Ladies' Code (Korean: 레이디스 코드) is a South Korean girl group formed by Polaris Entertainment in 2013. The group originally consisted of leader Ashley and members RiSe, EunB, Sojung and Zuny. They made their debut with the mini-album Code#01 and the lead track "Bad Girl", which was released on March 7, 2013. On September 3, 2014, the group was involved in a car accident that resulted in the deaths of EunB and RiSe.
|(Left) Sojung and RiSe (Middle) Ashley (Right) EunB and Zuny|
|Origin||Seoul, South Korea|
|Members||Sojung (Leader), Zuny (Vocals), RiSe (Vocals), Ashley(Vocals), Eunb(Vocals)|
Before the establishment of the group, most of the members had some experience in the entertainment industry.
Rise participated in Miss Korea 2009 as a representative of Japan (her sister Kwon Rie, participated in Miss Korea 2007) and won the Korean Abroad Award. She gained popularity by starring in the talent show called Star Audition: The Great Birth, and finished in the Top 12. She then appeared with fellow Star Audition contestant David Oh as a couple on the reality show We Got Married in 2011. Rise later signed on with KeyEast before switching agencies in 2013.
Sojung was a finalist and finished in the Top 8 on the first season of The Voice of Korea. EunB was the sister-in-law of SBS 8 News anchor, Kim Sung Joon. Ashley, prior to her debut, was best known for uploading dance covers of K-pop songs to YouTube under the channel name "ashleych0i".Ladies' Code at Korea University's Ipselenti festival in 2013.
On February 20, 2013, Sojung confirmed that she would join a new girl group being formed by Polaris Entertainment, and that they would debut in the following month. Promotion began on February 25, 2013, with the release of RiSe's teaser video, followed by Sojung's on the 26th, EunB's on the 27th, for Zuny's on the 28th, and March 1 for leader Ashley respectively. On March 4, 2013, they released the group teaser for their music video.
The group's debut mini-album Code#01 along with the title song "Bad Girl" and accompanying music video was released on March 7, 2013. The day after their debut, their song charted well on the real-time music charts including Bugs, Soribada, Mnet and Daum, and eventually peaked at number 34 on the Gaon Digital Chart. They had their first live performance on M! Countdown the same day of the release with the group concluding promotions on Inkigayo on April 21, 2013.
Their first digital single "Hate You" was released on August 6, 2013, serving as a pre-release for their upcoming second mini-album. The group's return was originally set for July 25, 2013 however member Zuny had an unexpected leg injury which pushed back their comeback until August. The song debuted high on the real-time charts, achieving their first number-one single on Bugs Music and charting within the top 10 in four other music charts.Ladies' Code performing "So Wonderful" on M! Countdown in March 2014.
Polaris Entertainment announced on February 4, 2014 that the group would make a comeback with their second digital single "So Wonderful." A still-cut of the first music video teaser was released on February 6, 2014 showing member Kwon Rise lying in transparent plastic wrap. The teaser was subsequently released online the following day with the second teaser on February 10. The song was produced by Super Changddai who worked with the group since their debut. The single along with its accompanying music video was released on February 13, 2014, with the group performing the song for the first time on M! Countdown the same day.
On July 31, 2014, Ladies' Code revealed a teaser image of their new single, "Kiss Kiss" and released a video teaser the following day. A second video teaser featuring all of the members recreating kiss scenes such as the fairy tale "The Frog Prince" was released on August 5, 2014. On August 6, 2014, the music video for "Kiss Kiss" was released online and the single was released on August 7, 2014. The group began promotions for the song on KBS's Music Bank the following day.
On September 3, 2014 at around 1:30AM (KST), the group was involved in a serious car accident while returning to Seoul after attending the recording of KBS "Open Concert" at DGIST (and thus completing promotions for "Kiss Kiss"). The group's manager, Mr. Park, who was driving the van, had been speeding, driving 137 km/h (85 mph) in a 100 km/h (62 mph) zone for a distance of 30 km (19 mi). Rainy conditions made the road slippery, which caused Park to suddenly lose control of the vehicle, causing the group's van to hydroplane and skid several times before crashing into a protective wall in the vicinity of the Singal Junction on Yeongdong Expressway.
