Tomorrow X Together (TXT) entered the K-pop scene last Spring and has had a whirlwind of a first year that included touring the U.S. and sweeping up rookie trophies at year-end Korean music award shows. The group — comprised of members Soobin, Yeonjun Beomgyu, Taehyun, and Huening Kai — is the first to be formed by Big Hit Entertainment, home to BTS, in six years.
TXT’s second EP, “The Dream Chapter: Eternity,” was released last month, ahead of KCON, the annual K-pop and Korean culture event. Due to the coronavirus pandemic, KCON went digital for its 2020 event “KCON:TACT 2020 SUMMER,” and Tomorrow X Together has found new ways to connect with fans virtually. Variety spoke with the quintet via Zoom.
You performed at KCON New York last year, making this your second appearance at the event. This time around, the world is very different from what it was like last summer…
Taehyun: That was our first time performing in front of such a large audience overseas. We were really excited but also very nervous. Since then, we’ve been able to perform more often so I think we don’t feel as nervous. The main thought we have is to enjoy each performance.
Beomgyu: Additionally, these days we aren’t able to meet in-person with our MOAs [TXT’s fandom name], so we try to give our 100% and 200% so that our energy can be received and they can see how hard we have worked.
These days, it’s much easier to connect with fans with all of the online resources available, and you have been holding virtual fan meetings as well. Are there any memorable moments that stood out to you?
Yeonjun: Recently we did an online fan sign event and I could tell that the fans were sad that we couldn’t meet them in person. However, it was still fun and really cool that we were able to do the event and meet with fans via video. I really enjoyed it.
Taehyun: There were some fans who were still very nervous and shaking even though we weren’t meeting in person. I remember telling them that it’s okay to calm down and relax so we can enjoy our conversation.
It’s been a month since your EP was released and I’m sure fans were excited to get new music amidst various stay-at-home orders. How has promoting new music during this time been?
Taehyun: Of course, I can’t say that it’s been the best. Considering we are able to perform better with the energy and cheers we receive from the fans who are present, it was unfortunate, but it’s also a huge relief that we’re able to connect via video and release new content for our fans.
“Maze in the Mirror,” the fourth track from “The Dream Chapter: Eternity,” was co-written by all of you and Beomgyu had a hand in producing as well. What was that experience like? Do you plan to write and produce more in the future?
Beomgyu: We collaborated on “Maze in the Mirror” during our hard times. Our month-end evaluations during our trainee days were extremely tough. We wrote the lyrics with those feelings in mind so we were nervous for the song to release, but it was a good experience. All the members are currently working on producing, so we have plans to showcase our voices more going forward as well.
How has each member matured or changed over the past year as TXT has also grown?
Taehyun: I think the members have matured a lot on the outside, but I think we’ve improved significantly in trying to convey our emotions when we act. This time when we filmed our new videos, I think we were all much better at acting and delivering the feelings that we wanted to express.
Beomgyu: Also, compared to last year, we’ve all become a bit more relaxed. Last year, when going on stage or any broadcast, we were very nervous and focused on presenting everything we prepared perfectly. This year, I think we’re able to show off new charms while still being able to showcase everything we prepare, making us a bit more professional.
Soobin: This time around, we tried out concepts that were new to us and I think people were surprised to see new sides of Tomorrow X Together. For what’s left of 2020 and for 2021, we want to show different sides of us and a wider variety of charm.
Do you have any individual goals you’d like to achieve in the coming years, big or small?
Yeonjun: This is actually a group goal, but we haven’t had our own official concert yet. It was unfortunate that, due to the current situation, we weren’t able to do one, but we’re hoping that next year, the situation improves and we can hold a TXT concert with our fans.
Beomgyu: Also, I hope the situation improves significantly next year so we can meet with our MOAs and perform for them on a huge stage.
When Variety met with Big Hit Chief Bang Si-Hyuk last fall, he mentioned that one of TXT’s challenges is that it’s hard to showcase growth when compared to the astronomical success of BTS. Do you find this to be true?
Taehyun: It’s true that there is pressure, but I believe in myself and believe in our group members, so I think we’re able to overcome these pressures.
He also mentioned how storytelling is a major element in Big Hit’s philosophy. Do you enjoy the storytelling and the universes that are expanded with each music release?
Taehyun: I think storytelling allows us to deliver our message in a fun way, so I really enjoy it. I think it makes everything more memorable and lets us create fresh music videos.
You’ve shared several pieces of advice from BTS that you’ve received over the years, like how member J-Hope said to never feel intimidated and to always show your true selves. What have you done to follow their advice and are there any milestones set by them that you hope to achieve?
Beomgyu: I think because they told us to show everything we can on stage, we always keep that in mind and always try our best.
Yeonjun: Last year, before we went to the U.S. for our showcase, they told us that when they first started out, they tried to bring overflowing energy to each performance. I think we took that to heart and really tried to put on powerful performances.
K-pop fans are experts when it comes to giving nicknames. Do you each have a nickname that you like the most?
Soobin: Mine is “Giant Rabbit.” I look like a rabbit and I am tall so I noticed fans calling me that. I think it’s cute, so I like it.
Taehyun: “Director Kang.” Our fans gave me that nickname when I first wore a suit, saying that I looked like a company Director.
Yeonjun: Fennec Fox or “MoJukMoSal,” something I’ve heard more recently. It means “to die for MOA and live for MOA,” so I like that nickname.
Huening Kai: I like “Huening Dwijeok.” I think it fits with my image well. When I make mistakes, I tend to fumble around a lot. I think it’s a nickname that fits me perfectly. (Dwijeok means to rummage around or fumble in Korean.)
Beomgyu: I think up until our latest release, I’ve always been called teddy bear, but recently our fans have been saying I look like a Maltese. I think I’m starting to see it when I wear white clothes too, so I like that nickname as well.
This interview has been translated from Korean and edited for brevity and clarity.