Xdinary Heroes is a six-member boy band formed on December 6, 2021, under STUDIO J, a sub-label of JYP Entertainment, consisting of members Gun-il, Jungsu, Gaon, O.de, Jun Han, and Jooyeon. The band debuted with the absolute banger "Happy Death Day," a pop-punk song written by members Jungsu and Gaon that deals with the theme of facing a cold truth on what should be a day full of celebration.
'Overload' is Xdinary Heroes' latest release, their new music in four months since their first mini-album 'Hello, world!' in July. The title track from the band's second mini-album 'Overload,' "Hair Cut" paints a bold image of one cutting out all of the bad thoughts in their mind to the act of snipping off one's hair with a pair of sharp scissors. The dynamic track also experiments with interesting sounds, tempos, and genres, showcasing the versatility of Xdinary Heroes as a band. The record also comprises the B-side tracks "Zzz..," "LUNATIC," "Crack in the mirror," "Ghost," and "X-MAS."
To commemorate their anticipated return, allkpop spoke to Xdinary Heroes to talk about 'Overload,' how it's like contributing to their own album's creation, revealing the artists they want to work with, sharing the meaning behind "Hair Cut," and more! Keep reading to know more about the sextet!
allkpop: Congratulations on the release of your second mini-album, 'Overload'! This is your new album in about four months since the release of 'Hello, World!' Please share with us your feelings about releasing a new album. How did you sort of prepare for this comeback?
Gun-il: Hello! We’re very excited to share our new songs with the whole world! We dedicated ourselves to creating this album in many ways. Currently, we’re preparing for our comeback stages in order to make our performance as perfect as possible.
Jungsu: For ‘Overload’, we put a lot of effort into showing more matured charms of Xdinary Heroes. I’m more than happy to meet all of you again with new music in 2022. We’ll work hard so we can spread our music to many people during this promotion. Please look forward to our new album and give us much love! Thank you.
Gaon: Thank you for your congratulations. Every time we release a new album, I feel proud that the number of our songs is increasing. We put a lot of thought into this album, so I hope you enjoy it. We’ve been preparing day and night for this comeback with fluttering hearts.
O.de: First of all, thank you so much for your kind words! I’m happy to be back again with new music after 4 months. We continuously had ensemble practice while preparing for this comeback. For this album, I focused on expressing the mood and emotions of each song.
Jun Han: While preparing for this album, I personally felt that I lacked a lot in understanding and expressing music. I’m practicing a lot, so I can fully express the overall atmosphere and emotions in ‘Overload’ album.
Jooyeon: Like ‘Hello, world!’, we filled this album with all great songs. We’ll be presenting new aspects and concepts that we’ve never shown before. I also want to say that we did our best to show great teamwork for this album.
allkpop: Please tell us everything about 'Overload.' In an interview, you mentioned Xdinary Heroes' fictional universe. Could you please expand on that more? Is there any connection between 'Hello, World!' and 'Overload'? What message or story would you like to convey through the album?
Gun-il: In ‘Hello, world!’, the six boys were able to gather up for the first time through the online ensemble program called ’♭form’, and became music heroes. In ‘Overload’, the boys start to deal with inner struggles from not having an assurance of their identity. Throughout this album, we’d like to share stories of fighting against one’s fear and anxiety.
Jungsu: ‘Overload’ tells the story of us fighting against our inner anxiety, and you’ll be able to see the dark side of Xdinary Heroes in the process. We’d like to show how much we’ve grown through this album.
Gaon: The difference from our previous album is that unlike which dealt with external conflicts and pressure, ‘Overload’ deals with conflicts that occur within yourself. The stories of the two albums are connected, and the main theme of this album is, "Let's cut out the evil feelings that grow inside us."
O.de: Unlike the last album, this album depicts a story of cutting off the negative things that grow inside. The stories of both albums are closely linked, so I'd appreciate it if you could focus on them!
Jun Han: If ‘Hello, world!’ was an album that represented the beginning of the universe, ‘Overload’ is an album where we start to see the evil side within us and re-consider our identity as a hero.
Jooyeon: To some, I may be a good person or a bad person. In relation to that, I wanted to express the growing confusion and conflict of one’s identity through this album.
allkpop: All members participated in the creation of the album. In particular, all six of you took part in writing and composing the title track "Hair Cut." How do you feel about being able to participate in the creative side of being more than just a singer? Please tell us about the album's creative process as well.
Gun-il: As not only a singer but an artist, I believe that it’s important to melt down our thoughts and emotions into our music. Thus, it was an honor that all six of us got to participate in creating our title song. Throughout the process, we put our heads together to make the best melody and lyrics that would express our feelings and stories.
