[INTERVIEW] Pentagon Talks “PENTAG-ON AIR” Preparations, “Basquiat,” Setlist Creation, and So Much More

It’s been almost four years since K-Pop band Pentagon first broke out on the scene in 2016 under CUBE Entertainment. Since then, the nine-member group has continued to make active strides in their career. They have released nine Korean EPs and three Japanese EPs to date and have embarked on their first-ever world tour last year that took them across Europe, Asia, and North and South America.

This year, Pentagon released their first-full length album ‘Universe: The Black Hall’ and made their comeback with the title track, “Dr. Bebe.” The group’s first Japanese full-length album titled ‘Universe: The History’ is scheduled for release on September 23. Pentagon also participated on MNET’s competition show ‘Road To Kingdomwhere they ranked third overall and received recognition for their collective creativity and versatility as they progressed throughout the competition.

Despite being unable to meet the fans in-person due to the global COVID-19 pandemic, Pentagon has been striving to find new, innovative ways to stay connected with UNIVERSE. The group will be hosting their virtual “PENTAG-ON AIR” fan meeting on September 6 and the event is open to both fanclub membership holders and non-members alike.

In our interview, Kpopconcerts had a chance to catch up with members Hui, Hongseok, Shinwon, Yeo One, Yuto, Kino, and Wooseok and discuss their “PENTAG-ON AIR” preparations, “Basquiat,” their setlist creation process, and so much more.

With your third fan meeting, “PENTAG-ON AIR” going digital, your international Universe are eagerly looking forward to attending the event. How have you been preparing for the fan meeting? For those who are attending your fan meeting for the first time, what can they expect?

Hongseok: Universe, I missed you guys so much! I’m having a good time preparing for the fan meeting while thinking about meeting with you all for the first time in a long while. We prepared a lot so that even Universe who are meeting us for the first time can have a good time, so please look forward to it.

Shinwon: I’m also excited and am looking forward to seeing you guys. I hope we can all have a lot of fun together.

Kino: Because it has been a while since we’ve performed for you guys, we’ve been thinking a lot about how to make it a memorable experience for the Universe who have been waiting for us all this time. I hope that Universe who are attending our fan meeting for the first time will be able to see how Pentagon likes to have fun, and how we relate and interact with our fans through our music and performance.

Wooseok: I thought long and hard about how we could make our Universe happy and make sure everyone has a good time. I think Universe who are attending our fan meeting for the first time will be able to see the charm of Pentagon’s music and performances. I’m so, so excited and nervous.

Kino of Pentagon | CUBE Entertainment

How has the preparation for a virtual event differed from that of a live event? Were there any unexpected challenges?

Hui: We are working hard to make everything that will be seen via video be more fun and entertaining.

Yeo One: There are more new, great aspects of preparing for a virtual event than challenging, so we are preparing a variety of different stages. I think fans will have fun watching!

Kino: Because fans will be seeing us through multiple cameras instead of in person, we put more focus on the way our choreography formations and performance would be captured on camera. In terms of the challenges, we are being very meticulous about making sure we don’t forget to address any aspects, especially because this will be our first virtual solo event.

Wooseok: I am very thankful and happy that we are even able to hold this fan meeting. We really wanted fans to feel like they were actually in the venue, watching us in person, and we want to show off the charms that are specific to a virtual event.

Pentagon is approaching its four year anniversary since debut. What has been your biggest takeaway from your experiences thus far?

Hongseok: My biggest takeaway is that our Universe is the best!

Yuto: Every year, I feel that I need to become a better person than I was the year before. I feel that, as a musician, I need to be continuously growing, so I am working hard and living life to the fullest every single day.

Kino: I think I am learning that you need to cherish those that you love.

Wooseok: I should not be content, but keep working endlessly to improve myself!

Hongseok of Pentagon | CUBE Entertainment

When it comes to live performances such as concerts and fan meetings, only so many songs can be included in the setlist. How do you determine which songs to include and how are they arranged on the setlist? What factors are taken into consideration?

