Having debuted under KQ Entertainment in 2018, Octet K-pop boy band ATEEZ has since made a name for itself as one of the leading groups in global music. The group, whose name stands for ‘Everything You Need From A to Z,’ has already effectively changed K-Pop’s sound. In doing so, members HONG JOONG, SEONG HWA, YUN HO, YEO SANG, SAN, MIN GI, WOO YOUNG, and JONG HO have contrasted the typically lighter and brighter sonics with their own gritty musical concepts, conveyed by elements of EDM, Trap, Hip Hop, and even slight rock influences—reflected most prominently in recent tracks “HALAZIA” from SPIN-OFF: FROM THE WITNESS and “Guerrilla” from a mini-album released last year, THE WORLD EP.1: MOVEMENT.
With the launch of these projects comes a new era that shines a light on a narrative that challenges both societal constraints and issues that afflict the youth in their journey towards balancing both growing pains and pressures from a dystopian-like alternate world, as depicted in their visuals and sound. Through eclectic production and an enticing series that has progressed over the span of 5 years, the group continues to flourish, taking their fan base called ATINY for a voyage that resonates with them in this new stage from young adolescence into adulthood. Invoking inspiration and ambition through their music, ATEEZ continues to give fans their all, a dedication as seen in their energetic and impassioned performances.
Having already embarked on their third world tour “The Fellowship: Break the Wall”, GEN V caught up with the musical supernovas to discuss their reflections on their latest releases, their many experiences with the ATINYs, and what the group has in store for the summer ahead.
MINI V: With the release of HALAZIA. How do you think this latest single helps tie in and capture this new era for the group?
ATEEZ: It’s the unveiling of a new side of ATEEZ. The song itself lets you enjoy the storyline that is so embedded into our work from a new angle. It doesn’t represent the exact direction of what may come for our new songs and instead should be taken for what it is as a spin-off. Rather than understanding the narrative from a single perspective, the listeners are able to immerse themselves more into the storyline with the addition of a new pov. The spin-off actually acts as a stepping stone to the new era as it shows the growth of our performances. From the level of choreography difficulty to the dynamic performances, Halazia took things to the next level by showing how wide the range can be with ATEEZ’s music.
MINI V: Recently, last summer you guys released a new mini album kicking off a new series entitled “THE WORLD EP.1: MOVEMENT”, exploring themes of dystopia, angst, and combatting societal repression (especially shown in the track “Guerrilla”). In what ways do you think the album reflects the challenges that the youth face in today’s world?
ATEEZ: The album is a reflection of our own thoughts. It’s the representation of us breaking our own limits and overcoming our own hardships to walk alongside today’s youth as they chase their own dreams. In a society where the youth are constantly being told what to do, where to go, and how to think, we want people to know that you don’t have to worry about what people think. You can achieve your dreams, whatever they may be, without holding yourself back and worrying about what others think. This album has such strong themes to reflect the oppression and prejudice against the youth. It’s meant to be a reminder to be yourself, break your own limits, and achieve your dreams without thinking about judgment from those around you.
MINI V: What should the ATINYs expect to hear in future installments of the WORLD series? How do you guys envision continuing this storyline through your visuals and sound?
ATEEZ: The WORLD series will differ in terms of sound a lot, but this is something that ATINY can always look forward to. We will continue to bring you high-quality good music, with each song revealing a new side of ATEEZ. Our visuals and sound will reflect this on a grand scale, and the storyline will follow this. Anything specific in the narrative will be left to your imagination and interpretation for now, so that there’s an element of mystery for you to look forward to even more. ATEEZ’s growth with each release, though, is a guarantee.
MINI V: Being that your third world tour The Fellowship: Break the Wall has come to a close in Europe, what would you guys say has been some of your favorite moments from this tour?
HONGJOONG: I’d say the best moment was when I was on stage singing with ATINY. No matter how many performances we do, it’s almost overwhelming how I always find myself happiest when I’m performing for ATINY.
SEONGHWA: Above all else, the memories of the concerts will always be my favorite moments. I felt such absolute happiness performing during the concerts. Thinking about the amount of love we received and seeing the people that support us made me want to work even harder. Besides this, we actually had some time to look around, so we were able to experience each country’s culture, eat the local food, and see some tourist attractions. It felt like we were able to get closer to the fans who have waited for us from afar.
YUNHO: I think this tour itself was something that helped me grow. Every country and city in Europe we visited on this tour was amazing, and I can proudly say that I was happy during every moment of it. I’m just so thankful to even be able to perform in front of ATINY.
YEOSANG: It would of course be the time spent with ATINY. It’s the most precious memory of the tour.
SAN: In the end, meeting the fans was what I liked the most. Eating the local food and experiencing the culture was really fun, but seeing the fans who waited for us for so long was the best. I missed them so much… So I’d say that meeting the fans was really the best.
MINGI: It’s probably when I was on stage. There’s no specific performance or concert, but being on stage in general in front of all the fans was what made me happy. Honestly, I hope I never get used to this feeling of happiness (of being on stage) so that I can feel it every time.
WOOYOUNG: I’m glad we got to go to countries that we’ve never been to before. We made new unforgettable memories there and that was something I was very happy about. And honestly, I was so sorry for Madrid and our fans there, but I was able to perform well there for this tour so I’m really happy.
JONGHO: It’s something I always feel, but I gain a lot of strength from ATINY. I will never forget that moment when I see ATINY each time I sing “Turbulence”.
MINI V: How would you describe the process behind the scenes in preparation for the shows in this tour? Also, do you guys have any rituals that you follow when on tour?
