Seventeen Talks Songwriting, K-Pop Industry And Group Dynamic

It’s been 4 years since Seventeen arrived on the scene with their debut album in 17 Carat, and since then the boy band has gone on to change into one of many Ok-pop trade’s most dynamic teams. After rocketing to prominence initially for his or her funky recent dance singles and fascinating choreography, through the years the 13-member staff has gone on to discover a wide range of sounds, focusing predominantly on euphoric and reflective synth-pop tracks lately. Throughout all of it, they’ve constructed up a beloved fandom within the type of their devoted Carats.   

Known for his or her hands-on strategy to their profession with members performing because the driving forces behind not solely their sound but additionally their performances, Seventeen closed out KCON 2019 New York earlier this month, held on the Javits Center and Madison Square Garden in Manhattan over July 6-7. While on the town, 12 of the group’s 13 members – Boo Seungkwan injured his ankle previous to the occasion – sat down to debate their musicality and profession to this point, and the way they view their place within the bigger Ok-pop world at a time when the South Korean music trade’s presence is changing into extra dominant on a world degree.

Tamar Herman: How are you guys feeling right this moment? You simply carried out at MSG final night time!

S.Coups: We’re feeling nice.

Dino: We’re grateful to carry out in entrance of so many individuals as quickly as we arrived in New York, and to be part of this interview. We’re very grateful. It’s truly actually enjoyable too, being within the streets of New York. [Sings final phrases to tune of Alicia Keys’ “New York.”

Herman: You have to be exhausted because you flew in from performing in Hong Kong proper beforehand. How are you all coping with that?

Mingyu: Well, we will all the time sleep once we return to Korea and even sleep on the airplane. We’re simply having fun with the interviews we’ve been collaborating in. We additionally plan to eat one thing good and stroll round New York after we end our schedule.

DK: I really feel good and extra relaxed as I get to expertise American tradition. I could also be a bit drained bodily, however I really feel fairly calm and peaceable.

 Herman: I do know you might have a bit extra time in New York earlier than you allow, so there something you you wish to do or are wanting ahead to?

Jeonghan: We’re truly going to observe a musical. The Phantom of the Opera. 

Joshua, pointing to DK: He’s truly in a musical in Seoul proper now, Xcalibur.

Herman: How do you guys really feel concerning the efficiency final night time?

S.Coups: It’s been some time since we’ve come to New York and met our Carats right here so we had been a bit extra excited than ordinary. I’m questioning if that power handed on to the viewers, and am fairly interested in everybody’s response. I hope we will come extra usually and likewise maintain our personal live performance and carry out on extra phases. 

Herman: Didn’t you guys simply announce your Ode to You world tour?

Seventeen: Yes. 

Herman: So possibly we’ll see you once more quickly… In common, do you discover that Stateside followers’ have a distinct power than your followers elsewhere? 

Seventeen: There’s a distinction in response.

DK: While we’re performing, once we level at our followers [in the U.S.], they level again and react to us nicely. The response is admittedly energetic.

S.Coups: And yesterday once we had been performing “Good to Me,” the followers at the back of the standing zone had been dancing collectively and that was actually attention-grabbing to observe. We didn’t need to ask everybody to leap round with us. Everyone was already leaping round by themselves as a result of they had been genuinely having enjoyable, and that was actually lovely.

DK: I wished to deliver them on stage.

Herman: Do you discover that completely different from followers in Asia? 

Joshua: I suppose they’re extra shy. But the followers listed here are rather more open. If you inform them to bounce alongside to a track [they will]. Every phrase you sing, you are feeling such as you’ll get a giant response. 

Mingyu: Our Carats in different nations even have a good time with us. But it’s good to see audiences take pleasure in our efficiency even when they don’t know who we’re. I believe Stateside followers know take pleasure in music, whoever the artist or regardless of the track is.

Herman: At KCON you carried out “Adore U”, which was your debut track in May 2015. How do you are feeling Seventeen has modified since then?

Wonwoo: I believe we matured each bodily and mentally.

S.Coups: I do really feel that “Adore U” carried out now has its personal vibe and it’s nice, however I believe we expressed the track greatest once we simply debuted.

Mingyu: Back then, we had been decided to indicate everybody who we had been, however now we appear to be extra targeted on speaking with the viewers.

Joshua: I really feel like we matured much more via our experiences. So many live shows, so many performances that we did. A very long time in the past, if we had been to make a mistake, we wouldn’t know what to do. But now, even when we make errors we will make it appear to be we didn’t make that mistake. We know what to do. 

Herman: Do you are feeling such as you make errors lots?

