Korean Rock Star LØREN Ushers In New Age Of Indie

by Noelle Loh  /   January 6, 2023

With a sound and look reminiscent of some of the most celebrated indie musicians from the 2000s, LØREN is the musical genius fueling an emo rock and roll revolution in the land of happy, shiny K-pop. Here is an up close and personal session with this post-punk prince from South Korea in his first cover story and fashion editorial with a Singapore magazine.


On the South Korean musician LØREN’s Spotify playlist while he was on set with FEMALE for this shoot: Tyler The Creator’s infectious See You Again featuring Kali Uchis (the only R&B-inflected track that we would hear for the day); a tinge of Red Hot Chilli Peppers; ’90s Radiohead; lots of Nirvana from an even earlier time; and lots of The Strokes. It might seem surprising for someone whose repertoire includes composing and arranging the mean G-Dragon rap Bullsh*t; and penning the lyrics for not one, but three of Blackpink’s mega-hits, including the jaunty, EDM-laced Lovesick Girls. However, one can say that the 27-year-old is something of a musical prodigy who isn’t bound by labels.

loren korean rock
Credit:Stefan Khoo

Saint Laurent by Anthony Vaccarello silk shirt, satin pants and leather belt, Saint Laurent

Signed to THEBLACKLABEL – the South Korean entertainment company founded by the influential Teddy Park – he’s a multi-instrumentalist who’s known to compose, write, record and produce all of his music himself. So far, he’s released three singles: all guitar-heavy, emo-slash-indie rock ditties that are in a mix of English and Korean, and reflect his love for the music genre so synonymous with the ’90s and 2000s.

His youth – a good part of which was spent here, where he studied at the Singapore American School – coincided with New York’s seminal post-punk revival (which explains his obsession with The Strokes). However, one gets the sense that it was also one during which music became his best friend: His stage name is a play on the word “loner”, which he has tattooed on his chest.

loren korean rock
Credit:Stefan Khoo

(Left) Saint Laurent by Anthony Vaccarello linen caftan robe and silk pants, Saint Laurent. All jewellery throughout, LØREN’s own. (Right) Saint Laurent by Anthony Vaccarello felt coat and matching pants, Saint Laurent

“I’ve always loved music for the way it makes me feel, and that era of music has something that’s stuck with me permanently,” he says. “I’d like my music to serve as a reminder of and gateway to it, and possibly have people fall in love with it the way I did… The bands from the past have influenced me far beyond musical boundaries and still shape me as a person.”

Last month, he came to town to perform at the street wear and tattoo art convention Culture Cartel – another seemingly odd match, but as he puts it: “A movement run by people who seek change will always have my support.” And from the one-night-only show – his first here – where he revealed five never-before-released tracks, it’s clear that it’s on stage where he comes truly alive as a rock star. His energy and passion were unmistakable from the glow on his face – even though he remained a largely shy guy of a few words.

loren korean rock
Credit:Stefan Khoo

Saint Laurent By Anthony Vaccarello grain de poudre satin coat, satin pants and patent leather boots, Saint Laurent

“I’m planning to do a lot more live shows,” he says when asked about what he has in the works (there’s also the launch of his first album and writing for a second). “The few shows I’ve done have been such a joy, and I feel that live shows deliver an entirely new experience from recorded music.”

This bonafide rock-and-roller in him also makes him a fitting face for Saint Laurent – a maison that’s been an emblem of rockstar glamour since the mid-noughties and whose founder was nothing short of a rebel. In the past year or so, he’s become part of the French luxury fashion label’s inner coterie of celebrity friends, modelling in its campaigns and being invited to attend its menswear shows all over the globe. The latter includes the epic Spring Summer 2023 showcase set in the Agafay desert outside of Marrakech, of which collection he models in this story.

“The artists and musicians I’ve been lucky enough to interact with all aspire to push the boundaries of modern music. That bold attitude has been a big reminder for me to really chase what I would like to see in this world.”

LØREN

Says LØREN: “My knowledge of fashion is not that deep, but it’s been truly inspiring to see the brand’s work up close in person. The experience has gifted me with an entirely new interest in fashion

loren korean rock
Credit:Stefan Khoo

(Left) Saint Laurent By Anthony Vaccarello satin coat, matching pants, silk blouse and scarf, and leather belt, Saint Laurent. (Right) Silk canvas tuxedo jacket and matching pants. All Saint Laurent by Anthony Vaccarello, Saint Laurent

“If you ask me, the most exciting thing that’s happening in culture now is the ability to access pretty much all forms of art at any given time. Though I’m very excited for what’s to come, I think there is so much to learn from the past and it’s amazing to think that the entire universe is at our fingertips.”

And just like that, he’s got us at his.


Text & Coordination Noelle Loh, assisted by Nicholas See Photography Stefan Khoo, assisted by Yann & Alif Art Direction Jonathan Chia Styling Seajun Kim Hair Iljung Lee Makeup Miae Kim Set Assistant Khong Yawen Wardrobe Assistants Pang Jia Wei & Annalisa Espino Lim Production Seraphic Studios Location The Chamber/Arts House

This article first appeared in the Jan/Feb 2023 Art & Music Edition of FEMALE