K-Pop Radio Presenter Ethan Horton Talks DAY6 & K-Pop in the Radio Industry
Updated: Sep 20, 2021
"Beyond K-pop, they have really helped raise my self-esteem and when first understanding my sexuality, the group was really influential with their songs and the lyrics in the songs. It honestly made those nights of confusion much easier." - Ethan
Hi Ethan! Thank-You so much for agreeing to participate in ‘Fan Features’ and share your story. Before we move on to talking all things Day6, why don’t your introduce yourself?
Hello, my name is Ethan Horton! I'm a third year Media and Communications student at Birmingham City University and presenter/founder of K-pop Bangsong at Radio Plus Coventry.
I always believe in starting at the beginning so the first thing I wanted to ask was…when did you first discover Day6? What was it about Day6 that really stood out to you and ultimately, convinced you to become a fan?
I have always been a fan of rock and band music, so when I fell in love with K-pop back in 2015 I was fascinated by the sound and the vocals of these Korean singers.
However, if I am being completely honest, I've never really been a huge fan of dancing therefor I guess the mainstream groups never stood out to me as much compared to other K-pop fans. So when I first saw Day6's 'I Wait' on YouTube, it just felt that it was the perfect storm of everything. With the visuals of 5 handsome Korean men who very much fit the aesthetic of a K-pop group (in my opinion one of the most handsome overall groups in the Korean music scene) alongside the instruments and vocals; they really stood out to me.
It all started there with the 'EveryDay6' music videos but I'd say I really became a huge fan during their album 'Youth Part 1: Shoot Me'. A personal favourite memory of mine was when I travelled to America and brought my first ever lightstick; the Day6 lightband and being so happy with it and wearing it everyday of my trip.
And if I am being honest, just by doing a radio show for 2 years now; they have been extremely consistent with providing that extra something that makes you want to stop and listen to the songs straight away.
For readers who aren’t familiar with Day6 can you tell us a little about them?
Day6 are a 5 member boy band that are under the Rock/Pop-Rock genre, and are currently signed with one of the Big 3 companies 'JYP Entertainment' alongside fellow acts such as TWICE, ITZY, Stray Kids and formally GOT7.
The 5 members are: Yoon Dowoon (the 'Maknae'/Drummer), Young K (bass player), Jae/Eaj (main vocals and guitarist), Sungjin (Leader) and Wonpil (keyboardist).
The group has a very loyal fan base and have a lot of funny behavior providing a lot of memes and extra content with various members participating in activities outside of the group. And now...a new sub-unit 'Even of Day' featuring members; Wonpil, Dowoon and Young K.
Every fan has their own unique story and I’m curious to know yours? Can you tell us about the impact and influence that Day6 has had in your life?
Day6 has had a huge impact on me; before listening to their music I only focused on mainstream K-pop and K-drama OST’s but thanks to Day6, they have exposed me to not only Korean Rock/bands but also K-Rap and K-HipHop.
Beyond K-pop, they have really helped raise my self-esteem and when first understanding my sexuality, the group was really influential with their songs and the lyrics in the songs. It honestly made those nights of confusion much easier.
They have also had a huge impact on my life with one of the main moments being when I traveled to Seoul last year by myself; I would listen to Day6 everyday which made my trip a lot better. They often feature in a lot of those memories as I often found myself walking around Seoul buying Day6 merchandise. I am often given the name 'Day6 Guy' which has now stuck back home at fan events due to the amount of Day6 merchandise I wear.
Do you have a favourite Day6 song? Is there a special meaning behind that song that really speaks to you?
There is not really one favourite song for me as it changes seemingly with each new album but my first ever song was 'I Loved You' which has an amazing music video and was part of the 'Every Day6' project. My favourite memories always come from 'I'm Serious' which I believe has some of the best lyrics and is a simple but beautiful song that is amazing live. It was also the song that made me fall in love with Yoon Dowoon.
