'Omega X will not give up': Boy band returns to share message of hope
Overwhelming emotions must have hit Omega X members as they spoke to the local media in Seoul on Tuesday, taking the spotlight for the first time in a year since they announced the termination of their contracts with Spire Entertainment, under which they reportedly suffered abuse.
Despite appearing in overly bright smiles, as if to assure the public that they were okay, their voices trembled several times as they responded to questions throughout the hour-long event, held in celebration of the group's comeback.
A year may be too short for the young members -- aged between 22 and 28 -- to recover from the violent behaviors of their former agency's ex-CEO, but the 11 members said they have returned to share hope to people who may be in similar situations.
"We've made it through many hardships, and it was possible because we did not give up. The 11 of us stuck together with the same goal and fought to find hope and our dreams, and this album is the result of such time," Hwichan said, adding, "We hope more people will be able to hear our voice and take courage from it."
The album, "iykyk," short for "if you know you know," marks the group's return in a year and five months since their last release, its first LP, "Story Written in Music," was released in June 2022.
"It's like, 'I know what you mean even if you don't say," Jaehan said about the album's name. "We packed the album with various genres from trendy hip-hop to modern rock, on top of the powerful performances we showed before. The members all contributed to the making of the five tracks, and you'll be able to see how much we've improved."
The album is led by "Junk Food," a sizzling trap hip-hop number with an intensely addictive melody. Members Junghoon, Hangyeom, Xen, Jaehan and Yechan wrote the lyrics together.
The four other side-tracks, "Louder, "Touch," "Hey!" and "Island," also credited the bandmates, with the lyrics of "Island" having been penned by the 11 members.
Such a vast contribution is something special even for Omega X, who have been attempting songwriting and lyrics-penning since their debut in June 2021, as it reflects their will to overcome a dark period through their biggest passion, music.
"We could come back because we had a shared trust. We spent much time making music together and communicated our minds through music. We became closer through the time and we hope more people could hear our story," Jaehan said, adding, "I feel such genuine heart at the base of their music is what makes Omega X more special."
The alleged violence by Spire Entertainment's ex-CEO caught the public's attention last October during the band's US tour, when a video spread showing the ex-CEO, known by her surname Kang, abusing the boys physically and verbally in Los Angeles. It was later reported that Kang had used violence against the boys for around a year.
Returning to Korea, the 11 members began a legal fight against the company and the alleged assaulter, winning the battle in January and receiving partial acceptance by the court for their injunction request to suspend their exclusive contracts.
Officially ending their contracts with Spire Entertainment in May, the members announced that all of them had inked contracts with local label IPQ, saying they will continue their journey as Omega X.
"A miracle," was how Yechan described their new start.
"There were times when we doubted whether we would ever be able to return to the stage as Omega X, and this album feels like a real miracle to us," Yechan said.
"The new album not only symbolizes a new start for us, but embodies our small yet sure joy," Xen said. "The music carries our efforts on the venture to discover happiness and freedom in face of the world's harsh standards. We won't give up on the path, so please root for us," he added.
Xen gulped down his tears several times that day. But his voice was firm and his message clear: Omega X will overcome and inspire people through music.
"Rather than being remembered as a pretty group, we hope fans can feel that we are a team that grows and lives alongside them. Just as the 11 of us gained courage by making music together, we hope our music empowers the listeners and makes them feel our story is their story," Xen said.
The team is set to launch a concert tour in the US and the South American regions, Hyuk revealed.
"When we come back to Korea, we'll make sure to meet our local fans, so please look forward to it," Hyuk added.
Omega X's third EP, "iykyk," came out Tuesday evening.