Recently, to continue to promote their latest album, ZERO: FEVER Part.2, as well as their participation on Kingdom, ATEEZ had an interview with Forbes writer Jeff Benjamin. They discussed a variety of topics including inspirations for the songs on the album, how they’ve been faring juggling such a busy schedule during the ongoing pandemic, how their confidence has changed over time, and more!
The album, like all of the group’s discography, shows just how flexible ATEEZ is with the sound of their music and how they’re able to successfully produce songs in a wide variety of genres.
From low-fi hip-hop to synth-pop and electro-pop, and even touching on gospel style (which is rarely seen in K-Pop), ZERO: FEVER Part.2 has something for everyone to enjoy! They even included an English version of the absolute bop “Take Me Home”, in order to continue to connect with their international fanbase.
With eight months between this album and their last, ZERO: FEVER Part.1, ATEEZ had a fair amount of time to grow in their musical abilities and styles while also staying on the same storyline they’ve built so far. When asked about how they felt like they’ve grown while creating this album, leader Hongjoong had this to say.
Considering the flow of our story, we thought that our lyrics and music should be more mature than ZERO: FEVER Part.1. So, we paid a lot of attention to the genre and instrument composition of each track and also tried to clearly express the message we wanted to convey through this album.
Hongjoong, who participated in writing and composing every song on the album, went a little more in-depth into the song-writing and composing process when asked, including how Mingi is also involved with song creation.
I’m personally working with ATEEZ’s production team, Eden-ary, and in their studio together first of all. So, when I have free time, I interact with them a lot, work with them, and exchange ideas related to music. When writing the lyrics, Mingi and I share opinions on what kind of message we should deliver through the rap lyrics and I don’t interfere with anything else. However, when we’re recording, we exchange a lot of opinions about what kind of feelings to include.
While the album touches on many different musical genres, one of the most unique styles they tackled for the song “Celebrate” is gospel, tied in with their usual hip-hop style as well. Hongjoong discussed how he wanted to make a challenge for himself by creating a song in a genre not often seen in K-Pop.
I contemplated for a long time how to develop the sketch version that I worked on with only the drum rhythms. Then, I wanted to challenge myself with a genre that is unfamiliar in K-pop. I mixed in the gospel element because I thought it could effectively deliver the message I wanted to convey. It was a very fresh challenge for me, and I was able to learn a lot musically through this work.
Fellow member San also had something to say about this unique hit!
Hongjoong worked really hard on this song and I can feel that in the song, too. I really like it because I feel so happy every time I listen to it.
One other song inquired about in detail is “Take Me Home”, which has both a Korean and English version on the album. It’s not the first time ATEEZ has recorded an all-English song, but it is still evidence of how much they care about their international ATINYs!
First off, the song is so good, so to make the song easily understandable to ATINY, not only in Korea but also overseas, we recorded Korean and English versions separately!
Because the song is so good, we recorded it in two languages — Korean and English — so that it would be easier for international ATINY to enjoy the song if we recorded it in two languages.
The subject of confidence came up during the interview as well, as the title track on the album, “Fireworks (I’m The One)”, shares the idea of being confident in yourself and being true to who you are.
We wanted to convey the message that ‘being cool means being your true self.’ So, if you think about the lyrics and meaning of it, you’ll be able to see that it talks about having confidence in yourself.
This topic lead into how the members of ATEEZ themselves have grown in their confidence over time, especially in terms of their performance ability thanks to ATINYs’ support.
Like always, we pay a lot of attention to ATEEZ’s biggest strength: Performance. As much as the many people who are looking forward to it, I’m also trying to perform with confidence to reach that expectation.
Yeah, ATEEZ is getting more and more confident onstage all thanks to ATINY. I think we get a lot of energy thanks to ATINY’s support.
This confidence is especially important to ATEEZ right now, as they are one of six groups that will be competing on Kingdom! Despite the undoubtedly difficult and busy schedule the group has had coming out with both ZERO: FEVER Part.2 and their Japanese album Into the A to Z just a few days ago, the members are nothing but eager and excited to show their skills on the show.
It’s not easy to do both together, but since it’s a good opportunity we are working hard to do well in both.
Although it’s a competition program, I think it’s also an opportunity for us to show our unique charm and the path that ATEEZ wants to go. So, we’re trying hard and working hard preparing for it. Even during our busy schedules, we always try our best to do what we can do!
They assure fans that they’re doing well despite busy schedules, and express just how excited they are to be active in so many ways.
[W]e all worked hard for this comeback and we’ve prepared a lot for this album. So as much as we’re very excited and looking forward to it, we are doing and trying our best for our album promotion! And in terms of our health, we are always able to cheer up thanks to ATINY who always support us.
My body and mind are very clear and healthy! It’s been such a great comeback because we are finally able to show ATINY what we’ve prepared.
Seonghwa also touched on how the members are coping with mental health struggles during the ongoing pandemic.
Everyone is doing their best in their current positions and location. Not only us, but ATINY is too. We can’t meet each other in person, but we’re able to overcome it through online fan signing events or fan meetings. And as we spend more time at home, I think more members have started to work out through home training than ever before.
Of course, everyone is also wondering about how Mingi is doing, and from what they shared, it sounds like hopefully we can expect to see him again soon!
Mingi couldn’t participate in this album promotion so only the seven of us are active, but Mingi is always cheering for us and we, as well as ATINY, are waiting for Mingi. He’s getting better so you don’t need to worry much. We’re all waiting for Mingi to get better and join us soon.
Finally, each member had an important ending message to share with ATINYs.
Just like how ATINY from all around the world is feeling, we also miss ATINY so much. But instead of things that we can do in person, we are finding ways to get closer to ATINY so that they would not feel like they are far away from us. Thank you so much for always watching and supporting us even in this situation. We hope that we can meet each other soon and until that day comes, we will always strive to be an artist who can be ATINY’s strength. I love you so much!
ATINY, although we can’t meet you right now, we feel like we’re always together. Let’s cheer up and promise to see each other again soon…
ATINY has been worrying about us a lot and always supporting us. We’ll always work hard to make up for the support and to become ATEEZ who can always bring happiness to ATINY.
ATINY! Thank you so much for always supporting ATEEZ even from far away and always sticking through thick and thin. I really want to visit each and every one of you and say thank you. We can’t meet up close now, but in the future, we will meet you again on stage and I hope we can build fun memories together. I love you!
We’re back with an upgrade, so please look forward to it. I missed you a lot and I love you! Have a good time with us.
I think the saddest part is that we can’t show ATINY our performance in person. I hope things get better as soon as possible, so we can meet ATINY in person!
Thank you always for so much of your love and support for us. ATINY’s existence is the reason for ATEEZ’s and my existence. As much as your love and support for us, we’ll work hard to show you great performances and the best as ATEEZ!
Make sure not to miss out on what are sure to be epic performances from ATEEZ on Kingdom, starting April 1!