The famous K-Pop group ONF is on the cover of the first issue of Pop&Kültür K-Pop October issue
‘I feel that we were able to produce an album filled with ONF’s very own Summer because we were able to incorporate our stories into it.’
What were your inspirations while building your main story in ‘SUMMER POPUP ALBUM [POPPING]’?
HYOJIN: This album is comprised of songs under the theme of Summer, so our inspirations were mainly drawn from each of our memories of Summer. Summer might be simply known as one of the seasons but once you start feeling the seasonal changes you’ll notice that there are various emotions that could be felt from it. I feel like this is the reason why our members talked a lot about each others’ memories of Summer as we were preparing this album. I also feel that we were able to produce an album filled with ONF’s very own Summer because we were able to incorporate our stories into it.
Everyone has a turning point in their life. What were your turning points?
E-TION: I believe that this global pandemic actually became a turning point for ONF. It made us realize how much we miss and value all the times we were able to interact and meet our fans, and also work together on performances. It was also the moment that made us realize that all the memories shared with the fans are irreplaceable to each of the members. I hope the day when we can see each other smiling without masks comes soon and we really do want to meet our international fans as well.
U: Another turning point for us would probably be our debut day on August 3rd, 2017. It’s the day that we have dreamt of since we were little. And I personally feel that I was able to create happy and great memories because I was able to meet our ONF members, so our debut day is extremely meaningful to me.
What inspires you when working on a new project?
HYOJIN: Our motivation and driving force is our FUSE. All the positive energy that our fans give us has provided us the strength to work on our albums. As we work on our music, we think about the people who love us and our music, and we think about what kind of music we should give back to our fans and listeners who have supported us.
J-US: I believe that the biggest inspiration and motivation come from the bright energy that each of the ONF members carry. Our members always think about how each of us could express the music and concept best, and how we could deliver this to the audience. It is all due to the members’ hard work and perseverance that we are able to prepare for our album together.
Let’s talk about the group members, could you each introduce yourself to your Turkish fans!
HYOJIN: Hello, Turkish FUSE!! I am ONF’s ‘ON’ team leader and main vocalist, HYOJIN!
E-TION: I am ONF’s sensational leader #3 and also the fashion leader LEE CHANG YOON, sensation E-TION.
J-US: Hello! This is ONF’s ‘OFF’ team leader, J-US!
WYATT: Hello to our Turkish fans! I am WYATT, the main rapper with the deepest voice in ONF.
MK: Hi everyone! This is MK, ONF’s most refreshing lemonade-like voice!
U: Hello, this ONF’s youngest member! Your unique U!
Are there any styles of music that you want to try but have never tried?
MK: If we have the opportunity then we would like to try a band style music. I personally enjoy listening to different band music. It’d be great to not only present our performances but a stage that highlights our vocals and musicality more.
E-TION: It’d be great if we could try a trap beat Hip-hop track. I would like to try presenting a firece Hip-hop beat that pounds against your ears with a powerful performance to match the song. Since Hip-hop is one of my favorite genres, I would love to have the chance to show and share with our fans a stage that is comprised of the music style that I personally love as well.
U: I would like to try exploring a concept that’s completely dark or whimsical. I feel like choosing a specific concept allows us to fully express it through our performances, so I feel that many people will be drawn into our performance as they watch. It’s the best feeling when we become immersed into the song while performing.
What was your favorite period of your comebacks so far?
E-TION: I’d choose ‘SUMMER POPUP ALBUM [POPPING]’. Especially the concept for the song “Summer Shape”. I really liked the concept of this particular song and I enjoyed performing each sessions of the song.
U: My favorite is ‘SUMMER POPUP ALBUM [POPPING]’ as well! Because the album was so bright and summery, it brightened everyone up and I feel like the fans have also enjoyed this album along with us so it made us extremely happy! We want to explore many various concepts as much as possible for our fans!
HYOJIN: For me, my favorite concept has to be “Beautiful Beautiful” from our first full album. I think it was a concept that showed our strength as ONF and it was also the album that energized us. If we ever do have the opportunity, then we would like to try this type of concept that is energetic and refreshing like “Beautiful Beautiful” once again.
After 4 years, you won your first music show contest with “Beautiful Beautiful”. Did you guess that and what were your feelings?
