While Pentagon wasn't the newest artist on the KCON 2018 New York lineup, they may have been the K-pop act with the most to prove. A year and a half after their debut, the 10-member boy band found an unexpected hit in the rising success of "Shine," a feel-good bouncy hip-hop number that highlighted the group's penchant for slick raps and playful melodies. The track not only became their first hit in Korea, but marked a breakout success for them on the U.S. charts too.
Backstage at the festival, the nine Pentagon boys (member Yanan had a previous commitment overseas) were clear in their intentions to keep the momentum going while recognizing the hard work and experimentation that brought them to where they were today. Read on for their thoughts on what contributed to their breakout hit, exciting future plans and more.
FUSE: It's great to have Pentagon in New York for your first East Coast performance! How are you all feeling?
Hongseok: I think everybody's excited to be in New York, for most of us, this is the first time being here in New York and meeting our fans in New York so I think everybody's excited.
You're down a member, but still one of the biggest groups here. What's it like traveling with nine or ten people?
Wooseok: We won't easily get bored, because we are still nine members, but we sometimes have a conflict whenever we order food—
Hongseok: Because everyone has different tastes! But we're working on it.
Pentagon debuted in late 2016, but "Shine" really was a slow-burning hit that got you noticed. Why do you think it took a moment for people to connect with that song?
Hui: We debuted a year and a half ago and tried various things and concept. In that year and a half, we were able to find the color that fits our team and, speaking as the leader, we're so very proud we were able to find exact color that fits the team perfectly. I think because of that, the public were able to enjoy what fits Pentagon so well in a song like "Shine." Something I want to add is that I've felt recently the year and a half was a very special and heartfelt time for me because it was a time that has made us realize that we are very grateful. We received this love and the love of the public after a year and a half, and we're only now realizing it and we can appreciate it so much more. Because it took that long time, we're able to appreciate a lot more than if it came soon.
You produce and write your own music, so how did it eventually click where you thought this is the right sound for you?
Hui: So, rather than finding that perfect matching point of finding the song that fits us, during the year and a half that they were creating music, something that I realized was that some of our music might be a little hard to listen to starting from very early in the morning. Before we had written 'Shine', I had thought maybe that we wanted to create a song that could be easily listened to whether it was morning time or right before people went to sleep, and that was the basis of "Shine." E'Dawn was also involved in it so we were able to create a very unique song that was easy-listening but, in the same sense, had a message and a very fun sound to it.
You guys have released songs under the Vocal Unit and Rap Unit names. Are there any more sub-unit projects in the works?
Shinwon: Actually, we have another unit. The name is WooShinYan—three members Wooseok, Shinwon and Yanam so WooShinYan. We're going to release music. We're very lonely and lazy... [Laughing]
Hongseok: [Clarifying] They can't promise when they're going come out as a unit, but they are having plans and having discussions about having the unit.
“We're very confident that we are going to shine amongst all K-pop stars.”
What else do we need to know about Pentagon in 2018?
E'Dawn: I heard was that Triple H was gonna be coming out soon. [Laughs] With very good music, and the color of the group is gonna be something very new that hasn't been seen yet.
Hui: And then in August, we also will be coming back in Japan. And as soon as possible, we'll release a new album in Korea.
And while fans are awaiting for that, do you have a message for them?
Yeoone: First off, we are thankful for all of the support that we've been shown, but we also want all our fans to have high expectations because we are going to show more surprises in the near future. Also, what we're most proud of and what we want our fans to know the most is that we're very confident that we are going to shine amongst all of the K-pop stars. There are so many great K-pop artists, but we're gonna shine amongst them as one of the better performance artists and we're going to make fans proud of us as a group.