- Status : in activity
- Debut : 2015
- Genres : Hip-Hop, Rap, RnB alternatif, Soul, Mellow, Lo-Fi Hip-Hop
- Former label / agency : HIGHGRND (2016 – 2018)
- Part of : CLUBESK*MO (2016 -)
Artists’ Social Networks
OFFONOFF is a Korean Duo composed of the singer/rapper and compositor Colde and the musician, compositor and producer 0Channel. In 2015-2016, they joined CLUBESK*MO, a collective initiated by DEAN and Millic. Early 2016 they also signed with HIGHGRND, YG’s Sub-Label headed by EPIK HIGH’s Tablo which unfortunately closed down in early 2018.
0Channel (real name Seo Jiho) is born on April 16th, 1994, he’s only one month apart from Kim Heeso, better known as Colde born on May 10th, 1994.
If we don’t know much about the artists and what led them to music, it’s yet obvious that they share a really deep passion for it. In this way, in an interview from May 2018 for AllKpop, Colde explained that he quite naturally started to compose. At first, he was simply an eager listener. Yet he progressively started to sing along the songs and finally came to create his own universe.
From the start, an asserted musical identity
The two friends first debuted on SoundCloud with the album mood. Released on August 24th, 2015, and made of 6 tracks (7 if we distinguish Pink Ocean and Bambada).
The songs are all accompanied by MVs released the same day on the Artists’ Youtube Channel, except for 메모, the interlude.
They are not literally MVs, but rather film extracts, like for Dreamgirl which is illustrated by extracts from Leiji Matsumoto’s animated film INTERSTELLA 5555 released in 2003 with an original soundtrack composed by the French group Daft Punk.
Just like this animated movie, this track is tinged with a retro sonority, a little bit like the electronic music of the 80’s. This track can be cut in three parts, and on the last one, there is almost a vaporwave vibe induced by a light vocoder effect, acting as a veil on Colde’s voice.
This retro vibe is present on every song of mood., if not on all the tandem’s productions. Each song has its own vibe, but there is a common retro shade throughout the album. As the name suggests, Cloud is more aerial, wavy and there is once again a synth spiced up by a light Trap effect. For Pink Ocean, they chose to go for a West Coast/Old School sonority, something like the feeling to have spent a whole summer afternoon on a beach which is now lit by the sunset. On the other hand, Bambada is more nocturnal, nostalgic despite the light synth which gave the rhythm.
Hence, intentional or not, there is actually a sort of progression in this project, like if from one track to another you were spending a day, until dusk.
This nocturnal side is increasingly prevailing on the following tracks. For instance on midnight and its Lo-Fi vibe. The track is also in their album boy. by the way, but in a sort of different version. Here 0Channel worked with a really interesting light dissonance effect. Since it’s well balanced, it heightens this impression of delicateness, a moment of briefness that ends on the track blu, exalted by its sobriety and concision.
It’s quite common to see people referring to Frank Ocean’s influence on OFFONOFF’s work. And it’s true that the vibe of songs like blu could for instance remind of Thinkin Bout You or even White featuring John Mayer.
2016, a year of change
That’s not necessarily from a release point of view that 2016 is a pivotal year since the group only released four singles.
First, they released Bath in September, two days after a Youtube trailer released on September 19th. And well, it seems that in the space of those few months, the musical identity of the duo has evolved quite a lot. Their music sounds as if they’d have gained confidence, that they were more assertive. There is still this little thing specific to OFFONOFF, but there is something different in their musical colors, especially in 0Channel’s beats. It’s like Bath was a pivotal project in their music.
Coincidence, it was also with this track that they started to call on visual producers’ services for their MVs. Most of them have been directed by Kim BongMin (@kowa.bonga on Instagram) and/or Yeom WooJin (@yeomwoojinseoulcity) who also made pH-1’s Flaker MV.
The only exception is the MV of Photograph released on 8 November and directed by Gabworks (@gab.works on Instagram). He has for instance produced Dean’s What 2 D featured by Crush and Jeff Bernat, Zico’s Pride and Prejudice featured by Suran or even Dynamic Duo’s ‘북향 (Hemi’s room) with OHHYUK.
They ended the year with Moon, 12:04am, released by the following day, that is to say on November 19th, but we had to wait until September 7th, 2017 for the MV.
So if 2016 stood out, it’s mostly because their environment changed a lot.
In March, the label HIGHGRND indeed launched a special campaign on Youtube, the HIGHGRNDWEEK during which they officialized PUNCHNELLO, OFFONOFF, and Millic’s joining through three shorts promotional videos. The duo more precisely publicly announced they were now part of the label managed by Tablo, Epik High’s leader in March 28th.
If the label ended up shutting down beginning 2018, another important event was yet to come for the tandem: CLUBESK*MO, a collective founded by DEAN and MILLIC. In this way, they joined the two artists but also PUNCHNELLO, Crush, 2xxx!, Campergraphic (or Rad Museum), Miso, Jusén, and Chekparren. Dean noticed them on SoundCloud while he was in the United States, their music actually reminding him of California. Through CLUBESK*MO, the members created a really strong bond and shared a lot.
It’s undeniable that those two events might have contributed to the enrichment of their musical universe especially in view of the collaborations Colde and more recently 0Channel did with the other CLUBESKIMO’s members.
boy., an Outcome
Officially released on July 27th, 2017, boy. can be considered as an overview of OFFNOFF’s entire work. This album is composed of 12 tracks with 8 MV. There are not only collaborations with CLUBESK*MO’s members but also with Tablo. A little bit like in mood. there is a progression in the atmosphere of the songs, a night gently falling. The visual side of the music is especially present here (Eli’s note: But I’ll go back further on this topic). Listening to this album is like being out of time, out of space thanks to the hazy beats and again this peculiar retro patina sometimes accompanied by an acoustic guitar, some other by a piano.
