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The Genius Behind U-KISS’s Sound

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Any legitimate K-POP fan, or at least anyone who actually paid attention to the lyrics and the music of most K-POP songs, should know about the man behind huge hits like Bigbang’s “Lies” and “Last Farewell”, Sistar’s “Ma Boy” and “Shady Girl”, Hyuna’s “Ice Cream”, AOA’s “Like A Cat”, Lee Seunggi’s “Losing My Mind”, After School’s “Diva” and many others.



Kang Dong Chul, more commonly known by his stage name “Brave Brothers”, is probably one of the best composers slash producers of his time. I first heard of him when Bigbang’s “Lies” came out. It was such a phenomenal song back then. My friends and I couldn’t stop singing along (and dancing) to it. Over the years, as my K-POP addiction grew stronger, I came across a handful of songs with the signature intro “Brave Sound” or simply “Brave” intricately inserted at the beginning. It was sort of like the whispery voice of Park Jinyoung saying “JYP” at the start of every JYP artists’ song. I was curious so I asked one of my friends and she told me that those songs were produced by the Brave Brothers. Of course, my next question was “Who are they?” Apparently, it was not a "they", it was just a "he".


After being YG Entertainment’s resident producer and composer from 2004 to 2008, Kang Dong Chul decided to spread his wings and fly solo. He started his own label and record company, which, unsurprisingly, he named Brave Entertainment.


Enter then rookie boy group U-KISS. The first time I saw them, I didn’t like them. There was nothing special about them. They all looked the same to me. I was not impressed with their music as well. When I found out that Brave Brothers was going to produce their “comeback” single, “Man Man Ha Ni” (Am I Easy To You?), I anticipated it. And once again, Brave Brothers didn’t let me down. It was dark, cool and sexy. It had all the proper ingredients of a hit song. With its catchy and repetitive hook, the electro-pop undertones and slight hint of R&B, it became a massive hit and it definitely put U-KISS up on a pedestal. The collaboration between U-KISS and Brave Brothers didn’t stop there. They released “Round and Round” and “Shut Up!” one after the other and leveled up in K-POP. Back then, K-POP was all about electro-pop and auto-tuning and U-KISS, with the help of Brave Brothers, was definitely on the right track. As if their success wasn’t enough, in 2009, Brave Brothers featured the boys on his single “Finally”, which gave me total eargasm. The release of his full album, The Classic, in 2010, totally blew my mind off. He collaborated with several artists and rappers, including Hyuna, Jay Park, B2K and V.O.S.


It wasn’t just U-KISS who reaped the rewards of working with this genius producer/composer. Other K-POP artists like After School, 4Minute, Brown Eyed Girls, Sistar, T-Ara, Son Dam Bi, BtoB, Teen Top, Lexy and Se7en all owe their success to him. Brave Brothers’ sound is not just hip and cool; it has the swag of YG, the catchy quality of JYP music and the electronic, auto-tuned songs of SM. His music is the embodiment of K-POP. That’s why every time I hear a really awesome and off the hook K-POP song; I would assume that it’s by Brave Brothers. Most of the time, I am right.


Photo source: sookyeong.wordpress.com