[INTERVIEW] Catch The Young Gets Real About Preparing For Their First Comeback, Writing Music, and Growing Up

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Following their dynamic debut in November 2023, 5-piece alternative pop-rock band Catch The Young has returned with their first-ever comeback. Through their newest release, Catch The Young: Fragments of Odyssey, members Sani (leader, bass, vocal), Jungmo (drum, percussion), Kihoon (guitar, vocal), Namhyun (lead vocal, keyboard), and Junyong (keyboard, vocal) are once again capturing the highs and lows of coming of age through their music. The album, which consists of seven new tracks written entirely by the members, is a direct continuation of their debut album, Fragments of Youth.

Fragments of Odyssey is led by the title track, “Voyager,” a wistful and airy song with a solid bass line that would fit perfectly on a playlist for a road trip with friends. “Sentimental Journey,” which opens the album, is a hopeful song that tells the story of taking a leap of faith into your dreams from childhood. Through “The Legend,” Catch The Young encourages listeners to believe in themselves. The song, inspired by Korean professional gamer Faker, is reminiscent of nostalgic anime theme songs. 

Following “The Legend” is “Always, Forever,” a romantic track supported by a melodic piano that captures the feeling of young love. The next song on the album is a mid-tempo track called “About Us (상상해왔던 모든 게 이루어지고 있는 순간).” The song’s Korean title directly translates to “The Moment When Everything We’ve Imagined Is Coming True” – a fitting title for a song that conveys the feeling of achieving a dream.

Light On Me” is an emotional ode to Catcher, the band’s fanbase, and expresses their gratitude for the fans’ support. The album closes with “Stay By My Side,” an apt wrap-up that delivers the encouragement and motivation of supporting friends and loved ones.

Kpopconcerts.com was able to chat with Catch The Young to hear more about Fragments of Odyssey, their favorite songs, and their artistic inspiration.

This interview has been lightly edited for grammar and clarity.

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KPC: Congratulations on your first comeback! To kick things off, can you tell us a little bit about what makes Fragments of Odyssey different from your debut mini-album?

Sani: Both of our albums share a common theme of “youth.” Our first album, Catch The Young: Fragments of Youth, focuses on telling stories about that theme using the keywords of youth and energy. On the other hand, the second album focuses more on the future direction with keywords like adventure and exploration.

KPC: The press release mentioned that Fragments of Odyssey is a direct continuation of Fragments of Youth. How do the two connect and what story are you telling to listeners?

Namhyun: Building on our previous response, while our first album showcased fragments of youth, our second album delves into various emotions and adventures within. Through both albums, we aimed to convey moments of youth that everyone can relate to in life, hoping to empathize and comfort each other.

Jungmo: My answer is similar to Namhyun’s response. I believe that our second album depicts the diverse emotions and experiences of youth while our first album shows how youth can be reckless yet brilliant. We hope the message about radiant youth and the journey people have experienced resonates well with our listeners.

Sani: In conclusion, I think both albums encapsulate our growth process. As Catch The Young, we’ve sequentially embedded our musicality and direction into the albums, providing content many can empathize with.

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KPC: What challenges or unexpected moments did you experience while preparing for your first comeback?

Sani: There were many situations that I hadn’t experienced before, especially during the preparation of the first album, due to the difference in seasons. You know, things like dealing with coldness. We prepared the first album during summer, while the second album was prepared during winter. Also, I felt a strong sense of obligation to improve more than the first album, so it was quite challenging.

Kihoon: Finishing recording was really cool, but when it comes to performing live, there are a lot of worries and difficulties. Recording involves many trials and errors to deliver the best track, but with live performances, you only get one chance!

Namhyun: I felt a lot of pressure and stress from the desire to improve daily through individual practice and group rehearsals. On the other hand, there was also a lot of happiness that came from realizing that my skills improved day-by-day.

Junyong: Attending school as a student while preparing for the second album was very difficult for me. I thought I could balance my studies and comeback preparations without any problems, but managing my condition and time turned out to be much harder than I thought. Since there are still many activities ahead, I’m trying to gain more know-how on how to balance my academics and activities better!

Jungmo: The first album is literally the ‘first’ and the ‘start,’ so that was a challenge itself. But for the second album, having gone through preparations once, I felt like I had to show a better and more grown-up side than I did in the previous album, so it was a bit tough. Still, I hope to show music and performances that can comfort and resonate with many people as I’ve prepared diligently.

KPC: The music video for the title track, “Voyager,” has a fresh, youthful feel and shows Catch The Young taking a journey across nature and into the city. It was very fitting for the track’s message! What are some memorable or fun moments you have from filming the music video?

Jungmo: The music video carries a storyline where each member collects sounds of the world that represent their inner thoughts and voices using different equipment, and later merges them into one to complete a beautiful song. While the title track music video of the first album, “YOUTH!!!,” was shot during the summer, the “Voyager” music video was filmed in the winter by the sea, providing a completely different experience. I remember shivering from the cold during the shoot. However, our work paid off and the result was a cool music video that we’re satisfied with! Just as we express in the music video, I hope people can experience the beauty of coming together as one, even though we may be different.

Namhyun: We filmed scenes of playing instruments in a tank with water in the same studio where we took individual shots for the music video of the first album’s B-side track ”Cactus Boy.” Shooting in the same studio but with completely different settings was very interesting. I also remember trying not to show in the video that we were shooting in cold water on a cold day.

Kihoon: There is a scene in the music video that I personally feel came out the most beautifully. It’s a scene where all the members embark on a journey in a camping car to spread our music, and that scene sticks out in my memory the most.

