OMEGA X are unlike any other rookie group in the K-pop scene. Formed by 11 members who had previously debuted in other acts, the boyband – comprising members Jaehan, Hwichan, Sebin, Hangyeom, Taedong, Xen, Jehyun, Kevin, Junghoon, Hyuk and Yechan – are taking their second shot at stardom in the competitive South Korean music industry.
Hailing from groups such as 1TEAM, SNUPER and 1THE9, the boyband have certainly made the best of their second chance as idols. Hitting the ground running with their June debut release ‘Vamos’, OMEGA X had sold out the original batch of their albums even before the first week of sales had ended.
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Armed with resolve and grit from their past experiences, the boyband are showing no signs of stopping. Last month, they made their return with the single album ‘What’s Goin’ On’ alongside its title track of the same name, a mere two months after their immensely successful debut.
As OMEGA X draw closer to the end of their promotional cycle for ‘What’s Goin’ On’, the tenacious boyband spoke to NME over video call to discuss the evolution of their careers and how their pasts have influenced their songwriting.
Hello OMEGA X! Last month, you made your first-ever comeback with ‘What’s Goin’ On’, which quickly hit 10million views on YouTube, congratulations! What was your reaction upon hearing that the music video had gotten so popular?
Jaehan: “First of all, we really appreciate the fans who gave us lots of love. We put a lot of work into this comeback, but we didn’t know how successful it was going to be, and we were really happy that it performed so well. We feel a little pressure to do even better in the future, but I think it will also motivate us to work even harder.”
The group also released ‘What’s Goin’ On’ less than two months after your debut. Were you surprised when you found out you would be making your return so soon?
Junghoon: “We had promised our fans that we would come back as soon as possible, so we were really happy that we were able to fulfil that promise. We were really happy and excited to share this new song with them.”
Xen: “Although it was two months after our debut, we really only had a month to prepare for this comeback after we finished our previous activities. I felt really grateful for our fans, because without them, we wouldn’t be able to make a comeback so quickly no matter how much we wanted to.”
As you reach the end of the promotional cycle for ‘What’s Goin’ On’, can OMEGA X tell us some of your highlights or favourite moments from this era?
Hangyeom: “My favourite moment was filming for the music video. There is a scene where we were wearing racing suits, and it was really difficult because it was so hot. But I was really happy after seeing the music video, because I just loved the whole vibe and energy of those scenes. So, I tried to remember that feeling and express that on stage during our performances.
Jaehyun: “My favourite moment is the recent Asian Song Festival 2021. We performed outdoors so it was really nice, and we also got to share a different side of us.”
Also, your first mini-album ‘Vamos’, which dropped in June was so popular that it sold out within the first week! How does it feel to realise that your debut was so well-loved?
Hangyeom: “Honestly, before our debut, we already had fans that watched us, so we were happy yet concerned about how our debut would be received. But since it went on to receive so much love, we’re really thankful and happy about it. Also, when the time came for us to come back with ‘What’s Goin’ On’, I did feel some pressure to make sure it was even better than ‘Vamos’.”
Sebin: “We practiced a lot for our debut album, and we couldn’t wait to share our performances on stage with our fans. It was almost as if they knew how we were feeling, and so we were able to sell out our albums and receive a lot of love and attention. I’m really happy that it went well!”
All the members of OMEGA X have previously debuted in other groups. Do you think that your past experiences had prepared you better for your debut with OMEGA X? How so?
Taedong: “Thanks to my past experiences, working and performing with OMEGA X feels really natural to me. But joining OMEGA X was my first time debuting in such a big group, so it felt new. But the experience of having debuted before definitely helped.”
Xen: “Besides performing on stage, there are also things like doing interviews and being on TV and there were stories that I felt uncomfortable sharing back then. But now, I feel a lot more comfortable and confident about sharing my stories with fans now, so having that experience has helped immensely.”
What does having this second chance to debut as idols mean to the members of OMEGA X?
Sebin: “Debuting as a K-pop idol is an amazing success. But being able to debut a second time, to me, I think is a really valuable experience, and it is something I want to develop and foster throughout my career.”
Hangyeom: “Having a second chance is really amazing, and my thoughts and feelings have changed a lot this time. At first, I thought of it just as fulfilling my own dream of wanting to be a K-pop idol. But this time around, now that we have this second chance, I want to empower our fans and the public, and it’s now my dream to give them hope.”
How did it feel to debut again in a new group? Was it less intimidating, or did it feel just as challenging as the first time?
Hyuk: “When we re-debuted as OMEGA X, I felt very very nervous to get back on stage again. I felt that I had to perform even better than I did the first time. But having the members next to me gave me a sense of security, and we practiced really hard, so I was able to feel confident.”
Yechan: “Before, I struggled with singing high notes and [performing] choreography perfectly, since everything was happening so fast when I was younger. But [after debuting as OMEGA X], I’ve started to see how our audiences smile and sing along with us, and I think it has really help us take the group to the next level.”
You have previously shared that the members of OMEGA X are no strangers to going through difficult times. How is that expressed in your music and lyrics?
Yechan: “We recently started working on music a lot together, and while we’ve all had tough times, we also had a lot of happy moments together. So I think expressing this wide spectrum of emotions in our lyrics makes our music more dynamic.
“We also listen to lots of different genres and try to incorporate those in our music, and we try to experiment a lot with our rap and vocal parts to best express these emotions. I think we’re on the right track to making more dynamic and interesting songs that are like all seven colours of the rainbow.”
Xen: “These days, I feel like I want to communicate more, so when I write lyrics or melodies, I notice that different sounds have different feelings. Even with lyrics, I don’t just want to talk about myself and my story, but I’m thinking: ‘Oh, I’m sure fans will have had moments like this’, and I want to communicate and empathise with their experiences and deliver that through my lyrics.”
Hangyeom: “When you listen to the lyrics to our songs, a lot of them are about how we’re going to succeed, so while we have had difficult times, we have also developed and are hopeful for the future. We want to send these messages to our fans and the public to motivate them. Our songs motivate us too!”
Going forward, what are your goals as a team? Are there any genres or concepts you would like to try in the future?
Jaehan: “As a team we want to rank at the top with our music. And of course, it is amazing to receive awards, but I want to deliver our energy to many people through our music, and we will work hard to make that happen.”
Hangyeom: “I want to receive the rookie award, because it’s something you can only get once. We want to get up on more stages, perform and film lots of new content and music. In terms of genres, I want to challenge ourselves with something refreshing and light.”
Hwichan: “Personally, I want to try a really deep and scary horror concept, as well as a cute concept. I want us to put out a song that will be loved by the general public.”
Jehyun: “A concept that I want to try is something slow and serene, but I’m sure we can pull off anything.”
Finally, OMEGA X have plenty of fans both in Korea and overseas that you have yet to meet because of the pandemic. Could you send a message to those who are eagerly counting the days till they get to see OMEGA X live?
Yechan: “Hi FOR X around the world! This is OMEGA X, and we are always preparing to put on amazing shows in the future, so take care until then, and we will keep making music and good stages. See you in the future, we miss you a lot!”
Jehyun: “We can’t wait to meet you guys. It’s really unfortunate that we can’t right now, and we feel a little empty without seeing you in person. I hope the pandemic gets better soon, and we will get to meet each other in person.”
Jaehan: “I think that we’re all in this together, we’re getting through this together. No matter how difficult it seems, let’s all hold on for the happy moments we’ll get to share when we meet in person.”
All: “FOR X, we love you!”
OMEGA X’s latest single ‘What’s Goin’ On’ is out now.