Some other songs are 'Beautiful Feeling' which was the first time I ever heard Dowoon sing and 'Wanna Go Back' from the album 'The Book Of Us: Gravity' which is the album that came out when I was in Seoul and often makes me think back to my time when I first heard it in Seoul. It is my kind of anthem.
The guys in Day6 have achieved so much over the years, what is your proudest moment as a MyDay?
Well, being a K-pop fan, I was a fan of a few groups and one of the things that I realised is that not many K-pop groups do World Tours so to see Day6 announce plans to do a World Tour and then sell out almost all of the concert venues/cities was a proud moment. Being there buying tickets on Ticketmaster and watching it sell out so quick made me so proud! It was just one of those moments that make you take a step back.
You’re a radio presenter at Radio Plus Coventry where you present a weekly K-Pop show, can you tell us more about that?
I joined Radio Plus Coventry back in 2018 and started my show which is called 'K-pop Bangsong' formerly named 'ESM Radio' alongside my other radio show back in 2016. It was something I started for fun in the beginning but as I began learning more about radio and how much I enjoyed K-pop and the message that there could be, I chose to take it seriously and since then, I have made many changes.
And now, our aim is to educate K-Pop and music fans on K-Pop news/history, as well as playing a lot of new/lesser known artists. I like to pride myself on playing other genres of Korean music and hope to expose others to that as well. Hopefully, someone else will find their Day6 who will open a whole different world of music, just like they did to me.
What inspired you to get into radio/journalism? Has it always been a aspiration of yours?
An interest of mine was always writing from when I was young. It was something I enjoyed and would often find myself writing Poetry and short stories. I remember when I was younger, when I visited my grandparents house, they used to always have the radio on when I went around and so to find I could also do that was truly amazing. It was a great aspiration for me to get on radio and show my grandparents. Having them listen live to me was a great experience.
What is your take on K-pop artists being played on the radio here in the UK and in America? Do you think K-Pop as a genre receives the coverage and representation that it deserves?
I think it's a very sensitive subject...it really depends on the station. I think for groups such as BTS being in the Top 40, it should be a given. When you look at stations such as Capital FM who pride themselves on playing chart hits it seems crazy that those songs don't get played.
You see Billboard doing more K-Pop pieces with Jeff Benjamin and they have really become more popular than ever, but I do think you need that knowledge when you come to radio and while I think we would all love Greg James to play a Day6 song on Radio 1 you need that knowledge about the group. I think with stations such as 'Radio Kimchi' and the English speaking Korean radio station 'Arirang' that in the near future with the current growth of the genre, I wouldn't be surprised to see radio stations get the producers and experts needed to include a load more songs.
Let’s say you had the chance to interview Day6 for your radio show, what would you ask them?
Well the first thing is a picture… I think the main thing that always surrounds the group is the classification of the genre if they are a 'rock group' or a 'pop-rock group' as I have had many conversations about this.
I would love to get to know about if they were to swap instruments which one they would all pick. I think that it would be a great to see them possibly in different positions and honestly if they weren't playing instruments and were like a more traditional K-pop group, what role they would all take in terms of who would be main dancer etc...
And finally, I would like to ask if they could include any one person in Day6 who would it be or who would a dream collaboration be for Day6.
Those are really awesome questions, I'd be curious to hear their answers particularly on their dream collaborations. There's so many incredible artists out there that would compliment their sound perfectly! So what would your advice be to someone who’s interested in working in the radio/media industry? Where can they get started?
First of all don't be shy; while it might feel daunting being on live radio or television for hours at a time, everyone at the start isn't the greatest and the best way to get better is through failing, changing and finding your presenting style.
Do what you love. If you love K-pop...do a K-pop show; if you love chart music...do a chart music show but make it unique to you.
