“Come, Come Into My World, Won’t Let You Down, In My New World” are the lines from K-pop band SEVENTEEN’s single ‘_WORLD’ which leads their second repackage album SECTOR 17 that is nothing less than an epiphany. The thirteen-member squad, fondly called the ‘Performance Kings’ are not only dominating the world but charting new milestones with each act.
SECTOR 17 has scored them their highest Billboard 200 debut at No.4. The album not only marks SEVENTEEN’s fourth entry into the chart but it also a first to land at Top 5. In April 2022, they released their first English single ‘Darl+ing’ which served as a prelude to their fourth full length album Face The Sun that came out in May 2022.
‘Darl+ing’ topped the music charts in several countries but Face The Sun was truly a landmark for the band that debuted in the Top 10 on Billboard 200 and also gave them their third No. 1 on Billboard’s Top Album Sales. With SECTOR 17, the band has scored their fourth No.1 on Billboard’s Top Album Sales Chart.
As they become the first Korean artists in 2022 with multiple top 10 albums on the Billboard 200 chart, they unanimously admit that they are determined to make memories for both, ‘CARATS’ (their official fandom) and themselves as SEVENTEEN.
In an exclusive interview with us, the K-pop superstars discuss SECTOR 17 and a repackage of their fourth studio album Face The Sun, which tracks the powerhouse act as they move forward into an idyllic new world beyond the boundaries set by their own fears and offers an insight into their hopes and aspirations for the future. The 13-member unit discusses their music, their bond, and even has a special message for Indian CARATS.
HELLO!: It’s SEVENTEEN World Domination! From the biggest-selling album to chart-topping singles and SECTOR 17, what is SEVENTEEN’s world like at the moment?
DK: “Our world is all about getting ready to meet CARATS at the moment, especially with the world tour coming up. CARATS are the sources of our energy and strength to move forward, and this is a long-awaited opportunity to meet them in person and show them what SEVENTEEN can do on stage. We are determined to make memories for both CARATS and SEVENTEEN.”
KIM MINGYU: “This moment is what both CARATS and SEVENTEEN have been waiting for. And to make sure it’s worth the wait, we are doing our best to make sure we give it all we have.”
H!: SECTOR 17 also includes previous hits as well as four new songs—the title track ‘_WORLD’ ‘Cheers’, ‘Circles’ and the Korean Version of ‘Fallin’ Flower’. Tell us about the process of creating these tracks, the idea, and philosophy behind it?
WOOZI: “SECTOR 17 is an album about a new world we’ve found after our journey to Face The Sun, and the sense of hope that follows in starting to build our own, new world. Us leaders releasing and performing music together holds a special place in our hearts. In many ways, we are extremely careful when we present ourselves as ‘SVT LEADERS’, which explains the five-year break in between our first single together and ‘Cheers’. ‘Cheers’ is one of the tracks where every process throughout was smooth and satisfactory for all, so the overall song making process was joyful. Vernon also helped us out with the track this time, which was another element of fun added to the process.”
HOSHI: “‘Cheers’ is a track that marks how far we have come as SEVENTEEN. As the lyrics portray, although we raise our glasses and make a toast to how far we’ve come, it’s ‘a glass half full’ and we are ready for more.”
SEUNGKWAN: “We created ‘Circles’ in hopes that the message conveyed will resonate with a lot of people. This track is SEVENTEEN’s take on a lyrical ballad, so to enhance the ambience, we asked a group of elementary schoolers to sing with us in the chorus. That moment in the track brings a great deal of satisfaction to what we wanted to say with this song, which is that the moment of happiness will eventually circle back. We hope that the song heals the listeners.”
YOON JEONGHAN: “While recording the repackage album, this track gave me so much comfort, and I kept listening to it. I hope CARATS feel the same way when listening to ‘Circles’.
H!: What was the idea behind ‘_World’? The video is so amazing!
WOOZI: “Thank you! Like I’ve mentioned, ‘_WORLD’ centers around the idea of a ‘new world’ for SEVENTEEN. We felt it was the right song that signals our new chapter with limitless possibilities. We wanted to show the listeners and CARATS our team’s aspirations and mindset towards this new beginning as SEVENTEEN.”