WYATT: We really did not know that this would happen to us when we were preparing for our album or once we started promoting our song. Rather than expecting first place, we were focused on bringing hope and comfort through “Beautiful Beautiful”, so much of our attention was focused on wishing that many people and fans would listen and enjoy our songs. And when we did place No.1 it was like a dream to us and everything went blank and everything felt so warm. I just couldn’t believe that we were living that moment so we were just so happy.
J-US: We did not expect this to happen. And the memories of how we won and how our fans celebrated and congratulated us til the end of the day passed before my eyes. I also thought about how thankful I am for our staffs who have supported us throughout the four years. I’m also thankful for our members for being here with us as ONF. I just hope we continue to perform these great songs and give happiness to everyone.
Wyatt said that he had come to Turkey on a school trip before, was there a place you particularly liked, could you tell us a little about that trip?
WYATT: I did travel and visited Istanbul on a school trip before. I remember how delicious the Kebabs were at the time. And I remember that it was a trip that enabled me to see the beauty of the architecture, the lighting, culture, and history that could be felt from every corner of the streets of Turkey.
It’s been 4 years since your debut. Compared to that time, what has changed/continues to change the most in yourself or your life so far?
J-US: I think we are at more ease and able to fully enjoy the stages now that we have gained experience over the years. We are able to develop and highlight each of our strengths within the performances and music, and this has helped us grow further.
WYATT: I also feel that the biggest change since our debut is that we are able to enjoy performing more and that we are more confident on stage. Our teamwork has become stronger and since we are enjoying our stage more. So I feel that our fans are cheering us on even more because they are able to see and feel the changes.
MK: Over the past four years, we definitely have grown. When I see how we perform and put on our facial expressions on stage, I definitely can feel that we are more at ease now. And the way we perform has changed as well. However, the biggest difference would be that we have matured and grown compared to our debut days.
Do you have anything to say about 2021, which was much more intense and difficult than previous years?
E-TION: 2021 is a difficult year for everyone because of the pandemic. But I find value in the fact that we were able to explore and try many different things through ONF’s unique music style. It was a meaningful year with moments of placing number one at music programs and music charts and passionately promoting our music. All of these were possible because we had fans loving and supporting ONF. In order to give back to those who have shown us so much love we will continue to present better music and performances.
As everyone knows, E-Tion introducees itself as a “fashion leader”. So if we asked you to introduce yourself as the leader of something, what would you introduce yourself as the leader of?
HYOJIN: I see myself as the ‘Fit Leader’! I love eating but I’m also good at staying fit! I have consistently made sure that I’m healthy and in a good shape so I now know which routines will keep me fit. I’ve got my own recipe and routine that suits me so I’m confident to say that I’m on top of my game in staying in shape!
E-TION: I am not only a fashion leader but also a ‘Youth Leader’. I personally see youth as moments where you get to know yourself more. It was a learning experience to get to know what I like and don’t like by venturing out to try new things to find out about myself. For these reasons, I feel like I can be the ‘Youth Leader’.
J-US: It’s already known but I am the leader of ‘OFF’ team. My love for ONF has never changed and I’m also trying to make sure that I’m leading ‘OFF’ team into the right direction. I want to make sure that I’m a leader that our members can always depend on.
WYATT: Since our fans always call me a princess, our members often call me the ‘Princess Leader’. So whenever we have to show our cute side, our members tend to look for me.
MK: I think I am the ‘Energy Leader’. I’m not only energetic on stage but also off the stage as well. I bring our members’ mood up with my humor and keep them entertained.
U: I am the ‘Performance Leader!’ I not only choreograph our performances but I also check and review our performances! The “Beautiful Beautiful” intro stage that we performed recently at KCONTACT HI5 was choreographed by me! I will continue to work hard to present great performances!
You have lived together for a long time. Did you notice any strange habits you picked up while living together?
U: We’ve been living together for quite some time. One of the things that I’ve picked up from living together is eating breakfast. I usually don’t eat in the morning but I began to wake up early and eat breakfast with the rest of the members! So I’ve come to realize the importance of having breakfast in the morning!
MK: I’ve created many catchphrases for our members and fans but I started to see the members using my catchphrases. Our fans have noticed that U especially uses my catchphrases the most, so it feels like he’s resembling me more and more.
Last but not least, do you have any messages to your Turkish fans, and what can we expect in the future from ONF?
HYOJIN: To our FUSE who are sending a lot of strength and energy to us in Turkey! We hope that we could show our performances as soon as possible in Turkey! We are always able to gain so much strength due to everyone’s support! We will continue to grow and show more in the future so please look forward to it all!