive debut song. 

Through the magic of email, The Concordian interviewed the members of TEMPEST to talk about their debut. 

THE CONCORDIAN: Describe your feelings about debuting in one word.

HANBIN: Amazing.

HYEONGSEOP: Second chapter of my life.

HYUK: Bliss.

LEW: True beginning.


EUNCHAN: Growth.

TAERAE: Emotional.


TC: Who or what inspires you?

HYUK: Recently, we’ve been watching a lot of the senior artists perform whenever we’re on standby on music programs. I’ve been learning a lot and getting inspired by just watching their performances.


TC: LEW, how did you become the leader?

LEW: I naturally became the leader. I gained my know-how through my long trainee days which made me often lead the practice sessions. Also, the members were cooperative and treated me as a leader and I was able to learn and grow through the process.


TC: How did you build teamwork?

LEW: I think teamwork builds up naturally while spending time together. I think we create our own solidarity through active communication in the process.


TC: Hyeongseop and LEW, what did you learn from Hyeongseop x Euiwoong? Will the duo ever make a comeback?

HYEONGSEOP: We are currently focused on TEMPEST’s promotions for the time being, but it would be great to make a comeback as a duo should the opportunity arise. And no matter what form, we are still TEMPEST. During the promotion, I was able to learn my strengths, stage presence, and a lot more.

LEW: If given the opportunity, I think it would be possible as a unit group within TEMPEST. I think the promotion would be a gift for the fans who liked Hyeongseop x Euiwoong.


TC: Hanbin, how has it been adjusting to living in Korea and learning the language?

HANBIN: When I first came to Korea, it was difficult for me as it was my first time with everything. But now, I’m fully adapted to everything. The experience became easier, especially after joining this group. Thanks to my members, who are always by my side and thoughtful, I’m having way more fun with everything.


TC: Pre-debut you uploaded a few covers on YouTube, what song or artist would you like to cover next?

HWARANG: Before our debut, “Horangi” (Korean for tiger) was one of the choices for my stage name. In that sense, I would like to cover SuperM’s song “Tiger Inside”


TC: A lot of you participated in survival shows pre-debut, what was the biggest lesson from your experiences?

HANBIN: I think being on an idol survival-reality show is a valuable experience that trainees cannot easily experience. Through the experience, I learned to understand myself better and realize what I am capable of. As a result, I gained more confidence.

HYEONGSEOP: Enjoying is the best thing to do. It is best to enjoy it as you please since you started it because you liked it.

LEW: Opportunity comes to those who are ready and I should be grateful and humble every moment.

HWARANG: The memories and emotions that I felt on my first stage were just the beginning.


TC: How were the preparations for your debut, what was the biggest challenge?

EUNCHAN: Before our debut, I had a challenging time because I didn’t have faith in myself. But thanks to the support and advice from the people at our company and our members, I gradually gained faith in myself. I think I have improved a lot now and I’ll continue to believe in myself and work hard.


TC: LEW and Hwarang, what’s your songwriting process like?

LEW: We spent a lot of our time and effort participating in writing the lyrics. We prepared five to six verses each time and spent hours writing the lyrics when other members went home. I’m thrilled to see that our efforts have paid off.

HWARANG: While writing the lyrics, I think I drew a mental picture from the emotions and feelings I got from the song. I would make the basic sketches of the song in my head and then continue to develop the picture by filling it with colours through my lyrics.


TC: Are the other members interested in songwriting, composing, or production?

HYUK: As the main vocalist, I help out with the details and vocalization when we practice the songs for our album. So, I would love to try composing or producing in the future.

HYEONGSEOP: I have a keen interest in writing lyrics and I’m quite emotional. So, people around me encourage me to write lyrics. I also read in my spare time to build the foundation for writing lyrics.


TC: What concept would you like to try in the future?

HYUK: I want to try various concepts that are new and fresh. For example, something like a vampire concept or a cyberpunk concept would be interesting.


TC: What’s your favourite song on the mini-album and why?

EUNCHAN: “Find Me.” I like it because I think it is a B-side track that shows TEMPEST’s powerful energy.

