RBW Entertainment’s K-pop boy band ONEUS embarked on their “Reach for Us” world tour on Jan. 12, starting at the Apollo Theater in New York.
The quintet will perform at 13 more stops along the way, spanning both North America and — for the first time ever — South America, with their last stop being Sao Paolo, Brazil, on February 15.
Their current tour coincides with the fourth anniversary of their debut on Jan. 9. In just four years, ONEUS have embarked on three tours and released two studio albums, one single album and eight EPs — the most recent of which, “Malus,” debuted at No. 1 on the Korean charts.
The “dark side” of ONEUS
ONEUS, composed of Seoho, Leedo, Keonhee, Hwanwoong and Xion, made time to chat with NextShark in a video interview in late December 2022 ahead of their tour.
“The title of our tour comes from a concept and lyric in our song ‘EDEN’ off of our ‘MALUS’ album,” Keonhee says as he explains the visual effects of the tour.
“It will really show the fans a dark side of ONEUS, but at the same time, warmth. Contrasts of opposite character and concepts for the tour. It’s going to be interesting for the fans to take a look at two great but different styles on the same stage,” he continues.
A tapestry of genres
Since their debut, ONEUS have become synonymous with the use of traditional Korean instrumentals, fashion and culture in their music videos and performances. They combine these elements with a tapestry of musical genres, from rock and trap to hip-hop, among others.
During previous tours, ONEUS have even riffed on their own discography with versions of their songs in different genres, such as a rock version of their hit track “Valkyrie.”
“We have a very long meeting as a group about which individual songs to remix,” Hwanwoong explains. “We think about the performance of the song first and foremost. How our fans will enjoy it, if it has powerful enough choreography. Then we consider what genres or styles we want for the song.”
“After the setlist is complete for the tour, it feels like those are our 20 children,” he continues. “Each song is very precious because of the deep consideration we put into each one.”
“As for a remix for this tour off of the ‘MALUS’ album, we would love to remix the title track ‘Same Scent,’” Keonhee adds. “We performed a traditional version of it on a very big music program in Korea. For the tour, I want to do a big orchestral version of the song.”
Their fans, TO MOON, can also expect a few other surprise performances. Seoho says their most powerful stage performance from their last tour was “No Diggity,” but this time around it will be a new, more powerful version. ONEUS have also planned a special stage performance featuring a song that everyone will know and can sing along to.
When asked about their first outing in South America, ONEUS express excitement at the prospect of meeting TO MOON there.
“It’s our first time in South America. Fans there have a reputation for being very passionate. I’m curious to see how they will react to our performances and if we can deliver something unexpected or something they have never experienced before,” Seoho says.
With the new year upon them, ONEUS also mention their fondest memories of 2022 and some goals for 2023.
“One of our proudest moments this past year was when we ranked No. 1 on a music program in Korea,” Seoho says. “Whenever I see the trophy, it feels like it came from the fans and that they helped us accomplish that amazing goal. That’s been one of our biggest goals in our career.”
“We try to dream big,” he continues. “For next year, one goal is to perform at even bigger venues so more fans can be a part of our tour. We also want to perform lots of ONEUS songs on U.S. television programs.”
The group expand on that thought by enthusiastically saying that they would love to do something for the Super Bowl or “The Late Late Show with James Corden” because they love Carpool Karaoke.
Speaking of karaoke, Keonhee says his favorite songs to sing along to are by South Korean singer-songwriter Crush. Seoho says he likes to sing “Stalker” by 10cm. Meanwhile, Leedo prefers “I Do” by Rain, and Xion says he doesn’t really sing at karaoke, opting instead to keep the beat with the tambourine. The group burst into laughter at Hwanwoong’s answer, the Korean karaoke classic “Emergency Room,” which their translator explains is a very old but popular track.