Sani: We shot in various locations. Some of the shooting duration was longer than usual and the weather was really cold. I remember eating warm food from the food truck, but it got cold soon from the chilly wind. Nonetheless, the food from the truck was very delicious. I’d like to thank the food truck owner.

Junyong: Since it was a music video shoot with a storyline, there were many scenes where we acted under the director’s instruction! Many of the directions for acting were along the lines “Let’s not show that it’s cold,” so despite the cold weather, we worked hard and cheered each other up, making it a fun and memorable shoot.

KPC: Sani said in the press release that there is a song that was written a long time ago and one that was written recently. Can you share which songs those are and what the process was like getting them to the final versions that we hear on the album? Were some songs easier to write than others?

Sani: Actually, except for the title track “Voyager” and the third track “The Legend,” all the songs on the album were created at least two years ago. We always have in-depth discussions and exchange opinions multiple times to decide which songs to include. Interestingly, compared to those considerations, “The Legend,” which was made relatively recently, seemed to be recorded and worked on more smoothly, perhaps because its sound is more intense.

KPC: Each of the songs in Fragments of Odyssey have a very personal touch or emotion related to youth. Are there any songs that particularly resonate with the members the most?

Namhyun: The content of the first track, “Sentimental Journey,” which depicts the vague fears and exciting emotions felt while embarking on an adventure, resonates deeply with my life as a member of Catch The Young.

Sani: I also believe that “Sentimental Journey” could be a motivational song when starting something new, which is why I’d like to choose this track.

Kihoon: Personally, I relate the most to the title track, “Voyager.” When I think back to the process of creating the song, everything from that day’s weather to my emotions seemed to align perfectly.

Junyong: I’d like to answer as the only high school student among the members! I believe that “Always, Forever” perfectly captures the soft emotions, especially the feeling of “liking” someone that can only be felt during your school days.

Jungmo: I think “Always, Forever” effectively captures the excitement of love that everyone has experienced, making it a song that everyone can easily relate to.

KPC: “The Legend” is inspired by the iconic League of Legends gamer, Faker. The song itself is also reminiscent of a video game soundtrack. What is it about Faker and the game that inspired you to write “The Legend?”

Sani: Faker is already a legend, and I was deeply inspired as I witnessed his continuous challenges and triumphs and ultimately his team, T1, taking victory in the 2023 Worlds Championship. Additionally, I was inspired by Faker’s interview where he mentioned that he believes the true meaning of sports lies not only in moving the body but also in the process of preparing for and playing the game, which can positively impact many people.

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KPC: Who are your biggest inspirations when writing and composing your music? Are there any artists that you look up to?

Sani: Personally, I really admire and have been influenced a lot by an artist called The Charm Park. As for respected bassists, I look up to Jaco Pastorius, Sutoh Mitsuru, and Flea.

Kihoon: It’s hard to pinpoint one particular artist, but I draw inspiration from the energy expressed by artists of various genres and their stage performances. Being a team that performs on stage ourselves, we constantly seek to enhance the enjoyment of watching our performances and the atmosphere on stage by watching and learning from various performances.

Namhyun: My role models are Taka Moriuchi from ONE OK ROCK and Jungkook from BTS. I admire Taka’s vocal skills, stage presence, and speech skills. Also, I’d like to learn Jungkook’s self-discipline, humble attitude even as a superstar, and strong mentality.

Junyong: My role model is Crush! I am so impressed by how he commands the stage during concerts as a solo artist. It made me aspire to put on such a performance one day.

Jungmo: As a drummer, I’m naturally inspired by the styles of professional drummers in the rhythmic aspect. My musical inspiration usually comes from preserving and expressing the emotions and experiences of daily life.

KPC: What do you hope fans will take away or learn after listening to Fragments of Odyssey?

Namhyun: As we navigate through the youngest phase of our lives that is right now, I hope you find the courage to overcome the fear of new choices and the challenges of facing unfamiliar situations. Along the way, I hope you find comfort and solace!

Jungmo: If you connect with the idea that every part of an adventure or journey, whether it brings excitement or difficulty, is valuable and contributes to growth, then I think you’ll find even greater enjoyment in our songs.

Sani: I wanted to convey that the direction we’re heading and our personal choices are not wrong. I’ve captured the process of overcoming self-doubt, something everyone faces at some point in life, so I think many people will relate to it.

KPC: An odyssey is defined as a long, wandering journey complete with ups and downs. What has your odyssey been like so far, and where do you hope to go or achieve in the future?

Sani: Ultimately, we have a big ambition to make the band music a mainstream genre in the global music market. I think if we continue to move forward slowly, the era of bands will someday come.

Namhyun: As a group of five members who have different experiences, from trainees to debut and up to the release of our second album, I think the journey itself has been quite an odyssey. In the future, I want us to gather our determination more and make Catch The Young a more valuable team, and I want us to become a team that we are proud of as musicians.

Kihoon: From trainees to debut, and from debut to the release of our second album, there have been many twists and turns, but I will continue to strive to overcome any challenges smoothly just as we have been doing! The goal is to safely overcome the high and big mountains that we will encounter in the future.

Jungmo: I think our journey as Catch The Young, and my own odyssey, is only beginning now. I don’t know what twists and turns lie ahead, but I hope I can move forward steadily and without fear toward the goals we desire.

Junyong: Looking back, there were many moments when our odyssey seemed rough and challenging. I hope my journey from now on will be brilliant and splendid.

Thanks to Catch The Young and Helix Publicity for the interview opportunity!

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