Arts & Leisure

By Cecille Santillan-Visto, Contributor

New kids on the block

Posted on October 11, 2013

"NOM" literally means "guy" or "dude" in Korean. It connotes cool and stylish, and befits the newest K-pop group in the increasingly crowded K-pop arena.

NEWEST K-pop group : Hu, K, Yongki, Yohan, A-in
The five-member boy band was in the country recently for a 10-day visit that included several mall shows, a little rest and recreation, and a fan meeting that allowed them to interact with their mostly teenaged Filipino supporters.

The rookie group’s Philippine stopover could not have come at a better time. Nom just released their debut single, "Pretty Noona" (Older Sister), and is preparing for their "broadcast launch" in Korea.

"We are excited about our forthcoming debut," K told BusinessWorld at the sidelines of Nom’s mall show at the SM Southmall last week. "We hope that we get more support from the fans."

Aside from K, Nom is composed of band leader A-in and members Hu, Yohan, and Yongki. Between 18 and 23 years old, the idol group’s members spoke minimal English but gamely answered some off-the-cuff questions, not pre-approved by their handler.

Another group actually barged into the K-pop scene in August and they also go by "N.O.M.," which stands for Nature of Men. N.O.M. has been turning heads for their unique, and by Korean standards, rather bold, image as well as for their shock value. When asked whether they intend to change the band’s name, Hu said they will keep Nom. He added that with their squeaky clean image, he is confident that fans will not mistake them for the other group.

Still on the matter of originality, there were online reviews claiming "Pretty Noona" is similar to "Noona is So Pretty" of SHInee, another K-pop group who was in Manila last month for a one-night concert at the Araneta Coliseum.

A-in said although the titles are similar, their concept and even genre are different.

"Our noona is just pretty, theirs is very pretty," he noted.

The comparison is somewhat unfair and listeners will easily know the difference. Nom’s carrier single is typical K-pop with an upbeat tune and playful flavor while SHInee’s song has more of an R&B feel. Also, since there are also a number of Korean songs expressing adoration for an older lady, the use of "noona" could not be avoided.

The music video of "Pretty Noona" was partly shot in Malaysia and even featured a little boy who uncannily resembles Psy, thus his nickname "Little Psy."

The members said they enjoyed making their first music video and are raring to start performing live in front of the Korean audience.

Nom is following the lead of some established K-pop artists who tested the waters overseas before finally debuting in their home country. The group has been to a number of key Asian cities presumably to hone their skills not only in performing but in dealing with adulation.
They said their Philippine stint is special as they visited not one but six different cities, four outside Metro Manila. They especially liked the cool Baguio weather, which is a far cry from the sweltering Manila heat. Iloilo, they said, also has its own charm.

The highlight of their Manila trip was the fan meet held only hours before they returned to Seoul last Monday.

Nom performed, played games and mingled with their fans, signed autographs and obviously had fun with their growing number of followers. With only one song under the boys’ belt, they also performed a number of popular K-pop covers, including 2PM’s Again and Again and Kara’s Mister. For newbies, they deserve two thumbs up for their fan service.

They enjoyed their Manila visit so much that they are raring to return, and soon.

Until then, dudes.