HONGJOONG: Honestly, there are a lot of different processes that are involved in the before and after of making a performance. Our members participate in the process by paying a lot of attention to the composition of the performance and coming up with ideas together, but the staff who make the performance with us also have a huge contribution to the show. From the selection of the setlist to the detailed tracking of movements, the input of musical arrangements, monitoring of the audio and stage, and even improvements and changes of the performance on-site, the staff help prepare a lot in how the stage will be presented to the audience.
SEONGHWA: Honestly, the behind-the-scenes preparation for the stage is pretty fierce. There are times when it can be tough. It’s a test of endurance because as we work on our performances, we check every detail while practicing and may even change the configuration of the stage. There are a lot of processes that are involved, and with each tour, we’ve had a chance to work on ourselves and our performances. In regard to rituals during the tour, it’s not something specific like a ritual, but I do usually try to skip dinner before going on stage. I don’t really eat before the show because I know I’ll be dancing and singing a lot, so I don’t like the feeling of it weighing me down. I tend to eat a heavy lunch and then skip dinner on show days during tours.
YUNHO: Before every tour, I change my eating habits so that I’m used to eating a heavy lunch and then a light dinner or no dinner at all so that I’m light on my feet and can move around more. And then before the show itself, I relax by loosening up my muscles. I sort of get into the mode and get wound up while on stage performing though, so it’s like an ongoing process rather than just prep before the show.
YEOSANG: Before the tour, we practiced the choreography and took into consideration every detail so that we could perform it even better. It’s a promise we made on stage, (to always bring our best.)
SAN: Behind the scenes, we really just increased the number of practices. In order to show a better performance, we practiced a lot. As for rituals, I don’t think I have any in particular, but I just keep the mindset of working hard and living through each day with no regrets.
MINGI: I work hard on exercising because honestly, every concert is about stamina. I’m really careful about this because if you think about it logically, each show is pretty long on average. I work on my breathing as well as my stamina in order to keep it up. I also think about how I can communicate with fans while on stage.
WOOYOUNG: In terms of preparation for the stage behind the scenes, it’s a matter of practicing each performance for at least 2 to 3 hours to perfect it. There are many people that work together with us on this, so we were able to put on a good show. I don’t think I really have any specific rituals.
JONGHO: I try my best to stay calm and stay still before the concert. I do my best to keep calm and stable even when the intro of “New World” starts.
MINI V: What are some goals and plans that you guys hope to achieve in the future as the group continues to reach the rapidly rising success that we should be on the lookout for?
HONGJOONG: As a sort of foundation to everything, I want to always be able to give good music, good performances, and good content to enjoy. I want to release more new songs this year, and with the strength and trust ATINY show in us, I want for us to be able to set up more events that will make them proud and that we can enjoy together.
SEONGHWA: Firstly, I’d like to say how thankful I am to you for saying that we are reaching rapidly rising success. All of this is really thanks to ATINY. It’s with the members’ effort, ATINY’s support, and our company’s help that we’re able to head in such a good direction. I hope that our growth doesn’t stop and that we always take the stage with even better performance and look. In terms of a goal, I’d like to grow on an even bigger scale and give ATINY more content, more music, and everything from A to Z that they would like.
YUNHO: For me, rather than a specific goal, I’d like to think that ATEEZ’s continuous growth is our best merit. So as fast as we are rising in success, I hope we will continue to be able to grow. Continuously growing and learning is my goal.
YEOSANG: I’d like to perform at a stadium with more ATINY Growing musically as well as in terms of performance is also a goal of mine.
SAN: Well firstly, for all of the members and ATINY to stay safe and healthy. Then, to go as far as possible, or even farther than that as a goal.
MINGI: Thank you for saying that ATEEZ as a group is reaching rapidly rising success because that means a lot to us. Our passion and effort will continue to be the same, but I hope that our songs can become something that can be heard everywhere. I will continue to work hard as ATEEZ.
WOOYOUNG: I want to show more dynamic ATEEZ music and performances. I want to become a team that people say can do many things. And for as much as everyone supports us, we will definitely become even cooler, showing everyone better performances.
JONGHO: I hope to always have happy days with ATINY. I believe that if you spend every day happily, joyfully, and healthily, you will at some point reach your goal without even realizing it.
MINI V: What message do you guys want to send to fans as they go through this journey with you in your music?
ATEEZ: Thank you so much for being on this journey with us and standing by us. We hope that our music will become your strength too and help you on your own journey. As we walk the road ahead, we promise to set the path with only the most beautiful sights and flowers for you so that you can walk safely and happily. We’ll always be by your side so that you don’t have anything to worry about. If our music can bring you some sort of small happiness, that makes us happy, but we hope that it can cheer you up on hard days and double your happiness on good ones. Let’s continue this journey together for a long time. Please always stay healthy and happy. We love you and thank you always!
Photography Davey Sutton
Fashion Gary Armstrong
Editor-In-Chief Mathias Rosenzweig
Deputy Editor Kevin Ponce
Makeup Kim Minkyoung, Song Mi Yeon
Hair Kim Kyunghwan, Park Jeongsoo
Photo Assistants Hugo Yangüela, Bruno Mcguffie, Sophia French
Stylist Assistants Dominik Radomski, Alex Trillo, Nathan Fox
Production Nicholas Rogers
Production Assistant Xander Shrewsbury
Post-Production Eursa Major
Special Thanks Lee Young Ho, Bella Kemp, Mert Eryurt