BALMING TIGER ON COLLABING WITH BTS’ RM, CREATIVE EXPERIMENTATION & SEXY NUKIM
Balming Tiger are doing something different in the K-pop space: comprising a collective of director San Yawn, rapper Omega Sapien, DJ Abyss, music video directors Jan’Qui and Leesuho, singer-songwriters Sogumm, Wnjn, and Mudd the Student, and editor Henson.
After a slew of successful singles which, as they proclaim, aim to show the world ‘asian sexy and asian cool’, the collective is back with their latest project, SEXY NUKIM, which enlists none other than BTS’ RM as their first non-collective feature. Post dropping the track, we caught up with them to talk all things creative processes, favourite lyrics and the importance of synergy.
Hey Balming Tiger! What’s the best thing about working in a collective?
Since we already collaborate in various fields internally, we can consider that we can collaborate on our own.
Where does the name come from?
It’s inspired by Tiger Balm! I thought it was a good mix of being a familiar point of reference from East and West. Like this, I wanted us to enter people’s daily lives regardless of country and generation.
What’s your favourite lyric from SEXY NUKIM?
“We keep it one and the only” – this was written by RM, not one of our members, but I think it is the lyric that best expresses our goal.
What about your favourite lyric from your entire discography?
“말해 뭐해 텔레파시(No need for words, just telepathy)”, or “Maybe you wanna be fresh”. It seems to be a direct expression of what we want, and what we feel between us.
Where’s the best spot to hit up in Toronto?
There’s a walnut cake spot in Koreatown that I really love, and a pizza place that always has a line and runs out of pizza by like 6 o’clock every day. I mostly stay home though.
Talk to us about your recent project, the Pareidolia Catalogue, which houses a whopping 126 tracks. How did it come to be and were there originally more than 126?!
I was buying a lot of pedals and stuff during the lockdown and started screwing around making little loops. I hadn’t initially intended on sharing them like this, but grew quite fond of them as a whole piece and figured I might as well share it. this is every single one that i made, no item left behind.
Your music places emphasis on being enjoyed in its full form: how important is appreciating the whole project as opposed to pushing a single for you?
I guess I grew up listening to whole albums, so my work flows in that way naturally. i always get stressed choosing songs to release as singles leading up to an album release, it feels like taking a kid away from their siblings or something.
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How do you approach creating a new project?
Each project has a different production process. We experiment in many ways, and we are likely to continue to experiment in the future. There are times when our director, San Yawn, plans first, but there have also been times when it starts with some of the other members. Of course, in the process, everyone has strong opinions on what will make each project the best!
Your music and shows are always high-energy. How do you prepare for them?
Preparation is important, but it seems that the synergy that comes out when we are together is more important, as opposed to our individual energy when we perform. We seem to have high-energy as a natural synergy when performing, because all our members love each other so much! Receive trust, and give faith!
Who (or what) are some of your main forms of inspiration?
It’s different for each member. However, the people around us inspire each other the most. It seems that not only the relationship between the members, but also the inspiration that all the members get from their personal relationships is great.
So, what’s the 5 year plan?
We want to continue to challenge and explore various forms of art beyond music and visuals. We’ll definitely be creating something new in five years, but we haven’t exactly planned what it’ll be like. We are only heading there with a big, abstract vision.
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Lastly, name 5 tracks you’re loving right now and why?
– Cajmere – Percolator (Gant-Man Jukeolator) / Recently, I heard it for the first time at a private music bar in Shinjuku run by someone we know. It’s energetic music that vividly reminds me of the scenery at that time.
– 250 – It was all a dream. I actually wasn’t that into this when I first heard it, at the time of release. But I was very impressed when I happened to see the 250 album production documentary and listened to it again.
– Rosalia – LA FAMA(Live en el Palau Sant Jordi). This is the only live version of Rosalia’s deluxe album. If you hear it, you’ll know why we chose it.
– Lil Texas – Turn The Volume Up. This is Omega Sapien’s favourite music as of late. If you are curious about his inner world, give it a listen.
– New Jeans – Attention. We’ve all been talking about this song over the past month or two – more so than any other. All of our members are absorbed in its charm.