[INTERVIEW] 8TURN goes for a 'Stunning' look for new EP, first anniversary
Show don’t tell — boy band 8TURN has taken this phrase quite literally for its newest album “Stunning,” hoping to stun the audience with all of the members’ bright new bleach-blonde hairdos.
The boy band still less than a year old dropped its third EP “Stunning” Tuesday, its first new album in seven months since EP “Uncharted Drift” and a new project celebrating its upcoming first anniversary on Jan. 30.
“The title of our new EP ‘Stunning’ means to surprise and to shine,” Yungyu said. “We all shine in some way, and we wanted to show through this visual change how we plan to stand as one on the stage.”
“Stunning” is a five-track EP containing songs that especially focus on the idea of confidence and self-esteem, especially its lead track “Ru-Pum Pum,” which sings about confidence that comes from showing one’s truest self to others and being content with what they have, according to the members.
And dyeing their hair all the same hue was just part of that effort, according to Yoonsung.
“We’re very ambitious when it comes to perfecting ourselves on stage,” he said. “We put so much thought and effort into our performance for this album. We thought that bleaching our hair similar tones of blonde would give us synergy and a strong impact even just by our visuals.”
For lead track “Ru-Pum Pum,” all members had a go at writing the lyrics and two members' works made it into the final result: Seungheon and Yungyu's.
“Because this song is about expressing our confidence and our style, I focused on showing that we’re cool just the way we are,” Seungheon said.
“It was firstly about showing confidence, but not in a way where we try to be cool but we’re laid back and casual,” added Yungyu. “I wanted it to feel free, for us to seem relaxed.”
The idea of confidence and being oneself is especially important in the tough competition that is K-pop, where rookies in particular have to try absolutely anything they can in order to survive the ever-intensifying market filled with talented rivals, 8TURN says.
The bleaching of the hair may be one example, but every other effort has to be made — not just on the stage, but also off the stage.
“We’re great on stage, but we’re also full of charms off the stage,” Yoonsung said. “We’ve been trying to show that a lot through our very own web content. We’ve shown various sides of ourselves, which I believe the fans enjoy.”
Despite such endeavors, 8TURN had its share of woes in the heated market that was flooded with newly-debuting boy bands in 2023. The band was unable to bring home any Rookie of the Year awards from domestic award ceremonies, but it did receive the “International Youth Artist” award at the “Thailand Master Youth” event held in Thailand in May last year.
“Our first performance abroad was in Thailand, and we also held our debut showcase there, too,” Jaeyun said. “I think the people of Thailand recognized our passion, especially when we performed at a large festival called Songkran. The fact that we visited there soon after our debut helped us out.”
The overseas performances especially helped members learn how to look good on stage, members said. 8TURN took part in KCON Thailand in March 2023, Songkran Siam in April and KCON Japan in May.
“Looking back to a year ago, I can feel that we’ve grown in many ways such as improvising on stage, our stage manners or the little gestures and facial expressions, especially because we’ve performed a lot overseas,” Kyungmin said. “There was a time when our microphones didn’t work, and we learned how to deal with such situations, too.”
“We’ve definitely become so much more handsome compared to our debut,” Haemin said. “Really, it’s amazing. I think especially Seungheon, he was only 17 when he debuted but he doesn’t look like a baby anymore.”
Failing to get an award in Korea doesn’t mean the bandmates feel down. Rather, 8TURN now aims higher, hoping to receive the Grand Prize instead of Rookie of the Year.
“We’re tweaking our goals to go for the Grand Prize,” Mingyu said. “Wouldn’t that make a great narrative of our growth? But to be realistic, we want to win No. 1 on TV music programs. I always congratulate the winners on shows with a sincere heart, but in the back of my mind, I can’t help thinking, ‘I want to be in that place and put on an encore performance.’”
For the new year, 8TURN has only one goal: To try absolutely everything, whether that be practicing more or shooting challenge videos with other artists.
“We’re musicians, right?” Jaeyun said. “We dance and sing to communicate with people, and I think it’s crucial that we don’t forget that. We could suddenly become popular if one of our videos goes viral through the power of the algorithm, and we don’t want to miss that chance if we’re granted. But at the end of the day, I think it all comes down to the music that we make — doing our main job well and not just wishing for a stroke of luck.”
BY YOON SO-YEON [firstname.lastname@example.org]