Balming Tiger is a name that's quickly making its own place in the music scene. Named after the famed Asian tiger balm ointment, this diverse music collective Balming Tiger is a self-proclaimed “Multi-national Alternative K-pop band” with the aim to create a lasting impact globally. Balming Tiger's main creative vision is to reflect and represent today's younger generation of society. Members of the collective include artists Omega Sapien, sogumm, wnjn, and Mudd the student. Producers include San Yawn and Unsinkable, DJ Abyss. Other staff includes film-maker Jan'qui and editor Henson. Combined they create a group that is both talented and versatile in skill and ability!
Of the collective, Omega Sapien has emerged to release his first-ever solo album, 'Garlic.' The album consists of seven tracks about Omega Sapien's honest experiences and innermost thoughts. A number of talented producers such as Unsinkable, SUMIN, and Lee Suho participated in Garlic's production to fully expand on the album's sound into something enjoyable! allkpop got the chance to speak with Omega Sapien on his newest release! Check out the interview below:
allkpop: Hey Omega Sapien! How have you been doing in this unique and interesting time?
Omega Sapien: What's good allkpop! I’ve been working on my project for most of the time. Now that it’s finished, I've been working on myself! Meditation, listening to different types of music, youtubing, etc.
akp: Many of our readers are unfamiliar with Balming Tiger or Omega Sapien - can you tell us a little bit about yourself?
OS: Balming Tiger is an alternative K-Pop band. We love to fuse different genres together and present something that is unprecedented. If the readers would like to get a taste of our music, I recommend checking out ‘armadillo’ and ‘kolo kolo’. I’m Balming Tiger’s frontman, Omega Sapien. I was born in Seoul and been living in different countries such as America, China, and Japan. I highly recommend to the lovely K-Pop enthusiasts (out there) to listen to my first album Garlic because it’s the type of kpop that you guys never heard of!
akp: You’re a third-culture kid, born in Seoul, moved to China at a young age, and currently attending university in Tokyo - do you feel that being a third culture kid has impacted your music?
OS: I think it is one of the strongest influences on my music. Living and experiencing through different cultures allowed me to open my eyes to various genres of music which ultimately built my style.
akp: You’re frontman of the alternative K-pop group Balming Tiger, but you’ve recently released your first pre-release single off your newest first album Garlic entitled, “Serenade for Mrs. Jeon”. The theme of “Serenade for Mrs. Jeon” is that you sing openly about your past days as a heretic, maladjusted for the order of social groups. Can you tell us a little about that and the inspiration for the song?
OS: I think my past has always been a big inspiration. When I was in elementary school I got kicked out 3 times because I was a very rebellious kid. I always hated structural hierarchy, (whether it was) teachers to students, rich to poor, etc. But Asian school systems usually force conformity on the students and I had a very tough time.
akp: Who exactly is Mrs. Jeon?
OS: Mrs. Jeon is my mom. My dad was working in Japan when I was little, so me and my mom moved to China and America all ourselves. And when I was in trouble she was the one who had to come in and get scolded for having a sh*tty child (laughs). Since the song is about my time as a student, I thought it was appropriate to dedicate the song to my mom. Thus, the name becomes serenade for Mrs. Jeon.
akp: Transitioning to your album, “Garlic”- did you work with any producers or teams outside of the Balming Tiger collective for the production of the songs on these albums?
OS: Yes, the only song that I worked on within the Balming Tiger collective is ‘I p t i m e’ produced by Unsinkable, who has been (responsible for) making most of the songs by Balming Tiger like 'armadillo' and 'kolo kolo'. I thought production would be a key component on the album so I wanted to have many different producers hop on the track. I have 7 songs on the album, but there are 6 different producers who produced them.
akp: Likewise, I noticed your album art is really interesting! Did you work with any external artists to come up with the album art for your newest release?
OS: Yes, for the album cover we contacted Shintaro Kago, a famous Japanese cartoonist. His most famous album cover art is Flying Lotus’ "You’re Dead". His chaotic and very disruptive style of artwork suited the sound of my album, thus I'm happy he decided to contribute his talent to my project.
akp: What can people who have never listened to Omega Sapien expect with “Garlic”?
OS: Totally new, totally amazing.
akp: What do you want listeners to take away from your newest album? What are you hoping they will feel or gain from listening to “Garlic”?
OS: Through this album, I'd like to present other spectrums of K-Pop. I think most people know K-Pop as only the idol stuff. I love them a lot as well, but I think there are other parts of Korean music that are as cool as the idol culture. So through my music, I wish that people will consider K-Pop as a diverse and rich genre.
akp: Lastly, what’s next for Omega Sapien and the Balming Tiger collective? Anything listeners can look forward to in the upcoming months?
OS: After my album, we will drop a collective track as Balming Tiger. Also, our new (incredibly talented) member Mudd the Student's first project album will release as well very soon!
Be sure to check out Omega Sapien's newest album, Garlic, on Spotify and his latest and greatest MV for "Happycore" on YouTube! You will not want to miss out on one of the most diverse releases of the year.