[INTERVIEW] A.C.E Talks Tour Preparations, Music, and The Secret Behind Their Tightknit Teamwork

In the dynamic landscape of K-Pop, where each group strives to leave a lasting impression, A.C.E stands out not just for their music but for the journey that brought them to where they are today. An acronym for “Adventure Calling Emotions,” A.C.E aims to inspire people to embark on adventures and pursue their dreams. The five-piece group, consisting of Park Junhee, Lee Donghun, WOW, Kim Byeongkwan, and Kang Yuchan, debuted under Beat Interactive on May 23, 2017, but their story began long before their official debut.

As trainees, A.C.E frequently took to the streets of Seoul to hone their performance skills through busking, or street performances. From the beginning, they demonstrated their self-reliant, pioneer spirit: Donghun would drive the members to the busking locations, where they would personally set up all of their equipment. While their inaugural busking event drew a modest crowd, it ignited their determination to practice and hone their craft. Their confidence soared as their second event attracted 300 people to their busking location, with the audience size growing steadily at each subsequent event. 

The members also leveraged social media by sharing their busking performances and other cover videos online, quickly amassing a dedicated following. Many stumbled upon their videos by pure accident, a memory cherished by long-time fans. They were immediately drawn by the group’s impeccable vocals, sharp dance moves, and humble, down-to-earth personalities. These praises have echoed throughout A.C.E’s nearly seven-year career and earned them the affectionate support of CHOICE, their loyal fanbase who chose to stick by their side throughout their journey.

From the outset of their debut, A.C.E remained steadfastly true to their identity, embracing individuality and creativity to forge their own path in the industry. Their hardstyle, EDM-centric debut song “Cactus,” aptly symbolized their journey to debut. Just as a cactus flower blooms after it rains, A.C.E overcame obstacles and finally emerged onto the scene with their burning resilience and ambition to make it far in the industry. Their unconventional hot pants stage attires caused quite a public stir at first, but coupled with their intense debut song, ensured that A.C.E remained a topic of discussion and curiosity among the public. With each subsequent release, they continued to surprise people: their “Under Cover” and “Savage” comebacks explored edgier concepts with hip-hop and rock undertones while the following comeback track, “도깨비 (FAVORITE BOYS),” served as an homage to their Korean culture juxtaposed against the song’s bright, pulsating house beats. As they continued to evolve and push boundaries CHOICE showed their unwavering dedication and supported them with every release.

“I hope our fans see us as proof that with determination and effort, one can achieve their goals in life. We have started from the bottom and we had a goal to succeed which has brought us where we are now. I want our fans to feel inspired and believe in their own abilities, knowing that they too can accomplish great things with faith and determination.”

– Junhee

Starting with WOW’s military enlistment in September 2021, A.C.E temporarily paused group activities as each member fulfilled their military duties. Fast forward to 2023, and WOW, Donghun, Junhee, and Byeongkwan returned from military service. They wasted no time and released their pre-release singles “Effortless” and “Angel,” which was co-penned by Donghun and Junhee alongside McDamon, ahead of their forthcoming album. Due to Yuchan still serving in the military, the four members chose to reintroduce themselves to the public with easy-listening tracks, reserving their bold statement pieces for their future, full-group comeback.

Cr. Beat Interactive

In early 2024, A.C.E announced their long-awaited comeback with an expansion of their A.C.E Company concept. First introduced in the group’s 2022 Season’s Greetings, the world-building concept placed the members as office workers working for a fictional company. For this comeback, they introduced fans to their company’s new subsidiary PETFLIX, a production company modeled after an OTT platform. The concept doubled as the official launch of A.C.E’s new official website, which will now house the group’s future news, content, and updates instead of their fan cafe.

On February 22, 2024,  Junhee, Donghun, WOW, and Byeongkwan officially released their sixth mini album, My Girl: “My Choice,” their first collective album released two-and-a-half years after their military enlistments. The album features seven tracks, including, “Effortless” and “Angel,” and touches on themes of self-discovery and love. I believe this album portrays the journey of modern individuals rediscovering their lost selves and embodies their emotions,” shared Donghun. The title track, “My Girl,” co-written by Lee Donghun and British singer-songwriter Etham, and produced by Nickko Young, is an upbeat disco-pop track that explores the group’s journey of self-discovery and finding purpose. “Facetime,” a self-penned song by WOW, depicts a person’s inner feelings while attempting to connect with their crush through video chat. The album also includes English versions of “Effortless,” “My Girl,” and “Angel,” offering international CHOICE another avenue to connect with their music.

In a move that set a new standard for artist-fan engagement in K-Pop, A.C.E sought to involve CHOICE in a meaningful way for their long-awaited comeback. Earlier in the year, PETFLIX Productions posted an audition poster calling for dancers to star alongside A.C.E in their comeback music video. A total of 50 CHOICE were selected and underwent a three-day training period (led by A.C.E themselves) to master the choreography before they made their onscreen debut alongside their favorite artists. 

