Hello Asia speaks to K-Pop sub unit BOYS24 Unit Black. Formed by CJ E&M in a reality battle show with the same name, BOYS24 has been steadily rising the K-Pop charts both in their home country and abroad. In March BOYS24 announced that the first promotional unit official name is Unit Black. The name was voted by fans through a team naming event that was announced on the group’s official fan cafe. Unit Black then released their first single ‘Steal Your Heart’. Hello Asia’s Joanna Chen chats to the group about the song and future collaborations.

Hello BOYS24 Unit Black! Congratulations on your debut single “Steal Your Heart”. Can you tell me a little about the song?

Unit Black’s title track ‘Steal Your Heart’ is a song in the Moombahton genre based off the future bass sound, which is currently trending in various countries including America. If you listen carefully, you’ll notice that the sounds within the music are also used in games and animations. Also, you can get twice the enjoyment from both listening to the lyrics which expresses the sympathetic longing of a man looking at a woman who’s been hurt by a bad guy, and watching our dynamic choreography. You can feel our subtle sexiness alongside our masculine sides in our choreography.

What kind of things “steal your heart”?

Park Doha: I think it’s probably my favourite foods: sushi and naengmyeon. And one more! Music can steal my heart.

Yoo Youngdoo: I think it’s music! If by chance I find music which ‘steals my heart’, I keep on listening to that song only, and I also try to make a cover of that song. I can feel my enjoyment of music through things like this, and I think it gives me the strength to continue to pursue music.

Jung Yeontae: If I had to choose one thing, I think it would be my family’s happiness and my own happiness. And the excitement that music and being on the stage gives me every time also ‘steals my heart’!

Hwang Inho: Musicals and theatre plays. Because those two things are actually performed live, I think the vividness of those stages ‘steal my heart’ every time! And also seeing the musical actors who can pull off dancing, singing, and acting simultaneously onstage makes me feel my own passion burning inside!

Han Hyunuk: I think for me as well, it would have to be my favourite foods ramen and sushi. And Japanese fashion also ‘steals my heart’!

Oh Jinseok: I think what ‘steals my heart’ is the endless amount of interesting things to do in the world. Recently I’ve fallen into MIDI song composition and learning how to play the piano. I’m the type of person who has a lot of interests, and I always want to learn a variety of different things which will help my personal development.

Kim Sunghyun: Wouldn’t it be music and our fans’ love? Music which makes me change and develop every single moment of my life, and the love of our fans which becomes the biggest strength by my side when I’m pursuing music – those are things that will always ‘steal my heart’.

Kim Yonghyun: When I lived overseas briefly, I went to both Disneyland and Universal Studios – and it was entertaining to the point I still can’t forget the experience, so I think theme parks are what ‘steals my heart’!

Unit Black is performing at KCON Japan this month. What are you looking forward to most at KCON Japan?

Park Doha: Unit Black is about to step on biggest-scale stage since our first single album ‘Steal Your Heart’ was released, at KCON 2017 JAPAN. There’s a lot I’m looking forward to, but I’m especially looking forward to meeting many global fans!

Yoo Youngdoo: Firstly, I’m so grateful to be able to stand on a stage as big as KCON 2017 JAPAN, and I think that the entire experience itself is a moment I’m really anticipating. I’m really pumped to be able to show off our music in front of all the people who will be attending this big event, and it’s an honour to perform alongside so many sundaes who represent Korea!

Jung Youngtae: I don’t think I’ve ever performed on a stage which will have this many people watching, so I’m really happy to be able to have this great opportunity at KCON 2017 JAPAN to do so. Because it’s such a big stage I’m definitely more nervous, but I think the thrill of the stage will outweigh that!

Hwang Inho: I think the fact that we’ll be able to show so many people the existence of Unit Black, not in our country but in front of audiences on a huge stage overseas, is deeply meaningful. Also KCON 2017 JAPAN will provide really good performing experience for Unit Black, so we’re preparing very hard! Please look forward to it!

Han Hyunuk: Every time a performance comes around I’m excited and anticipate it, but I’m really looking forward to a big stage like KCON 2017 JAPAN. We’re preparing extra hard for this stage since we’re shouldering the responsibility of representing Korea!

Oh Jinseok: More than anything, I think I’m looking forward to the fact that we have a chance to let so many fans from overseas know who Unit Black and who BOYS24 are, and also performing on such a large stage alongside our respected seniors. I also think I’ll have a fun time roaming the streets of Japan with the members, so I’m looking forward to that!

