The wholesome sound of the K-pop boyband TO1 (@to1_offcl) has led to several reputable releases since their initial formation on MNET’s competition series To Be World Klass in 2019 and a substantial 2020 debut. Now, two years later, TO1 has undergone a fascinating reinvention of the group in both sound and roster – giving the down-to-earth collective a rare opportunity to respect their history while forging a brand new path. And from what we’re seeing so far, the group has recalibrated their passion to appease their current fans with the dual potential to entrance new listeners.
As of 2022, TO1 has officially gained three powerhouse members (DAIGO, RENTA, and YEO JEONG) to combine forces with pre-existing members (DONG GEON, CHAN, JI SU, JAE YUN, J.YOU, and KYUNG HO) for their recent comeback album Why Not??, a five-track showing of their bubbly direction with overt pop music appreciation. Through the title track “Drummin” TO1 dispenses their infectious enthusiasm, which has been viewed more than 10 million times to date, and perfectly embodying the synchronicity and prowess that long-term groups develop over several years.
Though, aside from the unforgettable title song “Drummin”, the album teases a full-fledged versatile relaunch with the dance track “BOOM POW” which gives them an impressive hip-hop-inspired edge before eventually transitioning to a warm and inviting addition by the name “What A Beautiful Day” to effectively balance the scale. To close out the sweet mini-album, the group opts for a city-pop-ish moment on “Sugar Shock” with a funky ‘70s nostalgic flair that might just be the biggest dark horse track TO1 has delivered in their career – then retrospectively concluding with “Butterflies”, an instrumental-charged moment with sheer vocal accuracy that impresses through and through.
As our new digital cover artists, TO1 participated in an exclusive photoshoot and spoke to us about Why Not??, the group’s new starting point, and much more in order to celebrate a successful comeback (though CHAN was unable to attend the photoshoot portion due to a prior commitment).
First and foremost, thank you so much for taking the time to be our new Vanity Teen digital cover group. I absolutely adore “Drummin’” which easily has the potential to become a fan-favorite TO1 song! Since “Drummin’” was a new starting point for this exciting group lineup, can you give us a little background on the track?
JAE YUN: Our title song “Drummin” is a funky dance song that compares the heartbeat to the drum beat, and it’s a song that makes my heart pound. You can see the different mischievous energies of the nine members!
For the newer additions to the group, congratulations on your phenomenal debut too! What has it been like to gain this talented and collaborative brotherhood of musicians?
YEO JEONG: It’s an honor to be part of a great group called TO1, and I was able to adapt well because the members took good care of me!
To the pre-existing members of TO1, what would you say these exceptional new additions bring to the group’s dynamic?
JAE YUN: DAIGO, RENTA, and YEO JEONG are as energetic as we are, so I think we were able to express the free-spirited mood on the stage of the title song “Drummin”!
What are some qualities that you’d say the pre-existing members contribute to this current lineup?
KYUNG HO: I am the subtle mood maker of the team during this promotion. I’m the type that usually stays quiet, but comes forward when I need to cheer someone up or give advice before a performance.
CHAN: I was in charge of adlibs (in the songs) for this album. I usually add a lot of adlibs, but if you watch ‘Drummin’s’ performance, you’ll see that I added a lot of chants.
Part of your album theme ‘Why Not??’ was paired with a message that anything is possible! With that optimistic approach in mind, what aspirations do you have for the group moving forward?
KYUNG HO: We want to be a group that can give positive energy to everyone who watches TO1’s performance!
Your new music video has also been watched over 10 million times, making it very popular with fans and new listeners! How would you say “Drummin’” accurately portrays the combined potential of TO1?
DONG GEON: I think this is the first song to show the musical mood that TO1 needs to move forward. We wanted to show a cheerful vibe through Drummin’, and I’m grateful that the energy was delivered to the listeners.
Were there any other b-sides that were debated as possible singles – or are there ones that you think were on-par as title track material? Or was “Drummin’” always the first choice?
DAIGO: It was always the title song to us without a doubt. Drummin’!
From the grittier dance beat behind “BOOM POW,” to the summer-like charm of “Sugar Shock,” the group gets to mix genres quite a bit on ‘Why Not??’. Are there any styles you didn’t get to pursue that you’d like to attempt with future comebacks?
JI SU: The style I want to try in the future is both a gentle and sexy concept!
Also, now that you’ve received recognition by peers, for various awards, and even charted on Gaon, what primary goals does TO1 want to pursue in the future?
DONG GEON: I think right now, it would be first place on a music show! We want to work even harder and get first place as a gift to our TOgether.
RENTA: I think it would be doing a solo dome tour in Korea and abroad!
Because you also share a dorm, what activities or hobbies have helped TO1 bond in recent months?
J.YOU: In this combination, under the unit name “Walkers”, we often work on music together or communicate with each other musically!
Lastly, do you have any last thoughts, feelings, or messages you’d like to convey to fans and Vanity Teen readers?
JAE YUN: Dear Vanity Teen readers! Hello, we’re TO1. It’s so nice to be able to say hello like this! Did you all listen to TO1’s 3rd mini album? We worked hard on each song thinking of our fans. I’m curious if all our efforts have all been delivered. We were able to meet many global fans through KCON 2022 LA and KCON 2022 US TOUR. There are also more offline events coming up, so I hope we have more opportunities to meet more often in the future. See you next time!
Make sure to check out the music video for “Drummin’” included above!