When BTS’s RM was announced to be featured on alternative group Balming Tiger‘s new track “Sexy Nukim” fans were too excited. The track has a sexy feel to it and RM’s verse left many ARMY feeling hot under the collar.
The release, however, has left many wondering “Who are Balming Tiger?“.
Getting their name from the iconic Tiger Balm, an Asian balm ointment known worldwide for its pain-relieving qualities, Balming Tiger came together first in 2017 before their mixtape release the following year.
While only three members performed “Sexy Nukim”, their entire crew currently has many members who all play a different role as part of the collective, similar to DPR (also known as Dream Perfect Regime). The collective is made up of founding member DJ Abyss, and several others including Henson Hwang, Jan’ Qui, Leesuho, Mudd the Student, Omega Sapien, San Yawn, Sogumm, Unsinkable, Chanhee Hong, and BJ WNJN.
Balming Tiger describe themselves as a “multi-national alternative K-Pop group” as many of the members lived or studied abroad and are able to contribute different perspectives when creating music.
The group’s first release was a full-length mixtape titled Balming Tiger Vol. 1: 虎媄304 with 8 tracks including collaborations with Kim Ximya and SUKKARY. The mixtape explored many different genres including R&b, Hip-hop, and experimental, and attracted worldwide attention. It’s worth noting that the group consisted of a different, smaller lineup at the time, something that for this group is actually not a negative.
We didn’t have any restrictions on what type of person can be in this team. You’re more than welcome if you’re good at your work and match our energy.
— San Yawn in an interview with TMRW Magazine
Following the release of “I’m Sick” in 2018, and “Armadillo” in 2019, Balming Tiger soared to new heights after their track “Kolo Kolo” went viral on TikTok in 2020. That same year, the group was one of four Korean acts selected to perform at SXSW‘s (also known as South By Southwest) first-ever virtual showcase and were included in 88rising’s DOUBLE HAPPINESS Winter Wonder Festival.
DJ Abyss gained attention DJing in various clubs around Seoul including SOAP and hosted the Seoul Community Radio alongside former member No Identity and San Yawn. Known as the “pillar” of the group, Abyss’s roles also include producer and promotion & marketing strategy.
According to Abyss, she currently helps operate the group alongside producer San Yawn and editor Henson.
One of the earliest members, Jan’qui originally planned on working on music production before realizing that he would be better suited to help the group shine as a videographer. Jan’qui prior to his work with Balming Tiger, he worked on the viral Keith Ape video, “It G Ma.” Chanhee Hong also works on videography for the group as well.
Another original member San Yawn was a popular producer prior to joining the group and made tracks that ranged from EDM to retro. He is also now responsible for communication relations in addition to serving as a director and producer.
The other current members of the collective were somehow associated with Balming Tiger and its members prior to joining or were introduced to them by a friend. Unsinkable was actually a guest DJ at the release party for the mixtape, and was added to the group as a producer and beat maker in 2018. Before this, he had gained a bit of success outside of Seoul in Gwanju’s nightclubs.
In Omega Sapien’s case, he heard the mixtape and fell in love with the group’s sound. Omega Sapien, known for his multi-language rap skills, sent the group one of his own tracks and was confirmed to be an additional member in October 2018. Prior to releasing music in Korea, he lived in the US, Japan, and China and has released his own solo albums in addition to working with Balming Tiger. Omega Sapien also previously collaborated with SEVENTEEN‘s Vernon.
Sogumm also was introduced in 2018, after a period of soul searching on her part. Sogumm originally began releasing songs on SoundCloud before her joining Balming Tiger. In 2019, the singer joined an audition show called SignHere, a collaboration between record label AOMG and MBN. After winning Sogumm was signed to the label and has since released solo albums as well as collaborations with artists like DJ Wegun and Woo.
Welcome to AOMG, sogumm!
AOMG의 새 아티스트 sogumm의 앞으로의 행보에 많은 관심과 응원 부탁드립니다.
Thank you for your interest and support for AOMG's new artist, sogumm.
–#sogumm #소금#AOMG pic.twitter.com/iU5w6xJOIW
— aomgofficial (@AOMGOFFICIAL) October 31, 2019
Mudd The Student
Another member that was added to the group in 2018 is Mudd The Student, whom many know from his appearance on Show Me The Money 10 where he finished in the top 8. He is another member that was not originally living in Korea but moved there to pursue his musical goals.
BJ WNJN was also first featured on “Kolo Kolo” and is a singer/songwriter who has since displayed his talent for producing by helping the other members of Balming Tiger with their solo releases. Some of his work includes Sogumm’s first album Sobrightttttttt where he served as producer and co-writer.
After Balming Tiger’s long-awaited double track “JUST FUN!”/”LOOP?” was released in 2021, the group added another member and were signed to Columbia Records UK. The new member, Leesuho, celebrated his addition to the group by releasing his solo album Monika later that year. BTS’s J-Hope once confused fans by posting the interesting outer cover of Monika to his Instagram story.
It took the group a year and a half to create their next track, the recently released “Sexy Nukim” featuring RM. While the group was hoping to release an album, “Sexy Nukim” has definitely blown up in all the best ways and surely introduced Balming Tiger to more people around the world.
You can check out how the collaboration with RM came about below!