ArticleLee Heewon

Having grown up with music around him, BEOMGYU has since become an artist himself and takes on the role of DJ on his Weverse radio show, Beom’edio, to discuss his musical thoughts, feelings, and tastes with his listeners. You can tell how serious he takes music by how he carefully combs through lyrics to pick out songs that perfectly reflect the stories he hears from fans. BEOMGYU’s already been an idol for five years, but he’s still passionately exploring his musical side, looking to get better at playing guitar and writing songs. He lights up when he talks about the power of music, and wants to be the one to show people just how powerful it can be. As you’ll see below, BEOMGYU’s musical world keeps on growing up and outward.

A friendly, chill time with the host of Beom’edio
BEOMGYU: Hosting a radio show was always a small dream of mine. I wanted to hear stories from listeners and give me thoughts on them, talk about my own experiences—just chill like that. I was on a number of radio shows after debuting, both as a one-time guest and over a few episodes, and that led to me setting myself a goal to have my own radio show some day. I don’t put in a huge about of prep for the broadcast—just get excited thinking about the stories I’ll get to hear and think about what I should tell them. I’ve seen MOA worry about me before, like, Is something wrong with BEOMGYU today? He looks a little down today. But it’s not like that—never. (laughs) I’m always pretty quiet when I’m not working on camera and even more so when the other members aren’t around. I keep reminding the fans that keeping things chill and low-key works nicely for me.

Choosing songs for MOA after a long, hard day
BEOMGYU: I read people’s stories, look up lines from songs that have made me feel better in the past, and try to pick out the song that matches best to play. I recommend these songs to MOA after they’ve had a long, hard day in hopes that it’ll be a good way to bring it to a close. Sometimes just a single little song can be a huge source of relief after a really tough day, you know? And I really love hearing people talk about their lives. When I recorded the third episode of Beom’edio for my birthday, there were a lot of stories about birthday traditions I forgot about but that I’m sure I used to do, like eating seaweed soup. And I remember there was someone who talked about how they turned things around and wrote their parents a letter on their own birthday and their mom cried while reading it. I learn things from reading MOA’s stories and get wrapped up in their emotions, which I feel like gives me more emotional depth.

The feel-good beauty of comforting indie music
BEOMGYU: When I was a trainee, I listened to “Photograph” by offonoff a lot, and practiced singing it, too. I would listen to it at night when I was alone and that helped calm me down. I really loved that. That’s when I started really getting into indie music. I still listen to it today. To me, indie music feels like it’s either really poetic or really straightforward. When I’m listening to music, or when I’m writing my own lyrics, I like a song where the words alone can make you feel better, even without any melody. A lot of the songs that gave me support when I felt anxious or down were indie songs, so I listened to a lot of them. That’s why I play indie music for MOA so often on Beom’edio.

Heo Hoy Kyung’s cover of “Anti-Romantic”
BEOMGYU: I said on Beom’edio before how “I think the power of music is amazing.” When I experience emotional uncertainty, I really rely on the power of music. It can be especially tough being in unfamiliar places when traveling abroad. So, before I get on a plane or go up on stage, I need some alone time. And in times like that, I always listen to Heo Hoy Kyung. I was so happy when I saw recently that Heo Hoy Kyung sang a TOMORROW X TOGETHER song on Lee Hyori’s Red Carpet and talked about me. (laughs) She sang “Anti-Romantic,” and that song means a lot to me because I worked really hard on the lyrics and I feel emotional whenever I perform it. I was with my parents when she covered it, and I kept bragging and showing it to them. I listened to her cover on repeat until I fell asleep. (laughs) If I ever get to cover one of her songs, I’d like to try doing “So life goes on”!

Songs that bring BEOMGYU back to a special time
BEOMGYU: My taste in music is heavily influenced by what I listened to with my dad when I was young—listening to ABBA songs like “Dancing Queen” and “I Do, I Do, I Do, I Do, I Do” early in the morning, or “Piano Man” by Billy Joel. Even now, whenever I listen to ABBA, I still picture waking up at three or four in the morning with my dad and driving to Taebaek. And my mom used to play IU’s album A Flower Bookmark on a speaker every morning. Whenever I hear songs from that album, I think about the times I woke up rubbing my eyes. That’s part of the reason why I bought a copy on vinyl. Sure, you can just listen to music, but it also makes memories last longer, you know? It makes them memorable. That’s what makes music so special.

