TOMORROW X TOGETHER On How Their New 'minisode1 : Blue Hour' EP Marks The Beginning Of A New Era


Photo Courtesy of Big Hit Entertainment


TOMORROW X TOGETHER On How Their New 'minisode1 : Blue Hour' EP Marks The Beginning Of A New Era caught up with TXT to discuss how they've "changed and grown" on their new EP and what it means to them to be one of the leading K-pop acts of the next generation

GRAMMYs/Oct 26, 2020 - 06:38 pm

If there's any music act that can capture the multifaceted nature of youth, it's TOMORROW X TOGETHER (TXT). From the minds of Big Hit Entertainment, the parent company behind the international breakout success of BTS, TXT emerged last year as the first group to debut under the company since 2013. With such large shoes to fill, TXT have refreshingly forged a path distinctly their own, finding a unique voice along the way. 

The five-piece K-pop group, composed of members SOOBIN, YEONJUN, BEOMGYU, TAEHYUN and HUENINGKAI, has since emerged as one of the biggest and most promising acts in K-pop—all in less than two years. They've won several accolades in Korea and abroad, topped the iTunes World Albums chart in 50 regions, received nominations for Best K-Pop act at the 2019 and 2020 MTV Video Music Awards, featured on the July 2020 cover of Teen Vogue and clutched the Radio Disney 2020 Song of the Summer title for their single, "Can't You See Me?" 

TXT debuted last year with The Dream Chapter series: The Dream Chapter: STAR, their debut EP, in March 2019; The Dream Chapter: Magic, their debut album, in October 2019; and the concluding The Dream Chapter: Eternity EP this past May. 

Their new five-track EP, minisode1 : Blue Hour, released today (Oct. 26), is the beginning of a new era for the group. A fitting next chapter, the EP dips into various genres new to TXT, including disco, dancehall, nu gaze, future R&B and pop-rock, while telling a story about boys who are forced to stand at the brink of the real world during the blue hour. 

Throughout Blue Hour, a sort of pitstop on their next journey, TXT expertly address the conflicts of reality and reflect on the current need for a pause in real life. The EP's title track, "Blue Hour," follows the footsteps of BTS' chart-topping disco hit, "Dynamite," colored with TXT's unique spin. The EP also includes the COVID-19 themed "We Lost The Summer," which has the creative touch of Charli XCX. The TXT boys also wrote lyrics for some of the songs on the EP, including "Ghosting" and "Wishlist," proving their artistic growth and telling an authentic story for teens facing the pandemic. The EP's last song, "Way Home," is a future R&B track showcasing the vocal ability of the group while emphasizing a need for companionship. caught up with TOMORROW X TOGETHER to discuss their new minisode1 : Blue Hour EP, how they created meaningful art despite the pandemic and what it means to them to be one of the leading K-pop acts of the next generation.

You guys are a youth-oriented group. As Gen Z artists, how do you aim to connect with audiences in a meaningful way?

HUENINGKAI: We've always actively tried to incorporate the thoughts and emotions that youth have into our music and lyrics. For example, our track "We Lost The Summer," from our newest EP, is about the loss of our daily and routine lives due to the COVID-19 pandemic. "Way Home" is about a boy's walk back home after school; the path feels off and even a little lonely in comparison to before, but he believes that as long as we remember one another, we will always be together no matter what. "Wishlist" is also quite relatable. It's about trying to figure out what gift to give to someone—someone very special. It can be a struggle if they don't let you know what it is they want. In such ways, we try to include a wide range of emotions and topics that are relevant for youths today, and we also try to stay connected with our fans by communicating these messages.

Blue Hour is the beginning of a new era now that you've closed off The Dream Chapter series, presenting the opportunity for new storylines and themes. What will stay consistent about TXT and what will change? What can we expect from this new era with Blue Hour?

SOOBIN: minisode1 : Blue Hour is our pitstop as we prepare to move onto our next series. It's about the feeling of unfamiliarity that can sometimes hit us all when our relationships with our friends undergo a change. What we've really tried to do through this EP was to deliver a story that only we can tell. It's our take on the experiences of unforeseen circumstances, such as the COVID-19 pandemic, and we have tried to tell it through our own sound and fresh energy.

BEOMGYU: You'll be able to see how much we've changed and grown as TOMORROW X TOGETHER by taking a look at the EP as a whole, but our choreography in particular. Our choreography used to be group-centric the majority of the time, but our newest performance actually includes solo dance sections for each member. We also had chances to work with dancers this time round, so it's all very new, refreshing and different. This EP dives into many genres and shows new and different sides of ourselves. I hope our fans, MOA, will like it!

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The members actively wrote lyrics on this release, which was created during the pandemic. What were your thoughts and hopes while creating this album under such unique circumstances? How was your process different?

HUENINGKAI: We tried to reflect the sentiments of the current times in this album. Our goal was to make music that was relevant and relatable for many. For example, "We Lost The Summer" is about teenagers who are experiencing a completely changed world due to the pandemic. Everyone has lost the old norms of their lives, and as we were wondering how we could represent such a circumstance, our producer, Bang Si-Hyuk, was actually the one who came up with the idea from "Arcade" by Han's Band, a song that pictures Korea's financial crisis in the late 90s from a young [person's] perspective.

YEONJUN: We've been participating with the album's creatives by writing lyrics from the beginning of this EP's cycle. Not every idea was adopted, but the process allowed us to key in more ideas and lyrics for the accompanying tracks. We all put in a lot of effort; I worked on the pop-rock track, "Wishlist," with HUENINGKAI and TAEHYUN.

TAEHYUN: I worked on "Wishlist" and also "Ghosting" with SOOBIN. The lyrics for "Ghosting" reflect the disoriented emotional state of a boy who has been detached and cut off from the world. I think that the experience of working on this track has made me feel more hunger for future song- and lyric-writing opportunities.

I noticed the lead single, "Blue Hour," is a disco-oriented track, and your labelmates BTS also released a successful disco-themed song, "Dynamite." What is the attraction to disco for TXT? Why do you think it is a fitting soundtrack for right now?

SOOBIN: Disco/retro is a universal trend right now, not just in music but in culture as a whole. The disco we interpreted through "Blue Hour" is very boyish and also refreshing, which makes it perfect for this album. We also think it'll be very easy to enjoy and relate to for a lot of people. 2020 is a different year for everyone. We think it's a time for bright and energetic music, and "Blue Hour" is hopefully the dose of joy and vigor we all need.

