Ateez’s Hongjoong Talks Their New Album And Finally Getting To Tour Again

2021 was a landmark year for South Korean boy band Ateez, and it turned out to be their most impressive yet in both their home country as well as in the United States. The group released five different collections for fans all around the world, and many of them became huge sales successes. In South Korea, they scored a pair of No. 1 titles, while in America, they collected their first two placements on the all-important Billboard 200 albums chart.

Things are looking up for Ateez as they conclude their beloved Fever series, which was comprised of four different EPs, all of which performed extremely well in South Korea. Now, as the group continues to promote their latest release Zero: Fever Epilogue, they are simultaneously getting ready to go on tour and finish their next studio effort, which will almost surely arrive in the coming months.

I recently spoke with Ateez member Hongjoong about the end of their latest series, playing live once again and what’s next for the globe-dominating boy band.

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Hugh McIntyre: I congratulate you on the new music! How does it feel to be concluding the Fever series? Are you happy? Sad? How do you feel?

Hongjoong: I want to say that I feel happy, but on the other hand, sad. This series was full of messages about the youth, which can be stories of us. It kind of feels like being rewarded as we conclude this series with the Zero: Fever Epilogue EP, so that could be why I feel happy. But, during the Fever series, I enjoyed writing lyrics and melodies with this specific theme, so to some extent, I feel sad because it’s ending. 

McIntyre: How does Zero: Fever Epilogue differ from the others in this series?

Hongjoong: To compare the albums in Fever series to a novel or movie, the Epilogue album could literally be the epilogue of the story. And I’d like to say that the overall vibes that each track in this album have would be slightly different from the former parts 1, 2, and 3 of the same series.


We wanted to contain and express the trouble and pain that every youth goes through. And from that, we tried to deliver a message of empathy, telling them that they are not the only ones going through the agony.

In my personal opinion, this EP might be the album with the broadest spectrum among the Fever series albums. 

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McIntyre: It’s the biggest one. I love that. I love hearing that. The single is “Turbulence” and I loved the video. What is the deeper meaning behind the song?

Hongjoong: “Turbulence” is a song that was pre-released with the music video. I would say that this is a song that Ateez directly expresses which emotions and hardship the youth is going through living in this society, in Ateez’s style.

I think the fans who have listened to this song liked and empathized with it. It’s one of my favorite songs, and I hope everyone who listens to “Turbulence” gets Ateez’s heartfelt message that we’ve put in. 

McIntyre: Zero: Fever Part.3 was a really big hit, in America specifically. It brought you to some new Billboard charts and it sold really well. Tell me how you all felt watching that happen.

Hongjoong: We were astonished to hear the news about the Billboard charts. And immediately, we felt grateful to our fans. Actually, we were preparing for the next album at that time, so the news gave us a kind of confidence about the next album, but responsibility as well. Because as we performed well on the Billboard chart, we thought we should show our style to many people even more clearly.

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McIntyre: I can see that for sure. Before hitting the charts in America, you performed really, really well on the charts in South Korea. Do you guys care about numbers and chart positions at all? Do you watch that?

Hongjoong: I don’t think we care much about the charts. Since we always prepare for the next album while releasing an album, we pay much more attention to the messages that we want to put in our music to showcase through the next album.

McIntyre: It must have been sad when you had to postpone your tour because of the health situation, but you’re going on tour again very early in 2022. You’re going to Europe and America. Are you guys nervous to get back on stage?

[Note: Since this interview took place, the European leg of the tour was canceled]

Hongjoong: I am very excited to go on the tour, and I’m looking forward to everything about the tour. I don’t feel nervous at all now, but I guess I’ll get very nervous just before the first performance of the tour. Now, I’m excited about every process of preparing for the stage. I just hope the day to be on the tour stage comes soon.

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McIntyre: Based on what you just said, you’re already planning the next thing. What would you like to do with your next series or your next era?

Hongjoong: This EP, Zero: Fever Epilogue, is the epilogue and the end of the Fever series. Well… I can’t tell you what the next series is about yet, but we are preparing for the next chapter. To tell you a little bit, the next series will be really interesting, and you might be a little surprised. Please look forward to it!

McIntyre: So you personally are involved in writing and the music of everything that Ateez releases. Tell me how that works as part of a group. Do you take suggestions from all the members? Is it your vision? How does that work?

Hongjoong: Yes, I write lyrics and take part in making our music, I would say that I’m the bridge of the group. Ateez’s music is produced by the producer team Eden, and the members of Ateez also have a lot of opinions on the music. But in fact, there’s not much time for us to meet each other in person. That’s why I’m the bridge for the group that delivers our thoughts and messages to the producers. This is how we communicate and improve the music.

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