Skip to main content

Home Music Music Features

THE BOYZ are living their wildest ‘PHANTASY’

The K-pop group talk exclusively to Rolling Stone UK about their second album, 'PHANTASY Pt.2 Sixth Sense', being inspired by their fandom and the global appeal of Korean culture.

By Adam Davidson

The Boyz (Picture: IST Entertainment)

Earlier this year, the 11-member K-Pop group marked their return with PHANTASY – a three-part album that centres around the common theme, “We all dream of fantasy.”

The group debuted the trilogy project with ‘Pt.1: Christmas in August’, which closed theSSummer in style with easy-listening Pop AND addictive hooks, encapsulated by lead single ‘Lip Gloss.’

Months later in November, they shared ‘Pt.2: Sixth Sense’, which dropped Nov. 20, that showcases a new “darker and sexier vibe.”

“With the last album, ‘Christmas in August’, we showed a bright and fresh side of THE BOYZ but with this new album, ‘Sixth Sense’, we’re going to show a sexy and hip side of THE BOYZ,” said Eric. “We’re also going to do what we do best and are confident in, which is the challenging performance!”

He added: “ It’s a ‘Love Letter’! It’s an album of love from THE BOYZ to The B. Please look forward to the songs that will warm you up in the cold winter.”

Sunwoo said that with each concept the group thrives to make the listeners experience new emotions and that with ‘Sixth Sense’ they introduce fans to the ‘Bad Boy’ persona.

“’Sixth Sense’ is an album that captures the ‘dark fantasy’ of THE BOYZ, who have transformed into a wild and powerful ‘Bad Boy’, stimulating the sixth sense beyond the five senses, just like the meaning of the word,” said Q.

Whenever THE BOYZ tease a new release, their legions of fans – affectionately named ‘The B’, become internet detectives to find hidden clues to what the next ‘PHANTASY’ concept could be.

Juyeon admits that the group leaves easter eggs throughout their albums in the hopes The B will notice and have fun whilst listening.

THE BOYZ (Picture: IST Entertainment)

Hyunjae added: “When fans guess the tricks we hide in the content, it’s amazing. I also think it’s cute how they try so hard to guess every album.”

Ever since their debut in 2017, THE BOYZ have taken huge inspiration from The B, an abbreviation of THE BOYZ’s Vitamin, and feel at one with their fanbase.

Sangyeon said that when he is in the studio making music he “thinks about The B the most” and how the group can reach more fans across the globe.

The global reach of K-pop, and Korean culture more widely, has boomed in recent years and the West is a market that many acts are keen to break through in. Despite having only debuted six years ago, THE BOYZ have noticed this shift in recent years.

The popularity of K-pop was huge even back in 2017, thanks to our K-pop seniors who paved the way for us to start overseas activities,” said Yunghoon. “But now, unlike then, the K-pop market has grown, so we want to become a more influential K-pop group and popularize Korea even more.”

THE BOYZ consists of 11 members – Sangyeon, Jacob, Younghoon, Hyunjae, Juyeon, Kevin, New, Q, Ju Haknyeon, Sunwoo and Eric. Having so many members could lead to certain challenges during recording sessions or lead to diluted ideas, however, the K-Pop group manage to come together to consistently create cohesive music with innovative themes. Kevin believes the secret to their success is teamwork.

“Teamwork makes the dream work! After being together for over seven years we’ve developed a one-of-a-kind synergy,” he said.

“The key is that all 11 members do their best in their positions,” added New. “All 11 of us are trying hard to work together, practice, and discuss with each other to make the album complete.”

Another benefit of having a large group is that more people can relate to the unique experience of being a K-pop idol. This level of fame comes with pressures and exposure that can be difficult to navigate alone, however, THE BOYZ make sure they all look after each other in this journey they are on together.

“We rely on each other,” said Juyeon. “Even if there’s pressure, we 11 members share it together so we were able to get through it.”

“Having a lot of members means that you have a lot of family members that you can rely on when things get tough. Everyone is like friends and family, so you never feel lonely and they’re always fun and supportive,” added Eric.

THE BOYZ is a group made up of members from all over the world, most hail from South Korea but Jacob and Kevin were raised in Canada and Eric in America.

The multi-national nature of the group gives them an edge when making music for a global audience because they can incorporate different elements that will be popular in multiple markets.

“We’ve been able to come up with more various concepts and styles because of the different environments we’ve lived in,” said Sunwoo.

Most importantly, it allows them to do what they enjoy the most, interact with their fans.

“It’s really helpful to have members who speak other languages, and I always feel reassured,” said Yunghoon. “It’s always nice to see how our members have great conversations in English wherever we go, and how they can explain THE BOYZ better than anyone else.”