TAN (pronounced “T-A-N”) has been stealing hearts and making a name for themselves since forming in December 2021 through the MBC survival show “Extreme Debut: Wild Idol.” Short for “to all nations,” the group, composed of members Changsun, Jooan, Jaejun, Sunghyuk, Hyunyeop, Taehoon, and Jiseong, has been doing just that through their music, touring the world, and taking on acting projects. Now, TAN is heading into the universe to boldly go where no K-Pop song has gone before: deep space.
Back in December, Celestis, Inc., the pioneer and global leader in memorial spaceflights, announced that TAN’s 2022 hit song “Walking On The Moon” would be sent into space on their inaugural Enterprise Flight aboard the United Launch Alliance (ULA) Vulcan Centaur Rocket, humanity’s first deep space time capsule. The spaceflight includes the DNA, cremated remains, and MindFiles (essentially a digital database of a person’s life) of over 200 people from around the world including iconic figures like Star Trek creator Gene Roddenberry, original cast members Nichelle Nichols, James Doohan, Majel Barrett Roddenberry, DeForest Kelley, and NASA astronaut Philip K. Chapman. Despite the failure of the Peregrine One lunar lander that was also aboard Vulcan to complete its lunar trajectory, Celestis, Inc. announced that the Enterprise rocket is still on track to first orbit the moon, and then make its way to orbit the sun. Once in orbit, the Enterprise Flight will be renamed the Enterprise Station to become humanity’s furthest outpost and stay there indefinitely until its potential discovery in the future.
On January 8 in Cape Canaveral, FL, the song made its historic journey into space. Traveling at distances past 11 million miles from Earth, it is set to be the furthest that a K-Pop song has traveled into the cosmos. To celebrate the milestone, TAN released a special performance video of “Walking On The Moon” for fans, called SODAs. Through the launch, TAN joined BTS, EXO, and GOT7 as the only K-Pop artists who have had or will have their music sent on interplanetary expeditions. In 2022, BTS’s hit song “Dynamite” became the first K-Pop song played in space through a Korea Aerospace Research Institute (KARI) lunar orbiter launch. NASA’s Artemis 2 lunar mission, which was originally scheduled for a 2024 launch but pushed to 2026, also includes BTS’s tracks “Mikrokosmos,” “134340,” “Moonchild,” by RM, “Moonlight” and “Universe” by EXO, and “Moon U” by GOT7 on a playlist of “Moon Tunes” to be played along the journey.
Kpopconcerts.com was able to sit down with TAN amidst promotions for their newly released Japanese pre-debut mini-album, Proxima, to talk more about the interstellar journey of “Walking On The Moon” and provide a teaser into what they have in store for SODAs in the new year.
This interview has been edited for clarity.
KPC: How did the opportunity to launch “Walking On The Moon” into deep space come about?
Changsun: While we were in the United States, someone we knew brought this opportunity to us. After hearing about what the mission is and what it would mean to participate, we just felt that we had to do it.
KPC: Was there any particular part of the opportunity that made you guys want to participate or that really stood out to you?
Jooan: Just putting your song in space as a whole is such a great thing in and of itself. But as you’ve heard about what the Enterprise mission actually is, it goes into space and then it stays there forever and revolves around the Sun until infinity. So because of that, essentially it’s becoming a time capsule and it will become a part of history later. So the fact that our song can be a part of this historic moment is just such a great thing that we thought we definitely had to participate in.
KPC: What does it mean for you to be in the universe forever?
Jaejun: This is such a historical moment for mankind that for us to be a part of it is just such an amazing opportunity. Being a part of something as meaningful as this really is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for us, so we are extremely grateful. We’re also hoping that this will be an opportunity to make our name known to the world.
KPC: So a fun question now. Do you guys believe in aliens and is there anything about space that excites you or even scares you?
Sunghyuk: Because space is so vast, I do think that there could be aliens living somewhere far away. I’m a big Marvel and Guardians of the Galaxy fan, so it’s actually kind of exciting to think about. I hope to be able to meet Groot someday.
KPC: Your pre-debut album in Japan was just released in December, and the space launch followed this month. How are you feeling about these two accomplishments being so close together?
Hyunyeop: We’re very grateful for all of the opportunities that we have been presented with. As we continue to gather these experiences, we feel that we can continue to grow as artists, as well as gain a wider audience. We are very thankful for these.
KPC: What can SODAs expect from TAN in 2024?
Taehoon: Just as we prepared our Japanese pre-debut album, we plan to put together a high-quality full-length album. If SODAs continue to believe in us and support us, I think there will be some other good news from the members in the new year.
KPC: We are Kpopconcerts.com so we have to know – can we expect any tours in the near future?
Jiseong: Of course! We will prepare a lot and visit many different countries. If KPC comes to our concert, we’ll welcome you with open arms.
KPC: We would love to come by! One last question for our readers: what is one thing you want to say to SODAs in this special moment?
Jooan: Our leader has prepared a special message from all of us!
Changsun: It was recently our 2-year anniversary! Thank you so much to our SODAs for supporting us for the past two years, and we hope that we have made some unforgettable memories for you all. We hope that you continue to look forward to the memories that we’ll make with you in the future.
Thank you to Celestis and TAN for the interview opportunity, and to Nahri L. for additional translations!