Sechskies returns with EP that’s ‘All For You’: Now with four members, the veteran boy band is proud to sound like the 90’s

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Sechskies returns with EP that’s ‘All For You’: Now with four members, the veteran boy band is proud to sound like the 90’s

It’s been 23 years since they debuted, but the members of Sechskies say they are willing to sing until the day their voices no longer work, for all of the fans who have helped them become who they are today.

Veteran boy band Sechskies met with local press on Tuesday morning, ahead of the long-awaited release of its new EP “All For You” in the evening. Members Eun Ji-won, Lee Jae-jin, Kim Jae-duck and Jang Su-won answered questions from the press calmly, but with a hint of nervousness from sitting down together for the first time in over two years.

“Some people say that two years and four months is a long time, but we went on a radio program before this and Lee Jang-won of Peppertones told us that it’s not that long of a time, because the people at [music agency] Antenna take longer sometimes,” joked Eun, the leader of Sechskies.

“But we do feel a sense of refreshment to come back after such a while and stand before the fans as the four of us. We haven’t felt this kind of excitement and nervousness in such a while.”

Sechskies debuted in 1997 as a six-member group and rocked the first-generation K-pop scene with multiple hits, such as “Pomsaeng Pomsa” (1997), “Road Fighter” (1998), “Couple” (1997) and “Com’ Back” (1999), until they disbanded in 2000. The members each pursued different career paths until 2016, when all six members were featured on the MBC variety show “Infinite Challenge” and performed together as a group for the first time in 16 years. In September 2017, Sechskies - without member Go Ji-young - released its fifth full-length album “Another Light,” the band’s first in 18 years.

“This is the first EP we’ve released since our debut, and it’s also taken us the longest time to make,” said Jang.

Kim added, “I think it has songs that are suitable for the cold weather.”

“All For You” contains five tracks, including the title track, as well as “Dream,” “Meaningless,” “Round & Round” and “Walking in the Sky.” Written by Future Bounce, Andrew Choi and minGtion, “All For You” is a soft R&B track with a 90s’ vibe and “a touch of Sechskies’ flavor,” according to the members.

“‘All For You’ has that R&B vibe like the songs we used to listen to in the 1990s,” said Eun. “I think it’s got that warm feeling to it. But for this EP, we didn’t want to be lopsided to one single genre. We’ve always been used to trying a variety of genres, from dance to R&B. Like for ‘Walking in the Sky’ - it’s a Miami bass genre track, with a theme of ‘Road Fighter 2,’ but with a mature side.”

The group picked “Dream” as the song that best shows off the group’s new sound.

“I think this best describes the new Sechskies’ vibe. I thought it sounded really pop at first, but when we added our voice to it, it sounded just like us. We have our signature retro vibe, which might seem old, but it’s ultimately our sound. I think that’s what newtro is all about,” said Eun. Newtro is a portmanteau of new and retro, used to describe the retro trend that’s popular among young people.

After “Another Light,” the group’s members were individually active on television and pursuing their careers thanks to being back in the spotlight, but the band stayed virtually dormant. But early last year, member Kang Sung-hoon quit the group after he and his fan club staff were accused of embezzling money donated by fans. The fans got together and pressed charges against the singer and the club, but prosecutors concluded that he was not guilty in July. Kang was the lead vocalist of the group, and his exit left fans worried about the direction of group.

“We do feel so sorry to the fans, to have come back as a four-member group,” said Eun. “The best times we had were when there were all six of us, including Go Ji-yong. But we tried our best so that [fans] wouldn’t feel the loss of the other two members. We’ve really filled each song up with our voices - not just one person’s voice, but all of ours. It’s made the songs richer, I think.”

Sechskies will hold three shows titled “Sechskies 2020 Concert Access” from March 6 to 8 at Kyung Hee University’s Grand Peace Hall in central Seoul. For those looking to interact with the group sooner, Sechskies is opening up the “Yellow Cafe” at 8810 Ristretto Bar in Yeonnam-dong, western Seoul, from today until Feb. 9. The cafe will be transformed into a scene from the band’s music video, along with a merchandise store. Welcome gifts will be given to visitors.

“It’s been 23 years since we debuted,” said Eun, “and there were times when we thought about how we could get rid of the ‘old style’ we had. We were even scared that we might not be able to release anything if we didn’t get any special ideas. But if we kept following the trends, then what music genre will be left? Do we really need to get rid of our own sound? Right now, you could give us any song and it would be our own. We hope that Sechskies continues to make good pop songs.”

He added, “As long as our voices work, as long as there are fans waiting for us, then we’d like to keep singing and making albums.”

BY YOON SO-YEON [yoon.soyeon@joongang.co.kr]

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