When Victon’s recent single “Time of Sorrow,” which was released in May, topped Japan’s Tower Record chart earlier this month, the bandmates could hardly believe their eyes and ears. The song was the group’s first song since its debut in November 2016 to enter the top 100 of a Korean music chart and won third on popular music show “M!Countdown.” However, the song’s crossover success in Japan, a country where the group had not officially debuted, was completely unexpected.
“I first heard the news from my parents when I came back to Korea after promotions in Japan. I didn’t expect this at all, and it was such a surprise,” said Seungsik during a recent interview with The Korea Herald in Seoul.
Victon (Plan A Entertainment)
The seven-piece act, Plan A Entertainment’s first boy band and which consists of Seungwoo, Seungsik, Chan, Sejun, Hanse, Byungchan and Subin, has been referred to as a band of “late bloomers” due to its considerably belated success with “Time of Sorrow.”
Translated as “facing the time of sorrow,” the song veers from the group’s previous youthful vibe and is draped in sonic moodiness. The slow-tempo song expresses the feeling of a breakup in sophisticated yet restrained language, for which rapper Hanse and leader Seungwoo lent their hands in songwriting, while its dreamy melody and breathy vocals amplify the song’s sultry emotion.
The band said the song suited their personalities.
“The song resembles us in that it’s sensitive and sophisticated. We’ve also put a lot of effort into the details of its choreography, and it suited us,” Seungsik said.
Unlike some idol stars who have outgoing personalities, the seven 20-somethings said without hesitation they don’t have many celebrity friends. They enjoy strolling around in a park by themselves, sipping a cup of coffee in an old coffeehouse and listening to sad ballad songs, and don’t seem to feel any social pressure to assume a more extroverted lifestyle. “Time of Sorrow,” which features Hanse’s poetic and refined lyrics, also reflects the songwriter’s emotional side.
“I try to write lyrics in a ‘pretty’ way, the reason why our songs have many thoughtful lines. One of my beliefs is that life is an endless stream of choices, and the first verse of the ‘Time of Sorrow’ rap part starts with that message,” Hanse said.
“And I think it created a nice synergy. We gained a lot of confidence by showcasing a performance we are satisfied with,” Chan said.
Victon (Plan A Entertainment)
Asked about the darkest times after their debut, Seungsik said that he had suffered from singer’s nodules and Subin and Sejun suffered from lack of confidence. Byungchan felt pressure in comparing his talent to his bandmates, while Hanse had trouble finding his own rap style as his agency had demanded that he lower his high pitch to the likes of Big Bang’s T.O.P. But with the help of strong teamwork and support for each other, the band learned how to focus on themselves and value inner growth.
“Some people may think that we are growing at a slow pace, but we had made our own promise to take each step slowly. Looking at the bigger picture, I think we are doing a great job,” Sejun said.
“We may feel impatient sometimes, but we think it is a necessary emotion for our development. If we do our best in our current position, I believe that one day we will be more solid.”
The bandmates revealed they once received malicious comments that compared the career path of Victon to fellow idol group Pentagon, which had debuted in the same year, and labeled Victon as “losers” for the group’s comparative lack of success.
“I really don’t like the word ‘competition.’ I just hope we all can make nice music and respect each other. We do music for enjoyment, not to compete. And I feel sorry for those who have such a mindset,” Chan said.
Asked about future plans, Victon said the group has been preparing for the next album, without spilling any further details.
But the band did hint at their musical aspirations as well as concerns. Byungchan said he hopes to perform a punky song on stage where they all can show their charm and potential, while Chan said he has been into hip-hop and trap recently, marking new territory for Victon.
Despite the group’s varied musical tastes, Victon has come to the conclusion that reaching out to the public is its top priority.
“Actually, we wanted to try so many things when we just debuted, but now we’ve come to realize that we should cater to the public’s taste first. The public wants something from us, but we haven’t caught what that is yet,” Hanse said.
“One day, we might release our own mixtapes according to our own musical styles. But we should hone our abilities first,” Seungwoo added.
By Hong Dam-young (firstname.lastname@example.org)