I usually don’t post about small interviews like this, but I just wanted to talk about this topic specifically today because I thought it was interesting.
On a radio show, former EXO member Kris was asked by the radio DJ if he still keeps in contact with the members of EXO despite having left the group 3 years ago. Unlike (or maybe like) what everyone might have expected, Kris revealed he no longer keeps in contact with any of the members.
He also shared that because he had a difficult time adjusting to life in Korea and finding a home away from home there he didn’t feel at home in Korea. Additionally, he also talked about the limitations he faced in wanting to do his own music while he was under SM Entertainment and then not being able to do that because he was under SM Entertainment.
Whether those reasons are just excuses or are his legitimate reasons for leaving EXO, I don’t think Kris is speaking too far from the truth. While some fans might still be upset and disappointed in Kris for leaving and call him a ‘traitor’, I think it’s important to take into context the kind of situation that he was in being tied to a company like SM Entertainment AND being the leader of group EXO. It’s not a surprise that Kris wasn’t able to pursue the kind of music that he wanted to do while under SM Entertainment; most Korean entertainment companies for the most part control almost every aspect of their idols’ lives, schedules, and activities. SM Entertainment might be a little bit more lenient on this now than they were before with debut EXO, but I could see where Kris was coming from when he expressed feelings and thoughts of suffocation and limitations.
Additionally, it doesn’t come as a surprise to me that he doesn’t keep in contact with EXO any longer. He did leave the group probably more on negative terms than positive terms so I don’t really know why the members would keep in contact with him. Which then leads me to my next point which is that at the end of the day, as much as we love these idol groups and want to believe that they’re close and that they all get along, we have to remember that these idol groups are still produced for business. They’re there to make money and profit. While Korean entertainment companies love to sell this image and idea of groups being like ‘families’ and being close to one another, this is still just all an image and companies are going to do what they gotta do to make money. Many groups might seem like they’re close and maybe some of them are in real life, but for the most part, I wouldn’t be surprised if most of them didn’t keep in contact with one another after their contract ends or after the group disbands. It’s rare to have friendships and relationships with one another that extends beyond and outside the boundaries of K-Pop. There are a few groups who I can name that I personally believe are closer to each other than others, but who are we to say and judge who is close to one another or not when everything we’re being fed is given to us on purpose.
Since his departure in EXO, Kris has gone on to do many many big things and have been highly successful (probably more than he would have ever been had he stayed in EXO). The same thing can be said about EXO who is now one of the most popular groups in Korea, having won their 5th ‘Album of the Year’ daesang at MAMA recently. While I can understand why some fans are still upset about this, it’s also important to recognize that both Kris and EXO have moved on to do their own respective things and are highly successful with where they’re at in their careers right now. I think this should be enough for fans to hopefully let go of all the bitter feelings and move on to support their respective favorites. Kris and EXO has moved on and I think we should too.