First bursting onto K-pop the scene with their effervescent, boyish debut single ‘Crown’ in 2019, Tomorrow X Together (TXT) have since started to tackle the more intricate emotions of youth, addressing themes of heartbreak and the creeping cynicism that comes with becoming a young adult in the 21st century. In doing so, the quintet have solidified their reputation as the “fourth generation it boys” of K-pop.
- READ MORE: Tomorrow X Together – ‘The Chaos Chapter: Fight Or Escape’ review: of rock riffs and fond fan tributes
This year alone, TXT – comprising members Yeonjun, Soobin, Beomgyu, Taehyun and Hueningkai – released their second studio album ‘The Chaos Chapter: Freeze’, as well as its repackaged version ‘The Chaos Chapter: Fight or Escape’. Both were fronted by angst-ridden title tracks, ‘0X1=LOVESONG (I Know I Love You)’ and ‘LO$ER=LO♡ER’, of which the former has become their highest charting song on the Gaon Digital Chart.
The boyband recently sat down with NME to discuss the recent conclusion of their angsty, rock-influenced ‘The Chaos Chapter’ era, their upcoming debut online concert ‘Tomorrow X Together ’, and how it feels like to follow in the footsteps of HYBE seniors BTS.
Hello TXT, and congratulations on the release of ‘The Chaos Chapter: Fight Or Escape’! Can you tell us more about ‘LO$ER=LO♡ER’?
Soobin: “Thank you so much! ‘LO$ER=LO♡ER’ is another love song from us. It addresses a boy’s desire to become a heroic ‘lover’ for the person he likes, even if he’s nothing but a “loser” by society’s standards.
“You’ll notice that the symbols used in the title are a dollar sign and a heart. This represents not only the ‘love’ he has learned and now feels, but also his yearning to change the circumstances of his life – basically, to secure the financial means necessary to rescue not only himself but his loved one from within this materialistic world. I think we can say that this is one love song from the Gen Z perspective.”
Hueningkai: “We really love this song. It’s very catchy and some great songwriters and producers have worked on it. And also notably, our own Yeonjun has his first title track contribution.”
Yeonjun: “I penned rap lines. Overall, the theme was that as long as you and I are together, we can get through anything.”
How does ‘Fight Or Escape’ continue the story told in ‘The Chaos Chapter: Freeze’?
Taehyun: “We started our journey with ‘The Dream Chapter’, which depicted five different friends growing within their circle of friendship. Gradually, the way these boys see the world changes as they continue to grow and mature.
“‘The Chaos Chapter: Freeze’ was about a boy who felt ‘frozen’ within this unfamiliar and very real, ‘non-dream’ world. The world he once knew is gone and he feels helpless until one day, ‘you’ come and find him in this world of chaos. For ‘you’, he feels love, and for the first time since he entered this chaos, he’s certain of something: ‘I Know I Love You’
“If ‘The Chaos Chapter: Freeze’ was about [being ‘frozen’], then ‘The Chaos Chapter: Fight Or Escape’ talks about how this boy now refuses to stay ‘frozen’ amidst this chaos. He wants to fight against the world or to escape from it together with ‘you’.”
Without spoiling too much, what can listeners expect from future releases from this chapter?
Yeonjun: “‘The Chaos Chapter’ is actually now complete with ‘The Chaos Chapter: Fight Or Escape’. But we’re eager to continue our story in the coming years and we hope our audience will be able to relate to more and more of the tales we tell.”
What was the biggest challenge TXT faced while working on ‘The Chaos Chapter: Fight Or Escape’?
Beomgyu: “As eager as we all were to return to our fans quickly, the time we had to prepare for ‘The Chaos Chapter: Fight Or Escape’ was relatively short in comparison to the time we had for our previous albums. We were initially concerned as to whether we’d be able to properly deliver the growth we’ve achieved as a team in such a short time, but this eventually meant that we just worked harder and made the most of this experience! This album was very fulfilling for us, both musically and emotionally.”
Besides ‘LO$ER=LO♡ER’, the new repackaged album also contains a new track, ‘MOA Diary’, that’s dedicated to the group’s fandom. What kind of message are TXT hoping to send to MOAs with this song?
Beomgyu: “‘MOA Diary (Dubaddu Wari Wari)’ is essentially a summary of all the things the five of us have been wanting to tell our MOA, who have been supporting us and giving us strength throughout these years. The main thing is, of course, our appreciation for all our MOA who have supported us through thick and thin.”
Taehyun: “Just as our MOA tell us that our music has given them strength, the presence of our MOA by our side is, in turn, the source of our strength.”
Also, congratulations on recently scoring your first entry on Billboard’s Airplay chart with ‘Magic’! Can you tell us what it was like working on the track, and if TXT expected it to perform as well as it did?
Hueningkai: “Working on ‘Magic’ was a delightful, magical experience. It was also our first English song, which was an exciting new venture for the five of us, and an opportunity that allowed us to grow our capabilities as artists. We’re so glad that the listeners loved the song… because our journey has still only just begun.”
When TXT first debuted, many people saw you as a “little brother” group to BTS. How do you think TXT have shaped its own distinct identity and sound?
Soobin: “I feel that as we went through ‘The Dream Chapter’, ‘Minisode1: Blue Hour’ and now ‘The Chaos Chapter’, the five of us have grown musically, but also as five individuals progressing through our teenage years into our early 20s. We had new experiences and saw further out into the world, and were able to feel a range of emotions. I think such growth was also applied onto our musical identity and colour as one team – as Tomorrow X Together.”
Yeonjun: “We’ve always told our own story from our debut till today and it’s a story that many have been able to relate to precisely because it’s a very real story of people living within this generation. We’ve worked with many genres to enhance our musical capabilities and hone our sound, and through this sound, we tell stories of our generation, a generation at the crux of growth.”
How do you think TXT have evolved since your debut in 2019?
Hueningkai: “Our teamwork is certainly one aspect that continues to further improve with each month and year that we spend together. We can see eye-to-eye and support one another on our journey of growth both as a team and as individuals, and I think it’s really a great thing! We’re brothers.”
In your latest full-length album ‘The Chaos Chapter: Freeze’, Taehyun and Hueningkai were involved in writing and production. What have you learnt from this experience?
Taehyun: “As time goes by, we’ve been able to participate more and more, not just on the actual music but also on performance aspects, the concepts, our attire, etc., and we’re very happy to be able to take part in each of these steps. As for songwriting and production, we’re always talking amongst ourselves and actively discussing options and ideas with our writers and producers.
“I think a lot about the story and emotions we want to deliver through our music, and I consider all aspects such as melody, lyrics, the overall sound and performance aspects, and I truly believe that I can not only work more efficiently but also deliver the intended emotions in a more precise and articulate manner.”
TXT have already achieved a lot in 2021. What are some of your goals for the rest of this year?
Yeonjun: “We’ve announced our upcoming Japanese mini-album ‘Chaotic Wonderland’ and we also have our first exclusive concert ‘Tomorrow X Together’ coming up. It’ll be hosted online. We’re incredibly eager to perform for our fans, and we’re excited at the thought of being able to perform for all our fans worldwide.”
Lastly, what can MOAs expect from TXT moving forward?
Beomgyu: “Our music is our story of growth and, honestly, we’re nowhere near done with growing. We have a long journey ahead, and through our music we’ll continue to represent the emotions we feel and the experiences we have as young people growing in this generation.
“I’m sure that the story we’ll continue to tell will be one that all our fellow Gen Z will be able to relate to, as well as all those who have been at this stage of growth in their lives.”
TXT’s ‘The Chaos Chapter: Fight Or Escape’ is out now.