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K-Pop Quintet DAY6 Wants To Push The Boundaries Of Rock In Hallyu [EXCLUSIVE]

By Tony Sokol | March 15, 2016 12:59 PM EDT


South Korean rockers DAY6 recently consolidated into the five members Sungjin, Jae, Young K, Wonpil, and Dowoon, after their keyboardist Junhyeok left the group. The band puts more focus on their live concerts than their music show performances. DAY6 are scheduled to tour the United States and Canada later this year.

DAY6 debuted with their mini album, "The Day" last summer and are already looking to expand their sound. The band was eager to talk about their progression in an exclusive chat with KpopStarz.

KpopStarz: DAY6 has a rock sound that's different from that of many other K-pop idols. What American rock acts are you guys fans of?

Young K: The music DAY6 is currently pursuing is not limited to a genre of "rock." We are pushing the boundary to embody various genres. Queen, famous of its musical colorfulness, was definitely influential. And I personally was influenced by Maroon 5 and One Republic.

Wonpil: Radiohead was my all-time favorite, but lately I'm into Nothing But Thieves.

Jae: Well, when I was younger I did listen to a lot of American Alt-Rock. But, to be honest, I was never really a big fan of the genre. I think I've always had a strange, no-reasoned, attraction to modern English rock. Something about that style of music hits me hard.

Sungjin: Among American rock artists, I like One Republic the most.

Dowoon: I like the band Journey.

KpopStarz: You're touring the U.S. and then heading to Toronto later this year, how is it spending a lot of time outside of Asia when you're still a relatively new act in Korea?

Young K: We are highly honored to have this opportunity to tour abroad. Before my debut, this seemed a far-fetched dream. Now, it came true, but sometimes I think I am still dreaming. It is a bonus to feel different energies in each country even with the same show with the same list of songs.

Wonpil: I sincerely appreciate the support for DAY6 from fans outside Korea given the fact that there haven't been many television appearances yet. We will make it up to you with great songs.

Jae: Rockstar life. [laughs] Just kidding, but man, I'm not really too sure how to think of it myself. Like you said, we're fairly new and already are having these adventures. It gets me pumped thinking of what 2,5,10 years down the road might hold for us.

Sungjin: This is too good to be true. We are going to make a great show that lives up to your expectation.

Dowoon: This was only possible because of the attention. We will work hard to make more frequent appearances.

KpopStarz: Jae and Young K, you are each from North America. Are any friends or family members looking forward to seeing you perform? How do they feel about you debuting as part of a K-pop idol band?

Young K: I am nervous but excited about the fact that my friends will come to see me on the Toronto tour. Furthermore, the MC of the Toronto show is my middle and high school best friend and I am looking forward to it. They know how much I've enjoyed singing and dancing since I was at a high school, so they are there on my side.

Jae: My dad was trying to call my whole church. If I have to do Aegyo in front of my church, I shall be warming your seat for you up in heaven my friend. Mm, K-pop was something that I got introduced to by my friend in my junior year of high school. It's interesting, I kinda always thought the people who do this knew they were gonna do it since forever. It's interesting but I'm not quite sure exactly how I feel about it yet. You know what I do know for sure? I ain't doing no Aegyo in front of my church.

KpopStarz: What sort of impression do you hope to leave on audiences in the U.S. after they see you perform live? What do you hope they take away from the experience?

Young K: I would like to let more people know about DAY6 through this tour. And it would be grateful if people get impressions that DAY6 is better at live performance in terms of fun and energy than just listening to our music like many other great bands. I hope they release all their stress from their busy daily life during our show.

Wonpil: I want to wow them by the thought that this kind of band can be from Korea, and let them know the diversity of K-pop music.

Jae: Hrmmm I don't think I'm too worried about what kind of impression we leave but more so on the fact that we leave an impression at all. I don't want our music to be forgotten.

Sungjin: I want to perform a show that makes all the people coming to see us and listening to our music think that they will definitely come again if they have another chance, and make them go around talking about the show to all their friends. I want the audiences to feel they are making the show together with the artists on the stage.

Dowoon: I want to be remembered as a fun band, as the band happily enjoying the show with its audiences.

KpopStarz: North American audiences are more familiar with rock bands than idol groups. Do you think that will affect people's response to DAY6?

Young K: I don't think that will have a serious effect. Even if we are a rock band, the language barrier would impair emotions that may come from lyrics and touch people's mind, which serves as one of the main reasons that people like bands in this genre. So we are standing on the same ground. Just as with other idol groups, we have to give the audiences our energy to the fullest to be remembered.

Wonpil: We would be grateful if you give us a hearty welcome.

Jae: Yeah, band music really isn't that popular in Korea. But for countries like the U.S. or Thailand or Japan, who have deeper roots in Band culture, I feel like they can relate to our music more just because their already so deeply invested. We're hoping to become one of the seeds in South Korea for the new era.

Sungjin: Maybe people will be unfamiliar with our style at first, but if we are good enough, we can get closer to them.

Dowoon: A rock style and other various components included in our music may bring a favorable response from the audiences.

KpopStarz: How do you prepare for a performance? Do you have any pre-show rituals or warm ups? What about any lucky charms?

Young K: Preparation for a performance sometimes starts from the phase of writing songs and lyrics. From that phase, we are drawing up how we convey our chemistry, how we set the tone, or even what gestures we will do. Before performing, we stretch and loosen up.

