Showing its 'Will' for the future, Ateez aims for an even better 2024
Having spent a 2023 filled with fulfilling achievements, 2024 will be a year where Ateez proves to the world why it deserves the numerous accolades that have come its way, members say.
Ever since its debut in 2018, Ateez quickly rose to become one of the most esteemed boy bands in K-pop on a global scale. But that acclaim reached much wider overseas than it did domestically, where boy bands from larger agencies or with softer themes tend to gain popular attraction.
“We want to make next year a year when we prove ourselves,” member San said, when asked by a reporter what the members had in plan to even their disproportionate popularity from overseas compared to the local market.
“We want to make everyone understand [the overseas recognition for Ateez] and make everyone say ‘Ateez.’ If we perform on every stage as if it’s our very last day, then I have no doubt that everyone in the world will see who we are.”
The New Year resolution came during a press conference held on Friday at the Andaz hotel in southern Seoul for the release of Ateez’s second full-length album “The World Ep.Fin: Will,” set for release on Friday.
“The World Ep.Fin: Will” follows its ninth EP “The World Ep.2: Outlaw,” released last June. It will be the end of the “The World” series that the band has been pushing for since last year with “The World Ep.1: Movement” (2022), which was meant to bring energy to a colorless world that oppresses people’s emotions.
It is also the band’s first full-length album in four years, for which all members participated in writing and composing the songs.
“Because this is our first full-length album in four years, we tried a lot of different things, like having unit songs, solo songs and songs of different genres that we hadn’t tried in the past,” Hongjoong said.
“We celebrate our fifth anniversary this year. I hope that this album provides a road map of how Ateez will proceed in the upcoming days, the various sides of Ateez that we will be able to show in the future. We hope it’s a fun listen for all.”
“The World Ep.Fin: Will” is a 12-track album with lead track “Crazy Form” and B-side tracks “We Know,” “Emergency” and “Silver Light.” “Crazy Form” is an aphro-beat dancehall track with an exotic vibe.
“This is an album that shows our ‘will’ for the future,” Hongjoong said. “The term ‘crazy form’ isn’t quite widely used outside of Korea, but we’ll be able to show everyone our own crazy form with the new song.”
Ateez met with 400,000 fans around the world during its world tour, “The Fellowship: Break the Wall,” which began in October last year and finished in September after performing in 30 cities around the world, including the United States, Europe, Asia and the southern Americas.
This was the first time for Ateez to tour around Asia and the southern Americas ever since its debut in 2018.
The band’s previous EP, “The World Ep.2: Outlaw,” sold 1.52 million copies within just a week of release and landed at No. 2 on the Billboard 200 albums chart. The album also sat at No. 10 of the British Official Album Chart, making Ateez the second boy band after BTS to land on both charts.
“We’ve achieved so much this year,” San said. “The proudest thing of all is that we were able to meet with all the fans around the world. We’re proud of what we have achieved, especially awaiting our sixth year next year. I think next year is the year that we will prove ourselves by meeting more people and making them understand who we are.”
Boy band Ateez debuted in October 2018 with its first EP, "Treasure EP. 1: All To Zero," under KQ Entertainment. The group's name stands for "A TEEnager Z," meaning they are a group of teenagers who can do everything, from A to Z.
A wider recognition from overseas is something that the members would like to work on — but that doesn’t mean that Ateez will change its current ways in any way.
“I know that this question has been inevitable for Ateez,” Hongjoong said. “But what we feel with each new music is that good outcomes follow good work. We did think about how we could bridge the gap between how people think about us in and outside of Korea. But at the end of the day, we proved ourselves on stage, so I think the only way to show who we are is by putting on a good performance.”
Other members echoed Hongjoong’s resolution.
“We won't rush, but we won't give up,” Wooyoung said.
BY YOON SO-YEON [email@example.com]