TAERAE: “Just a Little Bit.” I chose this song because I like songs with warm feelings.

HANBIN: “Bad At Love.” I have liked this song ever since I heard the demo version. It has a very cute and catchy melody. We had a good time practicing this song, and the lyrics and choreography are very cute as well.


TC: What are your goals for the rest of the year either as a group or personally?


Courtesy of Yuehua Entertainment



Flara K: Montreal’s couple-turned-pop-powerhouse

Montreal duo Flara K spoke to us about their latest EP and touring in a pandemic

Sam Martel and Collin Steinz’s love story began over a decade ago when they met in a coffee shop. While Sam was working, Collin spilled his coffee order all over the floor and, as they put it, “The rest is history.”

Sam and Collin make up two musically-inclined halves of Flara K. Both of them born and raised in Montreal’s South Shore, their history in making music dates back to when they were just 18-years-old and going on tours with their respective projects at the time.

Now having been married for four years, and together for over 10, they have created Flara K, a duo that brings a variety of cards to the table. The name of their band draws on a variety of inspirations such as Kurt Vonnegut and the place where they got engaged. Between the two of them and their stories, music has always been in the fold. Collin’s swagger on bass sets the tone for Sam’s commanding vocals as they produce soulful music that has funk at heart.

Having debuted as Flara K over the past two years by releasing a handful of singles including “Me and You” and “Offline,” they recently released their debut EP: Anxious, Irrational, Fashionable

The EP comes in at a quick 15-minute runtime and includes features from artists Mike Clay and Milo Gore on the tracks “Devotion” and “Pink & Blue,” respectively. Anxious, Irrational, Fashionable builds from their initial releases both lyrically and sonically as Sam and Collin continue to refine their sound of R&B-infused music.

Most recently, Flara K just wrapped up their Cruiser Conversations tour. At the end of this past September, Sam and Collin embarked on a month-long tour across Canada in Sam’s parents’ RV. The tour was done to raise funds and awareness for the Unison Benevolent Fund, a non-profit that provides emergency relief and mental health services to the Canadian music community, one of many communities that has been negatively affected by the pandemic.

With COVID-19 restrictions varying across the country, the shows were performed in a COVID-safe fashion with the performances and collabs being broadcasted live on the band’s Instagram page.  The tour included stops in a variety of Canadian cities including Winnipeg, Calgary and Vancouver. With their variety of stops on tour, Flara K was able to collaborate with music communities such as Manitoba Music and BreakOut West.

As 2020 is drawing to a close, the duo is looking forward to what the new year has in store for them and continuing to make music that they love.

We spoke to Sam and Collin about their band and their future plans.

VV: Tell me about Kurt Vonnegut’s Bluebeard, what’s behind your band name?

Collin: We wanted a name for this project that would speak to us, and also be entirely unique so that we could feel comfortable growing and evolving with it. We got Flara from the Florian Gate in Krakow, Poland, where Sam and I got engaged, and the K is in reference to our favourite authors. Franz Kafta used K as the main character for many of his works, and Kurt Vonnegut is probably our favourite author. We settled on the idea of using “K” in the name after re-reading Bluebeard. I don’t want to spoil the book, but near the end the main character reveals this very powerful painting of his experience at the end of World War II and when asked what it was called he replied, “now it’s the women’s turn.”

VV: Your new EP Anxious, Irrational, Fashionable came out last month, what’s one song you think captures your sound the best for new listeners and why?

Sam: Ouu, that’s a tough question. I feel like all of them definitely represent our sound in different ways. I think that it depends on the listener’s mood really. If they’re looking for something upbeat and dancey, I’d probably recommend “If I Can’t Have You” or “Devotion,” but if they’re looking for something more moody I’d say “Pink And Blue.”

VV: As two French-speaking Montrealers would you ever put out music that is lyrically French?

Sam: That’s something we’ve actually done in previous projects we had, and it was definitely interesting to explore. I wouldn’t say we have anything planned at the moment, but if it comes together naturally we’re definitely open to exploring it further.

VV: The Cruiser Conversation Tour raised money for the Unison Benevolent fund, what does that mean to you?

