For this week’s Weekly Idol, we bring readers to another rock act by the name of TRAX.
TRAX started off as a four-member Korean rock band under SM Entertainment and were formerly produced by Japanese musician Hayashi Yoshiki, one of the founders of veteran Jrock band X Japan. The band’s name refers to “recording tracks” but also stands for the names of each member – vocalist Typhoon / Jay Kim, drummer Rose / Noh Minwoo, bassist Attack / Kang Jung Woo and guitarist Xmas / Kim Jung Mo. They debuted in 2004 with “Paradox” and “Scorpio” as their first single releases. The latter also contained a cover of X Japan‘s “Tears.”
In addition to their debut singles and promoting in the Japanese market, their name brought many people’s attention when they were part of the collaboration song “Tri-Angle” with TVXQ and BoA which was featured on TVXQ‘s debut album. The band’s visual rock inspired appearance lowered itself with the Japanese single “Blaze Away” where everyone else dressed more casually and Rose / Minwoo even dyed his hair back to his natural colour.
TRAX‘s earlier music had a fierce nu metal/alternative rock sound (some of which was produced by Yoshiki) and it slowed down to pop rock when Rose left the group in 2006 to pursue other music projects but also an active career in dramas such as Full House Take 2. Attack / Jung Woo also left the following year after the release of the group’s debut album First Rain.
Presently TRAX have continued as a duo but the remaining members Typhoon / Jay and Xmas / Jung Mo occasionally have their solo activities when not performing together as TRAX. E.g. Typhoon / Jay was a guest vocalist on TVXQ‘s song Crazy which was featured in the latter’s fifth album “Keep Your Head Down” and Xmas appeared at some of Super Junior‘s “Super Show 3” for their track “Don’t Don”, as well as collaborated with Heechul to create a project group called M+D.
After completing his 2-year mandatory military service that started in March 2012, Jay was announced as one of the cast for hit musical Singin’ In The Rain alongside other SM labelmates SNSD‘s Sunny, Super Junior‘s Kyuhyun and EXO‘s Baekhyun.
Here is TRAX‘s debut song Paradox.
Japanese single Rhapsody
Another Japanese single – Resolution which was also the first song without Minwoo
Let You Go. When TRAX became a duo this was the first single they released.
Oh My Goddess
Why I chose TRAX as Weekly Idol
When I was an active X Japan fan I came across TRAX‘s cover of Tears and then found out Yoshiki became a producer for this SM group during their early stages. This certainly caught my interest and after hearing both Korean and Japanese covers of “Tears” I was instantly intrigued. I enjoyed the vocal style and the guitar work and I had to find out more on this band. Before touching EVE and Nemesis, TRAX were my go to band for heavy metal, acoustic music and symphonic rock.
I have to confess that I did abandon TRAX after Minwoo went his own way and the music direction slowed down to a more acoustic or pop-rock approach. But when I felt nostalgic and caught up with what I missed on TRAX‘s music I realise the the music switch was not an entirely bad thing as I am fine with pop rock in addition to something like power metal.
I admire the mighty guitar work by Jung Mo and Jung Woo as well as the aggressive drumming from Minwoo (who also knows how to rock the guitar and help out on fierce rapping) . Jay‘s vocals are fantastic. It ranges from growling, deep rapping to just simply singing from the heart. Doesn’t matter which TRAX you listen to, he delivers in every way. I highly recommend checking out Over The Rainbow in its piano and rock versions.