EunB was declared dead on arrival (D.O.A.) by the time the paramedics reached Sungbin Medical Center, while the remaining six passengers were rushed to various hospitals. Sojung and RiSe, who suffered the most serious injuries, were taken to the Catholic University of Korea St. Vincent's Hospital in Suwon, listed under critical condition. RiSe's condition quickly deteriorated and she was moved to Ajou University Hospital, where she eventually passed away four days later on September 7, 2014.Sojung's condition has since been reported as stabilized. Ashley, Zuny, Park, and one stylist also sustained minor injuries. On October 29, Ashley and Zuny were released from hospital and spent time recovering at their respective homes, while Sojung was moved to a hospital in her hometown of Wonju. They returned to their group's dorm in Seoul on November 12, with Sojung continuing to receive outpatient treatment.
In the wake of EunB and RiSe's deaths, the group would go on to achieve major success on the music charts as fans of the group began posting messages on online communities and SNS encouraging people to listen to the song "I'm Fine Thank You" (from the group's second EP Pretty Pretty) as a tribute and to fulfill EunB's dream of ranking first on the music charts. The song would eventually top several real-time music charts including Melon, Bugs, Genie, Monkey3, and Olleh, also peaking at number three on the Gaon Singles Chart, making it their highest charting single. Both "I'm Fine Thank You" and "Kiss Kiss" would also go on to debut at number six and number 21 on the Billboard World Digital Songs chart, marking the group's first two entries on the chart.
The group's final performance with all five members aired on KBS on September 14, 2014, bookended with a tribute to EunB and RiSe. On September 15, 2014, Polaris Entertainment released a tribute music video of "I'm Fine Thank You", using behind-the-scenes footage of the group to honor EunB and RiSe.
On November 12, 2014, Mr. Park was arrested and indicted on the charge of causing a fatal accident under the Act on Special Cases Concerning the Settlement of Traffic Accidents, and was sentenced to a year and two months in jail on January 15, 2015. The investigation conducted by the National Institute of Scientific Investigation (NISI), revealed and confirmed that the cause of the accident was due to driving over the posted speed limit and that the van's back tire came off due to the impact of the van crashing into the protective wall. It had been reported that none of the van's airbags deployed at the time of impact, while witness accounts state that the vehicle rolled over multiple times after it hit the protective wall. An ambulance worker who was at the scene later reported that he did "not recall undoing any seat belts" as he attempted to help the injured passengers.
Ladies' Code signed their first deal with Pepsi Korea in August 2013 as the company's next models for their 'Open Your Pepsi Now' campaign. In January 2014, the group teamed up with Nexon to promote the winter update for the MMORPG Mabinogi Heroes.
Since their debut, Ladies' Code's music has been predominantly pop with a retro sound. Billboard magazine noted that the group blends in "modern electro-pop" with "classic throwback elements" and powerful vocals. The group's debut single "Bad Girl" was described as a swing/jazz-inspired track accompanied with solid vocals. Their follow-up single, "Hate You" was marked as a departure, returning with a mid-tempo dance song with a combination of brass and acoustic guitar arrangements.
Subsequent releases retain their earlier style with Corynn Smith of MTV Iggy explaining their second extended play's title track "Pretty Pretty" as another example of the group's "rich retro sound", moving from 40s swing to a mixture of 70s and 80s beats. In an interview with enews on their digital single "So Wonderful", member Ashley explained the song was a continuation of their previous releases but added that they had incorporated the use of more instruments and were going for a "retro feelings from the 80's."
Ladies' Code have cited the Brown Eyed Girls and Wonder Girls as their role models, the latter compared to the group by media outlets due to their similar style of music and image. In September 2013, Wonder Girls' member Sunye posted a message on Twitter supporting the group, saying how "Pretty Pretty" reminded her on their group's past releases "Tell Me" and "So Hot".
- Code#02 Pretty Pretty (2013)