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SEVENTEEN on Wrapping Their Tour, New Music, and What’s Next

Jun, Wonwoo, The 8, and Seungkwan talk about ’17 Is Right Here’ and more of the 13-member group’s future plans — and share an exclusive performance video of ‘Maestro’


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The 13 members of SEVENTEEN have been on their FOLLOW Tour since last summer, a tour that ranged from tear-jerking performances to ones that rip pants, and the encore leg (called “FOLLOW AGAIN”) is nearing its end. While the tour is close to wrapping, SEVENTEEN’s activities are not slowing down — the group has just released a new compilation album, 17 Is Right Here. With a run time of just over 96 minutes, the album features all of SEVENTEEN’s Korean language singles, Korean versions of their Japanese-language singles since their debut nine years ago, and four new songs. We’d be remiss not to mention that member Woozi is credited for both composition and lyrics on all 33 tracks.

The lead track, “Maestro,” pulls elements from previous songs to convey the message that the past is not just left behind, but rather a source of inspiration for SEVENTEEN as they evolve, a message the group shares as they approach a decade together. “Maestro” conveys how together, we can change the world and hold the power to orchestrate our own universe, a theme that is fitting for SEVENTEEN given how tight-knit the members are. The relationship that S.Coups, Jeonghan, Joshua, Jun, Hoshi, Wonwoo, Woozi, The 8, Mingyu, DK, Seungkwan, Vernon, and Dino have with each other is a key element to their success and longevity. Just as important is the gratitude they have for their fans, Carats, and how they’ve given the group 100 percent since day one nine years ago.

Rolling Stone caught up with Jun, Wonwoo, The 8, and Seungkwan over Zoom a few days before the highly anticipated Seoul World Cup Stadium, almost a year since we last spoke, to chat about the FOLLOW Tour, 17 Is Right Here, and anticipation for future shows in North America and Europe.

At the Seoul World Cup Stadium shows this past weekend, fans got to witness the very first performance of “Maestro,” and for those who missed it, Rolling Stone has the exclusive performance video below.

Let’s start with the tour! How has the FOLLOW Tour been? 

Wonwoo: The FOLLOW Tour has been one where we’ve gone to many places and met with so many of our Carats, inspiring them but also getting inspired by them as well. The performances themselves were so enjoyable, it was such a positive experience overall.

Seungkwan: It was meaningful for us to have encore shows on top of that, and being able to perform as a full group, with members who may have been out sick all healthy and returned, made me feel great.

What, to you, sets FOLLOW apart from other tours you’ve done? Whether it’s how much you’ve grown since it kicked off last summer, or memories from FOLLOW that stand out to you?

Wonwoo: I don’t think I’ve looked back to evaluate how much I’ve grown with each tour, but as we do our performances, while on stage, we end up noticing how much each member has improved. As for special memories, we had a lot of time to eat good food all together. We got together in different countries, had good meals and spent quality time with each other. So that made it really enjoyable.

Seungkwan: As for things we wish we could have done — North America, Europe, [seeing] the Carats there. We weren’t able to see even more Carats out there, but I’m looking forward to the opportunity in the future.

Is there a special memory from the tour that stood out to you? Something between the members, an interaction with fans, or a moment you were particularly proud of.

Jun: For Follow Again [in] Incheon, there was a drone show for the performance of “April Shower.” It was really memorable and impressive. It contained the story of us and our Carats. It was impactful.

I actually had friends come over and watch the delayed stream of that show. 

Seungkwan: Thank you.

Wonwoo: Well done! [Laughs.]

By the time people read this interview, the two Seoul shows will be done, and “Maestro” will be out. How is preparation going? 

Seungkwan: At the Seoul concerts we’ll be performing “Maestro” for the first time. We’re really excited. And since it’ll be a performance just for the Seoul concerts, we’re going back and practicing more, especially since it’s a new song. We’re working hard to prepare. We’ll also be performing with our respective units. The unit songs are really good, too — I think the performances of the new songs will be a highlight of the concert.

What type of song is “Maestro” to SEVENTEEN?

Wonwoo: I think it’s a song that encompasses everything SEVENTEEN has done thus far. We pulled from previous lead tracks, and it’s a song that fits with us really well right now. It’s a song that captures the essence of SEVENTEEN as we are now.

I had a chance to preview a choreography video for the song and noticed you have some moves in there that emulate actual conducting. How did you prepare for that? Did you have to research or watch real maestros?

