Live Review: FTISLAND ‘OVER 10 YEARS’ Showcase – YES24 Live Hall, Seoul (07.06.17)

Famous South Korean boy-band FTISLAND held a showcase at YES24 Live Hall to celebrate their 10th debut anniversary. A crowd of media journalists gathered to witness the first live stage of FTISLAND’s title song ‘Wind’ and to have Q&A session about the past 10 years of FTISLAND.

On 7th June 2017 a teenage boy-band FTISLAND made their debut in Korea, instantly receiving huge amount of support from the fans with their title song ‘Love Sick’ (사랑앓이). Since then FTISLAND has been recognised for their unique music colour, continuously making hits with their following albums. 10 years after on the same day in 2017, FTISLAND has released celebratory album OVER 10 YEARS to reflect the path they have followed for 10 years.

The showcase was hosted by MC Moon Jiae, who lead the showcase from introducing the album and the title song to hosting the Q&A session. She described FTISLAND as ‘an artist with their unique colour, loved by the listeners globally’. After her short introduction of the showcase and the band, FTISLAND performed their first live stage of the title song ‘Wind’

The title song ‘Wind’ began with Jonghoon’s piano, bringing in dreamy, but strong melody for Hongki’s vocal to kick in. Hongki’s charming voice only got deeper and stronger after 10 years. His voice tone perfectly matched the melody of the song, singing for love and longing for the return of the lover. With the vocal lead, the song proceeded to release powerful band sound, each of the instruments harmouniously voiced to set the tone.

After the live performance ‘Wind’ music video was played for journalists to watch with photo session to follow after. Soon it was Q&A time, with Moon Jiae leading the program with prepared answers and also receiving questions from the journalists on the spot. Before Q&A began, Lee Hongki and Choi Jonghoon commented about the showcase:

Hongki: Our debut day rained just like today 10 years ago. It is a very special day for us and we want to thank every who came even in weather like this.

Jonghoon: It’s been 10 years since we held a showcase as well. It feels very different but special at the same time.

12 out of the 13 songs are self-composed by FTISLAND members. So the album must the very special to all of you. What is the meaning of the album title ‘Over 10 Years’?

Hongki: We had about 10 titles to choose from, and they all carried a meaning of us moving forward even after 10 years. The title reflects the 10 years we have performed but also hints the 10 years we have ahead of us.

Jaejin: Exactly what Hongki said – the title reflects FTISLAND as we have been for 10 years and many more years to come.

Hongki: The overall process to making this album was very difficult for us – from selecting the right theme to choosing the songs to be put in. We tried as much as possible to include different sides of FTISLAND we have shown over the 10 years, just like the title of the album.

The title song ‘Wind’ was composed by Lee Hongki please explain a little about the song.Also, since most of the album tracks are self-composed as well, how did Hongki’s song get chosen?

Hongki: Previously we had to balance our music colour with what the general public and accept. However with this song I wanted to present the band colour of FTISLAND more strongly. There is also a song composed by Jonghoon which had very positive feedbacks, but we saved it for our next album.

FTISLAND is recognised as opening a new concept of ‘boy band’ in Korea. What are your thoughts on this and were there any difficulties?

Hongki: I think we have shown how powerful the vocal can be as an idol. But I feeel sorry for the current idols because the tradition of taking the members’ mobile phones started from us. We actually were the first to get our phones taken off from us.

Minhwan: As the previous albums did not completely reflect the true FTISLAND colour, at some point coming on stage and performing our songs became less enjoyable for me. I kept questioning myself of whether this was what I really wanted. So it was difficult for me to be professional and show our true colours.

Seunghyun: There has been a change of member so it took time for me to adapt to the group and get close to the members. I have seen cases where some idol groups et divided but FTISLAND have been together for 10 years after overcoming the troubles. I think that’s what makes us special even with difficulties.

‘Love Sick’ received so much love from everyone – what does the song mean to the members?