Hui: We need to consider the overall flow and development of the performance.

Hongseok: We pay a lot of attention to choosing songs that we think Universe will want to hear, as well as songs we would like to showcase. In terms of arranging the setlist, we consider the atmosphere and flow of the overall event.

Yuto: We arrange the setlist so that the flow of excitement never dies down.

Wooseok: The audience may lose concentration if we only sing upbeat songs or only sing calm songs. That’s why we arrange the setlist based on the overall flow of the event.

What songs are each of your personal favorites to perform live?

Hui: “Spring Snow” is the most exciting to perform.

Hongseok: My favorite song to perform is “Shine.” When we were on our world tour, “Shine” had the best response.

Shinwon: “Just do it yo!!”

Yeo One: “Spring Snow!” Because it makes for the most exciting performance.

Yuto: “Fatasystic.”

Kino: When we perform “Spring Snow,” we get the most pumped up because of the vibes that are created when our fans’ screaming mixes with the music. 

Wooseok: I like to perform upbeat songs because we gain more energy while dancing or singing to them.

Hui of Pentagon | CUBE Entertainment

You’re recognized for being a well-rounded group that plays an active role in your music’s creative process. Your past EPs and your recent full-length album ‘Universe: The Black Hall’ are testimonies to this. Could you share words of advice for those who may want to pursue a career in the music industry, whether it be onstage as a performer or in the studio as a composer, producer, or songwriter?

Hui: If you have a dream and put in your best effort to pursue them, you will achieve your goal.

Yeo One: Don’t give up and keep trying until you reach your goal!

Kino: Look up to the world’s greatest artists, and study them and learn from them.

Wooseok: I think you need to continuously study, think, and deliberate, and then not just be satisfied with yourself, but be left with room for improvement in order to grow.

Which songs from any of your albums personally speaks to you the most?

Hui: “Basquiat,” which best portrayed Pentagon’s expressiveness and message.

Hongseok: “The Rain Shower.” I personally like this song very much.

Shinwon: “Like This.”

Yeo One: “Spring Snow!” Because I feel the members’ love every time we perform it!

Yuto: I like “Domino,” which was written by Wooseok, and “Basquiat.” The most meaningful song to me is “Shine.”

Kino: Of the songs I helped write, I like “Spring Snow” and “Violet” the most. Of the songs I didn’t help write, I like “Naughty Boy” the most.

Wooseok: “Shine,” because I had so much fun when we were initially making the song and whenever we perform it.

Shinwon of Pentagon | CUBE Entertainment

What do you do to lift up your spirits? Is there an activity that calms you? A place or a thing that makes you feel at ease?

Hui: My hobby is shopping. I like to shop whenever I have time.

Hongseok: I like weight training, and I usually weight train 5-6 times per week. The harder the workout is, the clearer my head gets and the more organized my thoughts become.

Shinwon: I play guitar or piano.

Yeo One: I relieve stress by working out!

Yuto: I play guitar for two hours nonstop!

Kino: I turn my earphones or studio speakers up to the highest volume and listen to my favorite music. Most of my favorite music is on the calm side so it helps to calm me down. Also, I’ve been drawing to lift up my spirits lately.

Wooseok: I like to be around other members because it makes me feel better than being alone.

Do you each have a phrase or motto that you live by?

Hui: “Effort will not fail you.

Hongseok: “If I make it to the end, I will be the winner.

Shinwon: “There is a reason behind everything.

Yeo One: “Let’s do my best in all things so that I have no regrets!

Yuto: “Tomorrow is a gift.”

Kino: “Let’s become the Only 1, as opposed to No.1.”

Wooseok: “Let’s live for others, not myself.

Yeo One of Pentagon | CUBE Entertainment

In ‘Road to Kingdom,’ your finale song, “Basquiat,” received a lot of praise and admiration for its powerful performance and equally impactful lyrics that inspired many listeners. What are your thoughts on its positive reception? 

