Since its formation, AB6IX has cultivated a reputation as a self-producing idol group, with their devoted fanbase, known as ABNEW, playing a central role in their journey. Consisting of members Daehwi, Woong, Donghyun, and Woojin, the multifaceted group plays an active role in writing, composing, and producing their music, aiming to convey their heartfelt sincerity to both listeners and fans while simultaneously carving out their niche in the industry.
In a time when virtual events were in place of tours due to the global pandemic, AB6IX bridged this gap between them and their fans, called ABNEW, with a sentimental R&B track called “Encore” from their 2021 SALUTE: A NEW HOPE EP. The fan song incorporated the voices of ABNEW from the group’s first concert and conveyed their hopes and desires to reunite with their fans one day. Their wish was fulfilled a year later when AB6IX embarked on their 2022 AB_NEW Area Fanmeeting Tour. To the members’ surprise, ABNEW returned the gesture by organizing a voice message project where pre-recorded messages from ABNEW were collected, compiled, and presented to the members on the tour.
AB6IX’s commitment to ABNEW continues to shine as they return to the United States for the US leg of their 2023 AB6IX WORLD TOUR [THE FUTURE]. Following their KBS Music Bank in Mexico performance, AB6IX flew to Los Angeles to unwind and relax ahead of the tour. Their days of relaxation were filled with shopping, trying new food, and other excursions that the City of Angels offered them, all leading up to their anticipated appearance at hello82LA’s “PLAY82 WITH AB6IX.” The event brought AB6IX and ABNEW together to compete in a Game Parade, a relay of fun activities ranging from the telepathy game, to cup toss, and more.
Ahead of their activities, Kpopconcerts.com had the opportunity to sit down with AB6IX to chat about their US tour, their earliest memories of falling in love with music, and more.
This interview has been edited for clarity.
KPC: Welcome back to LA! How have you been spending your time here so far?
Donghyun: We’ve been traveling around meeting our friends, shopping, and eating a lot of good food!
KPC: Woojin happy early birthday! I saw you posted a photo on Instagram outside a popular local restaurant called La Republique. What did you think?
Woojin: I went to get brunch at La Republique last year and thought it was going to be the same menu, but it was a different menu for dinner. I also learned that Charlie Chaplin had a part in creating La Republique. This time, I had kimchi fried rice and French toast and I liked [them].
KPC: What are you looking forward to seeing or experiencing again while on your US tour? Anything new that you want to see/try that you didn’t get to previously?
Woong: Last year, we really enjoyed the tension and energy of the American ABNEW fans here so we’re really excited to see that and experience that again this year. This year, we also have a new song and a whole new setlist that we’ve never shown before. So we’re super excited to share that with the fans here.
Donghyun: Even if it’s not Universal Studios, I really want to try amusement parks in the States!
KPC: What was it like preparing for this upcoming tour?
Woojin: There’s a lot to prepare for the tour. Before the tour, we had a schedule in Mexico so we had a lot of different things overlapping but we were able to kind of balance and separate them out and get through them.
KPC: Between your busy schedules, how do you all stay grounded and take care of yourselves?
Daehwi: For me, I just try really hard not to get too stressed out at the situation. If there’s too much of a gap between human AB6IX and celebrity AB6IX, it can take a toll on my mental health, mental health-wise. So I try not to get too stressed out and kind of maintain a good balance in between. 워라밸~! (work-life balance).
KPC: How did you decide which songs to include in your tour setlist and is there a certain way you go about arranging them?
Woong: We like to perform different songs on different tours, so our Korean tour setlist was different from our Asia tour setlist, and our Asia tour setlist was different from our U.S. tour setlist. We try to focus on showing different things during each tour.
KPC: Last year on your fanmeet tour, ABNEW surprised you all with a video of pre-recorded voice messages from ABNEW. How does it feel when you see your fans come together and find ways to try and reciprocate the love and support that you guys give to them?
Daehwi: It was really touching and heartwarming! Yes, there are parts of this job that you do get accustomed to but the fans’ love and their attention is something that we will never get used to. It’s always something that we treasure very much. I wonder if ABNEW prepared some sort of event this year~~?
KPC: What is your earliest memory of falling in love with music? What was the turning point that made you want to pursue this career path?
Woong: I don’t remember. That’s how early that memory was when I decided I wanted to pursue a music career. I always liked to sing and dance. And that’s why I thought I wanted to become a singer and that’s why I’m here where I am right now.
