Nevermind the fact that FTISLAND landed in New York late the night beforehand, the K-pop/rock band were in high spirits in the hours ahead of their debut concert in The Big Apple.
Meeting up with Billboard hours before the Jan. 28 show at Best Buy Theater, the members spoke animatedly about the concert, new music, fans and more. Letting their goofy sides run wild — like when they playfully sang Apink‘s “Luv” and “Mr. Chu” to one another and laughed out loud amongst one another — that good energy undoubtedly rolled into a rocking concert for the passionate East Coast crowd.
Billboard: What’s going through your heads ahead of your debut New York concert — especially after making it here through a blizzard?
Hong Gi: We came from Mexico and South America, so we’ve been in really hot places. It’s really hard to adjust to this weather; it’s really cold here! We were supposed to get here two days ago, but because of this blizzard we came here last night, really late. We couldn’t do any sightseeing around and we wanted to see Times Square really badly so we went there after midnight, but we had to come back in an hour because it was so cold.
Jae Jin: Since it’s cold out there, we want to make a really hot, hot, exciting stage today performance. And we want to make the fans sweat. We’re really excited.
What are you most excited about for this concert?
Hong Gi: The theme of the whole tour is that we’re performing familiar songs in our setlist, but it’s going to sound a lot different from what we’ve done. It’s really diverse and a combination of all the skills that we have. It’s going to integrate and show everything that we’ve got. It’s going to be the real FTISLAND.
Do you have any fun stories from the tour so far from other stops like Mexico City? Paris? Santiago?
Hong Gi: We’ve had a really, really good time touring. It wasn’t really tiring. We had to spend a long time in Chile and Mexico and we wanted to do something special, but we didn’t really have anything to do! We were kind of stuck in the hotel, we spent a lot of time in the hotel. But it was our first time visiting Chile and Mexico and we were really curious, ‘How do the fans know us?’ I felt proud of myself, representing Korea, I felt really proud about that. The fans reactions were crazy, crazy. They were throwing their underwear, their bras onstage. So, it was a relief.
Where else would you like to take the tour?
FTISLAND: England, Romania, Spain…Germany…Russia…we want to go to a lot of places! Everywhere!
Hong Gi: If there are 100 or 200 people that love us in a country, we want to go to them.
You’ve got a new album coming in March or April. Can you give some hints about it?
FTISLAND: Each song on this upcoming album means a lot to us. And the lyrics mean a lot of things to us — that’s really it.
What kind of sound or themes can we expect in the new music?
FTISLAND: Today’s performance is going to have a variety of musical elements from the upcoming album. This performance will be representative of this album.
This year will mark FTISLAND’s eighth year together. What is your secret to your longevity and staying popular?
FTISLAND: We’ve been having ups and downs, but we’re going through it together.
We think that when we were little and at the beginning of our careers, there were more fans who just loved us for our visuals and the “bling bling.” We believe now there are more fans who love — who truly love — our music and trust in our musical ability and capacity. So, we recovered a lot of confidence in ourselves. We trust in our fans a lot and we want to continue.
Do you have anything else to add?
Seung Hyun: I visited New York for the first time when I was in middle school volunteering for church. At that time, since I wasn’t doing music, I couldn’t imagine that I would visit here to perform a concert. I feel really proud of myself and proud as a Korean man. I want to do well in New York and I want to surprise the New York fans because it’s our first time playing for these fans. I want to come back.
Hong Gi: I want to thank all the fans who trust us continuously. I don’t want to disappoint you ever.