EXCLUSIVE | K-rock band 2Z share excitement of their first world tour
(Written by Nandini Iyengar)
South Korean rock band 2Z debuted on January 14, 2020 with the EP ‘WE Tuzi'. The quintet is different from other idol groups as most of the members started their careers as fashion models. They eventually found their calling for music and formed a band. The band is quite multifaceted as well. Be it acting in a drama, or playing different instruments, 2Z has tried it all and is here to enthral their fans. They came back with the album 'Reworks' and its title track 'Keep the Promise' on April 30 while preparing for their first world tour 'The 1st Moment'.
2Z debuted under the company GOGO2020. They are holding their solo concert ‘The 1st Moment’ on April 30 in Seoul, South Korea. The band will be performing their original tracks and some cover songs as well. They are also soon to embark on their first international concert to Brazil and Mexico. Well, MEAWW got a chance to ask them about their music-making process and first world tour. In an exclusive interview with MEAWW, 2z gave tons of spoilers on an upcoming OST, next release, how they were preparing for their concerts and their fandom’s official color!
MEAWW: BUMJUN, you play the drums exceptionally well! What song are you currently practising? Is there any song that you would like to play drums for?
BUMJUN: On April 30, we have a solo concert called ‘The 1st moment’ in Seoul, and so for that we are practising mainly cover songs such as ‘Creep’ by Radiohead and ‘Black Swan’ by BTS to be played at concerts. We are also interested in Coldplay's 'Fix You' as this song contains the same message of hope we want to convey. It gives you a sense of comfort and stability. I think it will be a warm feeling and comfort to our fandom From A if we cover this song.
MEAWW: HOJIN, being the main vocal of the band certainly brings in a certain pressure to give one’s best. How do you handle that stress? Who served as your inspiration to become a singer?
HOJIN: I think the band's vocalist is the position that is in the spotlight a lot and at the same time can receive the most criticism. I always feel a lot of pressure. This is because you have to connect the emotions between the band and the audience, and you have to express with your whole body what message 2Z wants to convey. I'm under a lot of stress, but nonetheless, this job is just so good. That's why I'm enjoying the stress itself because being a vocalist in a band is, in my opinion, the coolest job in the world.
People who inspired me to become a vocalist were my vocal coach, Producer STAY, Chris Martin from Coldplay and The 1975’s Matty Healy. They are the heroes who guide me when I feel lost.
MEAWW: JISEOB, a guitarist is like a silver lining in the band. What inspired you to pick up the guitar? Which romantic track would you like to play on your guitar?
JISEOB: Before our debut, 2Z had no members who could handle instruments. When I was a trainee, I tried to play an instrument without knowing anything. I'm the only one who's ever played an instrument! When I was in elementary school, my mother encouraged me to learn the acoustic guitar. Gradually I dreamed of becoming a guitarist. So naturally, I picked up the guitar. I lived the dream of ‘I want to become a guitarist as a member of a band’. Then, maybe it was all fate, I met my current agency, GOGO2020, and the 2Z members.
I like and admire Eddie Van Halen. I look up his solo guitar playing video where he and Sammy Hagar sit on the stage and perform with a smile. Eddie Van Halen's guitar sound in the intro is so ‘warm’ and I am sure that not only me but everyone else must have felt the same. So, I want to be a guitarist with a warm and comforting guitar sound like Eddie Van Halen.
MEAWW: JUNGHYUN, you are a bass guitarist and also a rapper. How do you manage to perform two distinct activities when preparing for an album? Which do you find more challenging?
JUNGHYUN: The hardest part is doing both at the same time - choosing between bass guitar or rap. But the most important thing I think while playing the bass is rhythm and with rap, it is the same. While preparing the album, after recording, there is one thing that I consider most important. This is the implementation in a live setting. As a bassist, I think first of all that I have to protect the rhythm and express the rap's groove as well. When you do it one by one through practice, you feel a sense of joy and fun that cannot be expressed in words 😊.
MEAWW: ZUNON, you are a multitalented artist! How did you come to play such varied instruments (keyboard and percussion)? Which instrument do you plan to learn next?
ZUNON: I never thought I would play so many instruments. In order to express our music more beautifully, we needed the sounds of various instruments, and because I was in the position to play those instruments, I naturally started to play them. As a result, I ended up being a DJ for the band, and I am also dealing with a sequencer program for playback. In the future, as a DJ, I would like to show how to manage the flow from the beginning to the end of the 2Z performance as well as tuning the overall sound.
MEAWW: As a band, what is your process of music-making? Can you please walk us through your creative process? When arranging a song, how do you choose the instruments?