The whole project is really intimate, a metamorphosis with Overthinking as a peak, as much for the lyrics as for the instrumental. The second part of the song, in particular, is marked by a violin progression. This progression reminds of what can do the French artist Woodkid, and more precisely his track The Other Side. Violins which gives the intuition of a rupture, a change; the dawn of a new day.
One track is different from the others though, or at least stands out from what the duo was used to. Gold, featured by Dean. While Colde’s lyrics are often related to relationships, here it’s more an egotrip track, the assertion of a will to stand out from the other artists.
“Kids this day are so similar
Things like that can’t interest me at all
Can you fell it this totally new vibe shit?
Stagnant, boring you, please close your mouth,
Why do you keep talking to me? I’m liberated
Every moment is fresh to me, I draw it how I feel it
Okay my drawings are different cuz whatever comes to me I let come
Unlike you I sell art, so there’s nothing I’m ashamed of under the sky
Leave for that faraway place where nobody is
Nothing to be self conscious about,
Just this is great
The sky’s evening glow so gold
My shining necklace and future so gold
It feels so glod
We’ll be alright”
Colde/OFFONOFF in Gold, English translation from the Youtube Channel Euraboo
As for the MV, Photograph has been released on November 8th, 2016 on the HIGHGRND channel. The day of the album release, that is to say on July 27th, 2017, it’s the turn of in the car and Gold featured by Dean, but also of the Lo-Fi Jazzy track 춤 (DANCE). It’s worth noting that with gold they earned the title of R&B Track of the Year from the Korean Hip-Hop Awards 2018!
Four days after, so on July 28th, the MV of Good2me featured by PUNCHNELLO is released, then in August, the 7th, the one of Moon, 12:04am.
The others are released in 2018.
MISO and Tablo‘s collaboration had an MV release on February 6th, 2018, and it’s worth to pay special attention to Tablo’s verse on Cigarette, truly beautiful:
“She’s got the dance floor hella lit
Then she steps out for a cigarette
And I’ve been prayin’ all night like God
She gives life to my world with a ‘Can I get a light”
Ignite a match. She leans on to catch it
We’re the only spark in the dark like a chandelier
With no ceiling but the sky
As the smoke from her lips bleeds into the atmosphere
No ashes here, no dust
This moment is forever
Even though each puff will take us further from together
She’ll have me until the very last drag
Come to think of it live is like a cigarette
Burning at the tip of it, but quick to burn out
Like a cigarette, it may get you sick
But you’ll never get sick of it
So light one up now”
Finally, the last MV is for homeless door featured by Rad Museum released on July 24th, 2018.
OFFONOFF, a Visual Music
If one had to describe the duo’s music, Visual Music might be the better term.
On that matter, on an Interview for The IconTV, 0Channel explained that it’s actually because they like Visual Music that the fact they joined CLUBESK*MO has been so obvious. Among other things, Dean often uses the term Visual Music to talk about is work.
“We like visual type of music so we’re similar in that aspect and our tastes match. We might be working on different music but we have similar thoughts.”
0Channel for The IconTV
This Visual aspect is first noticeable in 0Channel’s productions. The creaking sound of the wooden floor in homeless door, traffic and siren sounds faraway in moon, 12:04am, the jingling of a falling coin in mind, radio recording extracts in blu. While listening to 0Channel’s productions, quickly the mind wanders, the imagination is aroused; it induces a true visualization.
But Colde’s Lyrics are also tinged with this will as the narrative side is especially exacerbated in his compositions, and that’s also true for his solo projects.
“I’m looking somewhere to take a deep breath
I’ve been here alone for a few days
Just lie here without anyone
I can feel even a small vibration
Your heart moves deeply”
Colde/OFFONOFF in Homeless door, English translation from the Youtube channel Plaid Shirt Child
“I would always write them out
All my dream in a notebook
I write down all the places I’d like to go
In hopes that it will take me somewhere
Then I place my voice
On top of it all
I don’t know how far it will take me
But to you who’s far far away at this very moment
I hope it finds its way to you
Then I’d continue
To dream just like before
I still can’t love myself
Not right now”
Colde/OFFONOFF in filmroll, English translation from the Youtube channel Yung Mood
“What’s the weather like over there
In my sky at night
In my memories that I always recall
They keep talking to me
When we were together
We laughed so much
Now I have a straight face
Without you what can I say
Why on earth
I can’t explain it
With words that can’t be replaced
What’s your mood
What’s your feeling
Why are you like that to me
Why am I like this”
Colde/OFFONOFF in Bath, English translation from the Youtube channel Ryan
Finally, OFFONOFF strength, what stands them out and which is even more striking when you listen to Colde’s solo projects, is actually this chemistry between 0Channel and Colde. On his solo projects, Colde has for now worked with Stally, APRO, IOAH, Noden, haventseenyou, Hansen, hoiwave, or Kyunghoon Han (more details on his article). And if subjectively speaking, those tracks are truly great, the feeling while listening to them is yet different. Sure, the sought atmospheres are not the same, that’s one thing, but what is really peculiar to OFFONOFF and that you cannot hear – or is not wanted by the other beatmakers – is this dialogue dimension.
Rather than simply accompanying Colde’s voice, 0Channel’s beats are like an answer. It’s like Colde and 0Channel were engaged in a discussion, one with words and the other with his instrumentals, and that’s not that common in the music world.
Lately, the two artists decided to explore new creative sides by working with other artists. Hence, it’s probably going to be interesting to see in what it will influence their common work in the future, to what extent it’s going to enrich their music, more than it’s already the case!