KCrush Interview with LIL LEAGUE

March 1, 2024 | 871 Visits



LIL LEAGUE is a dance, vocal, and rap group that has shown its worth in less than 2 years after its official debut. This Japanese six member boy band is indeed lining up to its name and causing ripples in the entertainment world with internationally acclaimed hit singles and killer dance moves. Despite their young age LIL LEAGUE is becoming the pace-setter worth watching out for. K-Crush America magazine had a one-on-one talk with this rising star band to get to know them more.


How would you describe LIL LEAGUE?


LIL LEAGUE is a six-member group with an average age of 16, formed through the audition show, iCON Z. All members dance, sing, rap, and have released songs that utilize the strengths of each member.




You were birthed from the iCON Z ~Dreams For Children~ audition with over 48,000 applicants and a 2% acceptance rate in the 1st stage alone. How was the experience and how has it shaped you? 


Our experience during the audition has become the standard for our current activities. Even now, we still refer to the rehearsal format we used during the audition, remembering what our seniors and trainers said to us at that time. We gained a lot of confidence from overcoming the huge obstacle that was the audition, and so in reconsidering our aspirations, we have been able to break through the obstacles we have encountered since our debut.




Having won the audition, out of the 48,000 accepted applications, do you ever feel the pressure of being the best?


We feel it is our mission to show what we should be as artists, so there is a lot of pressure on us. There were a wide range of ages that participated in the audition–from seventh grade all the way up to 25 years old–and since we were chosen as teenagers, we feel a need to be recognized as artists without using our age as an excuse.




Which artist inspires you the most?


As LIL LEAGUE, our ideal is One Direction. Each one of them has their own aura and artistic quality, and when they come together, they radiate a brilliance that no other artists have, so we hope to be like them someday.




You have been praised for your unique unity despite having different strong personalities. How do you manage this blend?


I think the fact that we can express our opinions to each other regardless of age leads to our unity. I feel that each member values their own intuition and works while respecting the others, which has a positive effect on the group. The oldest member, Sena Iwaki, is a unique leader, and serves as the axis of the group. It was his suggestion to remove the age barrier.




Your debut song “Hunter” is said to be a mood lifter, especially by your ever-growing dedicated fanbase. How would you describe this song?


This song compares the big event of our debut to a voyage on the ocean and expresses our desire to overcome any hardships and sorrows that await us in the future alongside LIL Friends (fan name), like an adventure.


Talking about your fans, am sure they would very much love to know more about you. What’s your favorite hobby besides music and favorite food?


Watching movies. I do like the atmosphere of movie theaters, but I mostly watch movies on my phone. I take notes as I watch, often using movies as a way to learn how to express myself. Watching movies is relaxing.


Reading manga and watching anime. I was born in Japan, an anime powerhouse, and have been exposed to them often since I was a child. Manga and anime can depict unrealistic things, and I enjoy immersing myself in that world.


Touring cafes. I go to cafes to read novels or watch movies to get inspiration for lyrics and such. I cherish this time because I can immerse myself in my work alone.


Window shopping. Since I can’t buy everything I like, I enjoy just looking at various products.


Cooking. Recently, I made candied strawberries. I often cook because Iwaki, a member of the group, enjoys eating.


Online shopping. I rarely buy anything, but when I look at the products I get inspired.




All the members have explicitly killer dancing skills, especially in the “Roller Coaster” single, which has over 2 million views on YouTube and counting. How can all of you be this good in not only vocals but in choreography as well?


Many of the dances were created by choreographers, but we are conscious of not just letting them do all the work. Each song has its own setting and story, so we follow those, unifying the detailed nuances of the dance while solidifying the thoughts we want to convey as a group. I believe that it is because we have done this without compromise that we have been able to showcase our dances so well.


Fei Long”, the official theme song for SoftBank Winter Cup 2023, was a thrilling and creative piece. What inspired this hit single and what does it reflect?


I take inspiration from dragons. Many of the lyrics, such as “gate of success (登竜門)” and “let’s exceed expectations (期待も超えていこう)” are inspired by the idea of aiming for the top, overlayed with the image of soaring like a dragon and a world of competition. This is a song that we would like people to listen to when faced with victory or defeat.




This group is made up of young yet highly skilled individuals. Is this a weakness or strength for LIL LEAGUE in the Japanese entertainment world?


Since we have been working in this industry from a young age, we consider it a strength to have had such a variety of experiences already. Another of our strengths is that we can express music that resonates with our generation based on those experiences. Also, because we are still teenagers, I believe that we will change a lot as time goes by, so I think it is unique that this group will be able to present a new LIL LEAGUE each time.

On the other hand, our youth may give us the impression of being childish, which may be a weakness. I think we need to keep in mind what we will express when we become adults. We are carefully considering the timing so that we can make the transition from child to adult well.


You held your first-ever live tour, LIL GATEWAY tour, early last year. How was the stage experience compared to working behind the mic in the studio?


We were deeply moved by the fact that the time we shared with the 2,000 fans who came to see our performance was a part of their lives. We felt grateful to the fans who came to the venue for us. During the two hours we spent with our fans, we tried to give them something that would become energy for tomorrow, even if it was just a little bit of fun or a dream to work towards.


The rehearsal in the studio was like just the framework, with the performance on stage filling that framework with our experiences and memories. By adding the time spent on stage with the fans to the framework created in the rehearsals, I consider the package to be finally complete.


Would you please tell us about the release of your first album?


Our first album “TRICKSTER”, released in February, is a work that expresses our multifaceted nature. The lead track, “Lollipop,” is a song that fully expresses this, and the album is filled with all the faces of LIL LEAGUE. With a bonus track also included, I believe this will be an album that many people can enjoy.


What’s the future like for LIL LEAGUE?


Our main goal is to do a solo dome tour. We believe that all of our experiences, including the concert hall tour we did last year, will lead to the dome tour. We would like to continue to solidify our ideal image based on our daily experiences and gradually make the dome tour a reality. We would like to continue to push forward with our music so that each individual member has established their own artistic identity by the time we stand on the dome stage.


Despite being young, you have already set a high success standard of success, in music and other life areas. What would you advise those who look up to you?


I think it is important to have confidence that there is something that only you can express. With the spread of socials, you tend to see everything going on around you, and it becomes easy to compare yourself with others. If you don’t feel that there is something that only you can express, you are being disrespectful to those who are watching you. I have never compared myself to others, and I think it is important to perform as myself.


As we close out our interview, would you like to say a few words to our K-Crush readers as well as more to your fans?

Thank you for all your love and support. We will continue to deliver happiness and smiles to everyone, and we hope you will continue to support us!

We graciously thank all the members of LIL LEAGUE and their agency for such an insightful interview and we wish them much continued success.



—-Karen Mwenda


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