Wonwoo: We often don’t make errors, however I made one yesterday.   

S.Coups: Because proper earlier than we got here Seungkwan acquired damage so we needed to change our formations final minute.

Herman: Do you suppose the audiences observed?

DK: I believe a number of could have observed. [All chuckle.]  

Herman: Did you guys discover?

Joshua: Of course. [Note: Seventeen carried out in Hong Kong at SBS’ Super Concert in Hong Kong on July 6 and at KCON New York on July 7. The interview came about on July eight, and video footage shared on social media exhibits that Wonwoo made a minor mistake in Hong Kong and Joshua at KCON. ]

Herman: What’s the worst mistake you’ve ever made?

Wonwoo: Yesterday… [All laugh.] 

 S.Coups: When we had our solo live performance, there was a time when Seungkwan wore the unsuitable costume. 

Woozi: It was a very unhappy ballad observe, however he was carrying vibrant basketball shorts.

Joshua: It was a tank high with basketball shorts.

Vernon: For a ballad, yeah… It was all white with inexperienced and pink stripes. 

Herman: You guys have been so busy recently. How do you retain your self motivated whenever you don’t have time to relaxation usually and simply have to go between schedule to schedule?  

Mingyu: Of course, we’re drained and we’re jetlagged, however as we carry out and followers cheer for us, we get excited. It’s what we’ve got to do. 

Woozi: We additionally get our relaxation every time we’ve got breaks.

DK: And one of many greatest causes we’re in a position to keep motivated is the truth that there are followers who’ve been ready for us for a very long time. Whenever we consider our followers, we acquire energy.

Joshua: We simply attempt to take advantage of enjoyable out of any scenario, actually. When we’re with the members, we simply joke round. That will hold us awake, hold the vibe going. 

Herman: Seventeen has gained a fame as self-producing Ok-pop idols. Do you suppose that is one thing significantly necessary for idols, and pop artists on the whole, to do within the present state of the music trade? 

Woozi: There’s no rule that each one idols need to make their very own music, however we’re proud that we make our personal music and suppose that’s one among our greatest qualities. And I believe that’s one of many causes our followers help us. 

Mingyu: It’s like Iron Man combating together with his go well with on.

 Woozi: Yeah, like how Iron Man makes his personal weapons [versus others who have him or others making their weapons and superhero suits], we make our personal music. 

Wonwoo: And it’s not like homework for us. We actually take pleasure in making our music.

DK: I believe when individuals are impressed by our music, that’s what makes it good. I actually hope we will proceed spreading happiness via our music.

Joshua: Personally, for us, as a result of we produce our personal music and make our personal choreography, we’re higher at having the ability to ship the message behind our songs as a result of we truly write it. I believe the followers really feel like there’s fact behind our phrases as a result of we make the songs. We’re not performing. It’s simply our message.

Herman: You talked about Iron Man earlier than, so are you all Marvel followers?

Seventeen: Yeah! 

Vernon: Not everybody however virtually.

Woozi: Jeonghan and Seungkwan aren’t.

Herman: At the beginning of your profession, only a few idols had been as hands-on as you had been, and stay, with your personal work. Did the thought of you songwriting and choreographing your personal content material come about to assist take away the monetary burden of getting to separate income much more with different collaborators? Is this one thing that you just take into consideration? 

Seventeen: Financially? Money? [Some laughing.] 

S.Coups: I imply financially, we don’t have to purchase tracks from different folks so I suppose it will be useful.

Joshua: It saves some huge cash.

Vernon: Of course. First off, we don’t need to pay– I imply, we do however we don’t need to pay enormous quantities of cash to different folks as a result of we make our personal music.   

Herman: How do you handle your private inventive aspiration versus these of the followers and your organization, Pledis Entertainment? 

Woozi: The 13 of us have plenty of conferences with our label in regard to our albums. Even if we’re in New York and our workers are in Korea, we discuss via messenger apps and focus on what sort of music we wish to do. And, ultimately, we get to place our messages into our album and people messages are often for our Carats, so I suppose it seems to be one thing our followers anticipated and wish to take heed to.

Herman: Was there a time a track got here out in another way from what you anticipated?

Woozi: I don’t suppose that ever occurred. There was a time, although, once we made “Very Nice (아주 Nice)” and wished to return again with that track, however our label wished to launch one other observe so we made “Pretty U.” We ultimately made a comeback [in April 2016] with “Pretty U” after which launched “Very Nice” afterwards [in July 2016]. We all attempt our greatest to not change round music we make. 

Vernon: We all the time discover a option to meet within the center and that’s attainable as a result of there’s all the time respect between our firm and us.

