[INTERVIEW] Years later, K-pop boy band Vanner says it finally hit the 'Jackpot'


Few had heard about boy band Vanner up until early last year. But after the hardworking band hit the "Jackpot" with the audition program "Peak Time" (2023), Vanner now has ambitious plans, including hosting a so-called dinner show, for years to come.

“In the short run, we hope to hit the jackpot by receiving our first weekly music show trophy, and in the long run, we hope to host a dinner show. I think that will be a true jackpot for both Vanner and our fans,” member Hyesung said during a group interview with the local press, held at a cafe in Gangnam District, southern Seoul, a few days before the release of Vanner’s second EP “Capture the Flag” on Tuesday.

"Jackpot" is the lead track of the new EP.


Vanner, with its five members Taehwan, Gon, Hyesung, Sungkook and Yeonggwang, debuted almost five years ago in February 2019, but was relatively unknown for the first four years of its career, with minimal opportunities for publicity. The band at one point earned the moniker “part-time idol” when the story surfaced of the five members, alongside the only remaining staff in the agency, the CEO, all took part-time jobs to keep the band going.

The band got its first big break after joining JTBC’s “Peak Time” last year — a boy band audition show aiming to shed light on the lesser-known and undervalued boy bands in K-pop. Vanner, with their determination and skills, won the show, taking home the cash prize of 300 million won ($224,430) and earning the opportunity to release a new album and hold a showcase.

“Capture the Flag” comes five months after the release of “Veni Vidi Vici,” the band’s first EP that released in August after winning “Peak Time.”

“Vanner winning ‘Peak Time’ was our own jackpot, to say the least,” Sungkook said. “But we are not limiting 'Jackpot' to the one-dimensional, gambling sense. It can be something trivial and it also can be something major — we didn’t want to limit 'Jackpot' [to just good luck].”

“In fact, while ‘Peak Time’ has been a jackpot moment for Vanner, the jackpot we discuss in our music video is about the tight friendship we have between the five members,” Hyesung added. “I think the strong teamwork we had was the jackpot [to the success] we had.”

The members added that “Jackpot” refers to the band’s will to “hit the jackpot in the industry,” Hyesung said, while also referring to the fact that it has been like winning the jackpot to meet the fans of Vanner, VVS.


The EP features five total tracks: “Jackpot,” “Ponytail (Kor Ver.)," “After Party,” “Be My Love,” “Circuit” and “Across the Stars,” all with star-studded credits.

“Jackpot” was written and composed by Hui and Wooseok of boy band Pentagon, while “Ponytail” and “Afterparty” were composed and arranged by hit producer Ryan Jhun, “Be My Love” was written and produced by Lim Hyun-sik of boy band BTOB, and “Circuit” had its lyrics written by none other than Vanner’s Gon.

“Both Hui and Wooseok helped us direct [‘Jackpot’] when we recorded it, and we also worked with BTOB’s Hyunsik,” Hyesung said. "The fact that we are working together with them was just unbelievable to us, as we practiced with Pentagon and BTOB’s songs before we debuted.”


“Capture the Flag” also marks Vanner’s first attempt at a sexy, charismatic concept — a concept that some members looked forward to, and some worried about.

“[The new sexy concept] made me feel alive,” Gon said, making the other members laugh. “I love giving powerful, strong and sexy vibes, so this album’s visual concept suits me perfectly. I will try my absolute best in the future if we continue to go for such concepts.”

“To be honest it was pretty challenging for me,” Hyesung said. “I prefer refreshing, cute, chill and bright tracks, but ‘Jackpot’ was all about being energetic, emitting bright and charismatic looks, so I ended up telling myself that I’m acting.”

“It was tougher than before, but I think that makes me feel even more affectionate toward the album.”

Kicking off the new year with a new album, Vanner planned to stay busy for the rest of the year.

“There are so many overseas fans that support Vanner, so we plan on revisiting the cities that we visited before and also visiting the cities that we’ve yet to visit; we have a lot of places to go, you know,” Taehwan said.

“We also aim to hold a solo concert this year.”

“I think desperation is the word that best describes Vanner,” Hyesung said. “We would’ve given up if we weren’t desperate for our album. We desperately wanted to express ourselves and do well with it, and that’s why we are here.”

“Vanner is a team filled with members who are desperate, and I hope we never forget that mindset, hoping to host a dinner show concert [down the line].”


To find out more about VANNER, visit Celeb Confirmed!