Approaching their fourth anniversary as a group, DAY6 continue to build off their global momentum by not only releasing a new album (The Book of Us: Gravity) this past July, but also by bringing their high-energy concerts to crowds of hungry fans worldwide. With two music show wins under their belt (the first in the group’s history) from their title track, “Time Of Our Life,” the group are looking to connect with their international base through their latest songs, crafted with a live audience in mind.
Now a week out from their string of concert dates in the United States, DAY6—lead guitarist/vocalist Jae, lead vocalist/rhythm guitarist Sungjin , bassist/vocalist Young K, keyboardist/vocalist Wonpil and drummer Dowoon—gushed about their dream collaborations (paging 5 Seconds Of Summer), favorite bands and goals as a group with AltPress, but always brought the attention back to their core: the fans.
I want to start with your latest album, The Book Of Us: Gravity. It’s been out for over a month—what surprised you most about its reception, not only with the general public, but also with fans?
JAE: I thought it was interesting because the reception that we got was a lot more positive than we actually thought it would be. We were hoping for that kind of reaction, so we were super-thankful because we did work long and hard on the album. We’re just super-happy that it turned out the way it did.
Was there anything you had in mind while creating the album that you hoped people would take from the release?
JAE: I think one of the main points while we were writing this album was the fact that we did our first world tour right before the beginning of the development of this album. We realized that we needed more concert-feel music, and I guess in turn, we were able to produce an album that was more inclusive of the audience when we played it live. We feel like it’s been working out for the best, and we’ve just been having a better time because of it.
That leads to how you prepare for your live shows and the ‘GRAVITY’ world tour you are currently working on. Some songs, like you said, fit a live audience better. How do you balance what you select to play live? What ultimately makes those decisions for you?
JAE: Generally, we don’t really start an album thinking, “We’re gonna play this song live. We’re not gonna play this song live.” We usually feel out the setlist while we’re making the concert [stages].. There’s no song in our discography that we’re like, “We’re never gonna play this live,” if that makes sense.
Are there any new elements on this tour that you’re excited to share with everyone?
YOUNG K: The [songs] that are on the new album, especially the title song, “Time Of Our Life,” because of the reception that we’ve gotten so far. We’re wondering how the energy’s going to be from different countries and different places.
Along with the title track and album, is there anything you’re looking to tie musically or thematically to the next album?
YOUNG K: We said before that The Book Of Us: Gravity is going to be the beginning of a new chapter of our lives. There is something coming up, but we can’t give out too much because that’s gonna spoil everything.
With regards to songwriting and composing, do you have any specific influences or artists you look toward?
WONPIL: My favorite band is Radiohead.
JAE: I’ve been listening to a lot of music that I used to listen to in high school, and I’ve been listening to the Strokes a lot.
SUNGJIN: My favorite band is Kodaline.
YOUNG K: My favorite band is Coldplay. We actually went to their concert when they came to Korea, and they were amazing.
DOWOON: I like Coldplay too. We respect Coldplay.
There was chatter this summer when 5 Seconds Of Summer mentioned you at a July fan event in Korea and by Luke Hemmings on Twitter. Is there anyone you would specifically want to collaborate with on any level?
YOUNG K: Definitely, because you mentioned them, of course 5 Seconds Of Summer.
JAE: And for 5SOS, we have a song that we really wanted to do with them, but we don’t know what’s gonna happen with that. Just putting that out there.
YOUNG K: Also, we can just talk about this like a dream, right? OK, then Coldplay! That’d be amazing. How about you, Wonpil?
WONPIL: Nothing But Thieves.
SUNGJIN: One Republic!
DOWOON: And I want to [collaborate] with Coldplay, too.
A popular concept in North America that isn’t so common with K-rock or K-pop groups when they tour here is tours with opening acts or multiple artists coming together in a package tour. Is there anybody you would want to perform with?
JAE: I mean, us opening for anybody or any of the bands that we really like would be like a dream come true for all of us, whether that’s Coldplay or the Script or Kodaline. We do have our tour coming up, and we’re always thankful to be playing in America or in foreign countries, wherever it is. Opening for anybody would just be nice.
After the album was released and before you started your tour, you received your first win from Show Champion and got a second win as well on M! Countdown. Did that help momentum with the tour or change how you’re looking at things?
JAE: Nothing really big has changed in the way we’re viewing this tour. We thought of this tour as something that we could really vibe and connect more with our international fans, so I don’t think anything has changed from that standpoint. We are very thankful to our global fans for supporting us in our first win and our second win, but overall, we’re just looking to have fun with the tour.