Kim Sunghyun: I’ve come this far with music by clinging to the thought that one day, I’d also be able to stand on a big stage like my seniors. I’m looking forward to the entire experience of being able to perform at a big stage like KCON 2017 JAPAN in front of a large audience.

Kim Yonghyun: I’m really looking forward to making an appearance with Unit Black at KCON 2017 JAPAN! Also I’m really excited and looking forward to meeting and representing Korea together with our cool senior singers. I especially want to meet Seventeen!

If you could collaborate with one Japanese artist, who would it be and why? What about a Western artist? And of course, Korean artist?

Park Doha: When the really popular Korean group TVXQ were in the middle of Japanese promotions, I watched a stage where they did an acapella collaboration with a Japanese group called ‘The Gospellers’, and I was really inspired by that. That’s why, if we were to hold activities in Japan, I want stand on the same stage as them! I also want to present an acoustic performance with Jeff Bernat. As for Korean artists, there are so many senior groups I’d like to collaborate with, including EXO, Seventeen, and BTS. Unit Black will work even harder in the future, so it would be amazing if a day came where we could share the same stage.

Yoo Youngdoo: I want to collab with rapper Big Sean! The pop genre is a really trendy genre and it seems like our vocal tones would match well. When he performs onstage he’s really charismatic so I think if we were able to have a stage together it would be super cool! For Korean artists, I’d love to collab with our seniors Zico, Loco, and Jay Park.

Jung Yeontae: I want to fill the stage with Japanese rock band ‘ONE OK ROCK’! Recently I’ve become interested in bands and rock music. The passion and atmosphere that only a rock band’s stage can make you feel is so cool! As for Western artists, I’d like to collaborate with Tori Kelly, who sang the song ‘Don’t You Worry ‘Bout A Thing’ from the soundtrack of the movie ‘Sing’. This song is the one which wraps up the movie, and her powerful voice still remains in my memory. There are a lot of Korean singers I’d like to collaborate with, but I’ll pick my seniors Xia, Park Hyoshin, Jung Seunghwan (K-Pop Star Season 4), and Taeyeon (SNSD)!

Hwang Inho: I’m not that knowledgeable about Japanese singers, but it would be an honour for me to collaborate with anybody who has the energy to dominate a large stage. For Western artists, I really want to collaborate with someone funky like Bruno Mars, or someone individualistic like Jessie J. And as for Korean singers, I would be honoured and extremely proud if I could collaborate with my seniors Dean, Ailee, U Sung Eun, and Gilgu Bonggu!

Han Hyunuk: I want to collaborate with Nakashima Mika! I think more people in Korea discovered her through the song ‘Snow Flower’ by Park Hyoshin, which was a cover of her original. That song is my favourite song, so that’s why I really want to have a stage with the original singer of the song, Nakashima Mika!

Oh Jinseok: I really liked the Japanese groups ‘ONE OK ROCK’ and ‘Radwimps’ from since I was young! I really want to collaborate with them whether it’s in terms of music or something outside of music. As for Western artists, I like Tinashe so I’d like to collab with her. I’ve been a fan of her from a long time ago!

Kim Sunghyun: There are so many Japanese artists who have great vocal timbres, so it would be an honour to collaborate with anyone! And for Western artists, I’d like to stand on stage just once with the singer who’s influenced me the most musically – Chris Brown. For Korean artists, I’d like to try a hip-hop stage with iKon’s Bobby. Right now, this is still a vague dream, but I’ll work hard in order to make that dream become a reality one day!

Kim Yonghyun: Recently, I watched the Japanese anime movie ‘Your Name’, which left a big impression on me. I’d like to collaborate with ‘Radwimps’, who sang the OST for the movie. And personally I really like Justin Bieber’s songs so I’d like to collab with him too! It would also be amazing if I got a chance to collaborate with BTS’s J-Hope or Jimin!

What kind of concept or genre would you like to personally challenge? How about outside of music?

Park Doha: Regardless of the genre, I want to try out a concept which gives off a refreshing atmosphere! Also, I want to perform a song overflowing with bright energy that puts a smile on people’s faces. Outside of music I’m interested in things like cooking and character design.

Yoo Youngdoo: Personally I like the future bass and tropical house genres which our current title track ‘Steal Your Heart’ is based off, so I want to personally create music in those genres, and have those songs top all of the music charts! Outside of music I’d like to challenge a bunch of things that I haven’t had the chance to do before.