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The EP features five songs that include diverse genres such as dancehall, future R&B and pop-rock. Do you each have a favorite song on the EP? Which songs are you most excited to perform?

YEONJUN: "We Lost The Summer"!

SOOBIN: I would have to say our lead single, "Blue Hour."

BEOMGYU: My favorite is "Ghosting," but I am especially excited to perform "Blue Hour" because we get to utilize props and costumes, and we'll be working with many dancers.

TAEHYUN: We've worked on "Blue Hour" for a long time, so I am very attached to it. I can't wait!

HUENINGKAI: I've never tried disco before, so my choice is "Blue Hour." I am super excited to perform this song in particular because there are so many standout dance moves.

What genres are you interested in trying in the future?

YEONJUN: I'd like to work on more future R&B as well as rap and hip-hop.

SOOBIN: I want to try a cappella.

BEOMGYU: I think it'd be amazing to do some acoustic tracks.

TAEHYUN: I would say soul.

HUENINGKAI: Piano rock! I think it would be really cool to play the piano at a concert someday. 

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The visual elements of your music have always stood out, and this time we're seeing bright colors and homestyle photoshoots. What is the inspiration behind the styling for this comeback?

BEOMGYU: The goal for the visual aspects of this album was to reflect the development of the online space as our hub of communication and togetherness while physically being home. It's become much more natural now to meet people and spend time with one another online; it's a change in our culture and the definition of the "space" we share with our friends. The visual elements are intended to represent the happiness and joy that we can still feel when connected with one another through online and virtual spaces. The bright and vivid colors represent our personal spaces.

What do you hope fans gain from listening to this new album?

YEONJUN: Through our album, we wish to share with our fans hope and positive energy.

SOOBIN: Nothing but joy and happiness.

BEOMGYU: Above all, I want our fans to know that regardless of any distance that sets us apart, we are all connected heart-to-heart. I also hope that they'll be able to watch us and gain some energy.

TAEHYUN: It's about the times, so I hope they'll be able to listen to it and relate based on their own personal experiences. As for the title track, it's disco, so I hope they'll enjoy it.

HUENINGKAI: Everyone's going through a rough time, so I hope we can cheer up and uplift altogether. It's what I want most.

TOMORROW X TOGETHER | Photo Courtesy of Big Hit Entertainment

As a leading fourth-gen K-pop group in a world that is increasingly paying more attention to the genre, how do you think you stand out from others in the industry?

YEONJUN: We're always working very hard to show our best in every aspect. I think that our forte is that we work with a diverse range of genres and try to put on a perfect performance for each and every one. We also aim to show progress as artists with every project.

Dreams and youthful elements are fitting for right now as everyone would rather be in a dreamlike state. You guys have consistently incorporated these elements into your music and message. Why do you find these themes important for your music? 

YEONJUN: We are Gen Z artists, so we wanted to deal with emotions that our peers experience. "Dreams" and "youth" are key elements. Our Dream Chapter series dealt with stories of meeting friends for the first time, getting up to a bit of mischief together, as well as meeting conflicts with reality that tries to wedge apart our friendships. These stories are one continuous narrative of growth and change, which I hope has been and will continue to be relatable and comforting for fans and further audiences. It's what we strive for as artists: to grow and to be able to console and empathize.

TAEHYUN: We've always told our story in our albums. We've addressed concepts of dreams and youth in our albums because they're very important values and moments for anyone, including ourselves. We've told stories of being excited and making friends, dabbling together in a bit of teenage deviance and encountering a bit of discord within our friendships; thankfully, many people have let us know that they have had or were now undergoing similar situations. I think we've shown a lot of growth through our Dream Chapter series, and we really endeavor to grow further into artists who can provide understanding and consolation through music. Therefore, it was important for us to talk about the values that matter to us in our music. For us, that was dreams and youth.

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How have you guys been coping with not being able to tour or promote like usual? What have you been doing to make life better?

BEOMGYU: We've been putting our all into rehearsals for this EP because we really want to deliver quality music and performances to our fans. We've also tried our best to consistently stay in touch with our fans through Weverse and Twitter.

TAEHYUN: We participated in various performance opportunities such as KCON. They were all very memorable moments.

You guys debuted in 2019 and have since experienced success both in Korea and abroad. How have you grown as a group since your debut and how has your dynamic changed? What has been the most surprising thing about your journey so far? 

YEONJUN: I think I'm more relaxed and at ease on stage. I also like to think that I've matured a little in the way I think and carry myself.

SOOBIN: I can feel and recognize my own growth and can clearly see that our members are growing as well. It makes me proud.

BEOMGYU: I reckon the most surprising and amazing thing is that we have our fans, MOA: people who encourage and support us whenever, wherever.

TAEHYUN: The fact that we can share our music with and be loved by so many people in the world is something I'm still very thankful for and surprised at.

HUENINGKAI: Our lovely MOA have been so consistent with their love and support to us. I'm extremely grateful.

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What are your goals, both personally and professionally, for the future?

YEONJUN: Personally, I'd like to be able to share a mixtape or single that I've created from start to back. Professionally, I can't wait until the day we'll be able to host our own concert.

SOOBIN: I want to be someone whom my fans will be able to love and appreciate. As a person, I want to mature into a good adult.

BEOMGYU: I want to keep putting in my best efforts as I do now. I want to become an artist who can be a source of strength for somebody.

TAEHYUN: No matter how long it takes, I want TOMORROW X TOGETHER to become a great team that can mark down its name in K-pop history. Personally, I want to stay healthy and happy.

HUENINGKAI: Like YEONJUN, I'm also really eager for our first solo concert. In the future, I want to be able to go on a world tour and meet our MOA all over the world face-to-face.

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TXT, Blackpink, Aespa & More: Here Are All The K-Pop Tours And Events You Can Catch This Summer
K-pop girl group aespa

Photo: The Chosunilbo JNS/Imazins via Getty Images


TXT, Blackpink, Aespa & More: Here Are All The K-Pop Tours And Events You Can Catch This Summer

Whether you want to put your Head in the Clouds, free yourself at Outside Lands or be (re)born pink, plan out your summer with these K-pop events and tours in mind.

