ONE N’ ONLY Talk New Single ‘Good Day,’ Thriving on Praise & More: Interview

Japan-based boy band ONE N’ ONLY — consisting of members EIKU, TETTA, REI, HAYATO, KENSHIN, and NAOYA — recently digitally dropped its bouncy new single “Good Day.” The six-member dance and vocal unit has been steadily expanding its global fanbase, particularly in Asian and South American countries, through their unique style of music they’ve coined “JK-pop” that blends the best qualities from both genres.

Billboard Japan caught up with the members for the first time since they performed in front of their fans in Brazil at the end of July. The members chat about “Good Day” and share their thoughts on the danceable tune, plus give away some behind-the-scenes details about its recording and choreography in this latest interview.

You recently released your new song “Good Day.” Could you tell us a bit about this cheerful, uplifting number?

NAOYA: It’s like we’ve added another track to our repertoire of cheerful numbers such as “Video Chat,” “LUCKY” and “HOLIDAY.” “Good Day” is a song that really looks great performed live and can be presented in a different way from the other songs I just mentioned. It’s just a lot of fun to dance to. It brings out the members’ genuine expressions. It’s also unusual in that it starts and ends with the A melody (first verse). I’m pretty sure it’ll becomeone of our signature songs in the future. 

It’s very addictive.

REI: Yes, it is. I think it’s a song that really goes straight into people’s hearts. I want it to be the kind of tune where people think, “Yes!” when they hear the intro at a concert.

EIKU: I really like the choreography of the chorus. The part where the members dance facing each other just makes me smile, and I tried to make the song feel fresh and spontaneous in my own way when we recorded it. 

You make eye contact one-on-one?

KENSHIN:  We do, a lot!

NAOYA: I’m on the outermost end of the formation, so I get to make eye contact with KENSHIN, then look other way and make eye contact with SWAG [the group’s fans]. It’s one of the fun parts of the song, so I’m looking forward to performing it live as much as we can.

How do you feel when you face each other individually like that?

KENSHIN: It cheers me up! I love seeing the other members faces close up like that. But when I make eye contact with EIKU, I always crack up.

EIKU: He twitches his eyebrows. He tries to make me laugh.

KENSHIN: I also make eye contact with NAOYA, and he looks at me like, “How’s this?” [Laughs] We goof off like that, so fans are encouraged to look out for those moments.

REI: HAYATO is over there looking like he has nothing to do with this conversation, but he’s the one who makes the weirdest expressions.

HAYATO: I don’t deny it. [Laughs]

TETTA, anything you want to add about the track?

TETTA:  I really like the A melody(first verse) too. Actually, I heard that our choreographer came up with the dance for this part by imagining me dancing to it. The soft spot I have for this part has grown even more after hearing that. Besides, the choreographer praises me every time I dance to it.

KENSHIN: We all tend to thrive on praise.

TETTA: Yeah! Praise us! 

Do you all often praise each other? 

REI: We often praise TETTA after he finishes singing. Also, HAYATO’s rapping is really awesome. I was surprised at how much he evolved during the fall tour. But in Sapporo, he called SWAG “twag.” [Laughs]

HAYATO: I did my best to pretend it didn’t happen. [Laughs] That was my first time performing a solo on stage, and since it was my own idea, I was still sort of pondering what to do. That was part of the reason why I got nervous onstage and blurted out “twag.” It was pretty vexing so I was super careful during the rest of the performance. [Laughs]

KENSHIN: No, you really did better with each performance. The final was even more amazing with the added emotion.

REI: You’re always quick to praise, KENSHIN.

TETTA: The momentwe finished “STARLIGHT~Mirai no Tobira~,” you came over to tell me it was great and it made me so happy.

KENSHIN: I can’t hide my feelings. I want to communicate my thoughts every time.

Getting back to the subject, HAYATO, tell us your favorite part of this song.

HAYATO: I like the part where REI sings, “Life goes on, risou o koete (beyond ideals).” His voice matches and it feels so good. It really does go “beyond the ideal.” I’d like everyone to listen carefully to that part along with the lyrics.

REI: Sweet. You pointed out what I was aiming for! Actually, that part is deliberate and I’m singing at full volume while staying relaxed.

HAYATO: So that’s why it feels “beyond the ideal”! After that, you tighten it up with “ready.”

REI: Thanks for saying all that. [Laughs]

HAYATO: The cadenced way you handle the ending of each line is really cool, too.

REI: I learned that from TETTA.

Did you decide who sings which parts by yourselves?

TETTA: The writer of the song had all the parts laid out at first, but we discussed things among ourselves and changed it while were recording it.

REI: My part we spoke about just now used to be EIKU’s at first, right?

EIKU: Yeah. But REI’s voice fits better, and since I’m in charge of the beginning of the chorus, it’s better to have someone else do it. REI’s voice adds a really nice touch to the song.

KENSHIN: It turned out really well. It’s really great because EIKU’s chorus brims with encouragement and respect for those who live and work hard every day, and it can be interpreted as us saying, “Let’s keep on growing together from now on.” It’s heartening and uplifting so I recommend listening to it in the morning.

NAOYA: First thing in the morning is good.

KENSHIN: Recently I’ve been challenging myself to play this song the moment I wake up and get ready to leave the house during the three minutes it takes to finish. Everyone should give it a try!

NAOYA: That sounds pretty thrilling. [Laughs]

This interview by Kana Yoshida first appeared on Billboard Japan.

Katie Atkinson