EXCLUSIVE: SEVENTEEN on being K-pop’s dreamers turned achievers, celebrating 7 years of belief
“We believe ‘genuineness’ is SEVENTEEN’s strength.” On the heels of releasing their fourth studio album ‘Face the Sun’, the South Korean group caught up with Pinkvilla about staying true to themselves.
Silence speaks loud but success speaks louder. The clink of resounding fame in the world of Korean music has never been so distinctive. Boy group SEVENTEEN has seen cut-throat competition and risen above more times than they’d like to admit. Owing to their especial nature of formation, one might tread with care but once you’ve decided to hop on the ‘diamond journey’, you will land in an ocean full of Rose Quartz and Serenity, the group’s representative colors.
Often dubbed as ‘stage-breakers’, comprising a staggering number of 13 talented individuals, brought together by their conviction to emerge as some of the greatest, South Korean megastars SEVENTEEN have amassed an incomparable fan following with their unhindered talent.
Debuting on May 26, 2015 with EP ‘17 Carat’, K-pop was introduced to S.COUPS, JEONGHAN, JOSHUA, JUN, HOSHI, WONWOO, WOOZI, DK, MINGYU, THE 8, SEUNGKWAN, VERNON, DINO, their 3 units- hip-hop, vocal and performance, and their one team, SEVENTEEN. The group has since won numerous awards, thanks to their self-producing essence and an unbound greed to grow. The boys have banked on their palpable camaraderie for a sparkling seven years full of charisma, comfort, companionship and control, presenting chart-topping records regularly. They are hustlers, they are achievers, but most of all they are believers. Of their own strengths, talent and fandom, CARAT, which has stood head-strong and arm-in-arm on their path. With championing the world on their mind, and each other by their side, SEVENTEEN ‘Face the Sun’ this time around.
Speaking exclusively to Pinkvilla about their extensive discography, fear of the future and a plan to visit India, SEVENTEEN lays their truth bare.
12 EPs, 2 reissues, 1 compilation album and now the 4th studio album. That’s hundreds of songs already. What does SEVENTEEN aim to convey with each release and especially this one?
JOSHUA: ‘Authenticity’ has always been at the core of our work. Each piece of music might take on a different shape, but they will always be an expression of what we think and feel. This year especially, with this particular album, our aim is to more straightforwardly address our own stories we want to tell as SEVENTEEN.
VERNON: I think the new album adds a layer of depth to how we connect with our listeners through music. Many of our past releases have been about bringing comfort, but with this one, we directly speak of our inner shadows and ambitions. By doing so, we aim to encourage our listeners to continue walking forward together with SEVENTEEN. We also put in a lot of work for a performance that is as powerful as the message, so we hope you’re looking forward to it.
The trailers for ‘Face the Sun’ have you declaring that you’re not SEVENTEEN anymore. What does it mean for you to be SEVENTEEN? Do you fear that one day all of this might end? If so, what would you want to be remembered for?
HOSHI: ‘I’m not SEVENTEEN anymore’ was actually more of a declaration of our determination to start a new chapter in our story. I’ve been thinking a lot about what lies ahead for us. It’s a jumble of thoughts, but I hope SEVENTEEN will be remembered as ‘youth’ to our fans - CARATs. Far ahead in the future, when CARATs look back to their days of youth, I hope we are a part of that. We would be elated if we are remembered as the artist that really loved their fans, an artist that shone bright on stage performing in front of a full audience.
‘SEVENTEEN POWER OF LOVE : THE MOVIE’ was your handmade gift for fans and brought them together from all over the world. Do you wish to shoot for an original movie someday? What roles would you assign to each of you?
MINGYU: Our members have a lot of different interests and enjoy the process of creating something in general. WONWOO and I have the greatest interest in video production. I’m not sure we will get a chance to pursue shooting an original movie, but there are many subjects we would love to explore if we ever do. We would probably ask WOOZI to direct the musical elements.
WONWOO: As far as I know, MINGYU also has an interest in acting. Honestly though, I can imagine it being awkward and a bit embarrassing to see our members try to properly act.
Last year you made headlines as all members collectively renewed your contracts earlier than scheduled. 7 years under your belt with the promise for at least 5 more. How do you plan on celebrating this milestone when the cameras are not rolling?
JUN: It was a significant moment for SEVENTEEN, but we’ve had all our eyes on working on new music so diligently that we didn’t get a chance to properly celebrate. We can continue with celebrations in everyday life, things like grabbing good food together, going out for a walk, could all be a part of a celebration of what we achieve together.
THE 8: We would love to celebrate, but I’m also just grateful for the fact that the renewal reminded us of the value of our time together. I’ve come to cherish a bit more the process of 13 of us working towards the same goal, performing on the same stage, and having one another to share all the difficulties and joy along the way.
You’ve crossed over 175 episodes of GOING SEVENTEEN and it continues to be one of the most celebrated original variety shows from any K-pop group. Looking back to 2017 when it first premiered, what similarities and differences do you notice compared to what it has become now?
DINO: We’ve gotten a lot more comfortable with it, so recent episodes of GOING SEVENTEEN show how playful we are with each other when cameras are not rolling. All the members are very keen on making our audience laugh, and we just have a lot of fun shooting each episode.
SEUNGKWAN: We have now worked with the same production team for a long time, so we also work better together as a team. They know the thirteen of us so well that they capture us at our best, and complement it with the right edits and subtitles.
DK: We also collaborated with a major TV channel recently for an episode. It’s still the GOING SEVENTEEN that the thirteen of us and our teams create together, but we have a lot more eyes on the show now and work on a larger scale.
With SEVENTEEN it’s always about the members’ involvement and originality. Be it in your writing, producing, choreographing, coming up with variety content or anything else that you work on- it’s always personal. Does it ever get monotonous or overly pressuring? How do you keep it unique yet genuine each time?
WOOZI: One of the most important things we take into account when working on a new album is creating music that feels true to us at that point in time. We believe ‘genuineness’ is SEVENTEEN’s strength. Rather than setting something ‘new’ and ‘unique' as the goal, the changes in our sound are a reflection of the natural course of change SEVENTEEN have been through.
S.COUPS: Our members are full of ambition, in a good way. DINO’s getting more passionate about songwriting by the day and was very actively involved in creating this album. THE 8 recently released a solo single, and he continues to expand his artistic boundaries. Knowing the thirteen of us, I know that we will always strive to present something better and push the limits. So I have faith that we will always keep our work fresh and new.
SEVENTEEN is known to release songs that bring comfort to fans around the globe. What are the members’ go-to comfort songs?
JEONGHAN: “To you” from SEVENTEEN’s 9th EP ‘Attacca’. It’s been a favorite song of mine for awhile and I always go back to it seeking comfort.
HOSHI: I don’t have a single song to pinpoint, but the idea of music on its own already brings so much comfort for me.
What message would you like to give to your Indian CARATS who have been supporting you for a long time?
MINGYU: We haven’t had a lot of chances to meet in person, but we know that you’ve always stood by our side. We wanted to let you know that we are eternally grateful for all your love and support. We’ll always strive to be more honest with you, to put our hearts into everything we do, and return all the love we’ve received over the years. Hopefully, we’ll get to meet in person very soon!
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