Back in 2016, the 26-year-old South Korean rapper and singer-songwriter DOHANSE (@dxhxnxe) made his fearless leap into the world of music as a member of the formidable group VICTON – introducing listeners to a precocious lineup designed to merge their interpretation of popular dance music with riveting hip-hop productions. And for an impressive six years, the buzz-worthy group remained faithful to their collective VICTON identity, selling more than 750,000 copies of their albums throughout an unforgettable run.
However, after satisfying their artistic dreams as VICTON and fulfilling their contractual obligations in the process, it’s finally time for each member to explore their solo passions without any restrictions. Which is precisely what a constantly evolving artist like DOHANSE requires. Fortunately, the well-rounded artist has spent years preparing for this exact moment having previously written on various songs throughout the group’s discography, (exceeding an incredible 60 tracks while with VICTON) making DOHANSE’s highly-anticipated segway into a strictly solo adventure a sensible choice.
DOHANSE’s first official act under a new company (The Dial Music) then eventually led to the release of the pop-punk single album Gummy Bear in November of 2023, instantly reminding listeners of the performer’s sweet, charismatic potential while still authentically displaying his edgier, recognizable style without giving in to pressure to conform to mainstream trends. But if we’ve learned anything about the versatility of DOHANSE, we can practically guarantee that whatever comes next will be a perfect reflection of his own artistic desires.
Now, with a solo single marking the beginning of this new era, we took the time to speak with DOHANSE about fashion, dream collaborations, and the current state of Korea’s hip-hop scene for our new Vanity Teen digital cover story.
You’ve been in the industry for nearly eight years which has allowed you to share your talents as a group member, a songwriter, and now, as a soloist. Through all of these experiences – what’s been the biggest thing you’ve learned about yourself?
DOHANSE: The biggest thing that I’ve learned is that I want to create music that can become popular amongst listeners by using my new experiences and lessons I’ve learned as a solo artist these days. I’m especially embracing the mindset of ‘just do it’ when faced with challenges right now.
As a songwriter, you’ve been credited on more than 60 tracks and that is another really impressive milestone in itself. When did you first begin to explore songwriting, and is there a specific moment you can recall that ignited your passion for it?
DOHANSE: I first started writing lyrics when I was 14 years old while listening to hip-hop music. As a result I participated in a lot of songwriting when I was in a group.
Now that you’ve had more freedom to shift into solo music, what’s been your favorite aspect about finally getting to make that well-deserved transition?
DOHANSE: I enjoy the unconstrained musical environment that my label provides and as a result I’m truly able to focus solely on my music.
This story will be shared in January, but right now, you’re preparing to debut “Gummy Bear” which marks the beginning of a new era in your career! As we’re approaching its release, what’s something about this new music that’s required the most effort to create?
DOHANSE: I always wanted to create rock music and my single “Gummy Bear” was a project filled with songs of the pop-punk genre. However, I also tried to express visual and musical elements that my fans from the K-pop genre could also enjoy and appreciate.
You recently worked with BIGONE on “Pop Punk” and fans were so thrilled about the outcome of that exciting collaboration for The Dial Music. What was the best part about getting to merge your styles into one song and video?
DOHANSE: “Pop Punk” was the first song I was able to join voices with my fellow label artists after joining The Dial Music. Despite this, I think I was able to show a strong chemistry and synergy with them and this was what made it such a fun experience for me!
Now that you’ve worked with a phenomenal group and several other talented artists, is there anyone left that would be a dream collaboration for you? If so, what type of song would you want to create with them?
DOHANSE: My favorite artist right now is Machine Gun Kelly and I would love to make a rock song with him if I had the opportunity!
In the past, you’ve shared stories about each of your incredible tattoos – but now that you’ve been working as a soloist, have you had any new ideas or experiences that you’d like to depict through body art?
DOHANSE: I do have a couple of new ideas for tattoos but I’m not planning on getting anything new in the near future just yet.
You’ve also been very bold and expressive through fashion, whether it’s casually or for big industry events like Seoul Fashion Week! How would you describe your style, what’s the one item in your closet that’s probably your favorite piece?
DOHANSE: I believe what makes my fashion style look bold is due to the accessories I often wear. I’d say I enjoy wearing my tops tight and pants big these days. I especially wear a lot of hoodies with a tight fit right now.
You’ve been a part of the music business long enough to see various trends or changes develop, so from your perspective, what’s probably the biggest industry change you’ve witnessed from your days as a trainee to now?
DOHANSE: I feel that the consumption of hip-hop music is decreasing right now in Korea whether that’s a trend or not.
Since you’ve always been known as an artist who stays true to yourself in music, fashion, and all forms of art, what advice would you offer new or aspiring artists who want to follow a similar path?
DOHANSE: I feel that at your age it’s okay to try out different things, so please don’t be afraid to challenge yourselves!