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The song that Valorant inspired: eaJ’s ‘Friendly Fire’

In 2015, Sungjin, Jae, Young K, Wonpil, and Dowoon, debuted as Day6, a Korean band under JYP Entertainment. They were not the first of their kind, but the five-piece act was unique to an idol industry filled with multi-talented icons. They were not your typical performers but sure enough, with hits such as “Congratulations,” “You Were Beautiful,” and “Time of Our Life,” they would make their mark as one of the country’s most renowned vocalists and instrumentalists.

Unfortunately, in 2022, Jae Hyung Park officially left Day6, leaving the band without its lead guitarist and vocalist. The mini album, “The Book of Us: Negentropy” was his final project with them.

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Since then, Jae has adopted the moniker “eaJ” and pursued a solo career while being based in Los Angeles, California. He has released songs such as “Visions” and “Car Crash,” and has performed in various concerts and festivals around the world, including Head In The Clouds Manila back in 2022.

Now, eaJ has just released his latest track, “Friendly Fire” and is slated to return to Manila on Sept. 1 at the SM North Edsa Skydome for his first solo concert in the country. Here, we caught up with the soloist to chat about the new single, the upcoming tour, and how his time with Day6 has influenced his sound.

Your latest single is quite upbeat compared to some of your previous releases, which were slower in nature. Is there a shift in tone that you’re going after?

It wasn’t intentional. I was thinking about the same thing the other day. I have so much music that leans towards alternative, especially with my earlier releases. But recently, I feel like I’ve just gravitated more toward things that are leaning more on pop. But then again, with the next tracks after this one, they go back to alternative. So I don’t know, a little everywhere.


Regarding the song, I was listening to it the other day. When you got into the chorus, I was expecting the instrumental to go on a steady four-on-the-floor beat. Was it a creative decision not to go that way?

Mostly, what ends up happening is that we just feel out of the room. The way that I write is I just throw things. I never really have a game plan unless I come up with a concept. Especially melodically, rhythmically, production-wise, it’s usually what feels right on the spot. Once again it wasn’t intentional, but I mean, I’m glad you think it’s a little unorthodox. That’s a compliment to me for sure.

Can you tell me about the thought behind “Friendly Fire” and what it’s about in general?

The concept of “Friendly Fire” came up because Jorgen Odegard and I—the producer behind “Friendly Fire”—were really into Valorant then. I remember we were playing the day before. We were just talking about it and it somehow ended up becoming the song title. 

We also had help from an amazing writer in Sean Douglas and that’s how the song came together. We just threw things onto a piece of paper and threw things on to a track until it sounded and felt good. I feel really good about this song.


Photo by Lucas Mumm

What’s your rank currently?

I don’t really play anymore but I was Diamond 3 when I stopped. I really liked the game during COVID, but I just started losing time to play.

You once talked about “Mad” and referred to it as your most personal song yet. Where does “Friendly Fire” rank in that category?

Probably much less so. Though, I will say I’ve started to realize—the way that I write is we make the production of the instrumental and then I just throw ideas out until something feels good. I think I subconsciously write a lot about myself and previous experiences but just don’t know it.


Assuming you’ve had relationships fall apart due to friendly fire. How do you move on from that when it isn’t exactly fixable anymore?

I don’t know. I feel like that’s a part of the equation that I haven’t quite figured out.

As someone who listens to Day6 until now, there’s a similarity between this single and “Shoot Me” particularly with how words were becoming bullets and with how upbeat both are. Do you think that your experience with the band influenced your sound today?

For sure. I learned musically what I like and I developed a lot while I was a part of them. I definitely do give them a lot of credit for my inspirations and the way that I write. I was involved with a lot of that writing, especially “Shoot Me.” I could definitely see people seeing similarities.


How does it feel like to come to the Philippines this September? A lot of us are looking forward to the concert.

Me too. I don’t think we’ve sold tickets yet in the Philippines. But everywhere else, we’ve just been really happy with how the ticket sales are going. It feels like people have been waiting. I’m just happy to finally be able to reach back out and see all the people who are waiting for me. 

The team and I are trying to plan things, a few extra things here and there to try to make the most out of our trip and to really say thank you to the fans.


Photo by Lucas Mumm

Do you have anything to say to your fans here and what they can expect for the upcoming concert?

Thank you so much for waiting for me. It’s been a minute since I was able to go back for a headline show. The last show that I remember in the Philippines I believe was Head In The Clouds. But thank you so much for waiting. I’m really excited to go back and see everybody, especially because I’ve never done a solo show there. 

What they can expect is an interesting set with new songs as well as some favorites. And I would love it if people can come to some shows and just be ready to jump and have a great time.

Any future releases coming from you?

I’ve been going back to my rock roots a lot. Like you said, maybe my time with the band has made me realize that I really do like rock music. The melodies and the production that I look for and want are always in that genre, so expect some more of that. 


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