The 8: We didn’t have to actually conduct, but the moves are similar to conducting movements. And we also portrayed personas of musical geniuses that go mad about their craft, so we included nuances from conducting throughout the performance.

So that being said, which member from SEVENTEEN fits this concept of a maestro best?

Jun: I think for the music video — we haven’t seen the final version yet, but The 8 and I actually discussed this before — Wonwoo was pretty impactful.

Seungkwan: In the music video, Wonwoo looks really cool.

Jun: When you see it, you’ll see the madness we’re referring to. [Laughs.]

Seungkwan: What do you think, Wonwoo?

Wonwoo: I think for “Maestro,” Woozi is definitely fitting. He produced it, and he is the most maestro-like member.

Seungkwan: I pick… Me, since I don’t think anyone else will pick me.

Wonwoo: [Laughs.] You’re right. We wouldn’t choose you.

Why not?

Wonwoo: [To Seungkwan:] You think you killed it again? [Laughs.]

Seungkwan: I just… think I look cool. I like me.

The 8: I choose Woozi as well, for the same reasons stated.

Wonwoo and The 8, you both also participated in songwriting for this album, for “LALALI” and “SPELL,” your respective unit songs. Can you share how that process was? 

The 8: I had mentioned that I wanted to have raps in the performance unit’s song this time around, and with Dino, we specifically wrote the rap parts. It felt great to write as it’s been a while.

Wonwoo: I participated in “LALALI” by the hip-hop unit, and wrote very free-spirited lyrics.

Seungkwan: [Laughs.]

Wonwoo: It’s very free-spirited.

Seungkwan: But if you listen to the lyrics that Wonwoo wrote, you’ll hear a new voice of his, so I think it’ll be good to look forward to it. The Performance unit too, when looking from the perspective of the Vocal unit, they have been advancing musically a lot, and I think this new song is a high point of theirs. So Vocal’s is really great, the raps are good, and the Performance unit’s song is good — but I think above all, my unit’s “Cheers to Youth,” I think that song is good. It makes you happy when you hear it. To wrap it up, all three songs are good, but out of the three, I think “Cheers to Youth” is the best one. [Laughs.]

Jun: Honestly, all three songs are so different. I think personal preference plays a big part in which one you like most, so I think a lot of fans will be able to enjoy them.

What are you most looking forward to with this album? 

The 8: I’m most looking forward to the performances. You can feel the beat in your heart. I’m excited to see how the fans react to our energetic performances, and seeing how much fun they are having when we look at them from the stage.

So there’s four new songs in the album, but many others that look back at your discography. From all of these songs, which song is the most special to you? I personally love “Mansae” and “Hot.” 

Seungkwan: “Mansae” brings back memories.

Jun: Is “Fallin’ Flower” included?

Seungkwan: Yep! It’s in there.

Jun: Honestly [laughs] I’ve said it before too, but I really like “Fallin’ Flower.” It starts with a piano and when I hear that melody, I think it might just be personal preference, but I get really excited when I hear it.

Seungkwan: It’s a good song.

Wonwoo: “Adore U” for me. It’s a song that was with us from the start, so it’s a song I cherish.

The 8: “FML” for me. I like it the most. I think the lyrics are great, and the melody is also similar to what I normally like to listen to, so I think it’s a good song.

Seungkwan: For me… It’s hard… I will choose “Pretty U.” I have a four-part high note — for months I practiced really hard. I’m proud of myself. Do you know what I mean by “four-part high note?”

I know! Like IU’s famous three-part high notes.

Seungkwan: Yes! Exactly. [Vocalizes] “Ah, ah, ah, I’m in my dream…” It sounds similar too! [Laughs.]

What are you looking forward to doing once the Follow Tour wraps?

Jun: Even with the tour ending, we go straight into promotions for “Maestro,” so I don’t think it’ll feel like an end, but a new start. It’s also called FOLLOW AGAIN [laughs], and I really think our Carats can enjoy it to no end. So don’t think of it as the end, but just continue to enjoy it.

Wonwoo: It’s AGAIN, but does feel like a new start.

What about goals for the rest of the year?

Seungkwan: I want to be healthy. Have no one get hurt, stay healthy — it’s impossible to not get sick, but to be sick less. Those things feel more important than ever these days. I think we have to stay healthy for Carats to also feel at ease supporting us. Those are the goals. Of course, performing well, too!

Wonwoo: I want our members and our Carats to be healthy and happy. That’s the goal.

From Rolling Stone US