Jungsu: It feels amazing to be able to participate in song production like this every time. We put our thoughts and emotions into the songs, and I’m very happy to share with many people what our music is like. I hope we can continue to make songs that show our various charms as we grow further. For this album, we tried to work as a team a little bit more than the previous album. It was fun to see various ideas popping up, and it definitely felt different from when we worked as a unit.
Gaon: It’s a great honor to be able to participate in the making of an album. It’s not easy to work on a song, but I feel proud to see the result that we’ve created altogether. For this album, we mainly participated in the song's top line (melody) and lyrics, and we tried our best to put in our own colors.
O.de: It's such an honor and joy to be able to participate in our songs and produce results. We wrote the songs in this album in various ways. When we were working on track 4, "Crack in the mirror," the schedules were quite compact, so the work was done online. We chatted with the writer online, created melodies and recorded ourselves, monitored, and combined the works we’ve done. For the sixth track, "X-MAS," I stayed at the composer's house for several days to work on it. Thanks to those new and enjoyable experiences, we were able to create good songs.
Jun Han: All the members participated in the title song, "Hair Cut," and I love it because you can see different colors and personalities all mixed in one song. Each of us had our own specialties and shortcomings, and we made good use of them by complementing each other.
Jooyeon: First of all, I think it’s very important to participate in song-making and put our own colors into it. Thus, it’s a matter of course that we do our best, and we really did so for this album. Gaon, O.de, and I worked together as a unit, and we combined our work with Gun-il, Jungsu, and Jun Han’s. We tried various things quite daringly and had so much fun with them.
allkpop: Everyone seems to be curious why you named the title song "Hair Cut." Could you please tell us what the song is going to discuss? What message does it have or what story does it tell? And why did you choose "Hair Cut" as the album's title song?
Gun-il: I’ve actually had the keyword “Hair Cut” on my songwriting notebook for a long time. Back in my college days, I had friends who were dealing with mental illnesses. Me being a very sympathetic and emotional person, my friends’ pain felt as if it were mine. I also had a time when I was drowning myself with bad thoughts, which lead me to stay in my apartment and not go out to meet people for a certain period of time. Naturally, my hair grew messy and long. When I finally decided to make a fresh new start, the first thing I did was go out to the barbershop to get a haircut. As my hair was getting tidy again, I thought to myself that I will one day use the keyword ‘hair cut’ to write a song in order to share the experience with many others who might be going through something similar to mine.
allkpop: Are there any memorable, fun, and interesting behind-the-scenes stories while recording the tracks and filming the music video for the title track?
Gun-il: The first day of “Hair Cut” music video shooting was done overnight. When we were filming the last scene of the night, the morning dawn started to rise, and it was one of the most beautiful skies I’ve seen in a long time. It was so pretty to the point that made me forget how tired I was from filming overnight. I would never forget that pink sky with pretty clouds.
Jungsu: The mood and characteristics of the songs are very different this time, so I remember recording each song with a different vibe and attitude. While recording the first track, “Zzz..”, I focused hard on expressing a fun and playful mood. For the fourth track, “Crack in the mirror,” I tried to put a somewhat cold but cool and charismatic mood into it.
Gaon: I remember the music video set the most, especially the scene with a burning car. I’m quite sensitive to cold, and I remember that scene being the warmest I’ve ever shot!
O.de: In the music video, there’s a part where Gaon and I rap in the second verse. We had to face each other and pretend as if we were looking at ourselves in the mirror, so Gaon had to imitate my gestures. The scene we did those gestures together remains a fun memory.
Jun Han: I remember having trouble while filming a scene where I had to go inside a pink locker. I had to rush in and close the door at once, but I was flustered because the door didn't close well.
Jooyeon: While filming the music video, I had fun playing the arcade game that was on the set. We all jumped and shouted together when we sang along to “Hair Cut”, and that was another fun memory.
allkpop: Which of the album's songs is your favorite, and which would you recommend the most, and why?
Gun-il: All six songs are my favorite, but if I only had to choose one, “Hair Cut” would be my number one. The main reason is because of the meaningful lyrics.
Jungsu: My favorite is the first track, “Zzz..”. It has a vibrant mood that matches well with the charming appearances we have shown so far. The lyrics and melody lines are very dreamy and humorous, so I’d recommend this song.
Gaon: I’d recommend all songs from our albums, but my favorite is “X-MAS.” The melody is catchy, and it’s easy to sing along to. All parts are the killing parts, so you’ll find yourself singing along without noticing.