Hui: Firstly, I am very grateful. I would also be grateful if everyone focused on Pentagon’s journey and message in the future as well.

Hongseok: It was an awesome performance. In my opinion, it was Pentagon’s perfect final performance on ‘Road to Kingdom’ to portray our ambitions and dreams for the future.

Yeo One: I’m very happy that we were able to showcase a performance that only Pentagon could do, and I want to continue to show off the different sides of Pentagon in the future!

Kino: I was proud of myself and our members for being able to create a performance like that. On top of that, Universe also enjoyed our performance, so I can’t ask for anything more.

Your finale performance was followed by the release of your official “Basquiat’ performance video. What were some memorable moments while filming? 

Yeo One: It was kind of challenging because we were filming in a location that was like a desert, but I’m ok with it because we created some unforgettable memories!

Yuto: I had to act like I was waking up for a scene, and there was a fire right in front of my face so it was really hot.

Kino: I think the most tiring part about it was having to wear thick clothing and dance under the blazing sun, but it was alright since it was all for a great final result.

Wooseok: I ate really deliciously when we had to eat our meal on the empty ground with absolutely nothing around us.

Yuto of Pentagon | CUBE Entertainment

As a group that continues to evolve and grow with every new release, what have been some of the best compliments that you’ve received so far? 

Hui: It made me really happy when people said the 6-level high note in ‘Basquiat’ was awesome.

Hongseok: “As expected, Pentagon’s music doesn’t disappoint!

Shinwon: When people say that our music doesn’t disappoint.

Yeo One: I think the best compliment is when someone says it’s a performance that only Pentagon can pull off!

Yuto: When people say we are an idol group that can pull off any song.

Kino: The most memorable thing someone has said is “There’s something different about you guys. Trust in that and keep moving forward.

Wooseok: It makes me really happy when someone says they saw a new side and vibe to Pentagon. I also like when people say “as good as expected.” I just like all compliments.

Wooseok of Pentagon | CUBE Entertainment

What are some of your own personal goals for the next five years?

Hui: I want Pentagon to hold a concert in a stadium.

Hongseok: For Pentagon to have an album that is #1 on the charts, and 1st place on a music program!!

Shinwon: I want to become a guitarist.

Yeo One: I would like to get 1st place on a music program, and I want to give Universe a gift by receiving a big award at the end of the year!

Yuto: I want to compose a lot of songs.

Kino: I want Pentagon to go on another world tour, but at an even bigger scale this time. I also want to show growth with every new album that we release. I also don’t want to get worn out.

Wooseok: I want to create a song that everyone can relate to or that tells my story.

What else can Universe expect from Pentagon in 2020?

Hui: I’m thinking some great, new music will be coming out!

Yeo One: I am currently in a musical, and I expect to be showcasing some new sides to myself in the future!

Kino: A great album, great performances, communication with our Universe, etc… These are the only keywords I’ll give you.

Lastly, do you have any final words for your international Universe?

Hui: Our Universe, who I love so much! I am always so thankful, and Pentagon exists because of you guys. Let’s stay together for a long, long time.

Hongseok: Universe! I miss you all. Wait right where you are.

Shinwon: Universe! Please stay healthy. You must!

Yeo One: Our Universe, who I love! Wait just a little longer, we’ll meet soon♥.

Yuto: Let’s have a great time together!!!

Kino: Our Universe, who I love. I trust that you are all doing well in these hard times. Thank you for being the driving force that stays by our side and prevents us from wearing out. I want the current situation to improve soon so that I can go meet you all. Please look forward to the ever-improving Pentagon.

Wooseok: There are so many things that I want to do and show you guys in the future. I will become an artist that stands even closer by your side to share happiness and hope with you all. Thank you for always cheering us on and giving us your love. Please continue to do so in the future!

Interviewed by: Ericka P.

Translated by: Nahri L.

Kpopconcerts would like to thank Pentagon, CUBE Entertainment, and CJ ENM for the interview opportunity.

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