Nothing can snatch the good vibes away from fromis_9.
Two days before releasing their new EP from our Memento Box on June 27, a minor car accident involving five of the nine members of the K-pop girl group forced them to cancel a press conference ahead of the album drop. The collision temporarily halted promotional plans (their PR put out a statement saying that all passengers’ injuries were “not serious and they were all immediately taken to the emergency room for medical examination and treatment”) and fans were already more than ready to watch the ninesome’s latest move in their upward climb toward K-pop stardom.
In August 2021, fromis_9 officially moved labels to PLEDIS Entertainment, home to K-pop mega-sellers SEVENTEEN, under the HYBE Labels family that houses BTS and Tomorrow X Together’s BIGHIT Music and Zico’s KOZ Entertainment. It kick-started a year of significant growth for the group, including No. 1s on the charts and televised awards show wins.
While Korea’s pop scene grows more competitive by the year, fromis_9 hitting their stride more than four years after their 2017 start shows that playing the long game can pay off. The girl group stays true to consistently upbeat, feel-good pop releases (like “Love Bomb” and “We Go,” both of which were named one of Billboard’s best K-pop songs of their respective years), where listeners can’t miss the members’ joyful deliveries and tone on record. With its summer theme of wanting to seize the day and embrace spontaneity, new single “Stay This Way” and the from our Memento Box EP have already scored fromis_9 their best career sales and results in Korea so far with hopes the budding success travels overseas.
Ahead of new music coming this summer, members Lee Sae Rom, Roh Ji Sun, Song Ha Young, Lee Chae Young, Park Ji Won, Lee Na Gyung, Baek Ji Heon, Lee Seo Yeon, and Jang Gyu Ri took a moment to discuss their latest release and look back at their journey so far and why they’ve stayed close to each other despite any K-pop industry odds.
Hello fromis_9! Before anything, I want to check how everyone’s health is since you did have a car accident ahead of your album release. Can you tell us how you’re doing?
SONG HA YOUNG: Now we’re fine, thank you. I go to the hospital for regular checkups.
PARK JI WON: It is unfortunate that the accident happened just before our comeback. But I focused on recovering, so I was able to follow through with the promotion schedule as planned. I cannot be more grateful to have met our fans in better condition. With this in mind, it brings us much joy that our album is receiving great response!
Yes, from our Memento Box is becoming your biggest success yet. What do you think it is about this album that is connecting so well? Can you share more about picking “Stay This Way” as a single?
LEE SAE ROM: from our Memento Box encompasses the meaning of collecting precious memories of the summer days in a treasure chest. The lead single “Stay This Way” tells the story of an impromptu trip, breaking free from the dull and exhausting days. I think the album and “Stay This Way” are receiving a great response because of the funky, groovy mood that best suits the hot summer. It also depicts an uplifting ambiance giving out energy to our listeners.
BAEK JI HEON: The lead single “Stay This Way” speaks about fromis_9’s off-the-cuff trip. “Stay This Way” is a track that creates a refreshing mood “Stay This Way” is a track that creates a refreshing mood and radiates our energy on stage.
ROH JI SUN: “Stay This Way” is a song that both our label and our members simultaneously agreed on for the lead single. So we started working on the album with great anticipation and excitement. “Stay This Way” is a one-of-a-kind song with such positive energy, which we tried to bring forth during the recording process.
Do you really enjoy being in the studio together? I hear so much joy in fromis_9’s music. Is there a way you make sure listeners feel the good vibes in your music?
LEE SAE ROM: I could say that I feel at ease when I’m in the recording studio nowadays, in contrast to being nervous in the early days. I monitor other members’ recording processes and try to get our tone in sync, even by running and jumping for energetic tracks.
SONG HA YOUNG: When the guide [demos] comes out, we all discuss how to keep our sounds in sync that would best suit the song’s mood. We cheer each other on with bright energy upon entering the recording studio too.
