“I want the fans to not only use their heads to experience this album, but use your intuition and your sixth sense.”
This AB6IX interview may need to come with a light spoiler alert — especially if you're behind on your '90s horror films.
The K-pop boy band is sitting down with Billboard for their first-ever interview for 6ixense, their first full-length effort following their debut EP B:Complete from May, and are coming up with the perfect metaphors to describe their new album and songs. By the end of the chat, lead vocalist Donghyun has decided that not only will the album title 6ixense (pronounced "Sixth Sense," according to the members) remind fans of M. Night Shyamalan's 1999 horror classic The Sixth Sense, but also boasts a unexpected twist inside just like at the film's eerie conclusion.
Indeed, the first half of 6ixense plays a bit like an extension of B:Complete with lead single "Blind for Love" acting as a nice part two to AB6IX's debut single "Breathe" with its sleek house-inspired sound and tracks like "_And Me" and "Be There" boasting a blend of gentle pop and steely hip-hop. But around the halfway point, the album sprouts through with a new energy with fluttery, tropical-house vibes in "Love Air," the staccato-piano pop of "Pretty," a lush, late-night EDM vibe for "Shadow" and the swirling harmonies on "Deep Inside." The album could have easily been cut down in half to a simpler EP, but these additional tracks all expand the scope of what could be expected by the K-pop act — who recently made an unexpected but satisfying remix of "Truth Hurts" with Lizzo — making the purpose of a full-length all the more clear, before ending with the more straightforward hip-hop cut "D.R.E.A.M" and ballad track "Nothing Without You."
All five of the AB6IX members have strikingly different hair colors for this promotion cycle — Youngmin's fiery orange-red, Woong's silvery lavender, Donghyun's inky blue, Woojin's foamy turquoise and Daehwi's tamed chestnut — which is normal in the K-pop scene, but feels particularly appropriate for all the different styles the group is showing with this album which member Daehwi ultimately settles on being a "love letter" from the band.
Read on for what AB6IX told Billboard in this exclusive interview about their new album tracks if they're down to twerk alongside Lizzo and the messages for fans.
Billboard: Congratulations on releasing on your first full-length album with 6ixense! How's everyone feeling for this release?
Youngmin: I'm most excited about the fact that we're the ones who have been producing all the songs, and I'm also anticipating how the fans will react to the songs. I have a lot of confidence with the album though.
Woojin: These days, I'm "every day happy," but since we're coming back and I'm looking forward to showing what we can do with this album.
Releasing a full-length album is somewhat rare for a K-pop group so early in their careers. Why was this the right time for an LP?
Daehwi: We always wanted to release a full-length album because, these days, everything's digital, you know? It's really hard for our artists to release an album actually, even a mini-album it's really hard these days, so we wanted to enlarge the music industry so that even a rookie like us can release a full-length album. Our friends Tomorrow X Together are releasing a full-length album too so we're almost like representatives of rookies releasing LPs.
Why was "Blind for Love" the perfect single for this album?
Daehwi: Our album name is 6ixense which he pronounces "Sixth Sense"], and we thought "Blind for Love" was perfect to describe our whole album. Since we have 11 tracks, we wanted "Blind for Love" as the single because the concept we wanted after "Breathe" really fit with this song. "Breathe" was kind of airy, fresh and sexy, but "Blind for Love" is more manly and more sexy.
I loved how "Breathe" had this deeper meaning about liberation but also a commentary on the fine-dust pollution in Korea. Talk to us about the deeper meanings inside this album.
Youngmin: "Blind for Love" is actually very simple and doesn't touch on social issues like "Breathe" did. But we wanted to use the phrase "Blind for love" to express our love for our fans.
Daehwi: I'll explain "Dandelion." A dandelion has seeds, you know? They fly with the wind and we wanted to compare that to us. We want to fly higher, go further, go wherever the wind takes us. We really like that song… right, guys? Members agree before laughing] It has a special meaning to me also.
What other songs are special to you guys?
Donghyun: I like "Deep Inside." It might be kind of a cliché of a song at first, but you can look at it in different ways and see that it has a lot of layers.
Woojin: Because I'm a good dancer Laughs] and I like dancing, "Sunset" was one of the songs I really wanted to choreograph and make the dance to so it's really special to me. I think it's a really stylish and powerful song too.
Youngmin: I also want to recommend "Sunset." The album title is 6ixense and I like how sunsets create a type of multi-sensory] atmosphere, can bring back a lot of emotions — I'm inspired by the sunset too.
Donghyun: "Shadow" because, first of all, I wrote the song. Laughs] But the melody is really strong, the beat is really dynamic, and I really like how the lyrics turned out.
Speaking of special songs, Lizzo still has the No. 1 song on the Billboard Hot 100 with "Truth Hurts" for which you guys recorded a special remix. Any reflections working on this song or messages to Lizzo?
Youngmin: We're very honored to do a collaboration with a very-famous artist on the top of Billboard. We think this song was really outside of our usual scope and vibe of music, a little different you know, so I felt like we learned a lot from this experience. Our musical spectrum broadened from the exchange.
Daehwi: We'd like to have a stage together so we'd like to send Lizzo that message. Swag.
Maybe some twerking? Lizzo loves twerking…
Daehwi: Ohhh… I see! Laughs]
If a Lizzo performance doesn't work out, will we see you guys back in America anytime soon? Maybe for a tour or showcase?
Daehwi: If America invites us, we'd be happy to go. We'd drop everything and go! We're always preparing with a U.S. tour in mind so, maybe, maybe, next year? I don't know, I don't know…ask her! Points to a manger].
Any additional messages you want to share?
Donghyun: When we think about "sixth sense," some people may think about the movie The Sixth Sense] first. Just like how the movie has a twist at the end, maybe our album could also be interpreted to have a twist in the end. I want the fans to not only use their heads to experience this album, but use your intuition and your sixth sense to relate to this album. The first song, "Be There," the chorus, the hook kind of has a twist too.
Daehwi: This is kind of outside of the music, but always tell your loved ones that you love them whenever you have time. Always express what you feel. That's the additional thing I really wanted to share in this interview. That was deep! Laughs] Wow, I don't know what brought that on. When I wrote this song, "Blind for Love," well, I don't really text with my mom because she's in America but I don't really keep in touch with her. But I always want to say I love her, but it's really hard for a son to say "I love you" to his mom. I really wanted to relate this to my life, to ABNEW's life, and to AB6IX's life. That's the theme I had while writing through the whole album album, it talks about love and growth in love — it's AB6IX's love letter.