WONWOO: “I recall shooting the music video of ‘_WORLD’ and preparing for the tour at the same time. Despite having a lot of things happen at the same time, all of our members worked hard to be fully ready and I’m glad the evident results show in the video. I am grateful to everyone who worked on this piece together.”
H!: Your tracks are a continuation of your story as a group. From reflecting on your career with ‘Your Choice’ to facing your fears in ‘Inner Shadows’, it’s never easy to discuss all this, isn’t it? How do you all do it and stay positive, in an industry that comes with so many challenges?
HOSHI: “It can definitely be hard at times, but we make sure we stay true to ourselves. There is comfort in knowing that there are twelve more who are going through similar feelings, and working towards the same goal. People might see us as ‘bright and positive’, but that’s why we try our best to share our feelings as transparently as possible. We hope that they’ll see that everyone, including us, goes through similar phases and worries, and that they’ll be able to relate to that.”
H!: It’s been seven years and an amazingly decorated journey from Love & Letter to Face The Sun and now SECTOR 17; what’s your future vision and how would you describe your journey and the changing dynamics of SEVENTEEN?
S.COUPS: “We’ve come a long way from when we first started putting our music out to the world. We tried our best every step of the way, and knowing our members, I believe that we will always strive to become better and push the limits. I have faith that we will better ourselves every time, and not lose ourselves along the way.”
H!: What’s the one favourite memory that comes to mind of you as a group, something that you cherish as your music breaks records, your fandom grows. Also are you ever satisfied with your achievements?
WEN JUNHUI: “There isn’t a single memory that comes to mind, but the presence of CARATS itself is something that we always cherish. I am grateful to them every day, and it actually feels like we are always together in one way or another. On the day of our music video shoot for ‘_WORLD’, there was heavy rain all day. We were worried that we might have to cancel, but the rain stopped right when we were supposed to start. I was reminded of our CARATS again because something good happened, and it almost felt like CARATS were helping us out.”
H!: What’s the one thing you would want to tell yourselves if you could go back in time?
MINGYU: “To be completely honest, there isn’t much in particular that I would tell my past self. We as SEVENTEEN have been through so much, from great memories to not so great ones, but all those experiences helped me become who I am now. So rather than giving my younger self directions on how to live a certain way, I want to leave it up to my younger self to face all the emotions that come with what he experiences.”
H!: What’s it really like with all of you together as you work on conceptualisation, writing, and ideating?
VERNON: “One thing we’ve discovered throughout the process is that every member is different. There are thirteen very different members who want what’s best for SEVENTEEN. Some members enjoy working on the lyrics, while others think a lot more about how to present our music on stage because we each have our own strengths. At the end of the day, our collective passion and love towards the team, beyond our differences, make us that much stronger as a team.”
H!: You are back on tour, how did it feel to be back on stage performing to the crowds and meeting fans after nearly two years?
THE8: “We were grateful to stay connected with and perform for CARATS online during the pandemic, but the level of excitement we can have through an in-person performance is beyond this world. We missed the fans jumping up and down as if we were one. We’re going all in for this tour, and we are ready to show the fans who we are, and put on the best of SEVENTEEN.”
H!: You are one of the notable self-producing idol groups. What are the challenges you have faced as artists and have overcome? What’s been your inspiration and influences?
DINO: “One of our biggest influences right now is each other. It always takes a good amount of time to come to a conclusion with all the members, but we make sure we listen to every one of us. Although all thirteen of us are quite different, the synergy we create together and how we strengthen as a team is incredible to witness. When working on a new album, one of the most important things we take into account is making music that resonates amongst us now. We consider this transparency and honesty in our music one of SEVENTEEN’s strengths.”
H!: What is the one activity you all enjoy doing most and the one activity you miss?
JOSHUA: “We love eating together. Good food with good people never goes wrong. One activity I miss the most is us playing sports together. When we were trainees, we would have 30 minutes to an hour to spare in between our practices. We would run to a soccer field or a basketball court nearby and just play. We haven’t been able to play as much as we used to, but we still go and play ever so often.”
H!: Your music gives hope to millions. A message for Indian CARATS and hopefully a concert in India?
JEONGHAN: “Thank you! We will be there to see our Indian CARATS as soon as we can. We cannot wait to meet Indian CARATS in person soon!”