Hold on tight — summer’s here and The Boyz are back! This time, they’ve brought with them their sixth mini album, THRILL-ING, which finds the group exploring a fun and effortlessly cool sound.
Since The Boyz’s debut in 2017, the 11-member group — Sangyeon, Jacob, Younghoon, Hyunjae, Juyeon, Kevin, New, Q, Ju Haknyeon, Sunwoo and Eric — have worked hard to build a name for themselves. From creative album and video concepts to exciting stages and beyond, they give everything their all. This year alone, they’ve released a full-length Japanese album, Breaking Dawn, solo projects from various members, and competed on Mnet’s show Kingdom, all the while preparing for this new comeback.
On their latest mini album, led by the explosive single “THRILL RIDE,” the members go full throttle, pushing to new limits. In typical The Boyz fashion, the melody of the song gets stuck in your head so easily, it leaves you no choice but to join in and sing along with them: “Th-thrill ride, th-thrill ride.” Each member’s charms and individuality continue to shine through on the album’s five b-sides as well, proving once again that The Boyz are a force to be reckoned with.
Before THRILL-ING’s release, we caught up with The Boyz via video call to ask them about their new album, their fans (Deobi), “Be Your Own King,” and more.
Congratulations on your new comeback! How would you describe your new album THRILL-ING?
Kevin: So THRILL-ING, we are making our comeback [after] 11 months, and we have just been waiting to make our own music solely for our fans. We took the word “thrill” because the word “thrill” has so many emotions associated with it, such as nerves, butterflies in your stomach, fear as you are going on a rollercoaster and you’re going at that drop, and the joy that you feel while you’re riding it. And then leftover, “Oh, I wanna l do that again,” kind of emotion that you feel after the ride. So if you compare that to a loving relationship, and if you listen to the entire album start to finish, you’ll be able to feel all those emotions with each track — specifically playing around with that specific emotion. So, the entire album is basically one giant rollercoaster.
How do you feel about releasing an album after your time on Kingdom?
Sunwoo: Compared to the stages we put up on Kingdom, what we’re going to bring back with this comeback album is going to be very different in the sense that Kingdom is all about competition, winning, and ranking. For this comeback, it’s more of a very relaxed and chill vibe, not just in terms of the music and the style, but in terms of our satisfactory levels. I’m personally very pleased with what we’re going to be putting out there.
This album has three different versions (Splash, Bang, Kick), and the concept photos have a similar vibe to “DDD” and “Giddy Up.” How does this comeback compare to other refreshing ones you’ve done in the past?
Eric: Compared to our refreshing albums such as, like you said, “Giddy Up,” “Bloom Bloom,” “DDD,” “KeePer,” what’s different about this one is, it’s not straight up “refreshing.” We’re not just saying, “This is a refreshing and cute vibe album.” This is “sexy, refreshing” I should say.
Ju Haknyeon: The lyrics too!
Eric: The lyrics itself, if you read it all the way through, it has a different type of meaning to it, and it gives out more cool and sexy vibes to it. And, it’s more of a mature side of The Boyz, so I feel that’s what makes it different than “DDD” and all that.
Kevin: The key words for this album are more witty and tongue-in-cheek rather than just cute and refreshing.
Why did you guys decide to make “THRILL RIDE” the lead single?
Sunwoo: We shortlisted about four songs before we actually picked which one should be the title song, and it was a clean look for all the members. And the company and staff, they thought that “THRILL RIDE” would be the song that suits those vibes the best, and what should be the lead song that represents us. Also, it’s our first performance after “Kingdom,” so the color that this song portrays of us would be best represented through the song “THRILL RIDE.”
The messages in the “Be Your Own King” video that you released a few months ago are all about self-acceptance and being true to who you are. Going into this comeback, did you keep those same messages in mind?
Jacob: I’d say we all had our own message that ourselves portrayed, but mine was “MAKE YOUR OWN FREEDOM.” I feel like that really encompasses us as a whole, our team, because once “Road to Kingdom” was finished, we came out with “Stealer,” but we were actually very burdened. Because you know, we really did our performance, as we went to “Kingdom,” it was all those labels that came with us – it was a really burdensome release. Plus “Stealer,” we wanted it to be perfect performance-wise. But this time around, I’d say we have more of that freedom after “Kingdom.” Even after “Kingdom,” we still had that label with us, but we decided to not think about that too much, [and] just have fun with what we’re doing. So I think the message that I had in “Be Your Own King” kind of relates to our situation right now. Even though there’s a lot of labels and titles that The Boyz [have] performance-wise, we’re just going to try to have fun this time around, and just be free.
If you could create your own theme park ride, what kind of ride would you each create and why?
Ju Haknyeon: I want to make a ride that you can actually use in your everyday life. For example, a quick bullet train kind of ride that will take you from your home to your workplace and vice versa, where there’s no conflicts or obstacles. So, it’s like a one way street – you just go and you come back like a bullet.
Eric: I want [it] to be a bumper car!
Hyunjae: I think Haknyeon’s is good!
While your title tracks are always really fun and amazing, do you have a favorite b-side from this album?
Kevin: Personally, I really enjoy “Nightmares” and “Bet on You.”
New: “Merry Bad Ending”
Juyeon: “Merry Bad Ending”
Sangyeon: “Bet on You”
Jacob: For me, I really like “Dancing Till We Drop.”
Younghoon: “Merry Bad Ending”
Ju Haknyeon: “Bet on You”
Hyunjae: “Bet on You”
Eric: “Merry Bad Ending”
Sunwoo: “Out of Control”
If you were going down a rollercoaster, out of all your b-sides and title tracks, which song would you want to hear?
The Boyz: [in unison] “THRILL RIDE!” Definitely “THRILL RIDE.”
You’ve had a lot of online events over the past year for Deobi like fansigns, Vlives, and virtual concerts, all of which have given your fans, Deobi, a lot of strength during these tough times. Are there any words that your fans have told you that have given you strength?
New: It’s definitely unfortunate that we can’t meet with fans face-to-face or physically speak with them. But, whenever we do get the opportunity to talk to our fans via online or a different platform, our fans do express that, “Although we can’t be together, no matter what you guys do, or no matter who you are, because you’re The Boyz, we will send you our unconditional love.” And we all acknowledge that and appreciate that, and that’s what helps keep us going further. It makes us want to really motivate ourselves.
One last question! What are you all looking forward to for the rest of 2021?
Ju Haknyeon: (pointing one finger up in the air) Billboard!
Q: It would be great if we could find the opportunity or the chance to meet our fans face-to-face.
The Boyz’s new mini album THRILL-ING is out now. You can stream the album on Spotify below.