ATEEZ is back after a long wait – Paper Magazine Interview

ATEEZ was on the rise. The group, whose name stands for “A TEEnager Z”, debuted in 2018 as an ensemble of teenagers with the philosophy of doing whatever they can to the best of their abilities. They represented the electric energy of youth and took the music industry by storm, becoming one of the leaders who ushered in the fourth generation of K-Pop. But as they gained even more momentum, the world stopped.

The octet kicked off their second world tour with a two-night stint at the Olympic Hall in Seoul in February 2020. And just as they were preparing to travel and perform in Europe, Japan and the United States, COVID-19 hit and got in the way of their plans. They had to postpone the tour and reschedule the concert dates. Yet they wasted no time. Over the past two years, they’ve released a string of EPs, had major collaborations that produced new hit singles, held an online concert, appeared on multiple variety shows, and most importantly, prioritized contact with their fans, ATINY.

Now the boys are back and ready to meet everyone in person again thanks to their The community: the beginning of the end world tour, a repackaging of what was to be their Map the treasure tower. They embark on this long-awaited reunion with renewed enthusiasm and an undeniable dynamism that resonates with their audience.

“It’s been a very long wait for us to come here. I just want to tell our fans that we don’t want to keep them waiting that long,” said ATEEZ leader Hongjoong. PAPER. “We will continuously try to meet them and communicate with them continuously. Don’t worry anymore. That’s what I mean the most.”

PAPER spoke with Hongjoong, Seonghwa, Yunho, Yeosang, San, Wooyoung, and Jongho (member Mingi was unwell and had to rest) ahead of their performance at the Prudential Center in Newark, New Jersey.

The original title of this tour was to be The community: mapping the treasurewhy change it to The beginning of the end?

Hongjoong: the The beginning of the end the title sounds like our situation where we’ve been waiting for this for a long time. In our concert, our opening song is “Wonderland”. The message of the song is similar, that’s why we changed the title. That’s our big message with this world tour. The beginning of the end of a long wait.

How does it feel to perform again in front of a large audience? It’s been a long time.

Yunho: We have waited so long to meet our fans, ATINY, on the road. And during the concerts, we really felt the energy of the fans and we were able to give 100% for them.

Hongjoong: It really is a different feeling. With an audience of 10,000 fans, this is the first time we have performed in front of so many ATINYs. It’s really something else. Although it’s not over yet, but in the midst of the pandemic, we performed in front of cameras. It’s different with energy, because in front of the cameras, we just executed what we planned. In front of the fans, the ATINY, we just enjoy the scenes.

Holy : Now that we see people in front of us, in fact, it makes a big difference. We can convey all our feelings and artistry to fans through our music.

Has the pandemic made you think differently about your music and your work?

Hongjoong: We wrote many messages to our fans, saying “We are still here” and “Don’t forget us. We can’t meet now, but we’ll wait for the time. So we have included many messages to communicate more deeply with our fans to keep them closer.

Seonghwa: During the recording of our songs, we tried our best to translate all our feelings into the songs so that when the fans listen, they can understand what we mean. Because we couldn’t see them in person, we wanted to convey that emotion through our voices.

What are you most looking forward to showing your fans around the world this time around?

Woo Young: Over the past two years we have been able to get more fans who have never seen them in person and through this concert we want to show them who ATEEZ is. Seeing them through videos and seeing them in person is another feeling, another experience that we want fans to witness and then get even more into what ATEEZ is.

Hongjoong: And during those two years, we released a lot of albums. We have a lot of new songs and we have a lot of new performances. So this is the most exciting thing for ATINY.

And what about new listeners who are not yet necessarily ATINY? What do you want them to know about ATEEZ?

Yunho: We want to show other people watching our relationship with our fans. How we connect with them and why ATINY is important to us. And seeing this, they will understand and agree.

Hongjoong: If they hear our songs, or see the concert, we hope they see and say “They are real”.

How has your music evolved over the years and grown?

Holy : We tried more genres and showed different colors of ATEEZ. We also worked hard to show another side of ATEEZ.

Hongjoong: Our ability to sing has grown a lot. Messages are also more important than before because we have series of albums and a central story. We just released the treasure series, we are already done with the Fever series too. So we can include a lot more messages than when we started.

Has your dynamic as a band also changed over the years?

Yōsang: Since we have been working and living together, we have grown much closer, we understand each other, we know how to compromise and work well as a team.

Holy : Like family.

Hongjoong: When we started, we were just friends. But now we are like a family. We are brothers.

Everyone has been through a tough time over the past two years. How did you, as a family, deal with the difficult times?

Seonghwa: Our main goal was for us to communicate well with each other. Each of us had our own problems. And although the members are about the same age, I’m a bit older than everyone else, so I kind of made sure to watch them because communication is important for a good family.

Holy : It is awesome.

How do you hope you as a band will grow in the future and improve?

Jongho: We want to have fun while making music, and we want to show off new, cooler sides to each other, because we’re getting older too, and we want our fans to understand and identify with each other as we mature together.

Holy : Our primary goal is to connect with ATINY through any art form, with our music, or anything else, be it our photos or otherwise. That’s what we want to do.

Hongjoong: We want our music, our stage performances, everything… We just want ATINY to be able to follow us on our way.

This is your second US tour. And since the last time you came here, other Korean artists have also made their world debuts. What do you think of this generation of K-Pop from the other side of the world?

Hongjoong: We have respect for many senior bands because they paved the way to show our songs more easily. I really thank them. Other K-Pop artists a few years later, some of them feel that ATEEZ is doing the same for them. We hope that in the future, debuting bands will see that we have also paved the way for them to come here and perform here, thanks to ATEEZ’s cool music and performances.

Last year, you released collaborations with artists like Kim Jong Kook and Pentatonix. Who are the other artists with whom you want to work?

Woo Young: Since my pre-debut, I’ve been saying that for a while. I would love for us to collaborate with Shawn Mendes.

Holy : We also love Bruno Mars. We covered his songs like “Leave the Door Open”, so we want to collaborate with him.

Hongjoong: If given the opportunity, we would love to work with anyone whose “colors” match ours. We like to try new things, so we’re open.

With your songs, you dabbled in rock, pop, R&B and more. What other styles and genres would you like to try and explore?

Woo Young: Like you said, we’ve tried a lot of genres and there’s a lot of genres in this world, and we hope that one day when people listen to our music, they can say, “Oh, that’s exactly ATEEZ. We want to create a genre that is the genre of ATEEZ.

Hongjoong: Yes, we are continually trying different things to achieve this.

Photos courtesy of KQ Entertainment

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