With Yuchan now discharged and back with the group, A.C.E is gearing up to reunite with their American CHOICEs for their upcoming 2024 A.C.E US Tour [REWIND_US]. Kicking off on June 19 in Madison, WI, the group will embark on a 14-city tour that will take them across cities such as Los Angeles, Houston, Nashville, New York, and more. Ahead of their tour, the members were excited to chat with Kpopconcerts.com to give updates on their tour preparations so far, their latest release My Girl : “My Choice,” and more.

Cr. Beat Interactive

KPC: My Girl: “My Choice” is your first mini-album release in 2.5 years since completing your military service. How does it feel to be back with a new mini-album, performing on music shows, and meeting CHOICE after a long time? 

Park Junhee: Hello, we’re A.C.E. It feels like a dream to meet everyone again. I’ve missed and wanted to see our fans so much. I just want to say thank you so much for waiting for us for so long.

KPC: The album has seven tracks, including English versions of select songs. Can you share insights into the recording process, including any memorable moments, challenges faced, and lessons learned?

Kim Byeongkwan: I think the hardest part of recording the English song was the pronunciation and emulating the vibe of the song. I believe we improved by helping each other and sharing feedback.

Lee Donghun: I tried hard to keep the same vibe as the original English version. Before going to the recording studio, each member recorded and created a guide version, and based on those guide versions, we divided parts and recorded them delicately one by one. This album allowed me to think about my English pronunciation and vocal skills and grow once again.

Cr. Beat Interactive

KPC: CHOICE absolutely love the concept behind A.C.E COMPANY and its “subsidiary,” PETFLIX. It’s so creative! Please share how this concept came about. 

Park Junhee: We had a lot of concept meetings with the production team during the album production process. In the process, we decided to create a concept that the general listeners could relate to, and we set the theme of ‘working employees.’

KPC: If you were each assigned to lead different departments (Ex. marketing, HR, finance, customer service, etc.), which department do you think each of you would excel in? 

Lee Donghun: I’d like to try working in the marketing department.

WOW: I think marketing would suit me because I’m confident that I’ll make it a hit with many ideas.

KPC: If A.C.E COMPANY organized a company retreat for employees (A.C.E & CHOICE), what fun activities or team-building exercises would you want to see everyone do together? 

Kim Byeongkwan: I want to plan a sports event, like a field day, for everyone!

KPC: Following the unveiling of PETFLIX, CHOICE are always curious about your pets. Do you have any updates that you would like to share about them?

Lee Donghun: My pet, Balen, was small and thin at first. However, she has gained a lot of weight and is doing well in health and happiness. I hope to show Balen to CHOICE in person someday. She is such a lovely existence to me.

WOW: I’m living with a pet friend named 4B, and his expressions of emotions are so honest and amazing that sometimes I wonder if he’s a human!

KPC: You recruited and taught over 50 CHOICE the choreography in your “My Girl” music video. What was that experience like? 

Park Junhee: It was amazing. Every single one of them had great manners, and they were very orderly throughout the process. From the etiquette to their passion for the project, everything was perfect. In fact, I felt like I would be a fan of them. I’m so grateful to them, and it was a great experience.

KPC: You’ll be going on tour very soon. How have the tour preparations been so far?

Kim Byeongkwan: It’s been a long time since the last time we met our fans in person, so we’re practicing every day and preparing many things. I’m so happy to be able to perform in front of everyone again.

KPC: For new fans and/or for those who will be attending their first-ever A.C.E concert, what can they most look forward to?

Lee Donghun: A.C.E always does our best not to disappoint you. You won’t regret it if you come because we always try to be sincere and not leave any regrets on stage. Please come to see us on stage just once!

KPC: Can you share any tour spoilers using emojis?


Cr. Beat Interactive

KPC: You’ll be celebrating your 7th anniversary this year, congrats! What would you say is key to maintaining such strong team dynamics?

Park Junhee: The essential elements are conversation, consideration, understanding, and acknowledgment. A person just like me doesn’t exist in this world. I think you should have a conversation when there is a misunderstanding, consider when there is a hardship, and understand the other person’s point of view. I believe a good relationship begins with the acknowledgment that I am different from any other person.

WOW: The most important things would be communication, consideration, and recognition.

KPC: What is something you would want to be remembered for?

Kim Byeongkwan: I want to be remembered as “Memories of that generation/time.” It’s like when we were young, many of our seniors’ activities remind us of our teenage years. We also want to be remembered as a good memory for someone else. Going forward, I hope to continue to be like that. 😎

KPC: Thank you so much for your time. Lastly, do you have any final words for your international CHOICE?

WOW: Thanks to you, we as A.C.E were able to do music for a long time and be happy with your support and love. We’ll be back with music full of love, so please wait a little longer!!

Thank you to A.C.E, Beat Interactive, and Helix Publicity for this opportunity.

Tickets to A.C.E 2024 US TOUR [REWIND US] are on sale now! Click here for more information.

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