GRAMMYs/May 15, 2023 - 01:51 pm

2023 started off strong for K-pop events in the U.S. Household names like NCT 127, Kang Daniel, and Stray Kids all toured the country, while the Empire State Building was lit up in honor of TWICE's latest EP, Ready to Be. In April, BLACKPINK made history as the first K-pop group to headline Coachella, while  BTS' Suga (under the alias Agust D) began his first solo tour — the first out of all BTS members.

As summer starts to bloom, so do even more tours, festivals and conventions for lovers of Korean music and culture to rejoice. From mid-May to the end of August, almost every week will be busy with affairs that range from concerts by rising groups like WEi, to weekend-long celebrations like KCON, to trailblazing performances like Tomorrow X Together (TXT) headlining Lollapalooza, or aespa becoming the first K-pop group to play at New York’s Governors Ball.

To add some color to your summer, assembled a list of all the K-pop concerts and events happening in the next few months so you can enjoy the season at its fullest.


Suga: Agust D Tour

April 26 - May 17

The first BTS member to headline his own solo tour, Suga kicked off a string of performances in the U.S. on April 26 in Belmont Park, New York. The setlist included hits from his two mixtapes, August D and D-2, new tracks from his first solo studio album, D-Day, and even some BTS classics. Before heading to the Asian leg of the tour, Suga will play in Los Angeles and in Oakland, California.

Head in the Clouds Festival

Forest Hills, New York

May 20-21

88rising continues its mission of spreading the talents of Asian diaspora artists through their Head in the Clouds Festival. In addition to their usual Los Angeles edition, 2023 sees Head in the Clouds Festival expand to New York for the first time. The lineup includes returning acts such as DPR IAN and DPR LIVE, while K-pop sensation ITZY, global girl group XG, and rising rockstar LØREN will make their HITC debuts.

Tomorrow X Together (TXT): ACT : SWEET MIRAGE World Tour

May 5-27

Dazzling boy group Tomorrow X Together (TXT) grow bigger with each new release and their international tours follow suit. After last year’s ACT : LOVESICK, they return for a six-city stint in the U.S. with ACT : SWEET MIRAGE, kicking it off on May 5 in Charlotte, North Carolina. Members Soobin, Yeonjun, Beomgyu, Taehyun, and Huening Kai perform hits like "0x1=LOVESONG (I Know I Loved You)," "Good Boy Gone Bad" and their latest single, "Sugar Rush Ride."


May 16 - June 4

Vocal queens MAMAMOO will soon begin their first-ever U.S. tour. Hwasa, Solar, Moonbyul, and Wheein are set to perform in nine cities, starting with New York on May 16 and ending in Los Angeles on June 4. With almost a decade of classics under their belts, the quartet will likely perform songs such as "Um Oh Ah Yeh," solo songs by each member, and a slew of hits like "HIP" and "Egotistic."

WEi: PASSION World Tour

May 24-31

Boy group WEi also returns to the U.S. for their second world tour, PASSION. Each of its six members — Daehyeon, Donghan, Yongha, Yohan, Seokhwa, and Junseo — are known for competing in different survival shows, with Yohan finishing in first place on Mnet’s "Produce X 101" in 2019. Although Yohan himself will be absent from this tour due to conflicting schedules, the remaining quintet promises to have a blast from coast to coast.

Bang Yongguk: The Colors of Bang Yongguk US Tour

May 31 - June 16

As a singer/songwriter, record producer, and former leader of boy group B.A.P, Bang Yongguk is one of K-pop’s most wide-ranging artists. Through honest lyrics and a voice deeper than the Mariana Trench, Yongguk’s work is immediately identifiable and always innovative. After releasing a brand new album this month, The Colors of Love, he is set to perform 10 concerts across the U.S., beginning in Joliet, Illinois on May 31.



June 6 - July 3

Girl group TRI.BE have graced K-pop with effervescent singles and boundless energy since 2021, when they debuted with "Doom Doom Ta." This year, members Songsun, Kelly, Jinha, Hyunbin, Jia, Soeun, and Mire will embark on their first U.S. tour. The septet will play a massive round of 17 shows throughout the country, starting in Orlando, Florida and concluding in L.A.

aespa: Governors Ball Music Festival

June 10

In less than three years since their debut, aespa are already making history. The quartet — formed by Karina, Giselle, Winter, and Ningning — will be the first K-pop group to perform at NYC outdoor festival Governors Ball, held June 9-11. SM Entertainment’s latest girl group became known for their AI-filled lore that includes avatars and an avant-garde sound in the likes of popular singles "Next Level” and “Savage."

TWICE: 5th World Tour Ready to Be

June 10 - July 9

Unrelenting girl group TWICE return to the U.S. for their 5th World Tour Ready to Be. Named after their latest album, the performances will feature hits from their 8-year spanning discography, as well as solo performances from each of its nine members. After performances in Asia and Australia, they will kick off a 13-stop North American leg of the tour at the SoFi Stadium in Inglewood, California on June 10, and wrap it up at Truist Park in Atlanta on July 9.

CRAVITY: The First World Tour Masterpiece

June 16-25

Last year, rising boy group CRAVITY toured the U.S. as one of the representatives of KCON 2022 Rookies — a series of concerts organized by the All Things Hallyu festival with up-and-coming names in the industry. In 2023, the nine-member group are proving their growth as they headline their own tour through New York, Chicago, San Juan, Atlanta, Dallas, and Los Angeles.


JUST B: Otakon

July 28-30

Held in Washington, D.C., Otakon is the place to be for lovers of Asian pop culture. After bringing names like AleXa and PIXY last year, this year’s edition of the festival will bring rookie boy group JUST B — Lim Jimin, Geonu, Bain, JM, DY, and Sangwoo — for a performance and some VIP experiences to get to know them better.

Lee Youngji K-PLAY! FEST

San Mateo, California

July 29-30

Rapper Lee Youngji rose to fame by being the first woman to win survival shows "High School Rapper 3" and "Show Me the Money 11." However, she gathered an even bigger fandom through the YouTube variety show "My Alcohol Diary," where she invites other K-pop idols to her home for drinks and hilarious conversations. On July 30, she will headline the Bay Area edition of K-PLAY! FEST, the "first ever K-pop festival for fans, by fans." Besides spitting fiery bars, she will also do a hi-touch event, a fansign, and take some selfies with fans who purchase VIP packages.


