As a quintet formed by dexterous musicians and lyricists, Day6’s music unlocks a kaleidoscope of emotions for the listener. Their discography is tinted with melancholy, joy, anger, nostalgia, wistfulness – sometimes all at once – packed into a ravishing three-minute ride. Because of their relentless experimentations and refusal to fit into predetermined categories, the South Korean band have quickly become synonymous with bending boundaries, exploring everything from sorrowful ballads to bossa nova and reggae to ’80s disco anthems, without ever sounding out of place.
Such quality has also been transferred to the group’s first subunit Even Of Day, formed by members Young K, Wonpil and Dowoon. The trio made their debut in August 2020 with their first mini-album ‘The Book Of Us: Gluon’, which carefully continued the story and essence of Day6’s tale so far. The animated video for the project’s title track, ‘Where The Sea Sleeps’, even featured characters from their merch line DENIMALZ.
Now, with the release of their second mini-album ‘Right Through Me’, Even Of Day are embarking on a new journey, one that expands their orbit around the Day6 universe. As the members previously stated in a promotional video, this album tackles styles they “haven’t tried before”. For starters, Young K ditched his bass for the electric guitar, and their homonymous title track ‘Right Through Me’ blends Korean ballad sounds, ’90s East Coast hip-hop and jazz.
Prior to the release of ‘Right Through Me’, which arrives today, NME caught up with the group over a phone call to learn more about the album, lessons they have learned and the importance of trying new things.
Congrats on your new album! It’s been almost a year since your first mini-album ‘The Book Of Us: Gluon’ was released. How are you feeling about this moment?
Wonpil: “We feel like we can show you very good performances. We’re looking forward to it, and feeling very good.”
Your first mini-album followed Day6’s ‘The Book Of Us’ series, but ‘Right Through Me’ is the start of an entirely different story. Why did you want to differentiate this album from your previous work?
Young K: “To be honest, we weren’t planning on making a series when we were writing the very first [‘The Book Of Us’] album, ‘Gravity’. But as time went by, we felt like it would be interesting to go on with the story and talk about how we relate and stuff. And we and the company planned on finishing the series with [2021’s] ‘Negentropy’, so starting a new story was already set. Before writing ‘Right Through Me’, we didn’t know what we were going to write about, we had freedom, and we just went on with whatever came up, whatever we felt like making.
“I think it’s a great album for us. It might not be perfect, as perfection is really hard to achieve, I don’t even know if we can achieve it. But I think it’s near perfection [laughs]. It’s the best that we’ve done so far.”
So would you consider this album the best in your career?
Young K: “We plan on growing every time. So when I’m asked what’s the favourite song I’ve ever made, I tend to say, ‘The newest title song that we made’, because I think that represents us the most.”
Can you talk about the visual concept for this album and what kind of feelings you wanted to portray through it?
Wonpil: “It’s a vintage style, something that we never tried before, and we’re hoping that [our fandom] My Days will enjoy it. Also the vibe that we were giving, I think it matches the mood of the title song.”
Young K: “The visual concept was made after the songs were made, so it was put up very adequately.”
You mentioned that writing this album was a big challenge for you. Why do you feel it’s important to challenge yourselves when creating music?
Wonpil: “We don’t want to limit ourselves to one specific genre, so we keep trying out new things.”
Young K: “For us, first of all, it’s fun to try new things. There are many different genres that we want to try, but it’s not always essential. There is a way to keep making a similar vibe on and on, it’s just a choice that we made [to try new things]. We’re not saying that coming out with a similar vibe is a bad thing.”
The title track, ‘Right Through Me’, mixes so many different styles together. It feels very nostalgic, but with a modern touch. It’s sad, but also hopeful. What was the thought process when you guys decided to combine these two styles?
Wonpil: “We didn’t think of every single part of what we made, but just went with the flow. When we’re singing a bright song, we want it to be touching, and when we’re singing a sad song, we want to put hope in it.”
Young K: “And also we wanted you guys to nod to the music, feel the music, and understand what we’re saying. Like that ‘Oh, that could’ve happened to me’ feel. I guess those kinds of thought processes affect how you are feeling right now.”
Definitely. I think Day6’s songs in general are songs that you can feel a lot of emotions through. Even if you don’t understand Korean, you can understand a lot of what you’re trying to express.
Young K: “That’s amazing, because we’re speaking different languages. We sing in Korean, but whenever we listen to songs in different languages, there’s still feeling in it, there’s still emotions that we can feel.”
Your album explores a myriad of sounds. How do you narrow down what styles you are going to explore? Were there any styles you felt apprehensive to try or doubting that it could work?
Young K: “New genres, or new things, are always challenging. We don’t fear them, but we don’t always find them easy. We don’t stop ourselves from trying them, though. It’s also because we have faith in our members that we can perform whatever music that gets to us.”
Are there any special lyrics that you personally relate to in this album?
Wonpil: “‘We’, the very first track of the album. I think the song contains the reason why we live.”
Young K: “I agree too. ‘Sometimes we fall, sometimes we rise. Sometimes there’s light, sometimes it’s dark. But let’s try to remember all the good things, and we just live on. And that’s how we are, we are, we are.’”
What messages from this album do you hope that will go “right through” the people who listen to it?
Dowoon: “After listening to the album, I hope that you feel like you got a pat on the back from a friend. That you think, ‘Yeah, you know what? I should move on and live a fun life’.”
Young K, you don’t play the bass in any songs in this album. Why?
Young K: “Like we said earlier, we’re always challenging ourselves and trying out new things. In our first EP, I played bass but the style was different from how I play in Day6. It’s because I was playing the roots, which are like the bass notes, and also the lead line, which is usually played by a synthesiser or an electric guitar.
“So, this time, I tried the electric guitar, which also plays the lead and chords, but also the bass roots, and bass notes. We wanted to create a new sound, something that Even Of Day hadn’t tried before. For example, in our previous album, the synthesiser filled all the lead lines and all the ambience and so. This time, that’s done by the electric guitar.”
Did you miss playing the bass in this album?
Young K: “To be honest, playing the electric guitar was kinda awkward for me [laughs]. When I say I play guitar, I usually play an acoustic guitar, which has the same notes, I strum the same, but it’s still different. Basically, I have not played the electric guitar a lot, so it was kinda awkward, but also fun. I practiced a lot for the recording. More than that, I think the sound was well made and suited the vibe we wanted to get.”
Wonpil, what songs were the most challenging for you to record in this album? And in your career overall?
Wonpil: “In this album, probably ‘We’. It was higher than I thought. And the hardest song in my career was ‘Shoot Me’, because the bridge was extremely high.”
Dowoon, you mentioned that you are always learning something. What new skill have you picked up recently and what is one thing that you want to learn next?
Dowoon: “Recently I learned how to write lyrics, and that’s what I want to do next as well.”
You will celebrate Day6’s sixth anniversary in September. What are the biggest lessons you learned since debut?
Dowoon: “It’s very simple: My Days are everything to us, and we want to share our music.”
Young K: “Perfecto!”
What are some sounds, concepts, and experiences that you want to try with Even Of Day in the future?
Dowoon: “We want to try bigger sounds so that everyone can sing along, like a big family.”
For stadiums and such? So you can make a whole tour?
Dowoon: “Coldplay-style? Yes!”
Young K: “Yeah, exactly!”
Day6 (Even Of Day)’s new mini-album ‘Right Through Me’ is out now.