BEOMGYU’s approach to songwriting
BEOMGYU: When I write a song, I always, always, always draw on personal experience. When I go to write a song, if I can look at what it’s about and relate to it and go, I’ve thought that before, or, I’ve dealt with this before, then I can get really into writing about it, but I don’t really write about things I haven’t personally experienced. I don’t feel really confident about writing about emotions I haven’t personally felt. Everyone has their own approach to writing songs; this is just the style that’s worked for me so far. I don’t sit down to write songs—I’ll just be walking along or washing my hands in the bathroom when suddenly an idea hits me and I make a quick note on my phone or hum the melody and record it. I try to take my thoughts and feelings about my experiences and turn them into songs.

What BEOMGYU wants to preserve through his music
BEOMGYU: It feels like lots of people are so busy living their lives that they completely miss out on the things right in front of them. Even me: Until just recently, I was so involved in the things I’m working on that I never properly got in touch with my parents or with my friends. But then, this year, I realized something. I’ve been in Seoul for something like seven or eight years now, and I feel like I’m missing out on so much. I need to look around myself more and take better care of the people around me. There’s a song by LANY about parents called “if this is the last time.” We always think of our moms and dads as these strong superheroes who always win in the end, but at some point you realize they’re getting older. I go down to Daegu once a year to see my parents, and every time I do and I see they’ve gotten a bit older, it really hurts to think about—because, even though everybody gets older, I wasn’t there to watch it happen and I couldn’t pay enough attention. And I want to preserve this realization I made earlier this year by writing a song about it.

A growing appreciation for “Skipping Stones”
BEOMGYU: In a previous Weverse Magazine interview, I mentioned that “Skipping Stones” really lets me show off my vocals, but to be honest, I wasn’t confident about that from the start. When I heard we were going to have an indie song, I had no idea it was going to sound like that. It felt all new. It didn’t sound like what I’m used to hearing from indie. But SOOBIN absolutely loved it. That’s when I realized how many different styles there are within indie, and over time, I really came to love it.  And it sounded even better with our vocals. My vocal parts were higher than I usually sing, and it feels like the way I pushed myself to sing it actually brings out the emotion better. It doesn’t normally feel so emotional if the singer can effortlessly hit those high notes. (laughs)

Songwriting always begins with a guitar
BEOMGYU: Guitar is one of those things I can never leave out of my music. And actually, every time I write a song, it always begins with the guitar. I honestly think songs without guitar in them feel flat. (laughs) There’s something comforting about an acoustic guitar—and electric guitars make you feel energetic. I’m still looking into guitar lessons, too. I’d love to keep taking lessons, but it’s hard to find time with all the promoting and touring, unfortunately. But I fell even more for the electric guitar while practicing the song “Wonder” for the latest concert. Learning to play electric guitar better would vastly widen the spectrum of music I could write, not to mention my ability to express those things on stage. I want to get better so that I have more to offer. Practicing guitar empties my head of distraction and instead fills it up with determination. (laughs) Like, I gotta do this.

Packing five years into minisode 3: TOMORROW
BEOMGYU: Preparing for this comeback was the busiest we’ve ever been, without question. (laughs) All I was thinking about while recording the vocals was, I really have to do a good job here. I just thought, the better I do it, the better the message gets across. “Quarter Life” was the song off the album that most closely aligned with my tastes at first, but now I’m loving “Miracle” the most. “Quarter Life” is a unit track with Kai, TAEHYUN, and me, all of who love the sound of rock music, so we were extremely excited to try something like this. I actually thought about doing rock music with Kai all the time, and I wanted to do it with TAEHYUN too because he has such an amazing voice with a wide vocal range.

Shared tastes in music among the group members
BEOMGYU: SOOBIN likes indie music, too, so he recommends a lot of songs to me. He’ll send me, like, three songs and then two days later come ask me, “Did you listen?!” But the truth is, I don’t always check them out right away. (laughs) If I say, “No yet,” he pushes me, like, “Just listen already! Listen to them right now!” (laughs) SOOBIN’s really broadened my taste in indie. Sometimes when I’m with him and see how he listens to music, I think, Wow—this guy really loves his indie. Of all the songs he’s sent me, my favorite was Kim Hyunchang’s song “Nothing but Morning,” which I talked about on Beom’edio. I think Kai and I click musically too. Both of us used to play instruments and we love rock music.

Speaking up through indie music
BEOMGYU: I’ve mentioned before that I have a personal goal where “I hope I can engage in indie music in the future.” While I do work on and put a lot of thought into TOMORROW X TOGETHER’s music, I’m also constantly thinking about what my music is like. So, when I have a little more time and my skill levels improve a bit, I want to think about what kind of music it is I truly want to do and try to write my own music. Learning guitar is another part of that dream. Those songs you hear where they play the guitar and softly, softly sing about the things they want to say, and they make you feel good? That’s the kind of music I want to make. Music that says what I want to say.

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