Tomorrow X Together, NewJeans, DRP IAN, DPR LIVE: Lollapalooza


Aug. 3-6

After last year’s success with performances from Tomorrow x Together and BTS’ j-hope, the Lolla 2023 features even more K-pop. For the first time in history, TXT will headline the festival on August 5, while fellow labelmates and current sensation NewJeans will perform on Thursday, August 3. DPR IAN, 6 and DPR LIVE bring their R&B, rock, and rap fusion to the last day of the festival on Sunday.

(G)I-dle: I am FREE-TY World Tour

Aug. 4-17

K-pop’s resident tomboys will bring their flair and authenticity stateside. After last year’s Just Me ( )I-dle World Tour, the quintet formed by Soyeon, Miyeon, Minnie, Yuqi, and Shuhua will perform in six cities throughout the first half of August. In addition to their attitude-filled setlist, fans can expect new songs from their upcoming sixth EP, I Feel.

Head in the Clouds Festival

Pasadena, California

Aug. 5-6

After their New York edition in May, HITC heads to the West Coast for another weekend celebrating Asian talents. While the lineup is yet to be announced, fans can expect it to hold some of the names who performed in past editions, as well as exciting newcomers. HITC will happen at Brookside at the Rose Bowl on Aug. 5 and 6.


Aug. 12-26

Headlining Coachella in April wasn’t enough for the unstoppable girl group BLACKPINK. Jennie, Rosé, Lisa, and Jisoo have just announced four stadium concerts in August as an extension of their ongoing BORN PINK World Tour, which also included U.S. dates in 2022. The quartet will perform at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, N.J. on Aug. 12, then follow to Allegiant Stadium in Las Vegas, Oracle Park in San Francisco, and wrap it up at Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles on Aug. 26.

aespa: Outside Lands Music & Arts Festival

San Francisco

Aug. 11-13

Once again, the groundbreaking aespa hit the U.S. for another milestone: they will be the first K-pop group to perform at San Francisco’s Outside Lands. The quartet will play their futuristic set on Friday, August 11, along Kendrick Lamar, Janelle Monaé and WILLOW, among others.


Los Angeles

Aug. 18-20

Known as the largest Korean culture and music festival in North America, KCON has a decade-long legacy of serving as a bridge for "all things Hallyu." Held at the Los Angeles Convention Center and Arena, the festival includes a two-night concert, fan signings, food and merch stalls, panels with professionals in the industry, and many other attractions. KCON hasn’t announced its official lineup yet, but attendees can expect it to maintain the same excellence of past years.

Beyond Coachella: 10 Smaller Festivals Beloved For Their Homegrown Vibes & Huge Lineups

K-Pop Group Tomorrow X Together Open A New Chapter

Photo courtesy of HYBE


K-Pop Group Tomorrow X Together Open A New Chapter

On their new EP 'The Name Chapter: Temptation,' K-pop storytellers TXT usher in a new, adult era. spoke with all five members about turning the page, growing up and their goals for the year ahead.

GRAMMYs/Jan 27, 2023 - 04:18 pm

TOMORROW X TOGETHER aren’t your typical K-pop act — they’re worldbuilders. The five-member group brings intentionality to every song and music video, creating stories that fans can easily get lost in. A tribute to their storytelling abilities, TXT are beginning the year with The Name Chapter: Temptation, a new EP inspired by the story of Peter Pan set for release on Jan. 27.

Much like their Peter Pan influence, The Name Chapter shows TXT examining their impending adulthood with more than a hint of reticence. As they enter the new era, TXT turn up the heat and experimentation. The five-song EP employs previously unexplored genres like Afrobeats ("Tinnitus"), features rapper Coi Leray ("Happy Fools") and ends emphatically with "Farewell, Neverland." 

TXT's discography has followed a highly curated storyline since their debut as fresh-faced teens in 2019. Each release, or chapter, has reflected a different phase of youth and is filled with encouraging and uplifting messages. Their debut The Dream Chapter: Star chronicled TXT's journey of finding love and friendship. They bridged the gaps in between albums with "minisode" EPs, flexing their ability to adjust to their audiences’ needs and moods. Their 2020 EP minisode1: Blue Hour featured songs about the pandemic, while their 2022 minisode 2: Thursday’s Child EP explored romance in a darker way. TXT were more involved with the songwriting and production on the edgier The Chaos Chapter: Freeze and its repackage, The Chaos Chapter: Fight or Escape, released in 2021. 

TOMORROW X TOGETHER turned a new leaf in 2022, and set their sights on the U.S. In a whirlwind year, TXT collaborated on two English singles with rapper Iann Dior and singer Salem Ilese, embarked on their first world tour and were the first K-pop group to perform at Lollapalooza. They also became the only Korean artists (outside of labelmates BTS) to make the top 10 best selling albums list of 2022 with their EP minisode 2: Thursday’s Child

Throughout it all, they’ve dabbled in genres like R&B, rock, and disco, proving the complexity of their signature sound. In the spring, they’ll begin a world tour ACT: SWEET MIRAGE, and seem poised for further global domination. caught up with all five members of TXT — HUENINGKAI, BEOMGYU, TAEHYUN, YEONJUN, and SOOBIN — via Zoom to discuss their plans for 2023, the creation of a new narrative in The Name Chapter: Temptation, and how the rest of their story unfolds.

Last year was a big year for TXT. What did you learn in 2022 and what are your resolutions for this year?

SOOBIN: I was really grateful that so many people came to see us in Korea and even overseas.We want to continue to make good music and put on good performances with good people this year as well.

YEONJUN: I hope we can meet more fans and more people in even bigger venues. I feel more committed and more affectionate to my job even more.

The Name Chapter is a new series. How does it connect to The Dream Chapter and The Chaos Chapter?

TAEHYUN: So, our music contains this one story of growth and so we basically talk about the process of growth. So, in The Dream Chapter we talked about friendship, in The Chaos Chapter we talked about love and heartbreak, and we even went bad in our minisodes. 

And so, in this Name Chapter we are going to say farewell to Neverland and we know that we have to grow into adulthood. But we also talk about the thoughts and emotions of the youth, who just want to settle for now and do not want to grow up anymore.

