Lunar Cycles: BDC Interviewed

Lunar Cycles: BDC Interviewed

Cosmic K-Pop group on their personal and creative growth...

As far as celestial bodies are concerned, few represent as many things or hold as much symbolism like the moon does for human beings. For up-and-coming K-pop trio Boys Da Capo — more commonly known by their acronym BDC — the satellite became the central muse for their music, imperative to an artistic ethos that involves a continuous journey of growth and introspection.

“We saw this [lunar] cycle and thought it was similar to [the meaning of] our group’s name,” shares lead vocalist Seongjun over a Zoom call with Clash from Seoul, South Korea. “It is a concept that [for BDC] marks the beginning of the future.”

Last fall, BDC unveiled ‘THE INTERSECTION’ album series, a sturdy musical trilogy that aimed to set the tone of the group’s artistry. Pulsating with futuristic scenarios and lyrics that convey unlimited freedom, the overture happened with the synth-laced ‘SHOOT THE MOON,’ the lead single from their first EP ‘THE INTERSECTION: BELIEF.’ The sequel arrived almost six months later with the electrifying ‘MOON RIDER’ and the second EP ‘THE INTERSECTION: DISCOVERY.’

In BDC’s interstellar tale, each member embodies a moon phase. Always looking ahead, always transitional. Seongjun, blond-haired with sweet eyes and silvery voice represents the quarter moon — colloquially known as the half-moon —, while Sihun, the charismatic leader and rapper who regularly has the descriptor of ‘all-rounder’ attached to his back, is at the helm of the full moon. Main vocalist Junghwan, the towering maknae born in 2001, completes the trinity by encapsulating the crescent moon.

Perhaps, it could also be perceived as an allegory that even though their lives have contrasting hues, in the end, they are intertwined by one common goal: an endeavor towards performing. “Each one of our motivations are very different, but we all love music and we all love the stage, so that’s why we started this [path] as idols,” explains Sihun.

To better decipher this lunar ideogram, let’s go back to BDC’s inception in 2019 after the trio participated in the popular survival show Produce X 101. Once the competition ended, their label Brand New Music (home to multi-hyphenated quartet AB6IX), prepped the young trainees to debut under the possible but not very convincing moniker of ‘Boys Don’t Cry.’

Understanding they only had one chance, Sihun, Seongjun, and Junghwan embarked on a mission to find a new name. Documented in their pre-debut reality show, they visited a naming specialist and consulted with soloists Gree and Kanto, but the final suggestion came from fans: they proposed the Italian musical term ‘Da Capo,’ which means ‘from the beginning.’ It fulfilled that quest for impact, faithful to that mindset of never forgetting their initial driving force.

Having settled that matter, the group debuted in October 2019 with ‘REMEMBER ME’ and their special single album ‘BOYS DA CAPO.’

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In the evergrowing K-pop landscape, it is almost a decree to construct an impactful aura, especially for newcomers joining the ranks of the gargantuan industry. In this regard, a non-conventional lineup is a hallmark that nourishes BDC’s unique presence. One could say it is a challenging blessing having only three members, meaning high intensity and cutting-edge synchronization, but, at the same time, it opens countless doors to dazzle the audience while performing. According to Seongjun, one of the disadvantages is that they “have a burden because we have to do really well,” but with BDC, an organic synergy also springs because they “[always] grow up as artists to fulfill each other’s shortcomings.”

That sense of harmony stems from their candor and unity outside the stage. Cognisant that everyone possesses a distinctive character, Sihun explains they have managed to achieve a solid equilibrium. “For our case, since we are only three people, we try to consider our own lives and personalities a lot,” he says. “We also try to respect each other’s privacy. It is all based on faith and trust in each other.”

When asked if it was difficult for him to bond with his members considering he is the youngest, Junghwan (who is a little bit shyer than the other two) warmly smiles and says: “I’m not really that talkative so at first, it was hard but now, they are coming close to me and they are being familiar with me, so everything’s good now. We are friends.”

With every comeback, a new lesson was earned. Just take a look at the behind-the-scenes footage while recording their music videos going from ‘REMEMBER ME’ to the ‘THE INTERSECTION’ series: the three idols were timid and nervous, but as they progressed, confidence increased, conscious there is always something to refine. Practice and effort also extend beyond the lead singles, enhancing every performance included in their repertoire. “We prepare for the side tracks as well,” explains Junghwan. “Thanks to this, our musical spectrum has widened, and now, whatever genre comes to us, we can do it without fear. Our musical mentality has gotten really strong.”

