The eight talented and charismatic members of the K-pop rookie group 8TURN recently launched their magnificent first EP (8TURNRISE), quickly demonstrating the inherent traits of Korea’s trend-setting boyband inventions. And as a result of their vibrant potential, the group is unapologetically staking their claim as ‘super rookie’ contenders – because, for being K-pop’s first boyband debut of 2023, the MNH Entertainment force came out swinging.
At the earliest stage of the group, 8TURN started out by teasing potential fans with pre-release content in 2022 depicting their hip-hop-heavy choreography as a balanced unit, noticeably showcasing their true nature as performers with an eye for detail-oriented domination. Even within the less-talent-focused form of their early behind-the-scenes vlogs or videos, the young men of the rookie boyband maintained a consistent level of excitement at the mere idea of workshopping their extensive skillset. So naturally, by the time they officially dropped music, each member further validated themselves (and in essence, the group) as humble rookie talents with the technicality of polished K-pop superstars.
Throughout their 8TURNRISE debut, prospective fans were finally met with a dazzling sonic first impression across every noteworthy track from the youthful edgy-pop magic of their lead single “TIC TAC”, to contrastingly warmer opportunities to connect with listeners across b-sides that intentionally disregard mainstream norms. Taking their innovative craft a step further, the group’s first official music video even went as far as creating an inclusive space for art with sincerity and vitality – insinuating that the eight-member squad has plenty of heart that’s bound to establish them in the long run.
Now, our first industry-changing rookie selection of the year is breaking down their debut process, intricate choreography, career aspirations, and more as Vanity Teen Magazine’s K-pop cover artists to watch in 2023!
I have to start by saying, congratulations on debuting, that in itself requires a lot of work! Considering the fact that you’re officially the first boy band debut of the year, what do you hope to contribute to the current landscape of K-pop?
JAE YUN: I want to let people know about our infinite possibilities and our ambition. Through our activities as 8TURN, we would like to show the harmonization of our various colors and charms.
YOON SUNG: I want 8TURN to be able to perfect various concepts, and also to entertain the public through not only our great performances but also through our group chemistry and teamwork, so that 8TURN becomes the leading boy group in the K-pop scene!
When it came to the initial formation of 8TURN, how long did it take from the first trainee to making the final cut for the group – and how would you describe that career-changing process?
MYUNG HO: The preparation period lasted for 1 year and 6 months, and during that period we focused on strengthening our teamwork the most!
KYUNG MIN: It took a long time until the group was formed, and there were some hardships along the way, but the support that our fans sent us from the start kept us going.
On an individual note, if you each had to give yourself a self-appointed role in 8TURN that’s exclusive to you – what title would that be, and why?
MIN HO: I’m the person who listens to members’ concerns or thoughts carefully. In general, I tend to sympathize well with other people.
YUN GYU: I have a role of always supporting and hyping up the atmosphere! If YOON SUNG cannot do it himself, I could be his best sidekick!
As a rookie, there are always going to be challenges that come with determining your preferences and discovering your own group’s dynamic sound. That said, how would you describe the current core theme behind this introductory EP for 8TURN?
HAE MIN: First thing that comes to mind when I think of the concept for our album 8TURNRISE is ‘Don’t go straight, just TIC TAC’! I think the overall album concept is talking about the growth of exploring lifepaths in various directions rather than following the path that’s already paved by other people.
SEUNG HEON: The musical theme of our songs is addictive hip-hop, and it conveys a message that we will pave our own way no matter what.
I love truly love your first single “TIC TAC” which is a very youthful, edgy play on several sub-genres of pop! Was there any specific aspect of the track that stood out to the group upon your first few listens?
MYUNG HO: I wondered what the choreography would be like over such an addictive chorus, and I was very happy with the result.
JAE YUN: I had no clue what it was going to be like since no one from our company gave us even the slightest hint. So, when I heard the song for the first time, I had no other thoughts other than trying to absorb the song to the fullest. However, I had no doubt about it being extremely addictive.
MIN HO: The song was extremely addictive, and I practiced very hard because I couldn’t wait to hear my voice over the song.
YOON SUNG: Since each of the members has different charms, I wanted the title song to give a free-spirited vibe rather than a single concept. I was so satisfied with the result because the song itself and the choreography’s style was exactly what I wanted!
HAE MIN: I expected an addictive dance choreography that fits perfectly with the song’s addictive and catchy chorus. When I finally got the result, I was very satisfied, and I was sure that it would please the public’s eyes and ears.