HUENINGKAI: it is an album that contains our musical color and identity, and I think it is the most TXT-ish album ever.  So, it also contains our ambition to make a name for ourselves all across the globe.

What does the word "temptation" allude to?

BEOMGYU: So, it talks about how youth knows that they have to grow, but they [have]  this temptation where they just want to live the moment freely and not grow up.

SOOBIN: The title track talks about a boy who fell into this temptation. So, temptation might be really pleasing and fun but it's ephemeral, so it’s like a temptation of a devil. And since it is a very sweet temptation, we called it "Sugar Rush."

TAEHYUN: I think fans will love our performance because we expressed how we fall into the temptation. But also, how we try to tempt the others as well.

How did you guys contribute to the album and is there anything you’re most proud of?

BEOMGYU: For "Happy Fools," all the members contributed to the  writing and the lyrics are based on our own experiences. So, when MOA listens to the lyrics they will think Oh! So, these are the experiences of our boys! And also, Yeonjun wrote the top line in, which contains our team color really, really well.

What should fans pay attention to when listening or watching the music video?

TAEHYUN: I really want to emphasize this: The order of the tracks of this album is very, very important and meaningful. 

YEONJUN: The title track itself, [and] the songs themselves are really, really good. But I think the vibes are maximized when you watch the [music video] and the performance together with the music. So, I think the song is visually pleasing as well.

Were there any special collaborations on this album that you particularly enjoyed?

TAEHYUN: For “Happy Fools,” Coi Leray did a very, very wonderful job in rapping with her beautiful voice.

SOOBIN: It was very, very cute.

Do you guys have a favorite lyric from any of the songs on the album?

TAEHYUN: So, there’s these Korean lyrics in the song, “Tinnitus”: “Oh, just erase the star of rockstar. Just the rock.” I tried to express how I’m more of a rock than a rockstar. So, I thought that was a pretty fun wordplay.

Have there been any challenges that you’ve faced, either as a group or individuals, that have helped you become better artists?

BEOMGYU: When we first met, we were really, really different individuals. But as we got to know each other more and better, we got along. We became considerate to each other and we supported each other, which contributed us to become one team. Our different voices and our different charms bring us into being one team, too.

You guys have demonstrated a lot of versatility with previous releases with both youthful and more mature concepts. Is there any concept you haven’t tried that you would like to?

TAEHYUN: In “Tinnitus” we said “I’m not a rockstar quality,”but within just a few years we went to performed in big venues. So, I think it will be really fun to talk about the life of a rockstar.

For anyone new to TOMORROW X TOGETHER, what is important for them to know?

TAEHYUN:  I really want to tell them that we make really high-quality albums. And I think it is really cool that we tell stories [that continue] from album to album. So, I would just like to emphasize that we are such a cool team.

YEONJUN: Our songs are really great. So, I hope that many people listen to our songs and recognize us through our songs.

Is there any message you would like to give to your fans?

TAEHYUN: Soobin this is for you.

HUENINGKAI: Of course, some challenges will come your way. But I want to tell them you have to give it a try with courage. If you don’t start, you won’t know if you will succeed or not. But once you try you will think that this is doable, this is manageable. So, if you try you will ultimately overcome your limits and that’s the process of going one step further.

SOOBIN: We started our first world tour last year, but starting this year, we’re looking forward to touring with more countries, and putting on great performances at bigger stages for our fans around the world. We’re so excited to show our fans the fresh, new concept and performance from the upcoming album. Please look forward to it!

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A Guide To Modern Funk For The Dance Floor: L'Imperatrice, Shiro Schwarz, Franc Moody, Say She She & Moniquea
Franc Moody

Photo: Rachel Kupfer 


A Guide To Modern Funk For The Dance Floor: L'Imperatrice, Shiro Schwarz, Franc Moody, Say She She & Moniquea

James Brown changed the sound of popular music when he found the power of the one and unleashed the funk with "Papa's Got a Brand New Bag." Today, funk lives on in many forms, including these exciting bands from across the world.

GRAMMYs/Nov 25, 2022 - 04:23 pm

It's rare that a genre can be traced back to a single artist or group, but for funk, that was James Brown. The Godfather of Soul coined the phrase and style of playing known as "on the one," where the first downbeat is emphasized, instead of the typical second and fourth beats in pop, soul and other styles. As David Cheal eloquently explains, playing on the one "left space for phrases and riffs, often syncopated around the beat, creating an intricate, interlocking grid which could go on and on." You know a funky bassline when you hear it; its fat chords beg your body to get up and groove.

Brown's 1965 classic, "Papa's Got a Brand New Bag," became one of the first funk hits, and has been endlessly sampled and covered over the years, along with his other groovy tracks. Of course, many other funk acts followed in the '60s, and the genre thrived in the '70s and '80s as the disco craze came and went, and the originators of hip-hop and house music created new music from funk and disco's strong, flexible bones built for dancing.

Legendary funk bassist Bootsy Collins learned the power of the one from playing in Brown's band, and brought it to George Clinton, who created P-funk, an expansive, Afrofuturistic, psychedelic exploration of funk with his various bands and projects, including Parliament-Funkadelic. Both Collins and Clinton remain active and funkin', and have offered their timeless grooves to collabs with younger artists, including Kali Uchis, Silk Sonic, and Omar Apollo; and Kendrick Lamar, Flying Lotus, and Thundercat, respectively.

In the 1980s, electro-funk was born when artists like Afrika Bambaataa, Man Parrish, and Egyptian Lover began making futuristic beats with the Roland TR-808 drum machine — often with robotic vocals distorted through a talk box. A key distinguishing factor of electro-funk is a de-emphasis on vocals, with more phrases than choruses and verses. The sound influenced contemporaneous hip-hop, funk and electronica, along with acts around the globe, while current acts like Chromeo, DJ Stingray, and even Egyptian Lover himself keep electro-funk alive and well.

Today, funk lives in many places, with its heavy bass and syncopated grooves finding way into many nooks and crannies of music. There's nu-disco and boogie funk, nodding back to disco bands with soaring vocals and dance floor-designed instrumentation. G-funk continues to influence Los Angeles hip-hop, with innovative artists like Dam-Funk and Channel Tres bringing the funk and G-funk, into electro territory. Funk and disco-centered '70s revival is definitely having a moment, with acts like Ghost Funk Orchestra and Parcels, while its sparkly sprinklings can be heard in pop from Dua Lipa, Doja Cat, and, in full "Soul Train" character, Silk Sonic. There are also acts making dreamy, atmospheric music with a solid dose of funk, such as Khruangbin’s global sonic collage.

