This year has been one for firsts for many artists, includingEPEX, one of K-pop’s newest fourth generation rookie groups to debut this year.
A combination of the words eight and apex (meaning the tip, point, or summit), EPEX’s name represents “the gathering of eight youths reaches eight different apexes.” These eight youths are members Wish, Keum, MU, A-Min, Baekseung, Ayden, Yewang, and Jeff. Together, they’ve amassed over 32 million views for their debut song “Lock Down” alone, all the while gaining a steady worldwide fanbase, who they’ve named ZENITH. With magnetic energy and songs to match, it’s no surprise that the group’s first comeback, Bipolar Pt.2: Prelude of Love, is so great.
Bipolar Pt.2: Prelude of Love follows EPEX’s first album, Bipolar Pt.1: Book of Anxiety, which touched upon the worries of being a teen and experiencing first loves. This new album however, finds the group delving further into the topic of love and its power on the album’s four versatile tracks. Lead single “Do 4 Me” is vibrant and funky, and its music video is filled with playful cat references and fun colors that set the tone of this very bright album.
Ahead of the release of Bipolar Pt.2: Prelude of Love, EPEX answered some questions for us about their new album, musical inspirations, future goals, and more.
Hi EPEX! It’s your very first comeback, congratulations! How does it feel to be releasing new music again?
Wish: Thank you for congratulating us on our comeback! It’s our first comeback since our debut, so we were very nervous and worried while preparing. However, as much as we practiced hard, the performance was perfected, so now, I want to show our music to the fans as soon as possible.
Can you tell us about your new album Bipolar Pt.2: Prelude of Love?
Wish: This album is leading to the major theme of the debut album Bipolar Pt.1: Book of Anxiety, which showed the beginning of anxiety in adolescence and precarious emotions. It contains complex emotions that you feel from the first things you love, such as someone of the opposite sex, dreams, and pets. It is an album with the message that love inevitably entails anxiety.
Keum: As it follows the debut album that made the name EPEX known for the first time in the world, I hope it will be an album that shows our stories and colors in depth.
The album’s title track “Do 4 Me” shows such a different side to the group. What message or feeling do you hope listeners take away from this song?
A-Min: “Do 4 Me” is a title that stands out with a funky and rhythmic groove. The lyrics also express the bold confession of a boy who fell in love with his first love. It emits very bright energy, so I think it’s a good song for anyone to enjoy lightly.
Yewang: We prepared a lot of exciting energy, so I hope the audience can feel the energy just by listening to the song.
Jeff: If you listen to the song and enjoy it with us, I think that’s the intention of this song will be well conveyed. As you listen to it, you will nod your head and get into the rhythm.
Do you have a favorite part from the “Do 4 Me” choreography?
Baekseung: I really like the dance in the highlight part of the song. It’s a dance named Gum Peeling Dance with the members. Please pay attention to his footsteps! It’s very attractive and I think it’s a dance that you will want to follow at least once.
MU: I like the choreography where the members gather around Yewang in the bridge part. Everyone raises their hands up and greets like a prince, and it feels unique and stable.
How was your experience making this album compared to your debut? Did you learn anything new or interesting throughout the process?
Yewang: I think I was able to think about a little more various things than before while preparing for Prelude of Love. Things like, “Should I try recording like this, this time?” and “How about making this expression on stage?” Since the debut album was the first album to reveal us to the world, I was much more nervous and didn’t have enough time to think about these things.
MU: “Do 4 Me” is a completely different song from our debut song “Lock Down,” so it was good to try to interpret the new concept. In the future, we want to show our appearance through various music such as dark songs, bright and energetic songs, sexy songs, soft and warm songs, etc.
Ayden: This album is also meaningful in that the members who have been mainly in charge of rapping tried to sing. I think it will be very helpful for future activities to experience various things, and not be limited to positions!
What are some of the members’ personal favorite b-sides from this era and why?
Wish: Of course, the title song “Do 4 Me” is good, so I’ll choose the answer to this question from the three b-side tracks. First of all, I like the first track, “Love Virus.” I like the melody. It goes well with the album Bipolar Pt.2: Prelude of Love.