KYUNG MIN: The vibe was not what I expected, but I thought that the catchy chorus and stylish verses were very cool.
YUN GYU: I thought that the powerful chorus and fast-paced energy of the title song ‘TIC TAC’ were very good, and I thought that I would be able to express my inner energy very well through the song!
SEUNG HEON: Since we are a rookie group, I expected a catchy and addictive song so that it lingers around the public’s head. So, when I first heard the song, I was very happy that it came out just the way I hoped.
Then of course the music video for “TIC TAC” was such a visual treat that really commits to incorporating several fun and eclectic ideas! What was your reaction to the video’s concept when it was first presented – and how did it compare to the final product?
YOON SUNG: When I first got the plan, I noticed that there were a lot of deep stories involved, so I wondered how they would all fit into our 3-minute music video. But when I saw the music video, I was very impressed by all the CGI effects and hidden meanings behind the scenes. I have already watched them so many times!
KYUNG MIN: It was interesting and fun to see various CGI effects in the music video! I was also amazed by the details of the video, so I enjoyed interpreting the meaning behind each scene myself.
In regard to the performance and choreography for the video, there’s some spectacular synchronicity, especially during the post-bridge dance break moment where you’re covered in beading. How many times did you film that scene due to your detailed wardrobe and the sheer precision it required?
MYUNG HO: We really worked hard to synchronize our dance moves since it’s very different from when you dance solo, and we needed to look synchronized while emphasizing each of our different charms as well. We started off by matching the details as a group, then perfected our dance moves, and lastly kept practicing until each of our different characters was shown in our dance moves.
JAE YUN: All of us have different dance backgrounds and styles, so synchronizing our dance moves is tricky. It’s also not easy to capture each of our unique styles but also dances as a group. This is why we prioritize our group practice sessions which makes our choreography more synchronized while capturing the unique charms of each member.
Also, while discussing dance technique and skillset – fans genuinely adore your content whether it’s pre-debut performances or YOON SUNG’s on-point cover of “ANTIFRAGILE.” What would you each say is one song that you know the choreography to perfectly?
MYUNG HO: I know the song “Universe” by NCT U word for word, note for note!
JAE YUN: As shown in our pre-debut content, we covered a lot of our senior idols’ songs. We try to cover the songs of senior idols a lot during trainee days since we learn a lot by doing so, but these days we are busy practicing our own songs. But we do our best to monitor the performances of senior idols and try to copy them.
MIN HO: We always tried to copy the senior idols’ songs in terms of not only dance moves but also vocals. We learned a lot from trying to copy the vibes and styles of various songs.
YOON SUNG: I know the choreography of almost all the cover songs we did during our trainee days perfectly, and I also know the key dance moves of other songs from the senior idols since I enjoy watching their performances. Among those, I try to perfectly copy the choreography of the songs that are my style.
HAE MIN: I tried to focus more on perfecting the basics of dancing rather than trying to cover different songs so that I’m able to dance to any song that I like. However, I’m kind of confident about dancing to “Tiger Inside”, “Universe (Let’s Play Ball)”, and “MAVERICK”.
KYUNG MIN: I know the choreography of “I NEED U” by BTS perfectly! I know some other songs as well, but I feel the most confident about “I NEED U”.
YUN GYU: I covered a lot of choreographies of senior idol songs when I was a trainee, but among those, I feel the most confident dancing to “Universe (Let’s Play Ball)” by NCT U.
SEUNG HEON: I know various choreographies of senior idols’ songs since we spent more time practicing for those than our own songs, and our team is most confident dancing to “Universe (Let’s Play Ball)” by NCT U and “MAVERICK” by The Boyz.
Out of all of the b-sides on the debut EP, which track do you think has the potential to grow into one of the group’s favorites over time?
YUN GYU: My favorite is “WONDER”! It’s the most stylish song on the album, and the slightly dark vibe of the song fits very well with our vocals!
SEUNG HEON: My favorite is “Say My Name” because it’s an easy song to listen to in our daily lives, and I love its bouncy vibes.
As our first heavy-hitter rookie cover group of the year, what words of wisdom can you offer to other young artists working towards a similar path?
MIN HO: I want to tell them to never be afraid to challenge yourselves and take a big step forward. Things that may seem overwhelming are actually not once time goes by, so make a stepping stone of those challenges and keep moving forward!
HAE MIN: We always try not to forget about our first and stay humble despite all the attention we are currently getting from the public. I just want to tell others to always believe in themselves. Do not doubt your current actions or your positions. You are there for a reason!