Hongki: It is a song that made FTISLAND as we are today. Even though we said the colour of the song was different to what we orginally wanted, I think it still suites our band music and that is why it was loved so much. The special track in this album ‘Love Sick’ reflects such meaning of the song to us.

The members talked about going into the army at the same time. Is this a still valid promise?

Hongki: We did make a promise to serve the army together at the same time. There is not change to this idea, since we have a mind of ‘if we succeed, we succeed together and if we fail we fail together’.

Jonghoon: We will go into the army together, but I prefer to be located in different room to the members. (everyone laughs)

What type of music will FTISLAND show us in the next 10 years?

Jaejin: We want to balance our musicality and publicity of the songs from now on. It occurred to us while preparing this album that we can find the balancing point. To show our own colours but to suite the preference of the audience as well.

Hongki: We have never released a single album since our debut. We always wanted to show more sides of us by releasing a song from time to time, and that is why we have included 13 songs in this album even thought it’s a little bit out of trend to put that many. So from now on we want as much of our songs to be shared with the public by releasing single albums when possible.

FTISLAND gained huge success in Japan where band culture of more popular. What do the members think the reasons behind the success are? FTISLAND also is called an ‘idol band’. What does FTISLAND think of us such label?

Hongki: Even in Japan we had the label of ‘idol band’ with us when began to perfom. To remove the label we tried as much as possible to perform where there weren’t too many of our fans,to show our own colour to the general public. Because we continuously tried to differ our reputation as an idol in different ways, the listeners began to recognise our song and us as a band.

Minhwan: We started as an indie band in Japan at first. Some of our early stages only had 5-10 audience with us but the numbers grew as we kept on performing. I think our characteristic from the beginning has always been pure ‘band’. We have auditioned to become a band member not an idol group, and we have shown the characteristic throughout 10 years.

Hongki: There still are some people who does not distinguish band from an idol. For those who cannot accept our colour as a band, I want to invite them to our concerts to see who we are and what our music colour is like.

Journalist question: Did you think from the beginning that FTISLAND will go on for 10 years?

Hongki: I have never thought of our group breaking up. Ever.

A question for Seunghyun who is a member who have not reached 10 years as a FTISLAND member. How do you feel watching the members celebrating their 10 years?

Seunghyun: It is true that my anniversary is different to the rest of the members. However since I have never been parted from the members ever since I’ve joined the group I fel like it’s already been 10 years for me as well. I do feel differentiated when the fans remind me of my debut days, but that does not stop me from belonging to the group.

Plans with the release of the new album and any solo activities planned?

Seunghyun: Recently I feel the need to manage my physical strenghts. Performing live and going on tours require a lot strengths and endurance, so to prepare for the next 10 years I am going to start with increasing my physical strengths.

Jonghoon: I can’t believe Seunghyun mentioned aging and physical strength even thought he is the youngest in our group (everyone laughs). We will continue to show who we are through our music as we have been for 10 years and will be for years to come.

Jaejin: We want to hold as many live concerts as possible for this album, to meet as many fans as possible. With solo activities I have been continuing my acting career, and currently is part of the SBS drama ‘Sister Is Alive’. I will continue to do my best as FTISLAND and as an actor Lee Jaejin.

Hongki: As I mentioned before I wish to release single albums in the future, to show more of our songs and communicate with the fans. RIght now we will do our best with the new album ‘Over 10 Year’s and show FTISLAND as we are, with our unique colours.

Minhwan: We talked about removing 1 from 10, to celebrate 0 anniversary by refreshing our minds and going back to how we started. That is the sort of mindset which we will keep throughout this album’s promotional period.

The Q&A session ended with the last question and members thanked the journlists again for coming. They also asked to write good articles since they monitor them all. The showcase OVER 10 YEARS was a great opportunity to get to know more about the teenages boys who have grown up in 10 years as matured FTISLAND. The Q&A session gave us a peek into the thought of the members as they prepare for the next 10 years to come, starting with the new album ‘Over 10 Years’. Their new album and the title song ‘Wind’ will definitely reflect the matured colour of FTISLAND and I wish them the best!

Photos courtesy of FNC Entertainment.