Making your first foray into K-pop can be a daunting task. But carving your niche in the industry requires a lot of experimentation and ultimately, a willingness to face harsh realities about your future.
After VERIVERY hit the K-pop scene in early 2019 with their feel-good, throwback-pop single “Ring Ring Ring,” the K-pop boy band dipped into singles that spanned into hard-hitting EDM, smooth-groove R&B, experimental electronica and more. International expansion was a priority for the septet. They were hands-on and creatively directed and edited some of their music videos, album packages and music videos. Despite fluctuations in album sales over the years and public reactions, the group continued to push into 2022, their most ambitious year yet, with more music, touring, and honesty.
VERIVERY’s third major musical shift began in early 2021 with the release of their Series ‘O’ Round 1: Hall EP and the dramatic, dark electro-pop single “Get Away.” The new musical vision was brought to the group by their Korean record label Jellyfish Entertainment (home to fellow boy band VIXXThe group, who have made a splash in different music scenes around the world. Billboard Charts) that illustrate how young people confront, fight against and embrace darkness in the world and themselves.
Two EPs and their first album. Series ‘O’ Round 3: Whole VERIVERY tell was released in April. Billboard that they found themselves taking in their music’s messages to seriously reflect on surviving in the K-pop market and disappointments from the past. VERIVERY Billboard that they found themselves taking in their music’s messages to seriously reflect their innermost worries about surviving in the K-pop market and disappointments from the past. “The lifetime of an idol isn’t that long,” dancer-rapper Hoyoung says. “After being a member of VERIVERY for four years, we do have to think about the future.” Leader and eldest member Dongheon admits, “We were afraid for our future.”
After speaking the worst-case scenario out loud and pushing on regardless, VERIVERY returned last week with the new single “Tap Tap” off their Liminality – EP. LOVE. Instead of a new direction, the band returned to their rookie roots with another bright, bouncy single that boasted ’80s synth-rock production and unexpected sonic shifts. It almost feels like a rebirth. Liminality smashed their best sales records in days while “Tap Tap” took their first-ever No. 1-winning spot on Korea’s competitive music-chart program Show champion. These performances are a sign to K-pop that an artist has had an impact. The shocked looks of the members as they accept their trophy is a testament to how important this moment was.
“It took us 1,415 days to reach where we are at right now,” the group says in a joint statement to Billboard Moments after winning the race, the victory was announced. “Looking back on that journey, it may seem like we’ve come full circle, but we think that viewing the win as a new start is much more important. We want to thank all the fans who have constantly pushed us to stride forward and do better through their love and support, and taking that into account we think it’s more fitting to view it as a fresh start so that we can begin paying back all those who have cheered us on by working even harder. Thank you to everyone who have made this possible.”
For more information, continue reading Dongheon, Hoyoung, Minchan, Yeonho, Gyehyeon, Yongseung Kangmin Their 2022 work, their fears, and the new musical steps they are taking.
Your last month’s U.S.-Latin American tour was completed. What were the indicators you used to determine that this was a successful tour, if any?
HOYOUNG: Because we were going to so many cities, I want to make sure that a lot of people got to know VERIVERY and that we’re spreading VERIVERY’s name.
KANGMIN: I think what determines a successful world tour is what shows on the fans’ faces and how they felt.
GYEHYEON: For me, If the fans re-visit us, wherever we are on tour, I think that just defines like, “Wow, this is a successful tour.” Also, a successful tour is just completing it without anybody getting hurt.
Originally, K-pop’s first act to visit the U.S. was VERIVERY in late 2021. However, a COVID epidemic cut it short. Have you taken any additional precautions?
HOYOUNG: We’re always doing exercises, especially vocal exercises. YEONHO has a tape that covers his mouth during sleep so he can breath through his nose. This protects his throat. It’s keeping his throat a little more moisturized so that he can sing better.
YEONHO: It helps with the big notes, so I had to learn to sleep with it.
HOYOUNG: We were able to meet our fans face-to–face, with no barriers. We could do hi touch [high fives] Take photos of them. We did a sign for fans in LA.
KANGMIN: We were kind of nervous because I can’t speak English! [Laughs]
YONGSEUNG: Communication is vital.
True. But fans love you for more than just language. you guys do a great job at expressing yourselves. Like, Series ‘O’ Your first full-length album and songs you had written during this era. What was your overall impression of the period?
DONGHEON: After our last tour [ended in 2021]We were able to produce multiple albums, which I believe helped us become more relaxed and calm. We had lots of fun conversations with our band members during the tour. There was so much to discuss. We faced some challenges, but we were able overcome them. We were able enjoy the tour more than ever during this trip.
What type of problems did you experience?
DONGHEON: Hm, well there were just the big and small stresses like jet lag and we weren’t able to control our mentality or health as well while we were on tour. This made it a bit sensitive. However, seeing our fans on tour allows for us to overcome that and this mindset changes throughout.
