Since 2015, the 13 members of SEVENTEEN have been singing and dancing in hearts around the world. And with the arrival of the K-pop group’s new repackaged album, SECTOR 17the party continues.
For S.Coups, Jeonghan, Joshua, Jun, HOSHI, Wonwoo, WOOZI, DK, Mingyu, The8, Seungkwan, Vernon and Dino, providing comfort and quality music to their fans – known as Carats – is expected. Their world is filled with the glitz and glamor that attracts many to the K-pop genre, but there’s also a maturity and grace to the way they perform their songs.
SECTOR 17 adds four new songs to SEVENTEEN’s 2022 album Facing the sun: “CHEERS”, “Circles”, “Fallin Flower (Korean version)” and “_WORLD”. Now a seasoned band, their love for self-production and creating memorable songs is on full display.
Divided into three units – hip-hop, vocals and performance – the group is involved in everything from lyric writing to choreography, and has built a stacked discography that spans genres, concepts and topics. While the band were known at first for their cheerful concepts, this album is more versatile and nuanced, showcasing their growth as artists.
As SEVENTEEN releases its latest repack and prepares for its next North American tour (to be launched on August 10 in Vancouver, Canada), Joshua, Vernon and Unit Leaders HOSHI, S. Coups and WOOZI discuss SECTOR 17, their upcoming tour and what makes the band special. Despite being K-pop heavyweights now, the guys are humble and friendly — and most importantly, just happy doing what they love.
Facing the sun was your first Billboard 200 Top 10 album, what does that mean to you?
Joshua: We were just very grateful. It was a very humbling experience for us, because without our Carats, we could not have taken this next step. It was a very humbling experience. It also reminded us that there are so many people on our side who support us. This thought made us want to work even harder to work harder for our Carats.
“CHEERS” is a very rhythmic song. What is the connection with the journey of SEVENTEEN as a group, and more particularly with the leaders who execute it?
HOSHI: The last time we released an SVT LEADERS song was in 2017, almost five years ago. There is a unique color and charm to SVT LEADERS that clearly deviates from that of SEVENTEEN as a whole. We clearly wanted to mark this new beginning for SEVENTEEN with a new track with the three leaders, and also to mark the progress made.
S.COUPS: For SEVENTEEN right now, I feel like we ourselves are one of the biggest inspirations for each other. “CHANGE UP” – SVT LEADERS’ first track – was released two years after our debut. Naturally, “CHANGE UP” sounded more like the song of a fearless newcomer who was ready for a challenge. We now have much more confidence in ourselves and in our team that we have built over the past seven years together. “CHEERS” is a manifestation of this confidence and pride that we have towards SEVENTEEN.
What are the four new songs about SECTOR 17 add to album?
Veron: SECTOR 17 is the world we find after our journey to Facing the sun. In Facing the sun, the album ends with the song “Ash”. From the ashes you are able to find a new world that is SECTOR 17. This is how the story continues.
Do you have a favorite among the four new songs?
Joshua: For me, it will be “_WORLD”.
Veron: I like “_WORLD”. I like “Circles”. Yes, I think those are my two best songs.
Why do you choose these?
Joshua: “_WORLD” definitely marks the new beginning after the renewal of our contracts. It’s a new start for us as a team. This marks a fresh start for our new journey.
Veron: I think I’ll choose “_WORLD” too. It’s easy to listen to.
Vernon, WOOZI and HOSHI, I know you helped write about “_WORLD”. What was your input and inspiration when creating this song? Why do you think it’s a suitable single?
Veron: I wrote the first part of the second verse, the part where I rap. “I’m not knocking on Heaven’s door” is an obvious reference to Bob Dylan’s “Knocking on Heaven’s Door”.
Bumzu [SECTOR 17 producer and longtime SEVENTEEN collaborator] wanted me to write something reminiscent [him of] a kind of dream or wonderland. Maybe something Alice could fall into. I write about clouds of whipped cream and how I walk into the sunset with my All Stars. It was fun.
WOOZI: “_WORLD” is a song that revolves around the idea of a “new world”. Since our current chapter started with the mindset that we are now marching to new heights, we put a lot of emphasis on the story we tell through our 4th studio album. Facing the sun and its deluxe edition, SECTOR 17.
“_WORLD” seemed like the right song to bring this story to a climax. At the same time, the goal of presenting a side of SEVENTEEN that contrasts with the side we showed through “HOT” was another factor that was taken into consideration.
S.COUPS: “_WORLD” is a meaningful track in the context of SEVENTEEN’s history, but it’s music that anyone can listen to with a light heart. He has the kind of energy that can brighten your day, the kind that is iconic of SEVENTEEN. We hope our listeners can get through this summer with “_WORLD” as their soundtrack.
What does the title mean SECTOR 17 represent for you guys?
Veron: A new world. A perfect new world for SEVENTEEN and Carats together.
This album seems to be largely about your hope for the future and having no limits. What do you hope fans take away from the messages on this album?
Veron: A positive outlook on life.
Joshua: Life in general.
Veron: Hope for the future, you know? We are on this journey together. Looking for a new world together.
Joshua: And even if you are going through difficulties right now, these difficulties eventually pass. You should definitely expect a better future, that’s what we want our fans to take away from this album.
Are there any outstanding memories of the preparation of the album or the shooting of a clip?
Veron: [The “_WORLD”] the music video was really fun to shoot. They did a really good job designing the sets. We were really amazed. So the place where we shot was originally a… what do you call a hyugeso In English? A place where you can take a break when you are on a highway.
There are many such places in Korea. It’s that kind of place, but nobody uses it anymore. We filmed there several times. They did such a great job with the set design, it felt like a totally different place. It really was like a dream shoot there. It was fun.
How would you describe the growth of SEVENTEEN as a band?
Joshua: We are definitely more confident than before thanks to our growth. The growth of our Carats and the support they give us gives us so much confidence.
We are allowed to explore a wide diversity of genres through our Carats. We don’t have to worry about whether this genre is going to match or suit us, because whatever we do, we are confident that our Carats will like it. We are able to be more honest with our feelings and our storytelling through music thanks to this growth.
Veron: Carats are the main reason for our growth. It really fuels our ambition. We are so grateful and at the same time we are so hungry for more.
You also released a song in English with “Darl+ing”. Why did you want to release this?
Joshua: To show how grateful we are to our international fans. Even if we released – like before – all the Korean songs, they would try to interpret and translate them to understand our lyrics. It was kind of like a thank you gift for our Carats. We are really grateful for the response because our Carats liked it very much.
Veron: Yes, and it was time. We debuted in 2015. It’s 2022. We really hope our international Carats like it. And I think they did. I liked it.
What excites you the most at this stage of your career?
Joshua: Well, something that’s coming up soon for us is our tour — our US tour — coming up very soon. It’s been a minute since we’ve been on tour, so we’re really, really excited for it. Like you said before, Billboardour new milestone, which has been very important for us also in our career.
How will this tour be different from your last tour?
Joshua: We are going to perform a lot of songs that we haven’t yet performed in front of our Carats.
Veron: The last tour was in 2019, and it’s 2022. And we’ve released so many new songs since. It is certainly something to look forward to.
How is it to play live for your international fans after so long you haven’t been able to?
Joshua: We’re just really, really, really, really excited. I can’t stress that enough. We want them to come away with an experience beyond watching the show. We just want to make lots of great memories for our Carats.
Veron: Since COVID, our last concert [Seoul, 6/25 and 6/26] was the first show with an audience presence. It was amazing. We had so much fun there, that’s why we’re so excited for our tour – to meet all the Carats from around the world. Share this same energy with everyone.
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