TOO stands for "Ten Oriented Orchestra," and will consist of 10 males from Asian countries, aiming to integrate Eastern philosophy into Western music. The word "Oriented" is being repurposed to promote the meaning of "Orient."
"Currently, music in Korea is largely based on Western pop music. I have been devising a way for Asian people to bring out their own characteristics in the music scene," said Jung Chang-hwan, head producer of Stone Entertainment.
Each member of the boy band will represent a different philosophical value in Asia. "I think the way to rise to stardom in Korea is different from becoming a star in other countries," Jung said.
"Aspiring K-pop stars have to follow a certain path ― for example, they need to join entertainment agencies as trainees and work rigorously under uncertainty to debut as singers. These processes require a great deal of patience. Some of them become successful enough to make lots of money. Then they make their parents proud."
Making it through these steps would represent certain traditional values such as "In," which means patience, and "hyo," meaning filial piety.
The program aims to select participants in the Mnet music survival show "World Klass," which will start airing in September, for the boy band.
The show will feature more than 20 competitors from different countries, including Korea, Japan and China, and ethnic Asians from the United States and Australia.
"For a year and half I have been seeking members from all around the world," Jung said. The competitors are from different parts of Asia, including China, Hong Kong, Myanmar and more. One member is Filipino American.
Won Jung-woo, the producer of World Klass, said his search started in June and will continue in other countries, going to the U.S. to visit New York and Los Angeles in July.
"This is a reality show rather than preparing a stage performance. One can also think this may be a sitcom. We tried to bring out the authentic characteristics and personalities of each member," Won said.
Regarding their plan, some reveal fatigue about the show as it could be the same old talent search program. There are also several programs such as "Produce 101" that are underway with the similar purpose of forming idol groups.
"I know there are a lot of audition programs in Korea. But there is no reason that we should not do this. I have been eyeing 20 talented young people. Rather than hiding them, I thought it would be better if we could show their talents to the world," Jung said.
He also emphasized there should be more diversity in idol groups.
"There are some hostile views on making a group with foreign members, but I think culture should be shared in harmony. In classical music people with different nationalities often make collaboration. I think it is time we should collaborate in pop culture as well," he said.
A K-pop boy band with Asian values is certainly an experiment that has not been tried yet, yet a very risky one to pursue considering changing perspectives in today's society trying to move away from traditional values. How the program will develop will be something left for the audience to decide.
The show will be aired on Mnet around late September and the project group will debut this year around November.
Somewhat related, Z-Girls and Z-Boys are still really active on their YouTube, but I don't know if they perform much.
source: The Korea Times