There are many bands that play heavily with funk, creating lush grooves designed to get you moving. Read on for a taste of five current modern funk and nu-disco artists making band-led uptempo funk built for the dance floor. Be sure to press play on the Spotify playlist above, and check out's playlist on Apple Music, Amazon Music and Pandora.

Say She She

Aptly self-described as "discodelic soul," Brooklyn-based seven-piece Say She She make dreamy, operatic funk, led by singer-songwriters Nya Gazelle Brown, Piya Malik and Sabrina Mileo Cunningham. Their '70s girl group-inspired vocal harmonies echo, sooth and enchant as they cover poignant topics with feminist flair.

While they’ve been active in the New York scene for a few years, they’ve gained wider acclaim for the irresistible music they began releasing this year, including their debut album, Prism. Their 2022 debut single "Forget Me Not" is an ode to ground-breaking New York art collective Guerilla Girls, and "Norma" is their protest anthem in response to the news that Roe vs. Wade could be (and was) overturned. The band name is a nod to funk legend Nile Rodgers, from the "Le freak, c'est chi" exclamation in Chic's legendary tune "Le Freak."


Moniquea's unique voice oozes confidence, yet invites you in to dance with her to the super funky boogie rhythms. The Pasadena, California artist was raised on funk music; her mom was in a cover band that would play classics like Aretha Franklin’s "Get It Right" and Gladys Knight’s "Love Overboard." Moniquea released her first boogie funk track at 20 and, in 2011, met local producer XL Middelton — a bonafide purveyor of funk. She's been a star artist on his MoFunk Records ever since, and they've collabed on countless tracks, channeling West Coast energy with a heavy dose of G-funk, sunny lyrics and upbeat, roller disco-ready rhythms.

Her latest release is an upbeat nod to classic West Coast funk, produced by Middleton, and follows her February 2022 groovy, collab-filled album, On Repeat.

Shiro Schwarz

Shiro Schwarz is a Mexico City-based duo, consisting of Pammela Rojas and Rafael Marfil, who helped establish a modern funk scene in the richly creative Mexican metropolis. On "Electrify" — originally released in 2016 on Fat Beats Records and reissued in 2021 by MoFunk — Shiro Schwarz's vocals playfully contrast each other, floating over an insistent, upbeat bassline and an '80s throwback electro-funk rhythm with synth flourishes.

Their music manages to be both nostalgic and futuristic — and impossible to sit still to. 2021 single "Be Kind" is sweet, mellow and groovy, perfect chic lounge funk. Shiro Schwarz’s latest track, the joyfully nostalgic "Hey DJ," is a collab with funkstress Saucy Lady and U-Key.


L'Impératrice (the empress in French) are a six-piece Parisian group serving an infectiously joyful blend of French pop, nu-disco, funk and psychedelia. Flore Benguigui's vocals are light and dreamy, yet commanding of your attention, while lyrics have a feminist touch.

During their energetic live sets, L'Impératrice members Charles de Boisseguin and Hagni Gwon (keys), David Gaugué (bass), Achille Trocellier (guitar), and Tom Daveau (drums) deliver extended instrumental jam sessions to expand and connect their music. Gaugué emphasizes the thick funky bass, and Benguigui jumps around the stage while sounding like an angel. L’Impératrice’s latest album, 2021’s Tako Tsubo, is a sunny, playful French disco journey.

Franc Moody

Franc Moody's bio fittingly describes their music as "a soul funk and cosmic disco sound." The London outfit was birthed by friends Ned Franc and Jon Moody in the early 2010s, when they were living together and throwing parties in North London's warehouse scene. In 2017, the group grew to six members, including singer and multi-instrumentalist Amber-Simone.

Their music feels at home with other electro-pop bands like fellow Londoners Jungle and Aussie act Parcels. While much of it is upbeat and euphoric, Franc Moody also dips into the more chilled, dreamy realm, such as the vibey, sultry title track from their recently released Into the Ether.

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Living Legends: Billy Idol On Survival, Revival & Breaking Out Of The Cage
Billy Idol

Photo: Steven Sebring


Living Legends: Billy Idol On Survival, Revival & Breaking Out Of The Cage

"One foot in the past and one foot into the future," Billy Idol says, describing his decade-spanning career in rock. "We’ve got the best of all possible worlds because that has been the modus operandi of Billy Idol."

GRAMMYs/Nov 25, 2022 - 04:19 pm

Living Legends is a series that spotlights icons in music still going strong today. This week, spoke with Billy Idol about his latest EP,  Cage, and continuing to rock through decades of changing tastes.

Billy Idol is a true rock 'n' roll survivor who has persevered through cultural shifts and personal struggles. While some may think of Idol solely for "Rebel Yell" and "White Wedding," the singer's musical influences span genres and many of his tunes are less turbo-charged than his '80s hits would belie.  

Idol first made a splash in the latter half of the '70s with the British punk band Generation X. In the '80s, he went on to a solo career combining rock, pop, and punk into a distinct sound that transformed him and his musical partner, guitarist Steve Stevens, into icons. They have racked up multiple GRAMMY nominations, in addition to one gold, one double platinum, and four platinum albums thanks to hits like "Cradle Of Love," "Flesh For Fantasy," and "Eyes Without A Face." 

But, unlike many legacy artists, Idol is anything but a relic. Billy continues to produce vital Idol music by collaborating with producers and songwriters — including Miley Cyrus — who share his forward-thinking vision. He will play a five-show Vegas residency in November, and filmmaker Jonas Akerlund is working on a documentary about Idol’s life. 

His latest release is Cage, the second in a trilogy of annual four-song EPs. The title track is a classic Billy Idol banger expressing the desire to free himself from personal constraints and live a better life. Other tracks on Cage incorporate metallic riffing and funky R&B grooves. 

Idol continues to reckon with his demons — they both grappled with addiction during the '80s — and the singer is open about those struggles on the record and the page. (Idol's 2014 memoir Dancing With Myself, details a 1990 motorcycle accident that nearly claimed a leg, and how becoming a father steered him to reject hard drugs. "Bitter Taste," from his last EP, The Roadside, reflects on surviving the accident.)