Wonpil: We play instruments together for a lot of time. Before performing, I imagine myself on the stage to relax myself.

Jae: Hm, that's a hard question. Before when I was a trainee I used to do all kinds of stuff. I thought running a lap around the neighborhood in the morning would make me sing better. Or that not drinking anything caffeinated would calm me. [face-palm] Well, we don't really have anything special but we do have a ritual before every show.

Sungjin: Just the usual. We are practicing together and at the same time practicing individually to fill in some gaps. Rehearsal is warming up.

Dowoon: For performance preparation, we alternate individual and collective practicing. Before shows, I calm down myself by jumping in place.

KpopStarz: What are you most excited about seeing or doing while in the US?

Young K: The cities we are visiting this time are all new to me. I am looking forward to the views, weather, and food there.

Wonpil: I can't wait to meet our fans.

Jae:  Boiling Crab. Chipotle. Pho. McDonalds. [roars]

Sungjin: I am worried but excited about audience responses since they might be unfamiliar with a band like us.

Dowoon: I wonder about how American fans would engage in our show given the plentiful culture of performance in the States.

KpopStarz: How would each of you describe DAY6's music?

Young K: It's hard to put simply, but DAY6's music is a story of five of us. The story may be from our experiences, imaginations, or even our hopes. The essence, though, is our attempt to put the story from our hearts and minds into the music.

Wonpil: We are trying to reflect the feelings and thoughts in our age to DAY6's music.

Jae: Hm, another hard one. I'd say probably trendy. Our music isn't really defined by a genre. We make what we feel like making that day. So if you think of it one way, our albums are kind of like our journals of our lives during the writing process.

Sungjin: We are pursuing constant changes in styles instead of being stuck in just one style of music.

Dowoon: Finding a balance between pop music and that of a band.

KpopStarz: What can we expect on your upcoming new album? Will you be experimenting with new sounds or themes?

Young K: The songs might be totally different from traditional K-pop. Realizing various genres in a band setting not following the path of typical band music may surprise you. It's more fun to paying attention to lyrics along with the music since we put so much efforts and thought into the writing process.

Wonpil: The new album is worth of your expectations. Let me leave it as a secret whether we will play a new song.

Jae" Yes, yes, yes, yes, hell yes. This coming album is ... perfect. A lot of the sounds that we couldn't tamper with before we got to experiment with this time around. I'm sure everyone is gonna be split on favorites all around. But I got my fingers checked on one particular song. No, it's not the title song.

Sungjin: Our new album contains better band sound than the first one. But the music styles are as varied as the first album. Look forward to hearing a new song at this concert.

Dowoon: We are going to introduce new songs. Please look forward to it.

KpopStarz: Can you describe your creative process for the album? What inspired the new songs and how were you involved in the production?

Young K: During our usual creative process, inspiration may come first from a track, a melody, or a lyric. Our team members or songwriters together build upon it to make a complete song.

Wonpil: I've had many thoughts during the preparation of this new album, especially during the writing process of the title song. I tried to put more emphasis on lyrics than any other time.

Jae: So, composers have a work setting called a song camp. This is where songwriters come together to make a song. We make all our songs like this. We'll either bring a track or an idea and the other side will do the same and we just grind it out. Most of our songs are made in one or two sessions of this. It's a fun process.

Sungjin: We collaborate with our songwriters. Members write songs and lyrics. We sketch out ideas along with a track and boil down good ones among them.

Dowoon: We are making songs in the process of exchanging opinions with composers.

KpopStarz: What have you learned about songwriting and production since "Congratulations"?

Young K: A lot of things. I personally, in particular, get to give much thought to the importance and methods of clearly conveying lyrics.

Wonpil: I learned a lot of things during the production of "Congratulations." In the meantime, the creation of this new album taught me the way of making the music which could get closer to the public.

Jae: A lot. We have definitely been able to expand our capabilities whether its melody composition or arrangements.

Sungjin: Before "Congratulations," our team did not have our own style, but we found a way.

Dowoon: Somewhat our color is developed and transformed out of "Congraturation".

KpopStarz: You are all from different areas of the world, Korea, Canada and California, how does this inform your approach to the music?

Young K: There was of course a huge impact. As culture affects music, different cultural experiences of each member and their songwriting capabilities insist own characteristics, and thereby have enormous musical impacts.

Wonpil: Yes, there was a musical impact. The fact that the role each member has taken is different sometimes facilitates our songwriting process.

Jae: Well since were from different backgrounds we all grew up on different genres and cultures. I feel like that increases our circumference of understanding. Makes our music genuine and not a knockoff imitation.

Sungjin: Each member prefers a different music style. We had a lot of conversation on our musical opinions, thanks to which, now our team let you hear diverse music!

Dowoon: As we all have different backgrounds, we all have different color.

KpopStarz: Anything you'd like to say to your U.S. fans before the first USA Fan Meeting?

Young K: Please show your support for our albums and stages. DAY6 will always do our best to make an unforgettable show.

Wonpil: DAY6's first visit and fan meeting in the USA! Let us give you a good memory.

Jae: I can't believe it's happening. Ever since I was a kid I always daydreamed about being on that stage doing music and it's finally happening. God is good. You guys better bring them dancing shoes cause we goin all out.'

Sungjin: Hope we share a good energy each other. I can't wait to be there. See you at a concert!

Dowoon: Hope all fans enjoying the show.

Tagged :  DAY6


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