HOYOUNG: The keyword that is the most important to the Series ‘O’ It was accepting the darkness within us. That was the story of our next album. We spent a lot of time thinking about how to tell it to our fans. As we progressed through the albums, it became clear that we spent a lot time reflecting on ourselves and the darkness in our lives. That made us mature and more mature, I believe.
DONGHEON: We were worried about our future because many people are just asking questions about their future. Our future is always in our minds. We also think about our team, music, and dance. It can be very dark…
HOYOUNG: Adding a word to what DONGHEON said, after being a member of VERIVERY for four years we do think about the future because we know that the lifetime of an idol isn’t that long, to be honest right? We’re thinking about the future, thinking about us as a group and what more we can achieve. I think we’re very energetic, outgoing and active but all our members do have a lot on their minds. Although we have experienced some difficulties with too many thoughts in our heads, we work together to overcome them.
How do these talks look? It is at the label? In a dorm? In a bar
HOYOUNG: The lounge is a gathering place for many people. [living room] Talk. Now that we’re all adults, even KANGMIN, we might have a little to drink… [Group laughs] We try to use those rehearsals and practice times to reflect on what we have done in the past to improve our performance. Even when we fight, we try to finish any arguments on that day so that, as a team, there’s nothing that could split us apart or anything. We can only do the most as a team by talking to each other and connecting with each member. I think that’s how our teamwork improved a lot. Our leader usually just says, “Should we have dinner?” That’s kind of the sign for “Let’s have a talk.”
Have you ever been taught this habit by anyone? Did that happen by accident in the team?
HOYOUNG: We’ve done that since we were trainees but, honestly speaking, as trainees we were too desperate to debut. To be truthful, we practiced solo to survive. Jellyfish Entertainment brought in DONGHEON, who helped us to come together as a team. I think that’s how VERIVERY was formed. We have a lot of thanks to him and I know that the rest of the members all feel the same way that I do right now that being a leader isn’t an easy job but he’s handling everything.
Do you feel under pressure as a leader DONGHEON? Do you feel a different type of pressure when you move to new countries like America?
DONGHEON: I’m flustered by the compliments. [Laughs] But it’s very hard because so many members have many ideas and many opinions. To be honest, it’s very hard, but I like it.
During Series ‘O,’Did you guys feel you had any other needs as individuals or as a team?
YONGSEUNG: In my case, the last tour had to be canceled because of me. [YONGSEUNG and VERIVERY have a light laugh] I felt very disappointed and sad about myself. It’s very hard to let that feeling go. So I was disappointed. But, now I believe I have overcome that feeling. This tour is different. I am a regular exerciser with my members. I also practice a lot. This tour was my opportunity to showcase the latest version of Verivery. I actually feel a lot more at ease now.
Do you think the Americas will remain a major focus?
HOYOUNG: America’s a place that we always thought we must go to; it just fits with us. The songs can be really relatable to the fans so it’s always been a place that we thought that we have to go so we’re thinking of coming back a lot.
MINCHAN: And I want to tell the international fans, that “I love you.” [Laughs] It’s a very important thing, right? At every show, I received so much energy from the fans so keeping up this momentum, we’re going to push right through and enjoy ourselves. We’ll keep going!
What’s next as you keep going further?
YONGSEUNG: A fully-self-composed song was included in the full-length album. Next, you can expect to hear new, self-composed tracks.
This is what you guys are trying to achieve, taking a bit more ownership over the music and its concepts.
YONGSEUNG: On tour, we performed a song we made “Crack It,” we want to share more of our self-composed songs.
HOYOUNG: What I’m thinking is we’ve done some dark, I’m thinking that we’re going to do something bright now. We’re going through a lot of hard darkness and now going through a bright stage. I think that’s going to end up really good.
“Tap Tap” just dropped with HOYOUNG as a co-writer and is looking to be your biggest single yet. Let me know more about this song’s viewpoint. Liminality – EP. LOVE.
YONGSEUNG: We’ve been through lots of things like concerts and our tour since we promoted our last single “Undercover.” This is an album coming off of those various experiences, as well as the first bright concept we’ve had in a while so we hope that it holds just as much meaning to fans as it does to us.
MINCHAN: It’s our first comeback with a bright concept ever since our debut era and I hope that we can prove to everyone that VERIVERY is able to pull off bright, happy concepts as well.
DONGHEON: I’m hoping that this album is able to provide a different experience as “Tap Tap” is a song that keeps you bouncing even in the winter. It’s a brighter, happier version of VERIVERY that people haven’t been seen in a while, so I hope the song leads to more opportunities for everyone to laugh a little more.
HOYOUNG: I’m excited to show to our VERRER how VERIVERY can pull off a brighter concept with almost four years under our belt.
What other things do you have for VERRER fan at this point in time?
MINCHAN: We are grateful to all those who attended our show. This tour was a hard one. Please look forward to what’s next.
GYEHYEON: With the bright, bouncy song that we’ve come back with, VERIVERY will make sure to provide everyone with tons of love so that we could all wrap up the year happily.