Although Idol and Stevens split in the late '80s — the skilled guitarist fronted Steve Stevens & The Atomic Playboys, and collaborated with Michael Jackson, Rick Ocasek, Vince Neil, and Harold Faltermeyer (on the GRAMMY-winning "Top Gun Anthem") —  their common history and shared musical bond has been undeniable. The duo reunited in 2001 for an episode of "VH1 Storytellers" and have been back in the saddle for two decades. Their union remains one of the strongest collaborations in rock 'n roll history.

While there is recognizable personnel and a distinguishable sound throughout a lot of his work, Billy Idol has always pushed himself to try different things. Idol discusses his musical journey, his desire to constantly move forward, and the strong connection that he shares with Stevens. 

Steve has said that you like to mix up a variety of styles, yet everyone assumes you're the "Rebel Yell"/"White Wedding" guy. But if they really listen to your catalog, it's vastly different.

Yeah, that's right. With someone like Steve Stevens, and then back in the day Keith Forsey producing... [Before that] Generation X actually did move around inside punk rock. We didn't stay doing just the Ramones two-minute music. We actually did a seven-minute song. [Laughs]. We did always mix things up. 

Then when I got into my solo career, that was the fun of it. With someone like Steve, I knew what he could do. I could see whatever we needed to do, we could nail it. The world was my oyster musically. 

"Cage" is a classic-sounding Billy Idol rocker, then "Running From The Ghost" is almost metal, like what the Devil's Playground album was like back in the mid-2000s. "Miss Nobody" comes out of nowhere with this pop/R&B flavor. What inspired that?

We really hadn't done anything like that since something like "Flesh For Fantasy" [which] had a bit of an R&B thing about it. Back in the early days of Billy Idol, "Hot In The City" and "Mony Mony" had girls [singing] on the backgrounds. 

We always had a bit of R&B really, so it was actually fun to revisit that. We just hadn't done anything really quite like that for a long time. That was one of the reasons to work with someone like Sam Hollander [for the song "Rita Hayworth"] on The Roadside. We knew we could go [with him] into an R&B world, and he's a great songwriter and producer. That's the fun of music really, trying out these things and seeing if you can make them stick. 

I listen to new music by veteran artists and debate that with some people. I'm sure you have those fans that want their nostalgia, and then there are some people who will embrace the newer stuff. Do you find it’s a challenge to reach people with new songs?

Obviously, what we're looking for is, how do we somehow have one foot in the past and one foot into the future? We’ve got the best of all possible worlds because that has been the modus operandi of Billy Idol. 

You want to do things that are true to you, and you don't just want to try and do things that you're seeing there in the charts today. I think that we're achieving it with things like "Running From The Ghost" and "Cage" on this new EP. I think we’re managing to do both in a way. 

Obviously, "Running From The Ghost" is about addiction, all the stuff that you went through, and in "Cage" you’re talking about  freeing yourself from a lot of personal shackles. Was there any one moment in your life that made you really thought I have to not let this weigh me down anymore?

I mean, things like the motorcycle accident I had, that was a bit of a wake up call way back. It was 32 years ago. But there were things like that, years ago, that gradually made me think about what I was doing with my life. I didn't want to ruin it, really. I didn't want to throw it away, and it made [me] be less cavalier. 

I had to say to myself, about the drugs and stuff, that I've been there and I've done it. There’s no point in carrying on doing it. You couldn't get any higher. You didn't want to throw your life away casually, and I was close to doing that. It took me a bit of time, but then gradually I was able to get control of myself to a certain extent [with] drugs and everything. And I think Steve's done the same thing. We're on a similar path really, which has been great because we're in the same boat in terms of lyrics and stuff. 

So a lot of things like that were wake up calls. Even having grandchildren and just watching my daughter enlarging her family and everything; it just makes you really positive about things and want to show a positive side to how you're feeling, about where you're going. We've lived with the demons so long, we've found a way to live with them. We found a way to be at peace with our demons, in a way. Maybe not completely, but certainly to where we’re enjoying what we do and excited about it.

[When writing] "Running From The Ghost" it was easy to go, what was the ghost for us? At one point, we were very drug addicted in the '80s. And Steve in particular is super sober [now]. I mean, I still vape pot and stuff. I don’t know how he’s doing it, but it’s incredible. All I want to be able to do is have a couple of glasses of wine at a restaurant or something. I can do that now.

I think working with people that are super talented, you just feel confident. That is a big reason why you open up and express yourself more because you feel comfortable with what's around you.

Did you watch Danny Boyle's recent Sex Pistols mini-series?

I did, yes.

You had a couple of cameos; well, an actor who portrayed you did. How did you react to it? How accurate do you think it was in portraying that particular time period?

I love Jonesy’s book, I thought his book was incredible. It's probably one of the best bio books really. It was incredible and so open. I was looking forward to that a lot.

It was as if [the show] kind of stayed with Steve [Jones’ memoir] about halfway through, and then departed from it. [John] Lydon, for instance, was never someone I ever saw acting out; he's more like that today. I never saw him do something like jump up in the room and run around going crazy. The only time I saw him ever do that was when they signed the recording deal with Virgin in front of Buckingham Palace. Whereas Sid Vicious was always acting out; he was always doing something in a horrible way or shouting at someone. I don't remember John being like that. I remember him being much more introverted.

But then I watched interviews with some of the actors about coming to grips with the parts they were playing. And they were saying, we knew punk rock happened but just didn't know any of the details. So I thought well, there you go. If ["Pistol" is]  informing a lot of people who wouldn't know anything about punk rock, maybe that's what's good about it.

Maybe down the road John Lydon will get the chance to do John's version of the Pistols story. Maybe someone will go a lot deeper into it and it won't be so surface. But maybe you needed this just to get people back in the flow.

We had punk and metal over here in the States, but it feels like England it was legitimately more dangerous. British society was much more rigid.

It never went [as] mega in America. It went big in England. It exploded when the Pistols did that interview with [TV host Bill] Grundy, that lorry truck driver put his boot through his own TV, and all the national papers had "the filth and the fury" [headlines].