Herman: Who’s probably the most vocal when there’s a disagreement?

Joshua: Probably Woozi.  

Woozi: I believe all of us are.

Wonwoo: We don’t hesitate in expressing our ideas.

Herman: When one thing does come up and there are disagreements, how do you deal with these kind of conditions?

S.Coups: We all the time discuss. At first we clashed many occasions, however as time handed by, we argued much less.

Mingyu: People are likely to assume as a result of there are 13 of us, we in all probability don’t get alongside nicely. But truly, regardless of our massive quantity, we get alongside rather well. 

DK: Because we’re a big quantity, we attempt to respect one another extra.

Herman: It appears so exhausting to imagine that 13 folks get alongside so seamlessly. 

Seventeen: [Laughs]

Joshua: It’s true. 

 Mingyu: We are household.

S.Coups: We battle like household too. 

Wonwoo: If I heard this from elsewhere, I wouldn’t have believed it such as you.

Vernon: The extra necessary a problem is, the extra cautious and honest we’re once we focus on about it. Also, yeah, respect. 

Herman: Are there any modifications you wish to see within the Korean music trade as your profession progresses? 

Woozi: Whatever criticism we’ve got, if our music is sweet, I really feel folks will take heed to it. You can have a criticism in any trade. I simply really feel it’s one thing we’ve got to work tougher on.

DK: We can change. 

S.Coups: There isn’t a have to complain about something. We simply need to do our greatest in our personal work. Everyone has completely different style in music. People who will take pleasure in our music will.

Wonwoo: Of course we’re releasing albums within the music trade, however our final aim is to ship our messages to folks.

 Herman: How do you are feeling about latest years seeing extra curiosity on a world degree in Ok-pop, particularly right here within the U.S.? 

Seventeen: We’re joyful.

DK: I’m full of pleasure.

S.Coups: There are plenty of nice venues in America and I hope at some point we will attempt tougher and get the chance to carry out on a kind of phases. We’re not burdened by something, we’re simply having fun with every little thing alongside the way in which.

DK: You can’t beat an individual who enjoys, so we’ll proceed having fun with every little thing. We’re a gaggle that works exhausting whereas having fun with every little thing.

Herman: For the non-Korean members, why did you resolve to pursue a profession within the Ok-pop trade? 

Theeight: My dream was to change into a singer since I used to be younger. Ok-pop was one thing actually near me, so I believe that’s why I selected Ok-pop. 

Herman: Was there something you would like you knew this earlier than pursuing that path? Theeight, or anybody else? 

Theeight: I believe experiencing every little thing is rather more necessary, so there actually isn’t something I want I’d’ve identified earlier than. 

Mingyu: There’s a lot we nonetheless don’t know so I don’t suppose we will reply that query simply but. Since we had been trainees, we’ve been studying new issues, and that has been enjoyable and attention-grabbing. There’s nonetheless a lot left for us to be taught sooner or later. 

Herman: As Ok-pop turns into extra broadly popularized within the west, there’s plenty of deal with obvious negatives of the approach to life of Ok-pop idols, significantly how the personal lives, particularly romantic features, of stars’ usually have an effect on one’s profession. Do you ever really feel there’s a disconnect between who you’re privately versus publicly?  

Woozi: I don’t suppose it’s wholesome to suppose that our private lives are being oppressed simply because we’re idols. We are common folks, who occur to be idols.

S.Coups: We’re all the identical human beings. We shouldn’t do something towards the legislation. 

Woozi: Simply put, when we’ve got free time we simply stroll round and go watch a film.

Mingyu: There’s no distinction between us and the individuals who love us. We do what we wish to do, have hobbies, meet associates, buy groceries, watch motion pictures, and so on.

 Wonwoo: Most importantly we all know we’re ready to affect others, so we don’t do something that goes towards the legislation.

Mingyu: We can’t disappoint our followers who help us. 

Herman: Do you are feeling that you just ever did something actively in order to not disappoint your followers?

Mingyu: To be trustworthy, we actually don’t do something which may disappoint our followers. If we hold our humility and work exhausting, I believe we can repay our followers in that approach.

Wonwoo: Even small issues, like throwing out rubbish in a rubbish can [we do].

S.Coups: I believe the most important disappointment our followers can really feel is once we don’t attempt exhausting on stage simply because we’re drained. We gained’t ever disappoint our followers in that approach. So no matter stage we’re on, we attempt to be grateful and check out our greatest.

Vernon: I believe our affect advantages us to wish to change into higher folks in order that we could be constructive influences. 

Note: This interview has been edited for readability.

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