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[Herald Interview] Familiar but new, Sechs Kies returns with remake album

K-pop group Sechs Kies, which regrouped this year for a reunion concert after a 16-year hiatus, has released a new album filled with remakes of the band’s past hits.

More than a decade since their heyday, the members said they felt nervous but happy, with a stronger sense of responsibility than before, when the members were 20-somethings.

“Before, we would basically follow the directions of the songwriters and producers,” said member Kim Jae-duck. “Now, we feel a responsibility to make better music.”

K-pop group Sechs Kies poses for a photo before an interview at YG Entertainment headquarters on Friday, Dec. 2. (YG Entertainment)
K-pop group Sechs Kies poses for a photo before an interview at YG Entertainment headquarters on Friday, Dec. 2. (YG Entertainment)

“It’s great to be part of a big group again,” said rapper Eun Ji-won, who has been starring in comedy and variety programs since the group’s disbandment. “It’s a very familiar yet very new feeling.”

Titled “2016 Re-Album,” the new album consists of 10 hit songs from the ’90s including “Couple,” “Road Fighter, “Reckless Love” and “Come to Me Baby.”

Rapper Tablo and producer Future Bounce participated in the re-mastering to render the old songs “trendy and sophisticated,” according to lead singer Kang Sung-hoon.

“They’re still old tunes but the mixing and the instrumentals, the singing techniques are more fitting with the current trends.”

The songs will evoke nostalgia for older fans and introduce the group to younger listeners, Kang hoped.

Sechs Kies members say the concept of “idol singers” seems to have changed over the years.

“Before, idol groups were only for teenagers,” said Eun. “I think they were more short-lived, and more about product value. Now, it seems like there are many more talented, artistic groups like Big Bang and EXO.”

“We’re trying to stay young,” said Kang, pointing to his pink hair, which he recently dyed for the new album. “We feel like our comeback has been a success, and now the goal is to continue -- until we’re 45 and older -- to keep that idol-singer image.”

Sechs Kies member Eun Ji-won poses for a photo before an interview at YG Entertainment headquarters on Friday, Dec. 2. (YG Entertainment)
Sechs Kies member Eun Ji-won poses for a photo before an interview at YG Entertainment headquarters on Friday, Dec. 2. (YG Entertainment)

The formerly six-member team, now with five members, led the first generation of idol groups in Korea. The group rose to massive popularity with its 1997 debut, with songs like “Couple.”

Sechs Kies’ notoriously loyal fans were devastated when the group disbanded just three years later in 2000. The recent regrouping has been met with enthusiasm, the songs from its new album topping major music charts upon their release Thursday.

Sechs Kies member Lee Jae-jin poses for a photo before an interview at YG Entertainment headquarters on Friday, Dec. 2. (YG Entertainment)
Sechs Kies member Lee Jae-jin poses for a photo before an interview at YG Entertainment headquarters on Friday, Dec. 2. (YG Entertainment)

The group’s active members additionally include Lee Jae-jin and Jang Su-won. Former vocalist Ko Ji-yong has now left the entertainment industry and is a businessman, though he is set to star in reality program “The Return of Superman,” which films celebrity dads and their children.

The group has many activities in store for next year, which marks the 20th anniversary of its debut, including a concert and releasing an album with brand new material.

By Rumy Doo (doo@heraldcorp.com)
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