Anyone else would be overheated, humid and hungry, but The Boyz are taking it all in by serving their signature bright energy.
Following their first U.S. performance at KCON New York, the 12 members of the rising K-pop boy band are staying in the area a few days longer to shoot the artwork for their Dreamlike album, film the music video to new single "D.D.D," and record a YouTube miniseries. It's one of the hottest Julys ever recorded for the city, but there is a sense of quiet anticipation coming from The Boyz.
Conceptually, their "D.D.D" video brings the bizarre coming-of-age tale of Alice in Wonderland painted by the pop-culture vibrancy of New York City. The guys have already been filming in various spots throughout Brooklyn -- including a Coney Island trip that wound up being heavily documented by fans following along -- with today's plan for filming including the conclusion of the video's journey where the guys have finally emerged from their "rabbit hole" on top of a graffitied rooftop in trendy, colorful streetwear. Just like Alice, The Boyz go through a series of trippy experiences in search of their own rabbit (which is actually an actor in a bunny mask) to end up on the other side.
According to the band, the new single isn't when these Boyz turn to men, but rather a marker of a growth spurt as they hone in on their two-year anniversary. "We tried to express a bit of maturation," the group's youngest member, Los Angeles–bred Eric tells Billboard in a sit-down interview ahead of the shoot. "We're The Boyz, but we're getting a little bit older, so it's the maturation and opening of our eyes into a new world through the word 'dance.' Growing up, but as a party basically."
Talking in a 14-person circle -- Eric along with his 11 band mates Sangyeon, Kevin, Younghoon, Jacob, Hyunjae, New, Juyeon, Q, Juhaknyeon, Hwall and Sunwoo plus this reporter and an interpreter for some of the members less comfortable in English -- sounds like a chaotic chat, but there's an intimacy here. The members don't talk over one another, have a natural groove in knowing who handles what kinds of questions, and even Hyunjae and Hwall have a cute moment holding hands throughout a portion of the interview. That intimacy was also on display while shooting the video where the guys help one another put in their their colored contacts and cool down by sharing the set's limited amount of highly sought-after handheld fans.
There is an extremely organized chaos on the music video set. From the lineup of different shoes placed against the walls for costume changes to a rack of boasting colorful and stylish jacket plus bags and boxes of newly bought props in plastic ready to be brought on set at a moment's notice, everything is tidily ready to go even as the 12 members remain in various states of being dressed and undressed, having their hair styled, and makeup touched up.
While it's not typical for most K-pop shoots, The Boyz's team is taking advantage of their rooftop setting by not only shooting multiple scenes on top of it (including the final shot, a scene of Sangyeon, Sunwoo and Jacob playing football, and other footage of various members), but also solo profile shots of the different members that will be used as their official individual "Day Version" teaser photos shared ahead of the album release. The guys themselves are also utilizing of the scenic views taking a slew of selfies, some of which get uploaded to the members' personal Twitter account, others that stay hidden.
It's been a long day for the entire band with two different locations of shooting, but the determination is all the more impressive as the members are also in the midst of preparing to be at a physical peak for the upcoming release. Juhaknyeon, who spent time living in both Korea and Hong Kong, is eating just one meal a day, but allowed to have as many liquids as he wants, and mentions how much he looks forward to dinner each night.
For the end of the video, our Boyz have been transported to this Brooklyn rooftop, finally out of the rabbi hole and celebrate with cupcakes, teapots and other goodies at a Mad Hatter–esque tea party table. "Once we go through the rabbit hole, we're entering this period of growth, which is a big difference from the bright 'Bloom Bloom,'" Juyeon explains, before Kevin adds, "We're getting ready to go a little bit darker, a little stronger maybe, hence the mix of moombahtom, brightness and lyrics about growing up on 'D.D.D.'"
Today, the final look for The Boyz is this rain-soaked rooftop, which only the most sharp-eyed fans would be able to catch thanks to some great CGI removing any sense of the impending rainstorm hitting New York. The guys film this final scene half a dozen times, each time getting wilder with their party antics as the rain gets heavier. After each take, the Boyz huddle under a tent with a handful of crew members and stylists who help prepare the singers for the next shot. In the final take before calling it quits for the day, it's nearly pouring and staff members rush out to the Boyz with large umbrellas as the crew wrap the props in a plastic covering. The heavy rain might seem like a damper on things but, again, these Boyz are taking it all with smiles -- Eric even runs over to give this reporter his umbrella and run through the rain a bit more, likely to the ire of his hair stylist.
But, like they explained when describing "D.D.D," if their plan was to grow up while partying, then Boyz are certainly making the most of this party and enjoying their time now -- which undoubtedly comes out in a video that marks their most visually pleasing and impressively choreographed to date.