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(LEAD) (Yonhap Interview) Revived idol band Sechs Kies wishes overseas debut this year

All Headlines 17:03 April 27, 2017

(ATTN: UPDATES with more details in paras 14-18)
By Chang Dong-woo

SEOUL, April 27 (Yonhap) -- Sechs Kies, the legendary '90s K-pop group that made an impressive comeback last year, said Thursday it hopes to make its overseas debut this year, as the team celebrates its 20th anniversary.

"I believe the time is high for us to expand overseas. I think we can be loved more that way," Kang Sung-hoon, the group's lead vocal, said in a group media interview at a YG Entertainment building in Seoul, a day before the release of its new album "The 20th Anniversary."

"While we focused on publicity activities at home last year, I think we should (expand overseas) this year," Kang said.

In this photo provided by YG Entertainment, members of South Korean idol group Sechs Kies pose during a group media interview on April 27, 2017, at a YG building in Seoul. (Yonhap)

Having debuted in 1997, Sechs Kies, one of the leading first-generation K-pop boy bands, broke up in 2000 but made a surprise comeback last June with digital single "Three Words." In December, the team released "2016 Re-ALBUM," a remake album of 10 previous hits.

"The 20th Anniversary" is Sechs Kies' first new album in 17 years, though not entirely new. It includes two new songs -- dance hall ballad "Be Well" and house rhythm dance number "Sad Song" -- and nine remastered versions of past hit tracks.

The two new songs were produced by Tablo of hip-hop trio Epik High and YG's in-house production team Future Bounce.

"Tablo's work has an emotional aspect to it. Though the lyrics were revised several times it had a certain aspect that touched our hearts," told Kang. He said "Sad Song" was actually the first track recorded after the team regrouped last year.

Main rapper Eun Ji-won said the collaborative process with Tablo and Future Bounce was complementary, yielding a constant upgrade of the songs throughout teamwork.

When asked why the album didn't include songs written by the members themselves, Eun admitted the team was still adjusting from the 17-year career vacuum.

"It feels as if we're not ready (to include self-written songs). To a certain extent, our members have to search out our own color through the comeback process while adjusting to today's record industry."

Along with Shinhwa, Sechs Kies is one of the oldest active K-pop acts to date. But this reality apparently hasn't sunk in with the members, who constantly joked and quibbled with each other throughout the interview.

"I'm now in my 40s and my fellow members are facing 40. But when we're together, it's as if time has stopped," Eun said.

Member Jang Su-won, who dabbled in acting before the group's comeback, said, "I want to show how long a Korean idol group can last," revealing his level of commitment to his newly reunited group.

"It took quite some time for us to comeback. I don't think it would be wise for us to go back to our past lives after three years (duration of the contract with YG)."

As the members aged, so did their fans. With the passing of time, the past idol-fan dynamic between them has transformed into a long-time friendship, according to Kang.

"It feels as if the fans have become close. I remember them not being so easy around us before," the singer said.

Kim Jae-duck agreed: "Maybe its because we became like close friends or something, but nowadays, fans often shout 'take it off' to us. I've never heard our fans ask us to take our clothes off before."

The team will open an art-memorabilia exhibition titled "Yellow Universe" to mark its 20th anniversary, near Hongik University in Seoul on Friday. It is also planning to release a photo book and a DVD, put on a concert and hold fan meet-and-greets later this year.

Sechs Kies' new album "The 20th Anniversary" will be released on Friday at 6 p.m.

In this photo provided by YG Entertainment, members of South Korean idol group Sechs Kies speak to reporters during a group media interview on April 27, 2017, at a YG building in Seoul. (Yonhap)


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