Singer-songwriter Crush is back with a new single after releasing his last studio album, From Midnight to Sunrise, five months ago. The South Korean musician, who is known for being inspired by things in ordinary life such as the Han River at dawn or his pet dogs, focuses on the theme of “home” for his newest project, titled Homemade.
New singles will be released back-to-back, the first of which is “Mayday,” out today (May 21). The new song has been long anticipated by fans, especially since the announcement that Joy from Red Velvet would be the featured artist. Fans became even more curious when cute selfies of the two artists together appeared on both of their Instagram accounts, accompanied by comments on how lucky they were to collaborate with each other.
A teaser for the not-so-refined and more realistic style of the music video added to fans’ expectations. A day before his new release dropped, Crush sat down to speak with Billboard Korea to talk about the Homemade series and his collaboration with Joy.
Billboard: We’ve all been experiencing limitations on our usual activities for a while because of COVID-19. How have you been passing time?
Crush: I’ve been spending most of my time at home — working on my music, spending time with my dogs, Rose and Doyou — and making videos myself, that sort of things. [laughs]
I heard the album Homemade is going to be released in a series. Can you tell us about its concept?
It’s literally a series of music that’s homemade, and its first single is called “Mayday” (feat. Joy). I got the idea for the song from looking at myself pondering at home. It’s got the stylish hip-hop and trap beats with soft melody, and it really highlights the unique voice Joy has. The rest of the series also features very interesting and unique styles, so I hope you all like it.
What does “home” mean to you?
It means a number of different things. For me, home can be a very personal and cozy place to relax. It can be a workspace where I constantly contemplate and ponder about music. Since I’ve got to spend more time at home lately, I’ve been able to plan and produce my music at home. That’s how I came up with the title for my new project, Homemade.
You’ve been posting “Homemade Recipe” videos on YouTube. Are they like a sequel to the Homemade series?
They’re more like a prelude to the Homemade series. There’s the music, videos and images that make up this whole series, but “Homemade Recipe” was the first to have the grand introduction. I think it’s helped solidify the concept of this project.
Joy’s participation in your new song has been widely anticipated ever since the news broke. Tell us how you two got together.
I’ve always been a massive fan of Red Velvet. [laughs] Since I started working on “Mayday,” the idea of adding a female vocal has always been at the back of my mind. And I thought Joy’s voice would be perfect for the song, so I asked her. I was thrilled when she accepted my offer.
You’ve collaborated with many artists. How do you compare this project with Joy?
I met Joy at the recording session for the first time. And from the start, she was just so great that I didn’t have to give her any directions. She also kindly agreed to appear in the music video, which I believe the style was not quite something she was used to. But despite all that, she did a fantastic job and we all had an awesome time.
Tell us three reasons why it had to be Joy as the featured artist for the song.
First, she’s got the most beautiful voice that’s impossible to replace. Second, she’s a charmer on so many levels. Third, I just wanted to have my wish come true as her biggest fan.
Your choice of featuring artists — from major stars to hidden gems of indie music scenes — has been something that many look forward to. What do you look for the most in your potential collaborators?
The music itself is the key factor in making my decisions. I try and see if the artist’s musical style melds well with the piece that I’m working on. I think that takes the most part of it. [laughs]
I understand you’re receiving many requests for collaborative work from both Korean and international artists. And we know you’ve done some work with Pink Sweat$. Do you have any other artists on your mind for your next move?
There are so many that I can’t even keep track. But I can tell you many great ones are on their way, so stay tuned.
The teasers for “Mayday” seem to convey more of a realistic and unpretentious image. I’ve also noticed you’d put up a directorial debut video, and it’s made me wonder if this is going to be your chance to debut as a music video producer. Please tell us more about your music video.
I love that real, unpretentious feel. Being yourself, natural and unique is something I constantly pursue. I single-handedly planned and filmed the video myself — although I still can’t do much editing. [laughs]
The ideas were not all me, but I developed them with my director. The story is about me. I’m stuck at home having a difficult time, and one day, I come across a video on the Internet and put myself to this challenge. If you want to find out more, you can check out the video on my YouTube channel Crush.
You’ve been uploading TikTok and YouTube videos of yourself where you seem more real and down-to-earth.
I guess you can think of it as a part of the Homemade series. But even aside from that, I’ve always wanted to show people who I really was. I mean, I have no problem exposing myself to that extent, and I actually quite enjoy doing it.
Can you tell us how many songs will be featured in the Homemade series? And how frequently do you plan on presenting them?
Hmm … nothing’s definite yet, but I definitely want to let you know that there’s a lot to come. [laughs] And the next one up is not going to take much time for sure.
Your last studio album was back in December, but you’ve kept busy by doing features for other artists and taking part in a few soundtracks. Your discography tells me that you don’t have much time for anything else other than sleep and making music. Am I right?
I make a living by creating music, but it’s actually my only hobby as well. It’s my biggest passion. I just love searching for new songs and enjoy trying new styles of music or particular tunes. Music is something I can completely immerse myself into and the only thing I’m able to keep doing.
Any tips for all the homebodies out there on how to enjoy their time at home?
If you’re surrounded by an environment where you can hardly focus on one task like me, I recommend keeping yourself busy with multiple tasks — like cleaning around the house, doing laundry and dishes, and walking your dog if you have one. It can really bust your stress. You’ll definitely like it. Or do you think most people would take this as a bad idea? [laughs]
This article originally appeared on Billboard Korea.