K-pop nonet CRAVITY recently dropped their debut album, CRAVITY SEASON1 [HIDEOUT: REMEMBER WHO WE ARE]. The record was well-received by fans across the world, with the band trending under six different celebratory hashtags, including one that asks you to #StanCravity, within a few hours of the release.
CRAVITY are the third group to debut under Starship Entertainment after K-pop supergroups Monsta X and WJSN, so there is an understandable pressure in following the veterans. But the nine-piece have easily risen to the occasion; wise beyond their years, hyper-focused and excited about their journey forward, CRAVITY are working on carving their own place in the world of K-pop.
In conversation, the group revealed their reactions to how their album was received, talks being inspired by the likes of Monsta X, BTS, and NCT, their hopes for the future, and which fan comments made them smile, among many other interesting topics.
The fan and press reaction towards CRAVITY SEASON1 [HIDEOUT: REMEMBER WHO WE ARE] has been really good. How does it feel to have such a strong debut as a band?
We are all happy to make our long-awaited debut. Thank you very much for showing full interest in CRAVITY. We are very thankful for this. In order to return the interest and support we received, we will always work hard to prepare and show a lot of people and our fans the best performances. Please keep looking forward to it.
Do the nerves remain, with pressure to follow up with even better music? Or are you simply more motivated now?
After our debut, we are going to show many stages and performances. There will be more pressure to show better performances than before, but the emotions are not so unstable or difficult that we cannot handle them. Rather, it has become a more stimulating factor, and we are able to work harder.
What, if anything, was the most challenging part of working on this album?
We had many first experiences working on this album. Although we practiced a lot of songs and dances as trainees, it was a different experience to show our own songs and performances. From singing in the recording studio to learning the choreography to showcasing new expressions and gestures, it was a lot to think about. However, we didn’t feel like it was a hard moment, instead all members prepared with excitement and joy.
Describe your journey from pre-debut to now in three words.
Serim: I would say patience, persistence, and start.
Allen: I would say seeds, sprouts, and flowers. After going through our trainee days as a seed, making a debut as an idol sprout in 2020, I hope we can walk on a flowery path afterward.
Jungmo: I would say it is an adventure, spectacle, and a movie.
Woobin: It would be self-monitoring, faith, and leap.
Wonjin: I would say starting, touching, and returning the love and support. A lot of people waited for us, and we were touched by the fact that a lot of fans started together with us. We are working hard to return the love and support we received from them.
Minhee: I would describe it as unfamiliar, excitement, and feeling.
Hyeongjun: The three words would be effort, progress, and happiness. I am happy that I made an effort and moved forward to achieve my dream.
Taeyoung: I would say challenge, the process that was not easy, and worthwhile.
Seongmin: The three words would be excitement (because of the excitement I had while practicing for my debut), sweat (because sweat from practice made my debut), and happiness (because I’m happy to debut).
Have each of you got a personal favorite track off the album? If so which ones and why?
Serim: “Stay” – It’s a track that makes me imagine a story when I listen to it, so I think fans can relate to it.
Allen: “Star” – This is such a meaningful song to me. The lyrics are so touching and all the members’ voices are so beautiful. I often listen to “Star”.
Jungmo: “Star” – The melody is good and most of all I like the lyrics. I listen to it envisioning my fans and members as the stars.
Hyeongjun: “Star” – The lyrics contain the message we wanted to convey to the fans who waited for us; as much as you always brighten us, we want to be a shining star that brightens our fans.
Woobin: “BLACKOUT”- Since it is the most intense song in the album, I remember being the most worried. The song was difficult to record as well. I’m proud that we’ve gotten a great result since we really tried.
Taeyoung: “BLACKOUT” – The mood is very different from the other songs. And it’s cool when I imagine performing to this song.
Wonjin: “Cloud 9”- It’s a very easy song to listen to and I like it because it’s a healing song that makes me feel really good and comfortable.
Minhee: “JUMPER” – Joohoney sunbaenim (senior) of MONSTA X gave us this song and he also gave us a lot of support. We are grateful to receive such an exciting song.
Seongmin: “BREAK ALL THE RULES” – The title track! The addictive melody keeps ringing in my ears and the lyrics are so good.
Do you have a particular sonic direction after your debut? How would you describe the soundscape you’ve currently put out into the world?
First, we’ve prepared intense music and performances that we can show through the teamwork of nine people. We’ve also prepared our debut album and a title track with a theme and lyrics encompassing the message that we wanted to give out to the world. With our appearance, we wanted many fans and other audiences to remember who we are, and the theme of the title song was “Let’s Break the Frame Made by Us” which contains CRAVITY’s relentless determination to move forward. Starting with our debut album, you can find various efforts and stories throughout the album. Our true commitment and messages to our fans are reflected in our album.
How do you see CRAVITY’s sound evolving in the future? What would the ideal future of the band look like?
Each member has a variety of charms, so I think there are countless sounds to showcase. Whenever we release a new album, we’ll always show you our new side. We would like to show the colors of CRAVITY through our various attempts in the future. And we hope you’ll see us grow on stage. To show you the best of us, we will continue to practice hard and think about our future together.
What are the areas you’ve identified post-debut that you’d love to improve on?
Serim: I think a lot about the performance I show on stage. I want to upgrade my gestures, facial expressions, etc.
Allen: I tend to get nervous when filming a program or on stage. I hope I will be able to relax and enjoy any situation.
Jungmo: Relaxation. I want to show you a more confident performance since I still get nervous when I’m on the stage. I’m monitoring and researching sunbaenim (senior)’s performances.
Woobin: The main concern at the moment is developing my own individuality and charm.
Wonjin: Dance, facial expressions, and gestures. I’m going to develop myself until I can show them all perfectly during the live performance.