The group’s sonic core has been molded with consistency by South Korean production teams like BOOMBASTIC and OUOW, who have worked with the group since their pre-debut days. They are the spine and masterminds behind the soundscape, but also mentors. Over email, music production team OUOW (which is composed of five members but only ESBEE, 9999 and Last.P worked on the ‘MOON’ series) tell Clash that revamping the musical identity of the trio was essential as they mature and forge their own path.

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According to record producer 9999, after ‘REMEMBER ME,’ they thoroughly discussed the new direction the group should take. “BDC members had the image of trainees from ‘Produce X 101,’ so we wanted to break away from the image of that time and show a clear concept and professionalism,” he says. “CEO Rhymer, the executive producer [and founder of Brand New Music], also agreed with us.” In concordance, songwriter ESBEE, who has collaborated with K-pop dynamos like MONSTA X and SEVENTEEN, says he pictured BDC making a return with an impactful concept. “The track that came out was ‘SHOOT THE MOON,’ which can be interpreted as ‘night migration’,” he says. “I wanted to show the members running toward high places like the moon in the sky.”

Diving a little bit more into how things work inside the recording studio, 9999 explains that sometimes he exchanges opinions with the group about what type of tracks they would like to present. He also highlighted Sihun’s ability to pen his own verses. “When we record the songs [for BDC’s albums], we often get [to use] rap lines that Sihun writes,” he says. “Sometimes, he brings in more attractive parts than the lines we worked on and we’re very surprised. He’s very passionate and we learn a lot.”

It is a given that songwriting and composing are skills that BDC continually nurture to expand their artistic prowess. Seongjun and Junghwan have mentioned in previous interviews they often work on crafting songs, and Sihun has seven writing credits registered in the Korea Music Copyright Association. Navigating this creative lane, BDC have one set goal in mind: “We would like to make an album [by ourselves] and then present it to our fans,” Junghwan says firmly, as Seongjun and Sihun nod in approval.

The concluding phase enters with BDC’s third EP, ‘THE INTERSECTION: CONTACT,’ released the first days of summer and fronted by the title track ‘MOONLIGHT.’ A brighter yet minimalistic approach to their lunar odyssey, the song arrays mesmeric synths from the ‘80s to capture the radiance of being in love with an accompanying music video that merges K-pop with surrealism.

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It was a novel concept that imbued the trio with uncertainty and excitement altogether, bearing in mind that it was different from their previous releases that leaned more towards sci-fi imagery. The nighttime scenarios and the grayscale color palettes turned into stand-up microphones, bright pastel colors and fedora hats. “When we first heard this track, we knew it was something we haven’t done so far,” says Junghwan. “Also, we thought that if we could make this stage happen, it would be so cool. We thought we could decorate the stage [similarly to] The Weeknd.” For Seongjun, “the choreography was the most difficult and [the singing because] the notes were really high,” but, he assures that even though each stage was a challenge “I was able to grow and improve myself.”

The time range to prepare was shorter — four months — in comparison to their previous comebacks and it was interspersed between short breaks, fan meetings, and performances on the South Korean music shows. As tiring as it sounds, the reward is always sizable and gaining recognition is an evergreen objective. “Since we are rookies, we need to [show] our performances and faces to the public as much as possible, so we had to make this comeback real quick,” says Sihun. “It was really hard, but we have enjoyed all these promotions [for ‘MOONLIGHT’] as well.”

A fair amount of narratives are complemented by thrilling epilogues that wind up established plotlines. On August 10, BDC also released the galvanic ‘MOON WALKER,’ a special single (with a pre-chorus that feels larger than life) that acts as the culmination of their musical trifecta. OUOW’s producer and lyricist Last.P explains that, since ‘THE INTERSECTION’ series depicts an extensive voyage to the moon, this epilogue is about arriving at the final destination. “It’s the development of starting to go to the moon together, running towards the moon, being immersed in the moonlight, and finally walking on the moon,” he says.

Sonically, Last.P also delineates that the first single ‘SHOOT THE MOON’ and ‘MOON WALKER’ are intentionally linked by having similar musical arrangements, encompassing the very essence of the lunar cycle and BDC. “We described the end as if it were back to the starting point,” he adds.“[‘MOON WALKER’] is another beginning.”

Just like the moon, BDC are in constant motion. Truth is, a new door has opened and future horizons are still unknown. However, before moving on to the next juncture, the trio expects to soar high with ‘MOON WALKER,’ and most importantly, they want to reassure their fandom FINE that they are always grateful and working hard to present the best version of themselves, both as individuals and artists. “I want this to become an opportunity for the public to be aware of our presence and get to know us more,” concludes Seongjun. “And, even though the ‘MOON’ series is coming to an end, I’m so thankful [to FINE] for their support and we’ll do our best to not make them regret liking us.”

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Words: Ivana E. Morales

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