O.de: My favorite is the fourth track, “Crack in the mirror.” Since we are a band, there’s no choice but to expect a live performance from us. “Crack in the mirror” is the song I’m most looking forward to performing live.
Jun Han: My favorite is “X-MAS.” I like the overall mood of the song, especially the verse melody and guitar riff at the beginning.
Jooyeon: My favorite is “Ghost.” I love its dark mood, especially the falsetto conversion in the chorus, which it maximizes the creepiness.
allkpop: Xdinary Heroes recently performed in Manila at the 'I-POP U 2022' show, it was your first live performance in the Philippines. We watched the concert and all of you did great! How were you feeling and what thoughts were running through your mind before you step on stage and while on stage? Are there any rituals or preparations you do individually before going up on stage?
Gun-il: Thank you, we’re honored that we were able to leave good impressions on our first stage in the Philippines. To be honest, I was feeling very nervous before getting on stage. However, as soon as the show began, I heard the loudest cheering I've ever heard in my entire life. The energy the crowd was giving me was so amazing to the point where I couldn’t explain it in words. There were many thoughts inside my head while on the stage, but the strongest thought I had was that I would love to visit the Philippines again. My ritual before going on stage is to pray.
Jungsu: Performing on stage can be very overwhelming, but it’s also a moment of pure joy and thrills. I was even more excited to be on such a huge stage outside our country. My ritual before going up on stage is to give a tight hug to each member. I couldn't hug all the members before the stage in the Philippines, but I hugged Gun-il and Jooyeon, and it gave me some relief.
Gaon: Thank you! I always drink water before going on stage, and I gargle with it to keep my throat moist. Right before I go on stage, I say to myself, "I've practiced a lot for this moment, so just enjoy it."
O.de: It was such an honorable stage for us. As always, I was really nervous but excited at the same time. When we went upstage and heard the loud cheers from the audience, my emotions flew away, and all that was left was the thought that I should just enjoy it. We have our own chant we always say, and we shouted it together before going up.
Jun Han: First of all, I was both surprised and excited to see the loud cheers from the audience of the Philippines. Thanks to them, we had so much fun performing. My heart always beats fast before going on stage, but the moment I get on, my feelings disappear, and I'm just busy performing. It was during our performance in Thailand that I started to realize "I am a performer on stage."
Jooyeon: I’m sure everyone feels nervous before going up on stage. I have my own magical spells that I say to myself, ‘rockstars never tremble’, and it gets rid of my nerves on stage.
allkpop: What are your hopes for your group in the future? Are there any goals, music-related or personal, that you would want to accomplish this year and in the coming years?
Gun-il: Our band’s goals are to have a song that people from all around the world can sing along to and perform on big stages like Wembley Stadium. My personal goal as a musician is to widen my musical knowledge to become a better producer.
Jungsu: As a band, my goal is to continue presenting our music to the public and to show our various colors. I hope to make music that many people can relate to, music that speaks for something people couldn’t say easily, and music that works as a relief. My own dream is to become an all-around entertainer who has skills in various areas. I also want to become an artist who can express everything in my mind on stage without needing any help from others.
Gaon: As a band, I want to make songs that can give comfort and joy to many people. My personal goal is to become an all-around producer who can write and sing on my own.
O.de: I hope to make music that can touch people’s emotions and lift them in a good way. My dream is to continue making music until the day when I use up all my strength. I hope to grow steadily so I can show more diverse aspects than now, and develop myself as a better person.
Jun Han: My hope for our band is to stay happy all the time, to not get hurt by anything, and to continue developing ourselves further. My personal goal is to improve my individual skills as a guitarist, singer, composer, and true artist.
Jooyeon: I really want to meet 5 Seconds of Summer. My life goal is to develop vocal skills like Luke Hemmings’ and to have a duet with him.
allkpop: If you were given a chance to collaborate with any artist, who would you choose?
Gun-il: I would love to collaborate with Twenty One Pilots.
Jungsu: I would be so happy to be on stage with my role model, Baekhyun from EXO, and Justin Bieber.
Gaon: My small dream is to collaborate with Twenty One Pilots. I got so many musical inspirations from them!
O.de: I want to collaborate with DAY6 members. I've respected them since I was a trainee, so I hope we can work together one day.
Jun Han: I still have a long way to go, but my dream is to have a solo part in one of Polyphia’s albums. I will practice hard so I can grab the opportunity when it comes.
Jooyeon: 5 Seconds of Summer’s lead vocalist Luke Hemmings. I love you, Luke.