JISEOB: The most time-consuming task when composing a song seems to be the tone selection of instruments. A single riff is set, and members stack drums, bass guitars, and melody on top of it. However, the genre and vibe changes with the tone of the instruments. So, we select the tone according to the mood of the song we want to do. However, there is not always a set rule. Sometimes the lyrics come first and sometimes the melody comes first. In the conclusion, I think the message you want to convey with the song you are working on should be the number one priority. This is because our goal is not to simply listen to music but to make our music a language.
MEAWW: 2Z is primarily a rock band. Other than rock, which genres would you like to experiment with or try your hands on next?
JUNGHYUN: For now, I want to continue making music based on rock genre. The reason is that we are a ‘Rock band’. We want people to immediately recognize our identity when they hear our music. “Ah, they are a Rock band.” We want to continue making music that proves that we are a Korean rock band.
But since I am in charge of the rap part within the team, it is true that I am naturally interested in hip-hop. In Korea, there is the hip-hop survival show ‘Show Me The Money’ every year, and I watch every single episode. In the near future, I think it will be interesting to try making a song that can be released as a single by the main rapper 😊.
MEAWW: Please tell us about your time acting in a BL (boy love) K-Drama. A BL story is not easily picked up by idols, what inspired your choice?
HOJIN: Many members of 2Z, including myself, had a desire to express other arts other than music. Although the BL genre is specialized, I think it is popular among young people these days. In fact, I had no experience in acting, so it was very interesting and good to appear in a drama. It was like a dream for me to be there and try acting. In the future, I have a dream to expand my acting by trying various drama genres.
MEAWW: You have been active as models before turning to music. Do you have any special or funny memories from your modelling days that you can share with us?
BUMJUN: When I was modeling, I had to pass a brand's audition to get on the ‘Designer Show’ at Seoul Fashion Week. To get to the stage, I saw the audition of eight famous designer brands from the agency Esteem. To get to the ‘Designer Stage’, I had to compete 100:1. I auditioned and was immediately informed that I was one of the successful candidates. Among the 300-500 models, seven brands chose us and in turn it attracted the attention from many models and designers. The feeling at that time was the feeling of being rewarded for the moments of hard work, and when I worked as a model, that was my happiest, proudest, and most special memory.
MEAWW: What are your plans for 2022? Do you have any music releases planned? Can you give us a spoiler perhaps?
ZUNON: The plan for 2022 is an overseas tour. It is to start with Brazil and Mexico as the first overseas tour, finish it well, and go on to have concerts in more countries. In addition, various songs are scheduled to be released. One of those songs was probably mentioned on our VLive. It is a joint work by Producer STAY, our labelmate and $un.L. Perhaps this song will be included in the OST (original soundtrack) of a certain drama. If this song is released, we will then be able to hear a ‘family song’ featuring all the artists of our company, GOGO202. It's a song about our pride.
MEAWW: You are soon going on your tour. How do you feel about meeting your international fans? Any nervousness? Any excitement?
JungHyun: Of course, I am very excited!! This is surreal!!! It makes me so excited to feel that June is approaching. A few days ago, I received an approximate time schedule for the tour. It was information on where to go and what time to arrive in which city, etc. When I checked it, I started to feel it to some extent, and my heart started beating faster. First of all, it is our first overseas tour. And it's also the first time I've met our overseas fans. I will never forget that my first overseas tour is in Brazil and Mexico. Conversely, it will create unforgettable memories for the many people who come to see us! Let's make memories and memories that we will never forget together!!!!
MEAWW: After you complete the tour, what do you plan to do for healing and resting?
BUMJUN: I started working early when I was young, and my family couldn't go on many family trips because of their busy daily life. After this tour, I will be busy because I have to prepare for the next schedule, but when I get a vacation later, I definitely want to go on an overseas trip with my family at least once, enjoy the culture, visit the sea, and eat delicious food to make happy and good memories.
ZUNON: The most important rest for me is probably sleeping. It is probably the first tour I have ever experienced, so I am expecting a lot of fatigue and I think I will lie down for about 3 days :P
HOJIN: As soon as we arrive home, we will go on VLive. We will communicate with From A by talking about what we did during the tour, what we ate, and which song received the best response during the performance. And I think I'll sleep for about three days without a break :P
JISEOB: I will spend time with my family. My family is probably wondering a lot as it is my first tour. I want to tell them every detail from Incheon Airport to the way back. And since they are the people I miss the most from the tour, I think I will run to my family right away.
JungHyun: If I have a vacation after the tour, I want to go to Glamping. I originally planned to go Glamping with my friends when the weather warms up. However, my friends also started college, and I also had a busy schedule in the first half of the year, so after I finish the tour in June, my friends promised to go Glamping after the first semester of college!!
MEAWW: When it comes to getting early for the schedule, which member is the last to wake up?
BUMJUN: It is me, BUMJUN. The members wake me up at the end because I am tired after every time I drive. Members are very considerate and kind 😁👍🏻
ZUNON: I think it would be JISEOB. It's not like that every day, but he has to be woken up several times. Sometimes he would just wake up and go back to sleep again.