Sam: I think for us it was important that we gave back to our community in some way. We were privileged enough to be able to do this tour because my parents had their RV just sitting in their driveway not being used, and that’s something we will never take for granted. The music industry is already such a difficult place to make consistent money as a musician and now with COVID it kinda feels like it just imploded and everything is a big mess, so this was our way of giving back what we could to help our community in these crazy times.

VV: From idea to finished song, what does your artistic process look like?

Collin: It really depends on the song, but most times I’ll have an idea for a beat or a bass line and then we’ll sit down and put together the basics of the track and then the melodies and lyrics follow.

VV: Will we ever hear Collin leading on the vocals someday?

Collin: Maybe not leading, but I might try some harmonies one day, who knows. It’s just that with vocals like Sam’s, I’d really have to bring my A-game to make it worthwhile.

VV: Now that your Cruiser Conversation Tour has ended, what does the future hold for Flara K?

Sam: This tour really got us inspired so I can say that there will definitely be a lot of new music coming in the new year, and until then we have some really fun stuff coming to kind of wrap up the EP so we’re very excited about that!

Collin: Yeah, after being on the road for almost a month it was like our minds hit a hard reset and we’re excited to continue writing and exploring collabs with the people we met (virtually) on the road. We’re also going to keep the conversation going every Wednesday on Instagram live. It was so fun to connect and chat with other artists and we really want to continue with it.

Feature photos by Philippe Thibault

Music Quickspins Uncategorized

QUICKSPINS: Raveena – Moonstone

Raveena’s Moonstone EP creates a soothing and alluring ambience leaving listeners wanting more.

Following her highly-praised debut record Lucid, released in spring 2019, the R&B/soul artist Raveena decided to revisit some of the tracks that did not complement the album but ventured off to fit into another project of their own.

“Headaches” serves as the album’s opening track and consists of a dreamy, melody-driven number with subtle instrumentation that undoubtedly suits Raveena’s soft and layered vocal harmonies. There’s a shift in melodies towards the end of the song with the inclusion of prominent guitar and percussion elements without overpowering her voice.

“Close 2 U” fades into a more upbeat acoustic track. The highlight of the project is definitely “Heartbeat.” The track consists of arrangements such as subtle synths and a more apparent bassline. Raveena also showcases her wide vocal range by pairing them with high pitch vocal harmonies.

The record then culminates with “Starflower,” an acoustic ballad that stands out the most compared to the other tracks, as listeners are left with Raveena’s raw vocals accompanied with subtle guitar strings.Despite only being a 15 minute EP, Moonstone flows together in a cohesive manner and simply presents itself as the much-needed continuation to Lucid.

Rating: 9/10

Trial Track: “Heartbeat

Music Quickspins

QUICKSPINS: G-Eazy – Scary Nights EP

The Bay Area native is back with his second EP of the year with the release of Scary Nights just in time for Halloween

Admittedly, the tracks fall flat upon the first listen but do get catchier over time. Many of the tracks have quick tempos that push G-Eazy out of his element, probably for the worse. He always sounds better on slower songs reminiscent of his earlier work like the samples on The Endless Summer. This makes “Demons & Angels (feat. Miguel & The Game)” one of the strongest songs off the project.

Despite only being eight songs long, Scary Nights also has eight guest features. Sadly, none of them are too memorable and don’t better the project by any means – except perhaps for an unexpected appearance by The Game. All in all, this EP definitely won’t add any accolades to G-Eazy’s discography and instead could have been shelved, perhaps saving a few of the better songs for a future full-length album.

Rating: 5/10

Trial Track: “Hittin Licks”

Star Bar: “Used to have no options, I can’t pick or choose / Two yellow Lambos look like Pikachus” – from “Scary Nights”


QUICKSPINS: Benny the Butcher & Smoke DZA – Statute of Limitations

The two New York MCs join forces on gritty Pete Rock-produced EP

Benny the Butcher has spent the last few years turning heads alongside his Griselda Records labelmates. Smoke DZA has spent the better part of this decade being one of Harlem’s premier lyricists. This EP sees the pair exchanging verses over a handful of fantastic instrumentals produced by none other than the legendary Pete Rock, giving this project a classic feel.

