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Tomorrow X Together: ‘Gen Z can relate to this EP’s story of growing up’

Tomorrow x Together on taking inspiration from growing pains for their latest EP and becoming the first K-Pop group to play Lollapalooza

By Rhian Daly

Tomorrow X Together (Picture: Big Hit Entertainment)

As Tomorrow X Together release their fifth EP, ‘The Name Chapter: Temptation’, the globally renowned K-pop group have discussed the inspiration behind the record and their continued approach of sharing their generation’s stories. 

The five-piece boyband returned with their latest release today (January 27), nine months after their last EP, the acclaimed ‘minisode 2: Thursday’s Child’. 

That previous EP broke the group’s previous pre-orders record, shifting 1.44million copies before the day of release. It also continued to expand the group’s reach across the world, bringing them history-making opportunities like becoming the first K-pop act to perform at Chicago’s Lollapalooza. 

Speaking to Rolling Stone UK, Tomorrow X Together discussed taking inspiration from the growing pains of youth, Peter Pan, and Korean folktales, plus their creative growth as songwriters and touring artists.

The story of Peter Pan is interlinked with this EP, from the concept trailer to ‘Farewell, Neverland’. How did you take inspiration from that story on this EP?

Soobin: “Even one of our track’s names is ‘Farewell Neverland’ so it’s pretty straightforward. It’s about a story of youth who decides to go on a very long journey for their future, but falls into this temptation that’s right in front of their eyes. We tried to express this in a Neverland where you stay as a boy forever, like in Peter Pan. So Neverland is a very beautiful and free place, but you have to leave it in order to grow.” 

You’re consistently praised for capturing stories of your generation in your music – how does ‘The Name Chapter: Temptation’ move these stories forward following the events of ‘Thursday’s Child’?

Beomgyu: “We’ve been talking about the stories of our generation ever since our debut. So we’ve talked about friendship, love, heartbreaks, and sometimes at one point during the process of growing, you sometimes want to settle with what you are now and don’t want to grow up. So the process of growing up is always accompanied by growing pains, so I’m sure the people of Gen Z can resonate with the story of feeling hesitant about growing up.” 

This EP is described as the “most TXT-ish EP to date” – how does it reflect the group more than past releases?

Taehyun: “I think all the albums that we’ve released so far have expressed us very well, but I’m sure we’ve grown album by album. For every album, I think our contributions get even bigger and bigger. Especially for Yeonjun – he wrote the topline for the track ‘Happy Fools’ and we all contributed to the lyric writing for that song too. I think as we release more albums, we are talking about our own stories even more.” 

‘Sugar Rush Ride’ incorporates the Korean traditional folktale Chunhyangjeon in the lyrics and traditional Korean dances in the choreography. What does it mean to you, particularly as a band with huge global popularity, to be able to highlight these parts of Korean culture in your music?

Hueningkai: “I really liked the line in Chunhyangjeon, which is ‘Come here and let’s play more’ and I think that line really went well with the title track. So we put it in the lyrics to bring out the temptation vibe more.” 

Taehyun: “Of course, K-pop is getting bigger and bigger all around the world and I think it’s such a blessing and an honour to be part of that scene. We are trying to do even better and trying to make contributions to that scene even further.” 

You completed your first world tour last year and became the first K-pop act to perform at Lollapalooza – what was that experience of finally getting to take your music around the world like?

Beomgyu: “It was our first time performing in such a big venue, so it was an opportunity for me to learn how thrilling and exciting it is to perform in person in front of our fans in one venue. I was committed to my job before, of course, but I think I became even more committed and more appreciative to my work. So I can’t wait to put on good performances with good music in the future.” 

Hueningkai: “I could really feel the love that we get all around the world through this world tour and I was really touched and surprised by the way our fans sing along to our Korean lyrics.” 

TXT are often called the leaders of K-pop’s fourth generation – a big title, but also one that could be a burden at times. What pressures and challenges do being seen as leaders bring to you and how do you deal with those?

Yeonjun: “Of course, we do feel some pressure but I think that pressure is what drives us to grow further and what motivates us so I try to think of it as a positive thing.”