The Korea Herald


'13egin': Infinite's new beginning at 13th year

Infinite to hold a Asian concert tour starting in Seoul on Aug. 19

By Choi Ji-won

Published : Aug. 1, 2023 - 17:23

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K-pop band Infinite held a press conference for its seventh EP K-pop band Infinite held a press conference for its seventh EP "13egin" in Seoul on Monday.

Infinite has returned with its first new album in five years, "13egin," marking a new start 13 years since they debuted.

The album, the band's seventh EP, came out Monday evening.

The desperation to make their comeback work was even fiercer than when the group first debuted in 2010, Jang Dongwoo, the six-piece's main vocalist and rapper said Monday during a press conference held in Seoul.

"Establishing Infinite Company, we did everything ourselves this time, from the album production to the choreography, the outfits, hair and makeup and music concept. Every part of the album was decided through our votes, and we felt so earnest. The touching feeling we had about this album is just inexpressible," the blue-haired member said, his eyes glistening yet again.

Suited up in sleek black two-pieces, the six men appeared onto the stage quite solemnly on Monday. Most of them seemed awkward at all the attention, as many of them had been away from such exclusive, in-person press event in the recent few years.

But as soon as they took the seats together to speak about their long-awaited comeback, the excitement thrived exuberantly.

The drama was all understandable as Infinite's comeback in five years was almost a miracle, mainly achieved through the efforts of the band's leader Kim Sung-kyu.

Bringing together six members affiliated to different labels is almost an impossible task, as all different legal ties and interests of each of the members and their companies must be settled before they even begin talking about a new album.

And Sung-kyu made that happen. While constantly bringing together the six members to maintain their connections, he searched for ways to continue their team activities. Through months of negotiations with the band's original trademark holder, Woolim Entertainment, he gained the rights over the band's trademark and recently established their own Infinite Company.

The first album dropped under their new roof is "13egin" -- read "begin" -- which was coined to celebrate the band's 13th anniversary with their new start.

This is the team's first album since its third full-length LP "Top Seed" dropped in 2018.

"We've been together for 13 years but this is our very first album that we made solely by ourselves. It wasn't easy. We listened to almost 100 songs to decide (the title song). It was fun and challenging at the same time. I'm very satisfied," Sung-kyu said.

The lead song fronting their new beginning is "New Emotions," a heavily addictive track that grabs the ears from the start. It's a wine-like song that portrays the six guys' matured allures, Dong-woo depicted.

"I sent around 10 songs to the members to choose from. The next day, I found myself humming only this one," Sung-kyu said about "New Emotions."

As musicians of 13-year career, the concern of pursuing their own style while bringing new sounds for the listeners was the biggest dilemma to overcome.

"Trying to prove ourselves may lead to blandness. We thought we had to bring something fresh new," Dong-woo said.

"The disciplined group dance iconic of an Infinite music could not be removed. But the recent trend seems to have changed from our days and we had to catch up with them," Sung-kyu said, adding, "We tried to stick to our usual style in the chorus, and in the verses, we included pair movements. ... If we'd focused on performances that could show us as a group, this time, we emphasized on manifesting each of our styles in the individual parts."

Carrying the various colors of the group are other side-tracks of the album, "Intro: 13," "Time Difference," "I Got You" and "Find Me," as well as a instrumental version of the title track.

With the new album, the sextet is also gearing up to meet their fans in person. On Aug. 19-20, the group will hold its concert, "Comeback Again," at the KSPO Dome in Seoul's Olympic Park.

KSPO Dome, a symbolic venue for any K-pop singers, carries an even more significant value for Infinite, the members explained. Despite the worries that they won't be able to sell out the tickets, L insisted their 13th anniversary had to be celebrated here.

"The KSPO Dome is the No. 1 venue for Infinite and Inspirit (Infinite's fandom) . We held the fan meeting and started our world tour there. It resembles the relationship of Infinite and Inspirit and carries many memories we share," L explained.

However, even L had not expected they would sell out two days at KSPO Dome, one of the nation's biggest concert site that accommodates up to 15,000 people. Their last full-group concert had been in 2016 when they held "Summer Concert 3" at a theater place in Seoul.

"We really didn't expect such big number. We're grateful that so many people remember us. We're training hard for the concert these days. We have practices today and tomorrow," L added.

Not only have the six men become more mature with time, but they now appreciate every moment they share together under the name Infinite.

"Recently, we all cried together hugging each other in the dance room. We were practicing, and I burst into tears when Dong-woo hugged me. The others watching us also broke into tears," Sung-kyo said.

Nam Woo-hyun said they also shed tears when they recently met fans during a pre-recording session for a TV music show.

"Fans are my tear buttons. As someone who has waited so long for this moment, even now I can feel my eyes going red. Fans are my youth and I feel like I'm meeting my youth again in year 2023," Woo-hyun said.

The team's youngest Lee Seong-jong added the devotion they show for Infinite has also changed.

"I just felt so happy. I felt grateful ahead of every practice or recording sessions. The others also seemed to feel the same. They'd come 30 minutes of even a half early at times to warm up," Seong-jong said, adding a note of gratitude to Sung-kyu again.

This is not an one time event, the members promised. Even if not as often as before, the bandmates will continue to bring new sounds as Infinite.

"We didn't make the company for no reason. Of course, we'll continue. As long as you guys support us and love us, there is no reason for us to stop. With the CEO, Sung-kyu, at the lead, we'll continue to knock on your door," Dong-woo said.

Starting in Seoul, Infinite is set to travel Asia for a concert tour.

"Following the Seoul gigs, we're heading out to (other regions in) Asia and meet our fans. We'll be returning their love with our concerts," Woo-hyun said.

The members also said they have a self-made variety series and other entertainment contents upcoming.