[INTERVIEW] NOMAD Turns Pressure into Diamonds with Their Dynamic Debut

Staying true to their mission of creating music freely, DOY, SANGHA, ONE, RIVR, and JUNHO of K-R&B and hip-hop group NOMAD have no limitations, capturing the spotlight through exploring a versatile range of genres and emanating charisma during riveting performances.

Throughout their pre-debut, NOMAD presented their strengths and gave fans, whom they call BASE, a glimpse into their musical direction with dance and song covers to songs across many genres, mainly R&B, hip-hop, and pop. Some of their covers include DOY’s impassioned take on “Don’t” by Bryson Tiller, JUNHO’s immaculate rendition of The Weeknd’s “Wasted Times,” NOMAD’s precise dance routine to “BLACKJACK” by Aminé, and more. After uploading many covers to their YouTube channel, NOMAD dropped a performance video for their first pre-debut single, “Lights on,” in December 2023 and have continued constantly releasing content since. Leading up to their official debut on February 28, NOMAD released visuals for five pre-release songs, all appearing on their self-titled debut EP, NOMAD.

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The seven-track EP, which includes double-title tracks “No pressure,” an R&B and hip-hop song, and “California love,” a lighthearted melodic rap and pop tune, represents sincere stories the group felt compelled to tell. NOMAD’s leader, DOY, participated in songwriting and production for the entire project, adding a personal touch to the EP.

In a Kpopconcerts.com exclusive interview with NOMAD, the members share impactful moments from their pre-debut, the preparation and creative process behind their debut EP, the importance of a strong team bond, and more.

Editor’s Note: The interview has been edited for clarity.

KPC: Congratulations on your debut! What has been your favorite part of debuting so far?

DOY: I was happy to finally let you hear a lot of music that we’ve prepared.

SANGHA: The best part was meeting our fans, who supported us even before our debut.

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KPC: Can you share the story of how NOMAD was formed?

DOY: As I started working with DK, the executive producer, I gathered members who fit well with the music I wanted to do. I met SANGHA and ONE through an acquaintance. RIVR joined our team through auditioning. Finally, I contacted JUNHO, whom I had known for a long time, to complete [the team.] When JUNHO joined, I felt like the puzzle had been solved.

KPC: How did your music journeys begin? Did you always envision yourselves joining a group, or did you have other career aspirations?

ONE: I was in a band club in middle school and sang a lot of rock music. I studied again in high school, but in my third year of high school, I ended up choosing music because I couldn’t give up my dream of becoming a singer.

RIVR: I have been interested in indie music since middle school. My dream to become a singer grew as I covered various music and created my own songs with my friends.

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KPC: Love and past concerns were major themes on your debut EP. Why were these themes important to discuss on your debut project?

SANGHA: The first EP, NOMAD, is an album that honestly tells NOMAD’s story in that our leader and producer, DOY, participated in writing lyrics for all of the songs. In addition to the confidence to overcome anxiety and worries about the future with an enterprising mind, another title song, “California love,” is about the attraction felt when meeting someone of the opposite sex for the first time. When recording all the songs, DOY, who knows the vocal characteristics of the members well, directed it himself. We are proud that this album was made with the best quality possible.

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KPC: You have done many dance and song covers of R&B, hip-hop, and pop songs by many artists and sampled Aaliyah’s “More Than A Woman” on your pre-debut single, “Lights on.” Can you discuss your musical inspirations and how they influenced your EP?

JUNHO: It helped me to sing with a variety of character styles. When recording our songs, DOY always emphasizes facial expressions and confidence. Covering and borrowing songs from various genres helped boost my expressive power.

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KPC: On your first title track, “No pressure,” you spoke about overcoming challenges from your pre-debut through hard work. Did you learn any important lessons during your pre-debut that have allowed you to grow individually or as a group?

RIVR: Before the debut date was set, it was sometimes difficult to practice endlessly. However, because we relied on each other to debut, I learned that I could do anything with people who gathered together for the same dream.

KPC: California played a big part in this EP, including in your second title track, “California love,” and many of your videos filmed in California. Can you talk about creating “California love” and its music video?

ONE: When I was filming the bicycle scene of the music video for “California love,” a local artist who was passing by asked me “Are you a singer?” I answered “Yes.” And he said, “You’re so cool and I hope everything goes well with what you’re doing.” After that, I was able to film in what felt like a brighter, more relaxed atmosphere.

KPC: You worked with many producers, such as Cha Cha Malone, DK, Damon Sharpe, and Jayrah Gibson, on the NOMAD EP. Did you receive any valuable advice from any of them going into your debut?

ONE: Rather than about my debut, I have learned something about how to make music. I went to the basketball court with Damon Sharpe, and he recorded the noise and sound of music there. I thought I should listen to my surroundings to discover the ingredients of music in my daily life.

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KPC: If you could pick one song from the NOMAD EP that you gravitate toward most, which one would it be and why?

JUNHO: I would like to choose “Automatic.” The chorus is my part. It’s very good. You should listen to it.

KPC: Do you have any messages you would like to share with BASE?

DOY: Please show some love for our first EP and keep an eye on NOMAD and the tons of content we prepared. Thank you, BASE!

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