We went from being unknown to being known overnight. We waited a year, Generation X. We even told them [record labels] no for nine months to a year. Every record company wanted their own punk rock group. So it went really mega in England, and it affected the whole country – the style, the fashions, everything. I mean, the Ramones were massive in England. Devo had a No. 1 song [in England] with "Satisfaction" in '77. Actually, Devo was as big as or bigger than the Pistols.

You were ahead of the pop-punk thing that happened in the late '90s, and a lot of it became tongue-in-cheek by then. It didn't have the same sense of rebelliousness as the original movement. It was more pop.

It had become a style. There was a famous book in England called Revolt Into Style — and that's what had happened, a revolt that turned into style which then they were able to duplicate in their own way. Even recently, Billie Joe [Armstrong] did his own version of "Gimme Some Truth," the Lennon song we covered way back in 1977.

When we initially were making [punk] music, it hadn't become accepted yet. It was still dangerous and turned into a style that people were used to. We were still breaking barriers.

You have a band called Generation Sex with Steve Jones and Paul Cook. I assume you all have an easier time playing Pistols and Gen X songs together now and not worrying about getting spit on like back in the '70s?

Yeah, definitely. When I got to America I told the group I was putting it together, "No one spits at the audience."

We had five years of being spat on [in the UK], and it was revolting. And they spat at you if they liked you. If they didn't like it they smashed your gear up. One night, I remember I saw blood on my T-shirt, and I think Joe Strummer got meningitis when spit went in his mouth.

You had to go through a lot to become successful, it wasn't like you just kind of got up there and did a couple of gigs. I don't think some young rock bands really get that today.

With punk going so mega in England, we definitely got a leg up. We still had a lot of work to get where we got to, and rightly so because you find out that you need to do that. A lot of groups in the old days would be together three to five years before they ever made a record, and that time is really important. In a way, what was great about punk rock for me was it was very much a learning period. I really learned a lot [about] recording music and being in a group and even writing songs.

Then when I came to America, it was a flow, really. I also really started to know what I wanted Billy Idol to be. It took me a little bit, but I kind of knew what I wanted Billy Idol to be. And even that took a while to let it marinate.

You and Miley Cyrus have developed a good working relationship in the last several years. How do you think her fans have responded to you, and your fans have responded to her?

I think they're into it. It's more the record company that she had didn't really get "Night Crawling"— it was one of the best songs on Plastic Hearts, and I don't think they understood that. They wanted to go with Dua Lipa, they wanted to go with the modern, young acts, and I don't think they realized that that song was resonating with her fans. Which is a shame really because, with Andrew Watt producing, it's a hit song.

But at the same time, I enjoyed doing it. It came out really good and it's very Billy Idol. In fact, I think it’s more Billy Idol than Miley Cyrus. I think it shows you where Andrew Watt was. He was excited about doing a Billy Idol track. She's fun to work with. She’s a really great person and she works at her singing — I watched her rehearsing for the Super Bowl performance she gave. She rehearsed all Saturday morning, all Saturday afternoon, and Sunday morning and it was that afternoon. I have to admire her fortitude. She really cares.

I remember when you went on "Viva La Bamback in 2005 and decided to give Bam Margera’s Lamborghini a new sunroof by taking a power saw to it. Did he own that car? Was that a rental?

I think it was his car.

Did he get over it later on?

He loved it. [Laughs] He’s got a wacky sense of humor. He’s fantastic, actually. I’m really sorry to see what he's been going through just lately. He's going through a lot, and I wish him the best. He's a fantastic person, and it's a shame that he's struggling so much with his addictions. I know what it's like. It's not easy.

Musically, what is the synergy like with you guys during the past 10 years, doing Kings and Queens of the Underground and this new stuff? What is your working relationship like now in this more sober, older, mature version of you two as opposed to what it was like back in the '80s?

In lots of ways it’s not so different because we always wrote the songs together, we always talked about what we're going to do together. It was just that we were getting high at the same time.We're just not getting [that way now] but we're doing all the same things.

We're still talking about things, still [planning] things:What are we going to do next? How are we going to find new people to work with? We want to find new producers. Let's be a little bit more timely about putting stuff out.That part of our relationship is the same, you know what I mean? That never got affected. We just happened to be overloading in the '80s.

The relationship’s… matured and it's carrying on being fruitful, and I think that's pretty amazing. Really, most people don't get to this place. Usually, they hate each other by now. [Laughs] We also give each other space. We're not stopping each other doing things outside of what we’re working on together. All of that enables us to carry on working together. I love and admire him. I respect him. He's been fantastic. I mean, just standing there on stage with him is always a treat. And he’s got an immensely great sense of humor. I think that's another reason why we can hang together after all this time because we've got the sense of humor to enable us to go forward.

There's a lot of fan reaction videos online, and I noticed a lot of younger women like "Rebel Yell" because, unlike a lot of other '80s alpha male rock tunes, you're talking about satisfying your lover.

It was about my girlfriend at the time, Perri Lister. It was about how great I thought she was, how much I was in love with her, and how great women are, how powerful they are.

It was a bit of a feminist anthem in a weird way. It was all about how relationships can free you and add a lot to your life. It was a cry of love, nothing to do with the Civil War or anything like that. Perri was a big part of my life, a big part of being Billy Idol. I wanted to write about it. I'm glad that's the effect.

Is there something you hope people get out of the songs you've been doing over the last 10 years? Do you find yourself putting out a message that keeps repeating?

Well, I suppose, if anything, is that you can come to terms with your life, you can keep a hold of it. You can work your dreams into reality in a way and, look, a million years later, still be enjoying it.

The only reason I'm singing about getting out of the cage is because I kicked out of the cage years ago. I joined Generation X when I said to my parents, "I'm leaving university, and I'm joining a punk rock group." And they didn't even know what a punk rock group was. Years ago, I’d write things for myself that put me on this path, so that maybe in 2022 I could sing something like "Cage" and be owning this territory and really having a good time. This is the life I wanted.

The original UK punk movement challenged societal norms. Despite all the craziness going on throughout the world, it seems like a lot of modern rock bands are afraid to do what you guys were doing. Do you think we'll see a shift in that?

Yeah.  Art usually reacts to things, so I would think eventually there will be a massive reaction to the pop music that’s taken over — the middle of the road music, and then this kind of right wing politics. There will be a massive reaction if there's not already one. I don’t know where it will come from exactly. You never know who's gonna do [it].

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