[INTERVIEW] EVNNE on Becoming “Un: SEEN,” “Boys Planet,” and Achieving Their Dreams

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Mnet’s smash-hit survival show “Boys Planet” took the world by storm during its run in 2023 with its mix of both Korean and international trainees. Despite there only being nine spots reserved for contestants to debut in Zerobaseone – the show’s eventual boy group – “Boys Planet” introduced viewers to a wide array of incredibly talented trainees with the potential to make their own marks in K-Pop. Since the series finale, many of the contestants have continued to find their own paths toward debut.

Such is the case for EVNNE, short for “Evening’s Newest Étoiles,” which is French for “stars.” The group consists of seven fan-favorite “Boys Planetparticipants: Keita, Park Hanbin, Lee Jeonghyeon, Yoo Seungeon, Ji Yunseo, Mun Junghyun, and Park Jihoo. They debuted in September with the mini-album Target: Me, featuring fun, youthful tracks like “Trouble” and “Role Model.” In the months since their debut, EVNNE has added an appearance at KCON Saudi Arabia and MAMA, Golden Disc, Hanteo, and Seoul Music Award nominations to their resumes. Now, EVNNE is ready to get vulnerable with their first comeback Un: SEEN, comprised of the tracks “UGLY,” “SYRUP,” “K.O. (Keep On),” “Chase,” and “Festa.”

“While we initially portrayed a younger, immature version of troublemakers in the title track of our previous album, the representation of troublemakers in this album takes on a more mature tone,” said Yunseo about Un: SEEN at a media roundtable session for the EP’s release. While the song’s concept photos and performance outfits have taken on a punky intensity, he noted that the tone of the comeback shouldn’t be interpreted as being “darker” than Target: ME.

 “I believe it’s more accurate to describe [Un:SEEN] as a maturation process. We’ve transitioned into individuals who have experienced pain.”

– Yunseo

“We sought to convey our internal emotions and feelings in a more profound and in-depth manner than before,” Seungeon agreed.

The press release announcing Un: SEEN notes that the EP shares EVNNE’s “untold stories behind the scars created by their road to debuting and from their lives.” Viewers who kept up with “Boys Planet” are familiar with the pain, desperation, and unbridled ambition experienced by EVNNE’s members as they worked toward their idol dreams. 

For example, Keita has logged ten years as a trainee and is also a member of the RAIN-managed boy group Ciipher. Last year, RAIN was met with a boycott at KCON LA for his alleged mismanagement of his groups following the departure of four of Ciipher’s members. Then there’s Jihoo, whose daring, original verses in a “Boys Planet” battle stage cover of “Limousine (feat. MINO)” by BE’O expressed his frustration at being edited out completely from a “Boys Planet” episode. And there’s Hanbin, who participated in PSY and J.Y. Park’s survival show “LOUD” but was eliminated early in the competition. He earned a spot as a finalist on “Boys Planet,” and in his profile interview, he stated that as a trainee he would often practice dancing until the soles of his sneakers wore out.

After all their hard work over the years, it seems that the stars have aligned for the members through “Boys Planet” – fitting, considering the meaning of EVNNE’s name. According to Yunseo and Seungeon, the shared goals and training mindset that they cultivated during the competition gave each member key insights into building a team dynamic, becoming great performers, and fostering strong, genuine friendships among them. As such, the boys have no regrets about where their journeys have taken them.

“Choosing to participate in ‘Boys Planet’ not only allowed me to meet the members but also introduced me to other friends from whom I gained valuable lessons. If I did not meet them I wouldn’t be able to grow into the person that I am,” Jihoo explained.

– Jihoo

Yunseo shared his belief that even if EVNNE wasn’t formed through “Boys Planet,” they would still have banded together. “While I can’t guarantee that we would have formed the same way without the experience, I still believe we’d have the same chemistry between us even if we all met through other means and came together as a team.”

“We all were very close during the show, and on top of that, I believe Keita did a great job as the leader of the group,” Jeonghyeon revealed, earning a bashful smile from Keita. “He created a very comfortable atmosphere when we were just goofing around while effectively setting the mood when necessary. I think he played a role in creating such great teamwork.”

“The opportunity presented by ‘Boys Planet’ allowed us to introduce our name to the public, ultimately paving the way for our debut as EVNNE,” Seungeon added. “More importantly, it served as the platform through which we connected with our fans.”

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Throughout the roundtable, the group approached the topic of their fans, called ENNVE and pronounced like “envy,” with genuine gratitude and particular awe. Jihoo expressed his thankfulness for fans’ support at their first fan meet, comparing the view of fans’ lightsticks from the stage in the darkened venue to a “starry sky.”