A-Min: Donghyun, Yewang, and I like the 4th track “Traveller” the most. The lyrics are very warm, full of what I want to say to my fans. It goes well with the upcoming winter, so make sure to listen to it!
MU: For me, #3 “Breathtaking”! The recording process was easy and I like the choreography. I think it’s a song that can’t be easily forgotten once you listen to it like a coupling song.
Baekseung: Ayden, Jeff, and I also like “Breathtaking” the most. It’s a song with a different atmosphere, lyrics, and performance than “Do 4 Me,” so you can feel the unexpected charm of EPEX if you compare it with “Do 4 Me.”
Who are your biggest inspirations? Do you have any artists who inspired you to become idols?
Keum: From the time I dreamed of becoming an idol, I thought, “I should be a great singer!” by watching EXO’s Kai and SHINee’s Taemin sunbae. After becoming a trainee through a good opportunity, I learned a lot from CIX seniors in the same company, and I am still learning. Watching them pull off various concepts even before our debut, I wanted to grow up like our seniors.
Jeff: Me too! CIX sunbae! I usually listen to their songs a lot, but I think it’s amazing that all the songs are interpreted in their own colors. As the years go by, we want to become a great group that builds up albums with our own colors.
Yewang: I think I’m learning while watching the stages and activities of many seniors. We will continue to grow so that we can become a senior group to someone in the future.
As a group who debuted earlier this year, you’ve definitely experienced a lot. What has been your most unforgettable moment since debut?
Baekseung: I can’t forget the first time I was on the stage of a music show. For those who dreamed of becoming an idol, music shows are more precious than anything else. We hope that COVID-19 will be eased as soon as possible so that we can show more diverse music show stages to our fans.
Keum: I still have a clear memory of the first face-to-face fan signing event. The lovely and precious words that ZENITH said to us were very touching. When the situation gets better, I want to do as many fan signing events as possible.
Ayden: I remember being very excited on the first day of revealing your names. As it is a name that we have to call and remember for a long time to come, I was nervous even before it was released, but now I’m used to it more than anything else. I hope we can continue to call each other’s names for a long time.
What do you think is EPEX’s greatest strength as a group?
Keum: There’s something we usually say. “For EPEX, time is medicine!” It means that time really makes us a stronger and more powerful group like “medicine.” It would be nice to work quickly and speedily, but we are steadily growing by slowly increasing the time we focus — one hour, two hours to three hours, taking advantage of the time as medicine.
MU: It’s already gone from morning to night as we work together slowly and without rushing. I think this will be a big strength not only in the practice of the day but also in the future idol life. I’m confident that in one, two, three years, and the longer the activity period, the group will grow to a scary extent!
You guys have also uploaded many dance covers on your YouTube channel. What other kinds of content would you like to film in the future?
Wish: K-pop cover dances will continue to be filmed. There are so many cool seniors in the world, and there are so many diverse songs and performances. Whenever I practice cover dances, I feel like I’m preparing for a new stage, so I think I’m getting used to the tension.
A-Min: Along with the cover dance, I’m talking a lot with the members about how to show more diverse aspects of the performance. I think it would be good to record from the beginning of album preparation and dance practice until the performance is completed and make it into a single video. It would be very meaningful to see detailed processes gathered and completed.
Wish: I want to try a variety of active entertainment content! All the members love to use their bodies, and they are at their peak of play, so they are not picky.
Jeff: I want to go anywhere with the members. We usually have a lot of fun talking and playing together, so I think it can be content in itself.
Looking ahead, what kind of group would you like EPEX to be known as?
Keum: Speaking of activities, I hope we can be called a “group with no limits to performance.” I think we are in the beginning stage of building our own music based on various genres. Personally, I look forward to how much more complete performance we will be as a group. I hope that the fans who are watching us can look forward to it the same way.
Lastly, do you have any words you’d like to say to your fans who’ve been looking forward to this comeback?
Wish: Thank you for always loving us. Through “Do 4 Me,” we will show you how EPEX has grown a little bit by bit. So please watch until the end!
EPEX’s second album Bipolar Pt.2: Prelude of Love is out now.