K-pop boy band Ghost9 (Maroo Entertainment)
Having successfully wrapped up their first musical series “Now,” rookie boy band Ghost9 is back to embark on their new journey, “Arcade: Vow.”
Ahead of dropping their new album “Arcade: V” on Thursday, the act conducted a joint interview with local press in a cafe in Seoul to talk about the new album and their recent US concert tour, “Into the Live: Now.”
In January, Ghost9 traveled to four cities in the US, launching their first overseas concert tour since their debut. It also marked the end of the band’s first series, “Now.”
“It was our first time performing in front of the fans. It feels strange and new to make a comeback this time, holding the emotions we’d felt back then inside us,” member Choi Jun-seong said.
Since their debut in September 2020 and five albums later, it has been the longest time the boys have taken in between new releases, although it is only a mere five months since their fifth EP, “Now : Who we are facing,” in November.
Leading the album is “X-Ray,” the title song they had settled on through their experience in the US. The initial title song was “Champion,” now listed on the album as a side track.
“It was our first time seeing the reactions of our fans, and from what we learned then, we decided this one (“X-Ray”) would sound more original to our fans,” Lee Kang-sung said.
A powerful synth-dance track with strong thumping beats, “X-Ray” boasts of a dynamic sound.
“There’s more EDM (electro-dance music) sound, and it’s also peppered with elements of rock genre, such as stomps and claps, which will make the listeners’ hearts pounce,” Kang-sung explained.
The rookies said they had challenged themselves performancewise with the new song.
“There’s a part where Woo-jin and Prince throws me in the final hook part, and I make a landing, whereas Jun-hyung attempted the crump genre through his solo dance break,” Jun-sung said.
Kang Jun-hyung, the leader of the seven-piece act, said he also contributed to creating his solo choreography.
“It’s a rare opportunity to get the stage to yourself, and I’m very grateful for it. It’s also my first time at attempting the crump genre, and it was fun,” Jun-hyung said.
About the music video, Jin-woo said part of it was inspired by the Kanye West and Alicia Keys music video of “City of Gods.”
“I heard (a part of) the music video was made in black-and-white in homage to the song, and it would be more fascinating for fans to watch comparing the two videos,” Jin-woo said.
Group concept photo of Ghost9`s sixth EP "Arcade: V" (Maroo Entertainment)
“Arcade: V” will be the first chapter of Ghost9’s new three-album series, “Arcade: Vow.”
“An arcade is a long passage of arches, and we’ll be shooting through it on our next journey. There will be three episodes, “V,” “O,” and “W,” and it refers to our vow to move forward and to the love we promise in the songs,” Jun-hyung explained.
Although both series sing of love, “‘Now’ delivers the emotion in the earlier stages in love. The new albums will include songs with sadder lyrics, showing how we mature through them,” he said.
The forthcoming six-track album also includes “Dot,” “Champion,” “T.Y.T (Take You There),” “Always, All Ways” and “Stranger.”
A multinational group comprising one Thai member -- Prince -- and six South Korean members -- Jun-hyung, Lee Shin, Jun-seong, Kang-sung, Woo-jin, Jin-woo -- debuted on Sept. 23, 2020, with the first EP “Pre-Episode 1: Door.”
Since then, the septet has made regular comebacks, dropping five albums in just a year and two months, building their own niche of followers in the highly contested K-pop scene to become one of the most promising rookie groups.
While Woo-jin said the number of albums they’ve have released until now reflects their earnestness to make themselves known, they believe they are now past that stage.
“It feels like the past year and a half has gone by fast, but I think we’ve made full use of it. Making a comeback every three months, we felt like debuting again every time. We had wanted to show ourselves as much as possible. Although it’s still important we become more known, it’s our new goal to show our true colors,” Kang-sung said.
Putting more time into producing the new album, each of the members said they all took a different approach.
Jin-woo said he had suggested to the company a new hairstyle for himself, cutting his hair short and dying it bright, which the other members all said suited him well.
Woo-jin, who is turning 20 in Korean age this year, said he lost 6 kilograms for the comeback.
Kang-sung’s focus was on the songs. “As the album concept itself was new, the side tracks all felt unfamiliar, and I spent much time on thinking about how I should record each song differently. Rather than following the style I would have taken usually, I broke apart each of the songs and tried to get used to the new sounds,” he said.
With the success with their first set of concerts in the US, the members are hoping they will be able to perform again in front of fans this year.
“We didn’t realize that we’d have so many fans in the US. Our expectations were very low as it was our first stateside concert, but thankfully, many people came, to our surprise,” Jun-hyung said.
“I even saw some people attending more than one of our concerts. We could feel how sincerely they were rooting for us, memorizing the Korean lyrics and singing along with us,” Kang-sung chimed in, adding, “I hope we could get the same experience in other places as well.”
Prince, who hails from Thailand, said he hopes to perform in his home country in the future, adding that it has been over two years since he has visited Thailand.
K-pop boy band Ghost9 (Maroo Entertainment)
On their goals with the new album, Jun-hyung said they hope to really enjoy ourselves instead of “taking things too seriously.”
“It’s more fun to watch when the performer is having fun in the first place,” Jun-hyung said.
The third year into their career, Ghost9 is aiming to strike higher on the music charts as well, hopefully making their way up to the topmost ranks.
Kang-sung also added that they hoped to invite their parents and perform in front of them, and maybe even drop another three albums by the end of the year, making a comeback every season.
Especially with their hectic schedule, health is of utmost importance to the band, they said.
“We won’t be able to do anything if we’re not in a good condition,” Jin-woo said, while Woo-jin added that the goal is not to get injured during music shows and to visit as many countries as possible.
Closing the interview, Shin said: “We’re aware that many artists will be making a comeback with us. I hope we could learn from them.”
By Choi Ji-won (firstname.lastname@example.org