Seungeon concurred. “It is truly something that I will never forget. This moment allowed me to appreciate the significant number of people showering us with love.”

“At the fan meet, the fans prepared a surprise event for us. As we performed the final song, ‘Even More,’ the audience simultaneously raised banners, initially leaving me puzzled,” Yunseo shared. “It took a moment to realize the banners had heartfelt phrases on them. Then I realized that I’m here at a fan meet as part of EVNNE, thoroughly enjoying the stage with our fans. This moment left an impressive mark on me.”

Once promotions for their debut concluded at the end of 2023, the group used their desire to meet fans again as fuel to work toward their first comeback and show ENNVE – along with the broader public – what they were capable of. In a way, Un: SEEN serves as a gift for ENNVE and the supporters the members have gained throughout their pre-debut journeys.

“The thought of seeing our fans again to share the stage always lingered in my mind,” said Yunseo about comeback preparations. “Every step in the process was new and filled with excitement, all centered around the anticipation of reuniting with our fans.”

Seungeon echoed the sentiment.

“During the recording of the five tracks for this album, my enthusiasm was fueled by the desire to let our fans hear these songs. It became the most enjoyable and exciting part of the entire preparation for me.”

– Seungeon

“Listening to ‘UGLY’ filled me with excitement as I thought about the concept and envisioned the kind of performance we could deliver [for the fans],” Hanbin chimed in.

For this comeback, EVNNE aimed to be more involved in shaping their sound and working toward their goal of sharing more of their personalities and talents with fans and other potential listeners. 

“For our debut album, we were mostly involved in lyrics writing, but for this album, we expanded our roles to include composing. This allowed us to showcase the individual abilities of each member.”

– Hanbin

On Target: ME, Keita, Jeonghyeon, and Yunseo contributed to two of the B-sides – “Jukebox” and “Even More.” This time around, Keita, Jeonghyeon, Yunseo, and Seungeon have writing and composition credits, marking another way that EVNNE is showing their strengths and artistic growth with Un: SEEN.

“I got into the process with the mindset to challenge myself and to gain experience. I concentrated on writing lyrics with pronunciation that complements the melody and aligns with the dreamy vibe of the song,” Seungeon, who is credited on “Chase,” remarked.

Jeonghyeon, who contributed lyrics to “SYRUP,” added, “I aimed to emphasize our talents and appeal through the lyrics. My goal was to encapsulate all of our charms in this song, allowing listeners to get a good sense of what it is by simply listening to the song.”

In writing and composing “Festa,” Keita found inspiration in ENNVE. “This track stemmed from the festive atmosphere during a fan meet-up and the excitement I had while interacting with them. I drew a comparison between that to a festival,” he explained. In the comeback announcement press release, Keita also mentioned that because he was able to contribute both melodies and lyrics to Un: SEEN, the comeback was particularly meaningful for him.

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With promotions for Un: SEEN winding down, EVNNE is already looking ahead to what’s next, revealing that fans can look forward to new music in the next year or two.

“We are a team that consistently reflects on the type of new music and concept we want to bring to our fans for a comeback. So for sure we will release new music,” said Seungeon.

“We consistently strive to unveil new facets of ourselves to ENNVE, putting forth our best efforts to showcase a diverse range of music types and styles to the public.”

– Keita

In addition to new music, EVNNE recently announced their first-ever tour, 2024 EVNNE Fan-Concert [Squad:R], set to take place across Asia in the spring. They also noted that they would love to be part of the lineup at KCON’s events this year. Beyond new releases and touring, however, the group is dreaming of wider recognition of their music.

“Our biggest goal as a group is to win first place on a music show,” Seungeon mused during the roundtable session.

Fast-forward to a month later, and EVNNE has secured not one, but two coveted first-place wins for “UGLY” on Korean music programs “Show Champion” and “Music Bank.” To close out the promotion period, they won the “Inkigayo” ‘Hot Stage’ for the week of February 18th. So what’s next for EVNNE now that they’ve crossed off music show wins from their bucket list?

“In this comeback, we secured the top spot on the Bugs music charts, and I wish to attain similar success on other charts, with a particular dream of making it onto the Billboard charts someday,” Seungeon shared candidly.

“I was told to dream big, so likewise, I hope to secure the top spot on the Billboard charts in the future,” Junghyun agreed. “It’s the ultimate goal, and I will dream big.”

Thank you to EVNNE and Helix Publicity for the interview opportunity. Be sure to give Un: SEEN a listen on all major streaming platforms, and keep an eye out for EVNNE’s future endeavors!

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