With more than five albums and a string of awards under their belt, this group has been making waves globally since they officially debuted in 2018. Despite having so many promotional schedules in less than two years and enduring some injuries, it seems like this group is nowhere near close to slowing down.
Who is this mysterious group we're referring to? Don’t worry, we got you covered!
For the uninitiated, ATEEZ is an 8 member boy band, where the group debuted on October 24 2018 under KQ Entertainment. The band consists of two rappers and six vocalists, Hongjoong, Seonghwa, Yunho, Yeosang, San, Mingi, Wooyoung, and Jongho. The group’s name, ATEEZ, stands for “A TEENager Z '', in respective of the members’ current ages (all in their early 20s) as well as representing late teenagers’ interest and music.
*From upper left: Kim Hongjoong (Leader, Main Rapper), Park Seonghwa (Eldest, Vocalist), Jeong Yunho (Vocalist, Main Dancer), Kang Yeosang (Vocalist, Lead Dancer, Visual)
*From bottom right: Choi Jongho (Youngest, Main Vocalist), Jung Wooyoung (Lead Dancer, Vocalist), Song Mingi (Lead Rapper), Choi San (Lead Vocalist, Lead Dancer)
Read on Forbes’s previous article/interview to know a little bit more about ATEEZ here
Before debuting to the world, these 8 boys were known as “KQ Fellaz” during their trainee days. They posted a series of dance covers, most notably from the song “Pick It Up” by Famous Dex featuring A$AP Rocky, on their agency’s Youtube channel that soon picked up many curious necks of the once mysteriously charismatic performers.
As the crowd grew bigger and people were genuinely interested in the group, the company then released a reality show called Code Name is ATEEZ, which helped unveil the members’ pre-debut journey in Los Angeles. As Yunho said in an interview with Rolling Stone India,
“...during the training in L.A., it was really important for us to learn the dance trends that are popular there and how they express themselves. As for how it helped us as a team– during that long month in a foreign country, we learned how to trust each other and how to work as a team. Because it was difficult being away from our own country for the first time.”
The show allowed new fans to learn more about the members and it’s arguably, one of the things that helped the group cement their foundation in the K-POP industry as a “promising” rising act of the 4th Generation.
Despite the monogamous ‘trademark’ sounds and music that many K-POP groups follow, ATEEZ puts forth an entirely different take on producing their music and creating their own signature sound.
One cannot simply put their finger and say ‘this group is mainly in the pop genre’, but fans (including the author herself) found that ATEEZ blends a whole lot of genres like hip-hop, trap, dubstep and pop, as well as tropical, synthwave and R&B-- among many to name. It also doesn’t take a long time for familiar fans to know (from afar) how to distinguish this group’s sound from the rest of their peers.
This comes from their own creative team collaboration in the agency, mainly between their lead producer, EDEN, Buddy, Ollounder, and Leez (otherwise known as ‘EDENARY)’, and the members themselves who, in each comeback, added their thoughts on the songwriting processes, production, and conceptualization of every album.
Both rappers, Hongjoong and Mingi were credited as songwriters throughout their songs.
Hongjoong and the rest of his members generally agreed that their CEO and the whole production team for ATEEZ communicates effectively, as they value each other's feedback and ideas, which in turn makes everyone in the company more motivated to work harder.
So far, ATEEZ’s recurring theme and the storyline revolves around finding the “treasure” and conquering the “new world” together. Every album leading up to their upcoming comeback (set on July 29th, 2020), including their powerful dance moves and ear-catching songs, revolves around teamwork, togetherness and their strong friendship.
This is especially evident in their signature sounds that tend to be anthemic and it made their fans gravitate excitingly to them.
Unlike their rookie peers, ATEEZ left a definitive impression on audiences in terms of their high energy and oftentimes charismatic performances. Much like duality (idols who have two distinct and stark personalities) is highly revered in South Korea, ATEEZ’s personalities both on-stage and off-stage are extremely different.
On-stage, they are described (by their fans ATINY) as “scary”, “demon-like expressions” and generally so in-sync with their music. Their intense expressions, accompanied by their synchronized dance moves as a group, never failed to keep their fans and on-lookers constantly surprised yet highly satisfied.
In contrast, their humorous and humble side, shown unapologetically on all occasions during interviews, live broadcasts in V Live (Korean app) and their Vlog channel series on Youtube showed the boys are just your regular teenage boys, who share a common passion and a strong sense of friendship.
Almost everyone was taken by surprise with ATEEZ, as the group hails from a relatively small entertainment company. Financially speaking, they came nowhere near close like the Big 3 (SM, JYP, and YG) or even Big Hit (BTS’ company). So how does a small company successfully make ATEEZ become well-known and catapults the group to where they are currently?
Much of the company’s effort for promoting ATEEZ lies in their promotional strategies, which, to be frank, is something K-POP agencies should start from now. Just like their sunbaenim (Korean word for senior) and their idol, BTS, both groups actively made English translations available across all of their creative content for international fans. Not to mention, consistently being active and 'interacting' with fans on social media definitely played a huge role in making sure their followings are solid.
It is without a doubt that ATEEZ has an incredible and strong production team working together with them.
The group believes having a real connection and a sense of mutual trust with their fans is the most important aspect for them. Hence, it is why with each comeback and in-between their resting period, they made sure to keep in touch with their fans.
As such, following the wake of COVID-19 and their postponement of "The Fellowship" - Map The Treasure world tour 2020, they worked twice as hard to keep the connection they have with fans.
Recently, the members produced a variety of contents relating to their personalities as their own mini-series on ATEEZ official Youtube channel before pausing the activities to prepare for their July comeback. Similarly, they've also performed in KCON: Tact 2020 in June, which is an annual summer K-POP convention featuring a line-up of various K-POP acts. In fact, they even performed a free online concert, ‘Crescent Party’ for their fans!
The group has held various activities that encourage their fans to participate in, such as the recent storytelling event and song voting event for their upcoming comeback, which marks the second time since they did with their title tracks 'Wave' and 'Illusion' last year.
ATEEZ even dedicated a song called 'Star 1117' for their fans earlier this year, in celebration of announcing the official fandom name, ATINY (a mixture of 'ATEEZ' and 'Destiny'). Theyalways fondly refer to ATINY as their 'close friends' who supported and cheered for them since their pre-debut days.
Indeed, in a competitive industry where debuting and getting worldwide attention are both big dreams and a feat for many rookie groups, ATEEZ is set and determined to leave their mark through their strong way of expression and amazing group synergy. ATEEZ still has a long way to go, but with the skies as their limit, they’ll be reaching the horizon soon enough.
ATEEZ still has a long way to go, but with the skies as their limit, they’ll be reaching the horizon soon enough. Here's a toast to their bright future!