Among the vast sea of various J-pop artists, OHL (One Hundred Liminal) forge a rare path in the industry as an independent dance-vocal group. The seven-piece group recently crossed a new milestone in their career by performing at their first solo concert since becoming independent. Leading up to the show on September 3, they released three singles: “Periodt.,” “SENSUAL,” and “Change Ma Life.” These singles also make up their new EP PEACE ONE. Involved in every step of the creative process, JUNYA, KTA, NAO, SHURU, KANNA, RYUSEI, and GEN have molded themselves into one cohesive and dynamic unit. With creative individuality and ambitious dreams, OHL are ready to conquer new milestones and introduce the world of J-pop to overseas audiences.

OHL’s ability to constantly challenge themselves is the epitome of the message behind their name, One Hundred Liminal. Meaning “100 different potentials, talents, and possibilities,” the group has fine-tuned each member’s skills to form one well-oiled machine. In an email interview with EnVi, OHL recounted their journey to independence, and what their new EP, PEACE ONE, means to them.

Image courtesy of OHL

PEACE ONE Breakdown

Creating PEACE ONE in just one week, KANNA, SHURU, and GEN produced the songs completely on their own. Center of the group, SHURU, explained that each member prioritized embedding deep meaning behind their music. “In the current dance-vocal scene in Japan, I feel that the focus has shifted away from the ‘music itself.’ However, I believe that the music itself is the most important aspect for artists in any genre,” he said.

PEACE ONE consists of their three latest tracks along with their accompanying instrumental versions. Each being released as a single prior to the EP, the first released among them was “Periodt.” on August 22. The lyrics follow the inner world of vocalist GEN as he tries to break loose after getting too absorbed in addictive love. The catchy mid-tempo chorus is paired with dreamy harmonies, creating a bright feel to the song. 

Released on August 29, “SENSUAL” unveils a darker, alluring side to the group. With a slow tempo and smooth R&B beat, the members sing of the insecurity and uncertainty that comes with passionate growing love. 

Among OHL’s new releases, “Change Ma Life” encompasses the overall message of PEACE ONE. Released on September 3, “Change Ma Life” is an energetic and uplifting song about letting go of the past in order to move forward. “Rather than saying we have ‘changed’ compared to the past, I feel that the term ‘evolved’ better describes what this album, PEACE ONE, represents,” said SHURU. This song holds a personal message for OHL as they take the next step in their artistic endeavors. “I believe this song can be considered as a representative track for the future of OHL,” said rapper NAO.

A Dream Worth Fighting For

OHL have built themselves from the ground up, establishing their own management company after facing hardships during the COVID-19 pandemic. Their contracts and all planned activities were cancelled and some members even battled depression, igniting growing fears of disbandment. However, OHL’s youngest member GEN believed in the future of his group. He then became the CEO of their own management company, OHL Inc., keeping their group’s dreams alive while gaining complete artistic freedom. “We can directly link what we want to do to our actions and creativity, so I think it’s a place where the possibilities are endless, depending on our ideas,” said rapper and dancer RYUSEI.

OHL soon came to discover that being an independent artist comes with its advantages and disadvantages. “We now have to look at a lot of things outside of performance,” leader and vocalist JUNYA said. From management to production to performance, the group holds much responsibility ensuring the future success of OHL. At the same time, OHL has the opportunity to put genuine intention behind every creative decision. “Our goal is to make the name OHL, a group with a combination of a company structure and a music unit, known to people all over the world!” said GEN.

OHL crossed a significant career milestone on September 3, performing at their first solo live show since becoming an independent group. Preparing everything down to the merchandise from scratch, RYUSEI said the sense of achievement was worth it despite the amount of work. Even though he was both excited and nervous to perform again, KTA said his worries were overcome with joy once OHL hit the stage. “I am convinced that this was undoubtedly due to the cheers and support of all the PIECE fans who are always there,” he said.

One Hundred Liminal, One Hundred Possibilities

As the group broadens their horizons, their goal is to break out of the J-pop bubble and reach audiences overseas. GEN shared the group’s desire to perform free live shows in western regions such as Europe and the U.S. “For this purpose, we use a lot of English lyrics in our songs,” he said. “The key point is how many people like the songs, using melodies and words that are comfortable to listen to for everyone, regardless of race.”

With dreams to perform at large venues such as Nippon Budokan, OHL feel secure in their goals with PIECE by their side. “I can say with confidence that the bond we have with the fans who are supporting us at this stage is unrivaled by any other group,” said JUNYA. “Even when we reach that level of success, we will never forget the people who have been supporting us. We would be thrilled if they continue to accompany us on this journey in the future.”

You can listen to OHL’s new EP PEACE ONE on Spotify and Apple Music. Make sure to follow them on Instagram, Twitter, TikTok, and YouTube for the latest updates!

Want more Artist Spotlights? Check out our interview with LA-based artist Linying here!