“When we think about our early days, we were always faced with uncertainty, but we were confident about our skills,” said leader Hongjoong during the band’s press interview on Wednesday at a cafe in southern Seoul’s Gangnam District.
“It was groundless and with good reason at the same time, but we knew we’d do amazing once we were on stage; even though every week we were unsure whether we would be invited to a music show next week or if our song would be cut for time.”
Gratitude, members say, is the first thing that comes to mind when they are now performing in large arenas around the world and gracing Paris Fashion Week.
“At Paris Fashion Week, a lot of people knew who we were and told us they’re our fans,” said Hongjoong. “We were grateful that our fans in many different fields have been observing what we do and how we’ve grown over the years.”
The eight members of Ateez — Hongjoong, Seonghwa, Yunho, Yeosang, San, Mingi, Wooyoung and Jongho — toured Seoul, Japan, North America and Europe for “The Fellowship : Beginning of the End” and “The Fellowship : Break the Wall.” They are also set to hold an encore concert next month in Seoul.
“Seoul is where our tours kicked off, and we wanted to show Korean Atinys that we’ve improved this much through our world tours,” Wooyoung said.
“We learned how to make the most out of our time with fans, and how to communicate during the concert to figure out the best way to do so for that certain crowd,” said Mingi. “Fans spend precious time and money to come see us, so I firmly believe that we really have to make it worth it. Their satisfaction is how we can repay them.”
Thanks to the band’s popularity especially among international fans, Ateez has earned the moniker “master craftsman of world tours.” Members say that after years together, they “know what the other person is going to do next just by looking at them,” Wooyoung laughed.
“Remembering our early days, we know how precious every single performance is,” said Yunho. “It’s all thanks to our members’ amazing energy that we’ve made it this far today. When we’re rehearsing in front of other artists, I’m so proud to show off how good my team is.”
“And maybe this will make Jongho blush, but every time we’re on stage, I’m so proud that we have an amazing vocalist like him,” said Wooyoung. “Where could you find a vocalist like him? But Atinys already know that.”
“There was a time I felt so much pressure; I was reassured when the other members were with me, but I felt like nothing as a vocalist when I was alone,” Jongho added. “Candidly sharing these fears with members and fans helped me overcome it, and I’m growing more comfortable every day. I realized how precious it is to have people you can rely on.”
Ateez also shared how it feels to have new artists come from its agency: upcoming boy band xikers from KQ Entertainment are set to debut next week.
“I think we as KQ’s first artists paved the way and created a system so that our younger brothers [xikers] can train in a much better environment,” Wooyoung laughed. “When we see xikers members, we give them feedback, and Hongjoong has also been giving advice to xikers’ leader Minjae as a leader himself.”
“They’ve joined us on our tours,” said Hongjoong. “It’s like we got younger brothers, but with different charms from us. I’m confident about them and waiting excitedly. I hope the two groups join forces to build an agency that can last a long time, so that we can make music that we love even after decades.”
“We always joke to fans that the eight of us will be dancing to [our song] ‘Halazia’ together even when we become elderly, and we mean it,” Wooyoung added.
Although they cannot disclose details yet, members said they are working on a new album, with San hinting at fans to “pay close attention to changes in members’ hair colors” for future spoilers.
“We always ponder on how to continue doing what we love, and we want to do it for a long time to come,” said Yeosang. “It’s all possible thanks to Atinys, which gives us a sense of responsibility too, to repay with good music and performances. Please stay tuned as we keep on showing our Ateez-ness.”
BY HALEY YANG [firstname.lastname@example.org]