Let’s talk about your music, though. You recently came back with a mini album, Pagsibol. The title track, “What?”, was very dark and hard-hitting. What was your favorite part of recording this project?
Pablo: When I first heard the songs with all the vocals and beats together. When I was composing the songs, I was just singing with the guitar and imagining what would happen when the group sang it fully. It’s amazing, I really get excited when I hear the dynamics in our voices on one song, all the variation.
Ken: We were covered in blankets to record some of the tracks!
Pablo: Yeah, we recorded two of the songs in my home, using blankets to control the reverberation in the room. When we recorded the chants, it was really fun. Once, when we were really loud, my neighbor shouted the lyrics of our song! [laughs] It’s really funny because they already got the melody and lyrics from us repeating and repeating and repeating.
A lot of your songs are very strong and dark. Will we ever see a cutesy concept from SB19?
Justin: We have some more bubbly concepts, and we are hoping our next song will be more cutesy and playful as well.
Stell: We’re open to doing that…
Writer’s note: I wondered if it might be a collaboration with Twice. They all cheered. “That would be a dream come true, wouldn’t it, Josh?” says Pablo. “I love them, especially Sana and Nayeon,” says Josh. To the camera, he gives a thumbs up. “See you soon, guys!” They all laugh.
There is an overwhelming amount of prejudice against Southeast Asian idols in the K-pop world, and in society at large. Do those instances affect you?
Pablo: Asian racism is present not just in other countries but in Asian countries as well. It’s really saddening. At first, we were really affected by the comments and hate speech, but we try to motivate each other that we’re doing the right thing, to keep pushing no matter what. We were actually able to make a song based off of [the hate]. As much as possible, we want to put lessons in our music and educate people with our music. So people can know racism and discrimination is a bad thing, and helping them realize those things are not okay.