Making their official debut just 6 months ago with their first single that couldn’t be more deserving of its title, “IT’S A BOP,” J-pop rookie boy group OCTPATH has already put some remarkably praiseworthy accomplishments under their belt. Their debut single topped Billboard Japan Hot 100, and combining their two only releases, the group has sold nearly 200,000 albums. Their more recent release of the two, “Perfect,” introduced a completely new side of OCTPATH with cheerful sound and a fresh, summery concept that’s more than fitting of the current season.
OCTPATH is comprised of members Toma, Naoki, Kaiho, Shunsei, Shinsuke, Wataru, Kohei, and Shu, all of which who competed in the second season of survival show Produce 101 Japan. Currently, members Toma and Wataru are on hiatus.
As the accomplished rookies continue to excel in their careers as idols and strive to achieve things greater than they previously have, Vanity Teen was able to catch up with six members of the eight-piece group in an interview, in which they spoke a bit about their goals as members of OCTPATH, their latest single, “Perfect,” and more.
It’s already been 6 months since your debut! What’s the biggest challenge you’ve faced as idols so far?
Shunsei: In terms of performance, I think I have no choice but to keep doing it over and over again! Mentally, the best way to face things is to keep yourself strong!
Kaiho: I am grateful for the things that worry me. When you are calm, you can face the challenge. When I can’t find an answer, I watch movies, call friends to escape from reality, or talk to my mother.
Kohei: It was my first experience singing and dancing in front of thousands or tens of thousands of people, and when I thought about how I could perform with confidence, I realized that if I didn’t enjoy the stage with all my might, the audience may not enjoy our performance, so each stage I try my best not to give 100 points, but 100%.
Naoki: Don’t carry it alone.
Shu: I still have a lot to do in terms of performance, but I think it’s important to keep working hard and not give up.
Shinsuke: I feel that our biggest challenge is researching what kind of OCTPATH image the fans want to see, and what they want to see in our performances. I have come to think about self-improvement and an objective perspective on a daily basis, such as how others think of me and my team.
I’m sure that becoming an idol wasn’t initially part of your life plan. What career did you wish to pursue before deciding that you wanted to be an idol?
Shunsei: I was not thinking about anything, so I’m happy to have a goal like this.
Kaiho: When I think about the scale of my life, I think that I have chosen a career in which I want to deepen my knowledge in various ways by doing activities not only in Japan but also in a worldwide environment. When I was looking for a job, I was planning to work as a construction manager. The reason was that I had a “temporary” desire to become a first-class architect and play an active role in the world.
Kohei: I’ve always liked idols and had a lot of interest in them, but when I was a student, there was a time when I felt that I was living a normal, ordinary life without anything interesting. I became more interested in idols because I wanted to have the experience of not knowing what might happen.
Naoki: Ever since I was born, I loved idols and wanted to be an idol.
Shu: Before I became an idol, I loved tennis, so I wanted to have a job that involved tennis, or be a school teacher.
Shinsuke: I wanted to be a Japanese historian, social studies teacher, actor, or singer.
Moving onto your most recent single album “Perfect,” how would you describe the title track to our readers who haven’t listened to it yet?
Shunsei: It is a song that can make the world happy and makes you forget everything when you hear it.
Kaiho: This song has the magic of boosting your self-esteem.
Kohei: It’s a perfect song for summer. The concept is like the sky after a rainy season. The best summer starts when you listen to this song! Singing and dancing, I feel that it is a refreshing song that makes me feel like doing just that, and it is a song that uplifts the listener. We are also performing while feeling it, so we would be happy if you could feel that as well!
Naoki: Those who listened to it might smile at the last outro, or even sing along with us!
Shu: The title song “Perfect” is a positive song that gently uplifts you when you’re having a hard time. And all three songs are in different genres, making it a variety-rich single full of OCTPATH’s charm, so please give it a listen.
Shinsuke: It’s a bright pop song that uplifts you with a positive message, saying that everyone is wonderful and perfect as is.
Out of the single album’s 3 songs, is there one that you prefer over the others?
Shunsei: I love “Wild” because of the sound and the structure of the song.
Kaiho: Rain, because it makes me feel like I’m reading a novel. No matter how you are feeling, you will have the desire to savor the song. Singing and listening to this song will beautifully sublimate any unsatisfying feeling.
Kohei: I love that all the songs on the album show a different face. “Wild” is a song that I was worried about along with our debut single “IT’S A BOP”, and it’s a song I’ve been attached to since first. The lyrics of “Ame” remind me of emotions and scenery, and the choreography was done by member Kose (Naoki).
Naoki: “Rain,” a song that brings out the sophisticated and pure singing voice that OCTPATH has. I would be happy if there were people who could get courage from the story of walking forward. The nostalgic sound, melody, and texture of the song stuck in my heart.
Shu: I like “Wild.” It’s a song that shows a side of OCTPATH that we haven’t shown yet, and I really like the highly addictive melody that stays in my ears.