What do you see as the biggest difference between playing shows overseas versus something domestic?
DOWOON: The atmosphere of the crowd in every country is different. Every stage is different. In Paris, people stomp their feet; they rumble the floor. People in Brazil will sing along very clearly and audibly for us so that we can hear the passion.
JAE: Through those various different types of things we experience during our world tour, we’re always excited for what’s gonna happen next.
How do DAY6 define authenticity? Is it something that you keep in mind when creating music or playing shows?
SUNGJIN: While DAY6 is performing, I think one of [our] main colors during live sessions or live performances is energy. We’re all trying to give the DAY6-style energy to the crowd and feed off each other, creating a good concert. While making music, we’re making [something] that people can sympathize with and can understand. It’s not one perspective where we’re up on some pillar and we’re looking down and [the fans] are down, looking up. We’re always on the same level field. We’re trying to talk in a way where people are looking eye-to-eye, therefore creating more relevance and good energy while you listen to the song.
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Is there a favorite part you love most about performing live?
YOUNG K: It’s great to have people enjoying [the performance] with us and jumping up and down, but what thrills me is when everyone is singing along together to the songs that we wrote [and] worked hard on. Everyone’s singing along and singing their hearts out while we are too.
That’s one of those goosebump moments where you can step back and take it all in.
YOUNG K: Yeah, it’s great when we’re not singing the melody. We’re just playing the instruments for them and listening to them.
WONPIL: I really like it when everybody is vibing to the same song, singing the same parts and feeling the same emotions. It’s a really important concept that everyone is able to feel each other out.
You’re constantly on the road and traveling and meeting new people. Is there anything that you take from the road to apply to a new album or a new song? Do you find inspiration in all of these new places?
SUNGJIN: Nature… the more that I see, the more I love the view. Korea is different from the view of another country, so through the change of scenery, I get material to write songs.
WONPIL: I get inspiration from doing the concerts with our fans, our international fans. I’m able to feel new things every concert [and] take that into my music.
DOWOON: Me too.
YOUNG K: [In] going to different countries and going onstage, we found out that different countries have different parts or different genres they feel for more. That gave us [the] bravery to reach out to new genres like, “Oh, maybe we can try this. Maybe we could try that.” In the near future, there are going to be new kinds of songs that DAY6 really haven’t tried out.
I noticed how you’ve incorporated Daft Punk and other things into a medley on tour. Is that what you have in mind going forward, integrating those new elements, but still keeping that DAY6 vibe?
YOUNG K: Yeah, the mashup stage was one of the examples [of] trying to mix out different kinds of genres with DAY6. Wonpil put a lot of work into it, especially that remix part for his solo.
WONPIL: While listening to some of the pop songs that we’ve liked and some of our older songs, we came to the realization that there’s similar portions in the songs, and then we just tried it out for fun. We were like, “What if we just mash them up together or mix them up together?” and we tried it, and it actually turned out a lot better than we thought it would. I was like, “All right, let’s try it at the show,” and we did. I was really thankful, [and] it was really fortunate that [the fans] liked it as well. They were able to have a good time with it.
The North American portion of the tour is about less than a month away, and as fans here look forward to it, are there any plans you can share for the remainder of the year?
JAE: Well, I guess the biggest thing is that we’re going to be touring. [Laughs.] We’re going to be doing the tour of Gravity, so that’s really big for us. We’re always working, [and] we’re always writing songs, no matter where we are. So, I guess it just depends on what we’re able to produce and when, but I don’t think there’s a definite answer we could give you right now or else we’d get in trouble.
We’re almost three quarters of the way through the year. Are there any personal goals you have before the year is up?
SUNGJIN: Our goal is as always stay healthy, stay happy, and stay DAY6.
WONPIL: I wish [that] the audience, not [only] the ones that come to the concert, through [our] music feel any kind of emotion. Even if it’s happiness or sadness, we can make them feel better. I want to feel proud of that album—that’s my goal.
Any final words for your fans?
DOWOON: Every country’s My Days! Hello, we are DAY6! We are always fighting, and we are looking for you, My Days! Anywhere you go, we will keep your happiness. Thank you.
JAE: I think that was perfect, but for point of reference, what Dowoon meant by fighting is not like fighting physically. In Korea, we say “화이팅!” like, “Let’s go! Let’s get it!” I think what Dowoon said is perfect.
DAY6 are currently on their GRAVITY world tour in support of their latest album, The Book Of Us: Gravity, with shows across the United States this month. Dates and ticket information are available here. For additional details on their world tour, follow them on Twitter.