HOJIN: It is JungHyun. Even when I tell him to sleep on time every night, he doesn't listen. No matter how late it is, he never forgets to study and exercise. That's why he can't get up the next day and it makes him annoyed.
JISEOB: I would say BUMJUN. In fact, on days with a schedule, the first person to wake up wakes up the next person, and that person wakes up the next person. But whoever wakes up first wakes up BUMJUN last. Because he has to drive. So should I be a little considerate?
JungHyun: I think it's me... I feel especially sorry for HOJIN… HOJIN wakes up first and wakes up the rest of the members. I recall one incident. On the morning of the shooting schedule, HOJIN was the first to get up and wake up. He woke up JISEOB and I several times, but we didn’t wake up. Then HOJIN said in a dark voice, "Get up quickly!” I've said this before. As soon as I heard that, I woke up like a spring bouncing off.
MEAWW: If you were to pick one snack to eat for the rest of your life, which would you pick?
BUMJUN: Ice cream. I always eat ice cream when I'm tired or stressed.
ZUNON: If I were to pick, I would pick macaroons since I like sweets a lot!
HOJIN: Instant noodles. Now that I eat so much, I can guess which brand of instant noodles it is, even with my eyes closed.
JISEOB: Hamburger!!! Of all the food, hamburger is my favourite. So, wherever I go on a tour, I will find Mcdonald’s. Bigmac is the best!!!
JungHyun: Twix chocolate!!!!! I really like chocolate. Chocolate cake, chocolate drinks and I even eat choco! I can live my life eating only chocolate. Among the many chocolates, I like Twix chocolate the most because it has a crunchy texture and a moderate sugar content!
MEAWW: In your free time, what do you like to do usually?
BUMJUN: I like meeting friends, I like exercising, traveling, watching movies and dramas, playing games, shopping and reading books.
ZUNON: Lately, I've been very interested in reading books, so I've been reading a lot of different types of books. I'm getting to know a lot of books, including novels and poetry collections.
HOJIN: I like to see the sea. The sea is about 15 minutes away from my house. I have loved going to the sea since I was little. When I look at the sea, I feel at ease and I think of many things. I'm usually too busy, so I try to bring out the thoughts or worries that I put off for a while when I go to see the sea. Of course, not all problems are solved, but I think it gives space to imagine and think for a while.
JISEOB: I like to chat with family and friends while eating delicious food. Talking while eating delicious food with good people is incredibly blissful.
JungHyun: Spending time with family and friends! I'm the type of person who can't be at home alone on my days off... I have to go out and meet people. Seeing family and friends and talking to them makes me happiest and it's the best break for me. Especially with friends or family I haven't seen in a long time, it's even more exciting and happy!!
MEAWW: Have you ever pranked each other? Can you please share any incident?
BUMJUN: There was a time when I left JungHyun on a video call with fans on stage and ran away in a car with the producers and other members. HAHAHA!
ZUNON: One time, while playing with HOJIN, I grabbed him from behind and lifted it up, but his ribs accidentally cracked and he couldn’t breathe and sing for a while… It was just a joke, but I thought, “I have to be careful in the future!”… HOJIN I’m sorry…
MEAWW: Does 2Z have a fandom color? What does it represent?
2Z: It is bright green. First, bright green is obtained by mixing ‘illumination yellow’ and ‘classic blue’, which are the unique colors of 2Z. And bright green symbolizes peace, safety, harmony and comfort. I think it's really beautiful to see our fandom, From A living in harmony with each other. As of now, 2Z and From A are also growing together, so our impact is still less, but in the future, I hope that we will become people who have a good influence on the world.
We always wanted to convey the meaning of From A and 2Z being together in the same place with the same heart - “WE ARE ONE.”
MEAWW: Your fans have been supporting you since the debut. Do you have any special messages to share with From A for the year 2022?
BUMJUN: Since our debut two years ago, I think there are still many messages that we want to convey to our friends. We, as a band are still growing. I think that all the messages we want to deliver may not have been delivered well in the past two years. The reason is that we are not a complete ‘band’, but we are still growing. So, maybe, I think the ‘message’ we are delivering lacks power.
However, we have grown up together with From A since our debut, and when we were tired or stressed, we were comforted by sending and receiving messages of support to each other.
It seems that we have grown into what we are today as 2Z by performing and singing our songs to the fullest in order to repay the people who are always there and who love and support us.
Now, the message that we are trying to convey is reaching slowly. I think that each and every person who has not stopped cheering for us is our everything. From A is family. In 2022, I want to share a lot with you all and make an effort to give share warm words with you. We will do our best to become a haven for your life. I love you From A🌕💛.
Watch the music video of their recent comeback ‘Keep the Promise’.