Inside Tomorrow X Together's Debut Showcase in Seoul: 'We're Really Thankful We've Had This Great Reaction'
"We don't think we're deserving to be called BTS' little brother," TXT leader Soobin told local media. "We'll work harder."
March 5 would have just been a normal day in the K-pop industry with a new boy band set to meet the media at their debut showcase, except for the fact that it was no normal group about to make its first appearance.
Less than 24 hours after sharing their debut single with the world, Tomorrow X Together was making their first-ever media appearance to meet international press, perform their song "Crown" and share a bit more about themselves. As was announced multiple times throughout the conference, Tomorrow X Together -- also known as TXT -- was the "first idol group from Big Hit Entertainment in six years" marking the biggest artistic addition to the company since BTS' debut in 2013. Before and after the showcase, those familiar with the K-pop scene chatted about the large number of reporters in attendance, the band's already huge YouTube numbers on the "Crown" video, as well the fact that English-speaking interpreters were on hand to translate for international media in attendance (including Billboard).
Taking place at YES24 Live Hall in Seoul, the location had a particular sentimental significance as the venue was the location where BTS held their first-ever concert when it was known as AX-Korea. If just from the symbolism between the venues, Big Hit Entertainment's interest and standing in the industry has undoubtedly swelled, never mind the humongous posters draping the building and curious fans in school uniforms buzzing around once the showcase ended.
With how many genre barriers both BTS and Big Hit has broken in the global music industry, TXT's first moments with the media were undoubtedly K-pop. Members Soobin, Yeonjun, Beomgyu, Taehyun and Hueningkai approached the stage individually, introducing themselves by posing for photos and sharing their own unique pose -- with youngest members Taehyun and Hueningkai delivering overly adorable poses. Each member had his own tagline as Beomgyu was introduced as "the life of the party" and emphasized that he can speak in the local accent of Daegu (a fun thing for stars to share during variety show appearances on Korean TV), Soobin emphasized his ability to be supportive to his fellow members, and Hueningkai shared how "his charm is cuteness." With a nervous-but-excited energy, each member spoke with gusto, making sure to introduce themselves individually every time he spoke, thank each reporter upon every single question, and bow several times throughout the showcase.
"They look tense," the MC for the event told reporters. "But you can see their passion. They may be nervous, but please encourage them. I met them a little before the event and I could see they're a little nervous about whether they'd be able to put on a good performance."
But despite how nervous and formal TXT treated the event, their passion was on display at all moments when cameras were and weren't on them. While Soobin was delivering one last pose for photographers, Taehyun happily danced to the group's "Crown" single off to the side of the stage as it played in the background. Taehyun and his band mates would all get the chance to dance for the crowd with the first public performance of "Crown" showing off the playful and athletic choreography that included intricate formations and lifts.
During the Q&A portion of the conference, Tomorrow X Together expanded on overall themes of their group including the team name's meaning (Yeonjun said "Tomorrow X Together means you and I have come together in pursuit of one dream"), the story behind their EP's title The Dream Chapter: Star ("When you are young in adolescence, you feel like you can't do things but when you meet other people you can," explained Soobin, adding "this is a story about meeting new people") and name of their debut single ("I'm sure everyone was confused, but it's about growing pains in adolescence," Taehyun said in reference of the single's Korean title which essentially translates to "The Day Horns Grew Out of My Head").
During the reporter Q&As, TXT expanded on several lurking questions including their connection to older brother group BTS. "We really look up to them," Yeonjun explained when asked how they reacted to their seniors sharing encouraging words to the media on TXT's debut. "They work around the world, so we can't meet them very often. We saw on TV what they said, we were doing a recording, and we were watching the red carpet and [we saw that]. It's a global stage when they speak, we were obviously very moved."
Soobin further talked about how TXT first becoming known as BTS' younger brother band. "That title, or what people say about us, I think it's an honor to be the little brothers of BTS," he said. "I don't think we're deserving to be the younger brother of BTS...we'll work harder." Meanwhile, Hueningkai recognized that the initial struggle BTS had in their early years inspires this new group. "Obviously, we were able to witness the great things from our older brother BTS," the 16-year-old shared. "They struggled at the beginning and that really inspires us."
TXT also spoke about a noted difference between themselves and BTS as the five members were not involved in the writing or production of their first EP, a trait that BTS has maintained since their debut. "Unfortunately, we were not able to participate directly with the lyrics," Beomgyu explained, before adding that Yeonjun did create the group's signature pose. Still, the boys shared that songs like "Cat & Dog" showcase their personal love of hip-hop, specifically mumble rap, and that Beomgyu and Hueningkai were working on their own music very hard and that when they are "more proficient" they would like to participate in the writing and production process.
The group spotlighted how the overall message of The Dream Chapter: Star relates to their personal experiences. Beomgyu said, "When I became a part the company [Big Hit] and met the members, I was able to deal with a lot of things that were bothering me and that helped me overcome my growing pains" as Taehyun shared how "we all connected music as adolescents."
When it came to advice from their seniors, TXT explained both BTS and Big Hit Entertainment CEO 'Hitman' Bang shared key words of wisdom. "Mr. Bang told us that practice is how you build your confidence," Soobin said. "[He told us], 'If you practice hard, you'll figure out why practice is so important.'" The BTS boys further emphasized practice as Soobin added, that "they told us they also practiced very hard for their stages and their performances" helping both the band and their company become renowned for their live shows. Hueningkai commented "They also emphasized teamwork -- always think about the value and importance of the team," a sentiment echoed by Beomgyu later in the conference when he said BTS told them how "we are team, we're always watching you, we're always encouraging you."
But among the nerves and the excitement in the room, Tomorrow X Together's biggest takeaway seemed to be wanting to spend their hour with the media by showing their gratitude and ambition.
"The fact that we're here with our debut is amazing and we're really thankful that we've had this great reaction," Taehyun reflected. "We're really surprised, we think it's a little too much…we would like to thank the fans who have waited, the members of the Big Hit family who have worked so hard and thank you to the media and photographers here." One of Soobin's last thoughts came in him saying, "I'm thankful that people are calling for us. I know we have so many things to do, we're just starting out, we're still need a lot of practice. We hope to be a TXT that meets high expectations," with the band sharing hopes to perform overseas soon. As they made their way around the concert hall to quickly greet the media in attendance before being whisked away to a showcase for fans starting hours later, that same focused, excited energy remained high in the room as reporters rushed to publish photos and articles, likely confirming their suspicions that Tomorrow X Together is K-pop's next global player.