Welcome to 'Hollywood': AB6IX Are Breathing New Life Into the K-Pop Scene as High-Profile Rookies

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Courtesy of CJ E&M 
AB6IX attend the 2019 KCON in Los Angeles on Aug. 17, 2019.

In the highly-competitive K-pop field, it’s hard for new groups to stand out, but every year there are a few rookie acts that rise above the crowd and AB6IX is definitely one to keep an eye on. Formed under South Korean company Brand New Music, typically known for their hip-hop acts, and featuring former members of Wanna One and MXM, the quintet dropped their dynamic debut EP B:Complete in May to begin making their mark on the scene. 

Fronted by the single “Breathe” and preceded by the release of their song “Hollywood,” the group’s first album saw a lot of love from their fans. With their hands-on approach to songwriting and choreographing their routines, the members of AB6IX have only just started to hint to their artistic potential, and they performed in the U.S. for the first time at KCON 2019 New York, and, later in the summer, also appeared at KCON 2019 Los Angeles. Though Woojin was unable to perform AB6IX's tight, acrobatic choreography at either event due to an injury, the rapper participated fully in their performances while seated, and the boy band brought their all to the delight of the U.S. audiences. 

Ahead of their appearance at KCON LA, AB6IX’s members sat down with Billboard to discuss their career so far, and reveal what they have in store.

Check out the Q&A below.


Prior to your formal debut, you shared the song "Hollywood" with the world. What's the importance of this track to you?  

Daehwi: It's the song that first showed us off as a group to the world. The song has a lot of meaning to us, and I believe it also means a lot to our fans as well, which is why we wanted to release that song first. Our company allowed it [to be released first] and in the process I think “Hollywood” became somewhat of a theme song for AB6IX. It makes me feel really great.

What's the meaning behind your debut single "Breathe"? Why is this the song you wanted to make your debut with?

Youngmin: Honestly, “Breathe” has this clean theme to it, which parallels to the fine dust pollution situation [in South Korea]. But it can relate to themes outside of fine dust. In peoples’ everyday lives there’s a lot of suppression, like social oppressions, or even just personal problems. We wanted to give the message that you can escape from it and heal from it. There’s a strong message -- that AB6IX wants to heal [fans] with our music.

For those who may not know, can you explain the meaning of "AB6IX"?

Youngmin: AB6IX is a five male -- 

Daehwi: -- Yes, we are men! --

Youngmin: -- member team, but we become “Absolute” when you add our fans.

When you first heard the name and learned that you’d be a five-member act, did it throw you off?

Woojin: A lot of people do think that it’s six members with the AB blood type. But it means that our fans are another one of our members, which makes it "6."

What does AB6IX mean to you on a personal level?

Donghyun: I think it’s a closeness that’s even closer than a family relationship. When thinking about AB6IX, it’s a very happy thought.

You write a lot of your own music. What's your creative process like? Where do you draw inspiration from? 

Donghyun: We get inspired from a lot of different things. I get inspired just walking down the street and seeing a billboard, or reading a book. I think I get a lot of inspiration from movies and dramas.

If you had to write a song right now, what would you write about?

Donghyun: The weather in L.A. is so nice. So maybe about great weather?

You had a pretty high profile debut, so how does it feel to be one of the most prominent rookies on the K-pop scene in 2019? 

Woojin: We’re so honored to have such a title. I feel like we have to try our hardest so we don’t lessen such a title that was given to us. We’re going to continue to grow as artists so we’re worthy of the title.

Woong, how does it feel coming into the group as a newcomer, and the only member not to have promoted previously in another act, either Wanna One or MXM? 

Woong: Right, I was the last member to join AB6IX. I hope that I’m able to contribute to our performances so that it’s better, even if it’s only slightly. I want to be able to make a more perfect performance.

What was the first album you bought or listened to that made you feel like you wanted to become a singer? 

Woojin: For me it was songs, not an album. When I first heard [2007’s] “Lies” and [2008’s] “Haru Haru” by BIGBANG, I felt like I wanted to become a singer. 

Daehwi: I first bought Wonder GirlsNobody album. The artist that made me want to become a singer, though, was Brian McKnight.

What was the last lyric you wrote?

Daehwi: It’s a spoiler so I can’t say... [Confirms that management approves.] The lyric is, "Good luck."

What’s something you’d like to achieve in the near future? 

Daehwi: We have yet to have a full concert on our own. We want to be able to have our own concert within the year and to grow as a team that receives a lot of love from the public.

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