And finally, just reach out if you want to do media; there are so many companies who want and need volunteers. Start from the bottom at local places and learn the ropes, then progress or just start yourself and make a website but make sure you enjoy it and make sure you have a good concept and can share and promote it as much as you can. If you do go to a local media company interview; know the company and know the regulations. Show them you are interested and let them teach you further about where you want to go.
Ethan, that is really fantastic advice! Maybe one of our readers will be the next big name on the radio?! I noticed you mentioned having the chance to see Day6 live... were there any highlights?
Yes! I saw Day6 back in 2018 as part of their 'Youth' World Tour and once again last year as part of their 'Gravity' World Tour in London.
Both of them were extremely different, I remember for the Youth World Tour it was the first ever K-pop concert I'd decided to buy tickets for and also my first concert in about 5 years when I saw McFly (I know...who are they right?) so I was extremely excited to go. I managed to get an O2 pre-order code, got on there and missed the tickets so I was extremely sad. I remember this was during a lecture and I refused to speak for the rest of the day. But then I remember finishing filming, running back into the university and managing to get 2 seated tickets which I really wanted.
And from there it was a dream! I never really travel to London much so it was just great getting there early and queueing with all the other Day6 fans in attendance. I remember one moment pausing and thinking to myself ‘I am actually here’ and being amazed by their performances because I just realised how amazing they were.
A couple of songs that stood out to me were ‘Warning’ and 'Dance Dance', hearing them live honestly is the best feeling.
Gravity was a bit more stressful but a lot more rewarding, this time I managed to buy VVIP tickets on Pre-order. I remember everything from that night...I managed to make a lot of friends one of which is now one of my best friends. A person standing next to me caught Dowoon's drum piece which he throws out every concert and I remember hearing Dowoon sing; me crying, the confetti falling from the sky and picking it up and placing it in my pocket. Of course, the best moment was meeting Dowoon and showing him my fan and telling him I loved him then proceeding to cry.
Awww! That's so sweet! What lovely memories of two very special concerts. Let's hope Day6 are able to return to the UK following the Pandemic. Having seen the guys perform twice, I wondered what you think it is that makes a Day6 concert so memorable?
I think just the stuff they do...I remember during the first concert them dancing and speaking English. They are just so unpredictable as well; while it's typically the same song list from other European venues, this year they had solos and mash-ups which was completely different to the first world tour.
But I can’t stress this enough, what makes Day6 concerts so special is MyDay; just the people you meet in the queue, singing there next to you in broken Korean. Once you start speaking to each other it feels the conversation is never going to stop.
I couldn't agree more! There's something about being in a room filled with other fans; connecting and uniting or a mutual love. No words can't fully describe that experience. Clearly Day6 play such an important role in your life and it's been so lovely hearing what the mean to you throughout the interview. If you had the chance to sit down and speak to Day6 what would your message be to them?
If I was able to sit down with Day6 I think my message to them would be to tell them the impact that they have had on me and on Korean music in terms of alternatives to traditional mainstream K-Pop.
To bring the interview to a close, I wondered if you could recommend a Day6 song to someone who has never listened to their music what would it be and why?
As a Day6 fan this is a very difficult question, but I think if there has to be one song it has to be the original song ‘Congratulations’. It just shows how much they have grown and the talent they have always had and not to mention the music video for it is amazing! I am a huge fan of the English version so for those who want to slowly be introduced into Day6 the English version is brilliant but nothing beats the original!
Ethan, it has been a real pleasure to share your story and love for Day6! Thank-You so much for taking the time to answer my questions and making this interview so special! I remember speaking to you for the first time on Twitter and connecting through our mutual love for the guys. I am so proud of what you've achieved as both a presenter and a person during the time I've known you and can't wait to see what the future holds for you. No matter what you'll always have Day6 by your side!
Catch up on previous episodes of K-Pop Bangsong on Mixcloud: https://www.mixcloud.com/k-pop_bangsong/
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Ethan's Official Website: https://910ethanhorton.wixsite.com
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