In a sea of candy-colored visual concepts and elaborate choreography, the idol rock group Day6 certainly stands out. Since their debut in 2015, the quintet has made their mark on the K-pop industry by performing as a traditional band, rather than focusing on the typical skill set of rap, dance, and vocals. Their style is reminiscent of where K-pop first came from, from the South Korean “Group Sound” bands of the 1960s to the balladeers of the 1990s, writing and producing music that captures life through a vintage lens. Their songs feel raw, tearing open the guise of formality to examine emotions in close-up. The group has grown a massive fan base, named My Day, so much so that members Young K, Wonpil, and Dowoon formed the first subunit, Day6 (Even of Day), in 2020. The trio just released their second EP, Right Through Me, this month.
Comprising seven pop-rock tracks, Right Through Me feels familiar, yet new; Day6 (Even of Day) opted for synthier beats and (gasp!) an electric guitar instead of their usual bass, but the songs still tackle emotions that are classic to the core of their group: stories about falling in and out of love, living with anxiety, and finding happiness in times of darkness — all the grand emotions that make for epic punk-flavored, “I-am-the-main-character” anthems.
When Daebak Weekly spoke with Day6 (Even of Day), however, the members were in high spirits, and one thing became clear: These are some silly young men. In the first few questions for our Twitter video Q&A, Dowoon compared Young K to a gorilla and told us that Wonpil’s brain is white (a Korean pun for one’s head being empty). They laughed and took digs at each other as they described the feelings they went through to create their heart-wrenching tracks. “Having a hard time is not wrong or a bad thing, and it’s OK to fall apart even at the smallest thing,” Young K said of what the EP is about.
“Although there are a variety of messages in the album,” Dowoon added, “I’d like for My Day to listen and be inspired to live joyfully.”
Here’s an edited transcript of our conversation from BuzzFeed's K-pop newsletter, Daebak Weekly.
Congratulations on the release of Right Through Me! How does it feel to have finished your second project together?
Young K: In true Day6 (Even of Day) fashion, we attempted many new things for this comeback. I hope that My Day enjoyed listening to our new music!
Wonpil: It was a good time preparing this album, as always. We were really satisfied with the tracks that made this album, so it’s very meaningful to us. [laughs] I’m really happy!
Dowoon: We’re still in the process of “completing” this project, as we have our live stages to look forward to. We hope to put our focus on these stages to bring you unforgettable musical performances.
Right Through Me has a lot of influences — jazz, rock, pop, hip-hop. Can you tell us more about the inspirations and stories that formed this mini album?
Young K: I’d like to think that we were each other’s influence for this album. Through our conversations and interactions, we shared our thoughts, and those thoughts were what produced the final product.
Wonpil: Similar to our past work, I believe our daily lives provided a lot of inspiration for this mini album, and the three of us conversed a lot while making this record. When I was writing the song “Home Alone,” I was actually home alone and had fun writing the lyrics while exploring my imagination.
The music video also incorporates a lot of vintage themes. What was your experience like to film this type of concept?
Dowoon: I was really thankful because the music video was such a good match for the song, and it came out exactly as we had imagined.
Young K: This music video was very different! It exhibits our emotionally charged acting and includes an action scene, as well as a memorable scene of Dowoon looking for his dog in the rain. If you pay attention to the music video, you’ll notice a lot of detail was put into it. In order to set up the right mood, vintage-style wallpaper was used, and we employed tungsten lights, which are no longer used very commonly, to create texture. I even used wired earbuds instead of Bluetooth earbuds. Personally, I was very satisfied because the music video suited the song so well and the ambience was perfect.
Wonpil: The whole filming process and being able to act were both really fun. [laughs] I’m ecstatic because I think it turned out really cool!
How do you seek inspiration through your creative process to find ways in capturing these grand stories?
Dowoon: Observing my members, I think they seek inspiration through personal experiences and positive thoughts, thinking about our concerts or through media-like movies!
Young K: I think I gain inspiration through conversations and just daily life. I create pictures in my head from conversations, then bring those visualizations to life through music. Whatever is said in those conversations come naturally from what we feel or encounter at some point in our lives.
Wonpil: Rather than thinking of something really impressive or grand, we try to look to the things closest to us. Even though you just might miss it at a glance, I believe there are many precious things around us.
From writing to producing and recording, your group has always been involved in the making of the tracks. How do you feel when you look back on music at the start of your debut versus now?
Young K: I feel like you can see there were changes that happened between our debut and the present, and the passing of time is evident in our music.
Dowoon: Looking back, I think the expression of our song lyrics and melodies have become not only more free, but enriched as well.
Wonpil: When I listen to music from the beginning of our career, I feel like we sound so young. I’m sometimes even surprised when I listen to songs from our debut era!
As three of the five members of Day6, what's exciting to you about making music as a subunit? In what ways do you think you've been able to try new sounds as Day6 (Even of Day)?
Dowoon: Our biggest concern at first was whether the three of us could produce a substantial enough sound that could fill a concert venue. However, after experimenting with different technology and electronic sounds, I believe we were successful in creating that.
Wonpil: Because we are still Day6, we can’t rub out Day6’s color, but as a subunit, I think we’re able to be a little more adventurous with our music and try out something a bit more different and even challenging. As Day6 (Even of Day), I think we’re able to work with a more relaxed sound than we would with Day6.
Did the COVID-19 pandemic affect your creative journey? How did you find time to make music, and what hobbies or activities did you have to rest and take a break?
Young K: We were unable to hold face-to-face live concerts due to COVID-19, and I think that yearning to perform for My Day again seeped into our music. I worked on music whenever I had free days here and there, and I wrote lyrics during the week, making the most of my travel time between locations, free time, and evenings.
Wonpil: I worked on music whenever I could find the time. I usually stay at home when I rest, but I felt like I found myself staying home even more than usual during the pandemic. During my times of rest, I would watch Netflix and play games.
Dowoon: Personally, I like going camping, going for a drive, or going fishing when I take a break. I think it’s best to become one with nature when you want to clear your head.
What do you look forward to the most when releasing new music?
Wonpil: [laughs] I get high expectations when wondering if My Day will enjoy the new music.
Young K: I look forward to the response to our new song, as well as the day we get to sing along to it together at a concert.
Dowoon: I’d have to say I look forward to how we look when we perform the new music live.
What do you hope My Day, or anyone who listens, takes away from this EP?
Wonpil: Even if it’s just a little bit, I hope this album provides a source of strength and comfort!
Young K: I hope you gain hope and love from this mini album. Sadness, empathy, and comfort all exist in this album, so honestly, I hope they feel something, whatever that emotion may be!
Dowoon: I really hope you can listen to Right Through Me on a rainy day.