OnlyOneOf, who debuted in May 2019, are returning with a new EP after just one year.
As you can guess from the title, Produced by [x] Part 1, it’s worth paying attention to the producers of this EP: Gray, Boycold and Cha Cha Malone.
These three unique producers are creating the trendiest music in K-pop right now, and OnlyOneOf, who wanted to showcase their new direction through an artistic concept, called upon them to help execute their vision.
OnlyOneOf consists of KB, Love, Rie, Yoojung, Junji, Mill and Nine. Billboard Korea spoke with members of the group to hear about the process behind the three-track EP, which drops on Friday (May 22).
Check out the Q&A below.
You’ve said that OnlyOneOf’s music is the process of dots becoming a line and plane. Can you talk about the albums you’ve released in terms of this metaphor?
Junji: Just as small dots gather and become a line, and the lines gather together to create a plane, we started as small dots and are connected into a line as we meet our fans, and go on to create our own form (plane). The dot-line-plane series represents the wish to share the process of our growth.
Rie: “Time Leap,” from the first mini album Dot Point Jump, signified a point, and “Sage” from the 2nd mini album Line Sun Goodness represented a line. Our song “Dora Maar,” released in January, and this new EP, Produced by [x] Part 1, are the steps progressing from that line to a plane. All the albums released so far are connected to one another.
Nine: Produced by [x] Part 1 includes a total of three tracks, of which “Angel” continues the message of good and evil from “Savanna” and “Sage.” The second track, “Designer,” is an extension of “Picasso” and “Dora Maar,” which embodies OnlyOneOf’s signature art-pop. The last track, “You-Lies-Me(Heartbreak Theatre),” is a song about the sad feelings of love, like the song “Heartbreak Terminal” from the previous album.
What do you want fans to take away from Produced by [x] Part 1?
Rie: I hope [the listeners] view it as a leap forward. As you can guess from the EP’s title, we worked with famous producers in Korea and abroad. We learned a lot and were so inspired. The process of creating this plane was a time for us to become more musically mature.
Love: It’s too early to say that there is a distinct style of OnlyOneOf. As Rie said, we are trying a lot of different things now. To compare to games, we are right at the stage of accumulating experience. In the process of finding our musical color, we wanted to check our possibilities by working with producers who have distinct colors. I hope you would see it as our various attempts, experiments, and challenges.
Gray, Cha Cha Malone and Boycold are all hip-hop producers. Did you have a particular style you wanted?
Rie: They are some of the hottest producers in the hip-hop scene right now, and personally, I also wanted to work with them. In particular, KB and Nine love hip-hop. We only had a picture of what kind of music we want to make in our minds, but we lacked many areas to realize it ourselves. We thought perhaps we could be inspired by collaborating with them this time.
Was there anything impressive about working with those three producers?
KB: Seeing how Gray works, I felt his authenticity toward music. I was touched. That’s how he became a star, I thought.
Rie: I remember the signature sound. Just by listening to the signature sounds of Gray, Boycold, and Cha Cha Malone, they were so great that I thought we could fill four minutes with them.
Mill: I recorded rap parts with Boycold, and his directing inspired me so much. I learned a lot.
What artists do you want to work with, and/or who influences you?
Nine: I get a lot of inspiration from Penomeco and Lauv’s music. It’s impressive how Penomeco splits the beats or inserts a flow into peculiar beats. As for Lauv, he’s good at making melodies that are easy to listen to. He inspires me when I make catchy melodies.
KB: For me, it’s DPR Crew. I’ve seen a video of DPR Crew’s work process, and it was great how they worked hard and contemplated with a sense of responsibility in each of their position. I learned a lot by watching how immersed they are in what they like to do!
What else can fans can look forward to with this EP?
Nine: You’ve seen our sexy and masculine choreography so far, but you can expect a refreshing, bright atmosphere this time. You can see a lot of our smiles on the stage. I’d say it got a bit more “hip.” Also, the three tracks all feel different. The title track “Angel” produced by Gray is cheerful, “You-Lies-Me” by Cha Cha Malone is emotional. And “Designer,” produced by Boycold, has a sexy appeal.
Love: You’ll be able to see how much we practiced singing while we worked with great hip-hop producers. You can see the progress that all members made since the last release.
Rie: We are also going to post a TikTok challenge, so look out for that.
I heard you put quite an effort into the music video for “Angel.” What are some key points to appreciate in that visual?
Mil: There is a freestyle choreography scene with a dancer; it was fun working on it. I learned a lot.
Love: There is a scene where members and background actors are masked as a group. It would be fun to find our members in there. Overall, it was very freely shot so that we could express many ideas and styles for choreography, gestures, and facial expressions. We also used a robot arm machine this time. It is not only used for shooting but also appears in music videos. It provided powerful support, holding up our microphones and lights, and appearing as an extra actor.
Nine: This is a behind-the-scenes story. There is a scene where Mil is spraying water on an angel. The water pressure was so strong that it almost broke the camera and he couldn’t control it. Fortunately, there was no accident. [Laughs]
The K-pop scene is becoming more fiercely competitive. What do you think is the unique specialty of OnlyOneOf?
Nine: The charms of your real boyfriend! While we show a razor-sharp performance on the stage, we showcase a lot of humorous dimensions off the stage. Above all, I think our music is the most competitive element. As a musician, it’s a given to be good at music, but I’d love to hear that “OnlyOneOf’s music is really good.”
You’ve also gotten attention from international media outlets. How does that feel?
Mil: I saw an article that selected us as the most anticipated rookie group in 2020 on Billboard, and one in the British magazine i-D. I am grateful and happy to know that OnlyOneOf was recognized by the world’s biggest music market. I think it’s time to prove that those articles’ expectations were correct.
What is the “plane,” the completed form of OnlyOneof, that each of you anticipate?
Rie: Simply put, I’d say “an irreplaceable artist!” I would feel proud to leave the impression that this rookie K-pop group is progressing little by little. We want to be ever-changing and evolving artists.
Learn more about the producers below.
Gray is one of the leading producers and rappers at AOMG, helmed by Jay Park. He is recognized as a producer who can accomplish both commercial success and musicality, from producing hits for famous artists such as Jay Park, Zion.T, and Loco. This is his first time working with a boy group.
Boycold, the hottest producer in today’s Korean hip-hop scene, became known through producing Haon and Vinxen’s tracks “Tat” and “Adios” in High School Rapper 2. Last April, he released the first mini-album Post Youth, featuring 13 artists including pH-1, Sik-K, BewhY, George, Sokodomo, Car the Garden and The Quiet.
CHA CHA MALONE
Cha Cha Malone, a producer from Seattle, is the head of the hip-hop label H1GHR MUSIC and is known as the leading figure in creating trap beats. He has penned music in various genres, such as hip-hop, R&B and dance, and has participated songwriting for idol groups such as NUEST (“Good Bye Bye”) and Red Velvet (“Stupid Cupid”).