Statute of Limitations embodies the signature boom-bap sound of 90s east coast hip hop, without sounding dated or relying on nostalgia as a crutch. Benny and DZA feel at home over these masterfully-produced instrumentals, going back and forth and bringing the best out of each other on every track.

The barrage of bars kicks off almost immediately on the album’s opener “By Any Means.”  The track features the pair weaving in and out of each other’s verses with ease, taking turns every few lines. The duo displays great synergy throughout, both together and with guest features, including Conway the Machine who delivers a show-stealing verse on “Bullets.”

Overall, this EP delivers great bars and fantastic beats, and its short runtime makes it prime for repeat listens. Benny and DZA are at the height of their abilities, and Pete Rock showcases the skill set that proves why he is considered an all-time great in the genre.


Trial Track: “Drug Rap”

Star Bar: 

“Me and Smoke like weed and Coke

Hundred keys of dope hit the port of Miami, via boat

If it’s ’bout paper, we approach

I’m stretchin’, John Legend, pressin’ keys and seein’ notes” (Benny the Butcher on “By Any Means”)


QUICKSPINS: Tones and I – The Kids Are Coming

Tones and I is a newcomer onto the music world’s big stage; although The Kids Are Back is exactly what the world needed from the pop singer since her lightning-fast rise to fame this year.

The 6-track EP highlights the Australian former busker’s creative use of her voice over both upbeat dance-style instrumentals and more melancholic, piano-driven tracks. Her ability to twist and bend words, almost deconstructing their pronunciation and transforming them into an unrecognizable musical sound, perfectly demonstrates her ability to use her voice as an instrument. Also, the fact that she touches on relevant themes, such as sexual discrimination and the importance of the youth, show that her understanding of music goes beyond her natural talent. Tones and I is here to stay, and this short EP was enough to prove it to everyone.


Trial Track: “Dance Monkey”

Star Bar:

“No one wants to listen to the kids these days

Yeah, the fibs these days, yeah

They say that we’re all the same

But they’re the ones to blame” (Tones and I on “The Kids Are Coming”)

Music Quickspins

QUICKSPINS: Technicolor Dreamers – Aperitivo

The Italian word for appetizer, Aperitivo is a 5-track debut EP from Montreal rock band Technicolor Dreamers. The length of the EP, clocking in at 20 minutes, forces the group to put their best work forward with high-quality production, dance-worthy instrumentals and catchy vocals from lead singer Alex Sciola. At times, their tracks sound as if they took inspiration from the Smiths or early Kings of Leon–high compliments for the first project of any up-and-coming group. The opening song, “What If We Could Dance?,” sets the precedent for the rest of the EP, although the latter tracks evolve from softer, slower vibes to heavier rock ‘n’ roll. The heaviest is “No Time For Trouble (Live Version),” which mimics a live recording without taking a hit to sound quality.

If Aperitivo is supposed to be an appetizer for what is to come, we look forward to seeing what Technicolor Dreamers have prepared for the piate principale.

Rating: 8.5/10

Trial Track: The Lizard

Star Bar: “What if we could dance until our feet fell from the ceiling? What if I could say three words that didn’t have a meaning?” — Technicolor Dreamers on “What If We Could Dance?”

Music Quickspins

Gabrielle Aplin – Miss You

Gabrielle Aplin – Miss You (Never Fade Records – 2016)

In this EP, Gabrielle Aplin fiddles with electronic sounds and bubbly beats—definitely a step away from the acoustic-based melodies she’s known for. The first two songs, “Miss You” and “Night Bus,” touch on themes of longing, loneliness and loss, and act almost as parts one and two of a break-up story. Aplin’s vocals are smooth and angelic—they nearly put you in a transient state. The second half of Miss You features the side of Aplin fans are more familiar with. “Run For Cover” is mysterious and haunting—lyrically, Aplin plays with the metaphor of a burning house, all while featuring eerie, yet simple instrumentation. The EP concludes with a piano rendition of “Miss You,” which puts more emphasis on the sadness of the lyrics due to its bareness instrumentally—her vocals take centre stage. As always, Aplin’s tunes tell creative, relatable and meaningful stories.