JANG GYU RI: We get together in the recording studio with a happy and healthy mindset to produce the best output. For example, we order in food and have long chats to keep our minds at ease.
PARK JI WON: I always sing with the aspiration to fully convey my emotions to the listeners — maybe that is why the songs seem to contain joyful and happy feelings. In the recording studio and preparing the album, I’m always thrilled during the experience and encouraged just by thinking about our fans who show unconditional support and love.
ROH JI SUN: I believe we have successfully crafted our unique style and color so far. Our songs are easily enjoyable because they naturally elicit pleasant feelings. As the years go by, the nervousness and tensions are lessened about recording.
LEE SEO YEON: We also try to get the recording done in less than an hour because we believe a song is best recorded when it captures the initial feelings.
LEE CHAE YOUNG: We always try our best to bring out the positive energy by encouraging each other before the recording or going on stage. I think our fans can directly feel and capture our emotions, so I try my best to be happy.
LEE NA GYUNG: We have full confidence in our songs because we try our best to show our best capabilities.
BAEK JI HEON: We always monitor and keep an eye on each other when recording. We share feedback and comments to produce a better version of our song. Since we have such good vibes together, this is reflected in our songs.
August will mark one year since you changed management to PLEDIS Entertainment under HYBE. Can you share the changes you’ve noticed or felt?
LEE SEO YEON: Since we joined PLEDIS Entertainment, we’ve been trying to show a better version of ourselves to our fans.
LEE CHAE YOUNG: We feel very confident now that we’re once again working together with [PLEDIS Entertainment founder] Han Sung Soo, who has been our producer since our debut. We’re also glad that we can introduce our colors variated through diverse genres and concepts.
You were introduced through a TV program in 2017, officially debuted in 2018, and in September 2021 earned your first No. 1 with “Talk & Talk.” I think sometimes people get worried if they don’t achieve immediate success. Any advice for those following their dreams?
SONG HA YOUNG: I’d say, “I hope you stand strong until you reach your goal.” What’s most important is not giving up and believing that your dream will come true some day. It’s okay to take a break at a certain point but just believe in yourself and your dream.
JANG GYU RI: I believe that I have a destined path. If things don’t work out as planned, I try to keep my head up and process the situation thinking that no matter the circumstance, this would have happened anyways. If you brood over the details, you might start doubting yourself.
What is the connection between fromis_9 members? Is there something that bonds you all or something you all agree on?
LEE CHAE YOUNG: The secret to our teamwork is the respect we have for each other. We’re de facto a family who understands each other’s difficulties and hears them out through a heartfelt conversation.
SONG HA YOUNG: With this album winning first place in five music shows, which made us feel that now is the time we can show our utmost collaborative effort to find our way up, one step at a time.
JANG GYU RI: Spending six years together, we know each other so well to the point where we know each other’s thoughts. So we respect our likes and differences to become a greater team.
PARK JI WON: As we spend more time together, we feel like we’re starting to mirror each other. For the past few years, we have been sharing multiple layers of emotion whether it be happiness or sadness. But our greatest boost is, of course, our [fans named] flovers.
ROH JI SUN: We have been fully understanding the meaning of being an “us” to fulfill our responsibilities and our goals despite our differences. We also expect to have more opportunities to meet our fans in various places. Flovers, don’t forget to watch out!
LEE SEO YEON: To be honest, we get closer whenever we decide on a restaurant or order off a menu.
LEE NA GYUNG: As you may have seen in our content, we express love and support for each other through playful jokes and sincere expressions. We can be wistful sometimes, but our cohesion is as strong as ever when it comes to music.
BAEK JI HEON: Spending such a long time together, we fully embrace each other’s differences and uniqueness in personality.
LEE SAE ROM: It’s been six years since we have been together. The time we shared together says a lot by itself and, of course, we are connected more than ever through conversations and thoughtful consideration for each other.