Daehwi: Music was something that was always by my side and something that I always surrounded myself with. But the first time I performed a song in front of an audience on a stage was in LA at a church. I really enjoyed singing in front of people, receiving applause, and being in the spotlight, so I decided that I wanted to become a singer. I went through a lot of hurdles and went through a lot of auditions and came to Korea to pursue a music career.
Woojin: My reasons are similar to Daehwi. When I was younger, I really liked to dance and then I had an opportunity to go onstage and perform. I enjoyed the feeling of being onstage and hearing the cheers of the audience. That really did it for me and I decided to pursue a career path in music.
Donghyun: I’ve always enjoyed listening to music thanks to my family. It was very natural for our family to listen to music together. I also participated in a festival in my middle school and I was part of a band where I sang. That’s when I realized that I wanted to pursue a career in music. I really enjoyed that experience.
KPC: Some songwriters have shared that they write their best pieces at certain times of the day or in certain situations. When do you feel the most creative?
Donghyun: Inspiration itself, there isn’t a fixed time when it comes, but because we have certain schedules and obligations to follow, we’re able to produce music and work on it after our schedules are over which is generally late during the day.
Woojin: I don’t think I’ve ever written lyrics during the day.
KPC: (Fan Question) What is something you think about or do to not get nervous before going on stage? Do you have any advice for someone a bit introverted, but wants to stand to become a performer someday?
Woong: I don’t think being an introvert or being an extrovert has a major effect on becoming a performer. I personally know a very introverted person who is in the K-Pop industry and when that friend goes on stage, he becomes a completely different person. If you are able to trust yourself, being introverted or extroverted doesn’t matter in terms of you becoming a performer.
Daehwi: I don’t usually get nervous before getting on stage. But when I do, I like to take Cheongsimhwan*. People should do whatever best suits them (ex. aromatherapy). I personally like going to the restroom or somewhere private to help me calm down.
*Translator’s note: a traditional herbal supplement used for its calming effects, often used by students before taking big exams.
Woojin: When I get nervous, I try to stimulate my muscles on different parts of my body. When I feel really nervous, I tend to pound around my heart or chest area. (Woong demonstrates by pounding on his chest while saying, ”Ok let’s get it!”). Sometimes I feel like my legs will give out because of the nerves, so I do my best to maintain tension in all of my muscles like I’m telling myself to “get it together” or stay alert.
Donghyun: I try to maintain a very clear head and keep my thoughts as short and as concise as possible to stay focused. For example, if I’m nervous before a performance, I might think to myself, “I am going on stage. I am going to do well,” and keep my thoughts clear and simple like this.
KPC: (Fan question) What was the first concert that you’ve ever attended as a fan and was there ever a performance that you’ve seen that you left feeling inspired?
Donghyun: I went to a Park Hyoshin concert and liked his attitude towards music, so I was very inspired by that performance.
Woojin: I haven’t been to a lot of concerts, but when I was in middle school went to an IU concert. It was really amazing. It was my first concert and I was impressed by the scale of the show, the amount of songs she included in her setlist, etc. I was really impressed by that performance.
Daehwi: The first concert I ever went to was 2NE1’s New Evolution tour here in LA. 2NE1 only has four members, which is not many people, and I was so impressed at how they were able to fill the entire stage with their presence. The venue was packed with fans, but their stage presence itself was enough to heat up the whole venue. CL, in particular, was very cool! Years later, I met Sandara Park and told her that I attended that concert. She was so touched that I also became touched and I made a vow to invite her to one of our concerts one day.
Woong: One concert that I went to recently that made me think “I really want to sing like that” was DAY6’s Young K’s concert. He didn’t dance, but after just hearing his voice, I thought to myself that he is one of the best male vocalists that I know of. As I was watching the concert, I kept thinking that I want to be able to sing just as well.
KPC: Thank you for your time! Do you have anything you’d like to share with ABNEW before the start of your tour?
Daehwi: We will be doing a concert in 6 different cities. There is further information on our Instagram, so please come out and let’s have a very fun night!
AB6IX’s US tour kicks off today in Chicago, IL, and continues to Jersey City, NJ on November 5. The tour then makes its way south to Atlanta on November 7 and Dallas on November 9 before making its way over to California for the final shows in San Francisco on November 11 and Los Angeles on November 12. Tickets are available for purchase here.
Keep an eye out on our Instagram for an upcoming AB6IX LA concert giveaway!
Thank you to AB6IX, Brand New Music, Studio PAV, and hello82LA for having us!