Trial Track: “Night Bus”


How to record your band’s first EP

A 10-step guideline for those entering the recording world

If you’re a musician looking to record your first EP album, here is some advice that could benefit you. I’ve been there and have made many mistakes that I want to share so you can avoid making them yourself. This is a general guide aimed at those who are entering the recording world.

1. Write lots of songs

Get into the habit of writing everyday. Even though most of your songs will get tossed, you’ll come across a few gems worth working on. Play those songs to your band, entourage or the public as a busker. See what the reaction is.

2. Write a band agreement

The agreement will ensure everyone is on the same page before you spend any time or money on the project. Make sure these elements are crystal clear with all parties before moving forward: who wrote the song and who owns the copyright to it, who owns the copyright to the sound recordings, who will pay for the recordings, mixing and mastering, what the credits will read on the website and physical albums, and the division of royalties.

3.  Practice, practice, practice

It’s cliché because it’s true. Your band needs to be confident enough with the songs you want to record for your EP. Make sure everyone knows exactly what their parts are. Arrange the songs so there’s a change in dynamics, and don’t overplay. I sang, played guitar, bass and synth on my band’s first EP, and it was a bit messy because I was riffing too much on each instrument. Let each instrument take turns in the lead and rhythm parts.

4. Setting up for recording

Figure out which electronic device or recording software you will use to record. I recommend “Reaper” software. Once you’re recording, every signal coming into your computer should not be over -9 decibels. Anything louder than that can cause clipping. Make sure to have a metronome set for each song, to ensure a professional sound recording.

5. Recording instruments

For drums, I suggest going to a studio and having a professional help with this—it will make an enormous difference on the overall sound of the recording. Drums are the most technically challenging instrument to record. For bass, having fresh strings are a must. A real amp is preferable over a simulation. Use a compressor placed between the guitar or bass and amp to get a constant signal level.  For synthesizers, use a compressor placed between the synth and the audio recording interface.

6. Recording vocals

Rent a few mics to see which one suits the singer’s voice best. Next, put together a vocal booth, either by building one or using mattresses/moving blankets or duvets. You don’t want to hear any of the room’s reverberation in the mic. Have three sides that block the outside sound and sing towards the open area. Suppress the sound area above you, as sound will bounce off the ceiling. Use a pop filter and place yourself about a foot away from the mic.

7. Comping

Record four takes of each instrument and even more for vocals. Comping means using the best of each take to create the best version of the song. Isolate each individual instrument and play it with the metronome. Listen to the track in eight bar sections and use the take most closely played to the metronome. For vocals, you want to listen to the vocal track much louder than the other instruments. What you’re listening for is the right pitch and emotional delivery.

8. Mixing and mastering

I highly recommend finding professional engineers to mix and master your EP for you. Be ready to spend between $600 and $1500 on mixing and make sure you get three full revisions of each song included in the price. When you receive the first mix, listen to it on a variety of speakers and headphones, and write a list of what you want changed in each song. An agreement or contract here is vital to protect your band and the engineer from any misunderstanding or fraud. Sign a work-for-hire agreement, which states that the engineer shall not receive any royalties from the music, and also, that they do not own the sound recordings. For mastering, expect to spend between $200 and $500. The goal of mastering is to get each song at the same volume and as loud as they can be.

9. Release

Book a venue for your EP release show a few months in advance, on a Saturday night if possible. You want to have as many people present at your release, as well as press, bloggers and music reviewers. Hire someone who can take good pictures, and find an opening act that will warm up the crowd before you headline. Post your music on Bandcamp the day of the show, and have download coupons ready to sell to your fans, friends and family. Typically, an EP goes for $3 to $5, so you can include this in the cover charge—when people pay $5 to see your show, they get a download coupon for your EP.

10. Promote

Create an electronic press kit full of professional band photos, logos, biography information, recordings, stage plot and contact/booking info. Send it to radio stations, music review sites and booking agents. Aim to book one or two shows a month.

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