Interview: eaJ spills on his Supalapa Festival set and new single ‘Mad’

In his feelings


By Marissa Chin

Interview: eaJ spills on his Supalapa Festival set and new single ‘Mad’

With his crooning voice and unique blend of alternative and R&B sensibilities, eaJ (real name Jae Park) is an artist on the rise. The Argentinian-born American singer-songwriter officially debuted as the solo artist eaJ in 2022 with his EP Laughing in Insomnia, but to fans who have been following him for a while, eaJ is not exactly new. 


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Listeners were first acquainted with the 31-year-old singer from his time as the vocalist and lead guitarist for JYP Entertainment’s pop-rock band, Day6, who debuted in 2015. Then known as Jae, the artist gained a large following of fans for his songwriting talents and laid back personality. During his time in the group, he started his own personal YouTube channel to release self-written solo songs under the name eaJ and worked with artists such as Keshi, Crush and DPR Live

After six years in the K-pop industry, Park ultimately left Day6 in December 2021 and continued to take on the eaJ moniker. Since re-emerging as a solo artist, eaJ has headlined Head in the Clouds Festival 2022. After completing his Insomnia trilogy in July 2023, eaJ is back with another head-bopping tune about channeling your inner rage and the sting of betrayal. He’s also starting out 2024 with a bang with his first Malaysian performance at the upcoming Supalapa Festival held at Resorts World Arwana, Genting.

Ahead, we caught up with eaJ in person to talk about his new confessional anthem Mad, his time in the K-pop industry and what he has in store for 2024.


It’s your first time in Malaysia! How do you feel about your upcoming performance at Supalapa Festival and what can we expect from your set?

“I’m very nervous! I’ve been doing music and touring for over 10 years now and I’ve never been to Malaysia before, even though I’ve traveled to so many other Southeast Asian countries. So it is nice to be here but it is nerve-wracking because I want to make a good impression. I want to do really well but that usually makes you do so bad [laughs] but I’m sure I’ll be fine.


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“For my set, I’m planning to perform some songs that I’m releasing later this year as well as my latest single Mad, which I’m really excited about. I think it’ll be a good time.”


Speaking of the song, congratulations on the release of Mad! Talk us through the inspiration behind it.

“Being mad is an emotion anyone can relate to. Sometimes, things don’t go so well with your family or friends, and people can do you wrong, which can get you really mad [laughs]. I had an experience where I wasn’t so happy about something so I wrote a song about it and that’s where the inspiration came from.”


How would you describe your style and genre of music?

“That’s an interesting question because I find myself asking the same thing too. Over the past two years of releasing music as eaJ, I’ve just been going back and forth. But I think the area that I like and sit on the most often is alt-pop and alt-pop ballads.”


The lyrics of the song are personal and anecdotal. As a singer-songwriter, how easy is it for you to tap into this more vulnerable side of you?

“For Mad specifically, it was actually really easy. I got to work with a really talented writer and producer, which made everything flow so nicely. I was actually on the way to a session in my car that day and I was humming the chorus of Mad to myself. I wrote it down and showed it to them, thinking it was going to be a verse of a song, but they told me that it sounded like a hook instead. And I was like, “Okay, sure”. So, the whole process was super easy this time round.”




How is Mad different or similar to music you’ve released before?

Mad is definitely more pop than alt-pop but I was able to incorporate alternative sources and sounds, especially in the outro of the song. So you can’t completely get the alt out of me!”


You’re now a solo artist under the name eaJ. What’s the meaning behind the name?

“The meaning of eaJ is interesting because when I first made it, I had no idea what it meant. I just needed another name because I was a part of something else at that point and I had to differentiate the two types of music I was putting out. But after I made that name, one of my friends said that eaJ is backwards for Jae which kinda signifies me going back to my roots. And I thought that interpretation was so cool so I’m going to roll with that [laughs].”



It’s a brand new year—what’s your keyword for 2024 and why?

“Consistency. I think I tried a lot in the past as eaJ to be consistent but life happened and some things I planned weren’t able to be executed in time. But this year, I’m trying to be more consistent with my music and give my fans something to look forward to and come back to every month.”


You’ve debuted twice—first as part of a K-pop band and now as the solo artist eaJ. What does this new era represent for you?

“It does kind of feel like I’m starting from scratch again. It gets tricky in certain situations because I think people have certain expectations for what I have to bring to the table, whether it’s a performance or a song. There’s a certain level of quality that people are used to and I’m figuring out how I can do that while starting brand new again.


“As a new artist, you don’t have all the resources to put things out at that quality when you do have the resources and teams at your disposal. So I’m trying to figure out a way to make that work and it’s been fun so far.”


How has your experience in the K-pop industry informed your own musicality now? 

“I definitely learned a lot along the way while I was in it, especially when it came to songwriting and music production. There were a lot of learning lessons and I can guarantee that if I didn’t have that experience in  my life, I wouldn’t be able to do what I’m doing now. So, I’m very grateful for that time.”


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You’re constantly creating and putting stuff online, whether they’re covers or sneak peeks to new songs. What are your tips for maintaining that joy with your craft?

“Sometimes, you can’t take everything so seriously, especially the art. Once you start thinking that you have to make the best song every time you get into the studio, you end up putting yourself into a box where you feel like nothing you make is good anymore because of that immense pressure. From my experience with other independent artists, it’s more often than not the song that you weren’t so sure about that goes crazy. So, maybe just lighten up a little bit and let the music talk.”


Lastly, what are your plans for 2024 that fans can look forward to? Any plans for an Asian tour or an upcoming EP…?

“Since debuting as eaJ two years ago, I haven’t been able to go on an Asian tour but this year, I’m hell-bent on it and I’ll make sure that I do the best I can to make that happen. I feel like there are a lot of people in Asia that have been waiting for a headline show and I’ve been waiting to do one, so I think that’s a perfect opportunity. So, stay tuned!”

Catch eaJ and other exciting acts at Supalapa Festival by purchasing tickets here.


For more music reads, head here.

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