Minhee: As I’m still a rookie, I think I’ll have to work harder in many ways and I want to experience everything I can in any field.
Hyeongjun: I’d love to improve on my vocal skills.
Taeyoung: My expressions aren’t coming out the way that I expected them to on stage. I think a lot about how we are on the shows/broadcast.
Seongmin: I want to be good in variety shows. I still need more confidence.
Who inspires you professionally and personally?
Serim: I am inspired a lot by V from BTS. I’ve practiced a lot watching V’s facial expression and gestures while he’s on stage. Also, my Grandpa has always been a living encyclopedia for me with great knowledge. I’ve respected him since I was very young and there’s still a lot to learn from him.
Allen: Professionally, I am influenced a lot by JOOHONEY from MONSTA X. When I write rap or study gestures for the stage, I get inspiration from his performances. I also think I usually get personal inspiration from my surroundings. People around me, the weather, the recent movies that I watched and etc. are various sources for me.
Jungmo: I get inspiration mostly from V from BTS. I also personally get inspired a lot from my mother. She’s like Solomon who always gives me the solution to my problems, she is always kind to me no matter what.
Woobin: I’m professionally influenced by BTS for introducing KPOP worldwide, and opening the gate for new opportunities for many other KPOP stars including us. I also have gotten inspired by Cobb from the movie ‘Inception’. Every time I try to understand the character Cobb, I get these new feelings.
Wonjin: I get inspired by my role model Jimin from BTS. I’ve never met him in person yet (I would love to!), but his appearance on every stage comes to me as amazement. I always think that I want to be like him whenever I see him through video clips etc.
Minhee: I am inspired both professionally and personally by JOOHONEY and Minhyuk from MONSTA X. I was emotionally touched by their support and warm advice that they gave us.
Hyeongjun:MONSTA X and BTS. I’ve been agonizing a lot about my career and future since I’ve started my life as an artist. Looking at the path that they’ve stepped inspires me, and I practice my moves looking at their gestures and expressions on stage.
Taeyoung: I try to get inspired by myself through lots of monitoring and self-development. After the debut and recent activities, I noticed that I worry about myself on stage more often.
Seongmin: It would be from my role model Jaehyun of NCT. His voice and tone are so attractive and cool. I also get inspiration from movies and dramas. It lets me feel emotions that I’ve never felt in real life, I try to remember those feelings and apply it to my moves and songs so they can have deeper expressions.
With Monsta X as seniors, is there something that you’d like to emulate from them? Any qualities of theirs that have influenced the way you look at your own careers?
MONSTA X have a distinctive team color in both their music and performances. We want to have a unique color of our own and also, we would love to be like MONSTA X in terms of their global influence. We definitely hope to grow up like MONSTA X in future.
If listeners could take away one message from the music you make, what would you want it to be?
Serim: I hope our music can give happiness and comfort to all the listeners.
Allen: I hope they can take away the message that “You are never alone in this world, be confident about yourself and live a life as you wish”
Jungmo: I hope everybody in this world will be cheerful/happy with our music.
Woobin: The message that you are not alone. We will be together at any moment.
Wonjin: I want our listeners to take the spirit of challenge. I’ve regretted in the past due to my hesitation, so I don’t want them to be regretful like me in the past.
Minhee: I want our listeners to remember the message that “You will always be with CRAVITY”
Hyeongjun: I hope our fans will be with us, watching our infinite potential and our universe that will develop nonstop.
Taeyoung: The message of trusting yourself, being confident about yourself.
Seongmin: Be confident, trust yourself.
Is there one piece of advice someone has given you that you hold really close to your heart?
“You’ve practiced to death, so show it on the stage without any regret”
“If you can’t avoid it, enjoy it”
“If you go on the stage, you might get nervous, you might make mistakes. But we’ve practiced enough so let’s not get nervous, let us show you our moves as usual”
What’s the best/most positive comment or review you heard of the album, that’s stayed with you and/or made you smile?
“The new future / New Era has popped out!”
“Listening to CRAVITY the 1st (time): “what the….” the 2nd (time): “..still no” the 3rd (time): “wait🤔” the 4th (time): “criminal, criminal, criminal”
*this would be from a fans point of view, where they first listened to our debut and weren’t too sure about it, and slowly became addicted getting the lyrics stuck in their head after a few listens*
What have you got planned next? And what’s on your bucket list?
We will continue to try our best to repay our fans’ love and support. We are also going to pull off our plans with positive minds and attitudes! We hope to meet our global fans from all around the world through tours maybe. Please look forward to it until then.
Finally, what songs on your personal playlist have you got on repeat recently and why?
Serim: “The night is getting deep”(Prod. Airman) by 1ho. I enjoy listening to Airman’s music and I am so into this particular song these days.
Allen: “NOT BY THE MOON” by GOT7. I’ve been listening to this song a lot these days while doing the music shows (TV shows). I’ve fallen for this song and it is definitely in my playlist.
Jungmo: BTS – “ON” / I really love the melody and it is so addictive that it goes around my head repeatedly.
Woobin: CRAVITY – “Star”. It has become one of my habits to listen to this song once or twice before I go to sleep. I often repeat the lyrics in my head.
Wonjin: “I’m Fine” by BTS. It gives me comfort and volition to step forward.
Minhee: MONSTA X – “YOU CAN’T HOLD MY HEART”. I was totally impressed by the voices of our brothers in MONSTA X.
Hyeongjun: “Feel So Fine” by TAEYEON. Woobin recommended this song to me and I love the lyrics so much.
Taeyoung: Raye – “Please Don’t Touch”. I’m totally into this song these days. I just love it.
Seongmin: Lasse Lindh – “Hush”. It’s sweet and romantic. I listen to this because it warms my mind/heart.