Shinsuke: I like “Rain.” The lyrics and melody are ballad-like, and you can feel the emotions and changes in the scene, making it a wonderful song. I would like you to think about each situation and listen to it, not just love.
The concept for “Perfect” is bright, youthful, and fresh, whereas the one for your debut single, “IT’S A BOP” is more dark, tough, and bad-boyish. Which concept did you enjoy pulling off more?
Shunsei: Both are equally fun. If the concept is fun, then of course it’s “Perfect!”
Kaiho: That’s a tough question (laughs). Wow, I like both of them. “IT’S A BOP” is for when you want to burn with excitement while performing live, and “Perfect” is for when you feel like sharing happiness! Sorry for not being able to answer your question.
Kohei: In conclusion, I can’t choose! Because they’re completely different songs, it’s 50:50, so both of them are fun! I can’t choose, but “IT’S A BOP” is a song that can only be sung by us, so it’s fun to do! “Perfect” has a bright and positive lyric melody that matches our members characters. I think it’s a great match! It’s a song that makes us feel happy when performing, so it’s a lot of fun to do!
Naoki: “Perfect” is more fun.
Shu: It’s definitely “Perfect” to have fun while performing! The song is bright, and there is eye contact with the members and choreography that intertwines with each other, so it’s a lot of fun. “IT’S A BOP” also shows a very powerful side and I love it very much. Rather than just having fun, I feel like I’m performing with a strong determination!
Shinsuke: I felt that the concept of “Perfect” was more fun and suited me. The 1st single was a passionate expression of determination, but with the 2nd “Perfect,” I feel that we were able to express our new side even more, so I feel that the 2nd “Perfect” is even more enjoyable.
Your title tracks have been used as the themes for BL dramas Mr. Unlucky Has No Choice but to Kiss! and Kei×Yaku: Abunai Aibou. However, if you could sing the opening theme for any anime, which one would it be, and why?
Shunsei: I think “Aoashi” would be a good fit! We have many up-tempo songs with a sense of speed, so I think they would be addictive to a soccer anime!
Kaiho: I think that an anime that depicts the main character struggling to do something in ordinary everyday life, such as a school anime or sports anime, matches the message of OCTPATH’s songs.
Kohei: “Dr. Stone,” because it’s my favorite anime. I love this anime and watch it a lot, so when our song plays, don’t be grinning!
Naoki: A homely anime loved by men and women of all ages, from adults to children. I want the listeners to smile, so I think that we can create a fresh world view that is loved by men and women of all ages.
Shu: I would be happy if we made a theme song for a sports anime, because I really like sports mangas, so I definitely want to try it. And since I haven’t forgotten the theme song of the anime I watched when I was a student, I would be happy if I could be part of the memories of students now.
Shinsuke: I like anime about sports, because I think the opening themes can push away of hardships such as athletes and their practices, games, and competitions.
You guys have sold nearly 200,000 albums, which is a pretty neat accomplishment, especially for such a new group! As a J-pop group, what else would you like to accomplish in the future?
Shunsei: I want to win all the music awards!
Kaiho: Thank you for all your support! The ability to do what we are given is important, but we also want to work without forgetting to polish our own creativity. So, I want to create uniqueness from various perspectives such as LIVE production and MV.
Kohei: First of all, I want to be a team that will always be by your side so that you don’t let go of the people who you support. Rather than just some achievements, cherish each and every one of them. Do your best in every single event. That’s my motto! And there are a lot of people who get courage when they see us doing something with 100%, so I want them to find us and stay with us forever!
Naoki: I want to be behind a song that everyone can’t help but sing along to.
Shu: Japanese idols haven’t been able to consistently advance to the world yet, so I want to become a group that is known all over the world.
Shinsuke: I want more and more people in Japan and all over the world to know about the existence of OCTPATH.
Finally, is there anything that you want THme to know about OCTPATH?
Shunsei: I think we still haven’t shown our full potential, so keep checking back!
Kaiho: Our next year’s goal is to make the Budokan full sail with THme. And someday I want to take THme overseas and perform live. I want to see various scenery together with THme, so please continue to support us!
Kohei: I think OCTPATH is the best team. I think THme is aware of this, but the members can definitely overcome any difficulties, so if you talk about OCTPATH, you’ll be fine! We aren’t worried because we feel THme’s on our hearts! That’s why I proudly love OCTPATH!
Naoki: During long rehearsals, our manager buys us food, and we always have fierce battles over the food. I’m not afraid of getting older.
Shu: OCTPATH can show a lot of concepts, and each of the 8 members has their own charms in their performances and songs. Please pay attention to our ever-changing activities in the future, and if you are interested, please come and see us! And THme to who always supports us, THme is OCTPATH’s everything. We love you always!
Shinsuke: OCTPATH has more gratitude and love for THme than THme feels, so let’s have a lot of fun together in the future!