Jung Yeontae: It’s similar to what they’ve said above but slightly different – I’d like to try out a musical and being in a band! And outside of music, I’d like to try my hand at acting. And if I adapt well, later on, variety shows (although it’s still awkward right now…) are something I want to try!

Hwang Inho: Recently I’ve heard a lot of songs which are based off trendy genres like atmospheric retro, hip-hop, and future bass, so I want to challenge music which mixes those genres together in a funky way! And I also want to try out a concept which combines contemporary dance with an oriental feel, like what my seniors SHINee’s Taemin and NCT’s Ten did.

Han Hyunuk: Rather than what Doha-hyung said before – the bright and positive concept where you can feel overflowing energy, like in an energy drink commercial – or even what we showed this time around in our title song ‘Steal Your Heart’, the genre I want to try the most is something sexy and ‘homme fatale’.

Oh Jinseok: I want to keep on trying out various songs based off the future bass sound. I’m also interested in EDM music as well as famous DJs like Skrillex and Diplo, and I regularly search and listen to those types of songs, so that’s a genre I’d like to try too. In the time I have outside of music I’m really interested in art, so I want to try a project which combines both music and visual arts!

Kim Sunghyun: I want to try a concept which has a hip-hop but also retro feel just once! Nowadays, the trend has turned back in time to retro again, so I want to challenge a genre which combines the feeling of 70s retro with hip-hop. And outside of music, I want to try out activities that take advantage of my strengths, like modelling or acting.

Kim Yonghyun: When I was young, the genre I started dance with was hip-hop! Maybe that’s why I want to hold group activities based off the hip-hop genre. And the thing I like most after music is football, so I’d like to join a football team and play in a match.

What are Unit Black’s plans for the rest of 2017? What about BOYS24?

We have plans to continue our activities not only domestically, but also overseas. In particular, all the members are really looking forward to performing at the the K-Culture festival which is being held in Japan on May. Also on Saturday, 10 June, we’ll hold our Taiwan solo showcase ! We’re already trembling from excitement at the thought of meeting our domestic and international fans! In the future we plan to hold a lot more active global promotions, so please support us!

Moreover, from last year we set up a permanent K-POP performance with all the BOYS24 members, known as . BOYS24 have plans to meet fans through a variety of content, so we’d be grateful for your interest!

Any special messages for Unit Black fans?

Park Doha: From the bottom of my heart, I’d like to say that I’m really thankful to everyone who cheered BOYS24 on every single time without forgetting about us, for the long period from the start of our first performance to becoming Unit Black. To repay all you’ve done for us, BOYS24 will do all that we can in order to become great artists.

Yoo Youngdoo: You personally picked the eight of us, and I hope you’ll continue to watch over us. Because we’re acting as the representatives of BOYS24, we’ll do our very best as Unit Black. Thank you for always loving us and we’ll work even harder in the future, so please anticipate it!

Jung Yeontae: My role model Xia has a song called ‘Yesterday’, and in the lyrics, there’s a part that goes, “I want to grow old with you”. It’s the part I like the most. Like those lyrics, I want to grow old with our fans, and I’ll work hard so we can walk side by side.

Hwang Inho: Each and every moment that I’m able to meet our fans up close through our Unit Black activities remains vivid in my memory. Thank you for always cheering us on and we’ll work hard to show your our improvements as Unit Black!

Han Hyunuk: Our fans are always telling us to stay healthy and not get sick, but we’re sleeping well and eating lots! So please don’t be worried about us and take care of yourselves first. It would be really good if we were all healthy and could meet each other for a long time. And thank you for always cheering us on!

Oh Jinseok: I want to convey my thanks to the fans who are always supporting us. Relying on the strength of that support, we’ll work hard to become a Unit Black who can show you only our good sides. In the future, we’ll work hard to deliver good music not only to domestic fans, but also international fans!

Kim Sunghyun: After finishing a busy day of schedules, every time I read the letters that fans send us I regain my strength! The sincerity and support from the letters powers my resolve to improve more. I’ll continue to work hard to show a better side of myself, and I love you all!

Kim Yonghyun: Because we can communicate more intimately with you all, not only through music programs, but a variety of activities, I’m really happy. In the future please anticipate lots from Unit Black and BOYS24, and I’m always grateful for your support

When will BOYS24 Unit Black come to perform in Australia?

If a good opportunity comes about, we’d definitely like to perform our Unit Black songs onstage in Australia!

Photos courtesy of CJ E&M.