AKMU’s Lee Chan-hyuk debuts as solo artist with death-themed album

October 17, 2022

Lee Chan-hyuk of AKMU released his first solo album Monday, eight years after he debuted as one-half of the brother-sister K-pop duo.

“I didn’t expect to drop my first individual project so early,” the duo’s brother said during a press conference at his agency YG Entertainment’s headquarters in Seoul to promote the album. “Early this year out of the blue, I had this idea to release an album, and I had this strange feeling that many people would listen to it.”

Lee said the project for his first full-length album began with one simple question: Will he have any regrets at the last moments of his life?

“In AKMU’s previous album, there is a song called ‘Bench,’ which I collaborated on with Zion. T, and I sang, ‘I’m confident that I’ll be happy even if everything I have is gone and I come to live on a bench because the highest value of my life is love and freedom. But if I had to live like that from now until the moment I died, I didn’t think I could handle it.”

The 26-year-old artist then realized there were contradictions and errors in his past songs and that’s why he named his solo debut album “Error.”

“I tried to narrow the gap between my contradictory thoughts through this album,” he added.

A concept photo for "Error," the first solo album by AKMU's Lee Chan-hyuk, provided by YG Entertainment (PHOTO NOT FOR SALE) (Yonhap)
A concept photo for "Error," the first solo album by AKMU's Lee Chan-hyuk, provided by YG Entertainment (PHOTO NOT FOR SALE) (Yonhap)

A concept photo for “Error,” the first solo album by AKMU’s Lee Chan-hyuk, provided by YG Entertainment (PHOTO NOT FOR SALE) (Yonhap)

The 11 tracks on the album are connected with one story that begins with Lee being transported to a hospital bleeding after an unexpected accident. After falling into a coma, he realizes in a dream that his life has not been sincere and decides to live a new life doing everything he desperately wanted to do before. After saying hello to people precious to him, Lee returns to his inner side and resolves to build his own world of music in the ninth track, “Castle in My Dream.”

“I felt that I was forced to stick to my initial commitment and humility although I was continuing to change and grow,” he said. “I wanted to be faithful to my desire to do honest music like myself.”

About the theme of death that penetrates the album, Lee said, “About 80 percent of popular songs are about love. But if you realize that there are people who have never fallen in love in their entire lives, but there are none who have never died, I think we should talk more about death.”

Lee debuted in 2014 as AKMU with its first full-length album, “Play,” and has since built a successful discography, including “200%,” “Last Good Bye,” “How Can I Love the Heartbreak, You’re the One I Love” and “Nakka.”

He said he appreciates the great love he has received as the duo but admitted that he always had a desire to show that the AKMU songs are not all he has to offer.

“I know AMKU is a new character and a character that is hard to be created. I have satisfied my musical desire through AKMU but felt the need that a character called Lee Chan-hyuk should be separated from it.”

Asked about the future path of the sibling group, Lee said he will pursue both his duo and solo projects.

“Strangely, Su-hyun and I have no desire to achieve something musically. I just want to do something fun and natural. If we do everything naturally, I feel it will take a long time before we can release a new album. So I thought it would be better for Su-hyun and I to continue to show personal things. If you look at this process as one musical act, you can see that AKMU’s albums are continuing to drop.”

The album “Error” will hit music services at 6 p.m., with the physical album set to come out Tuesday.