Boy band EPEX poses during an online press conference Monday. (C9 Entertainment)
Less than a year since the group’s debut, rookie boy band EPEX welcomed the spring season with the third EP, “Prelude of Anxiety Chapter 1. 21st Century Boys,” released Monday evening. This marks the band‘s return nearly five months after its previous work, “Bipolar Pt. 2 Prelude of Love,” released in October.
In a press conference Monday, Wish said it is “an album that aims to talk about the younger generation and youth’s struggle with the oppressive modern social system and how it affects the band‘s feelings of anxiety in a dramatic way.”
If the K-pop act’s previous two mini-albums -- “Bipolar Pt. 1: Prelude of Anxiety” and “Bipolar Pt. 2 Prelude of Love” -- talked about the bright emotions and feelings of love and happiness, this time, the octet‘s music and album are built on feelings of anxiety and aims to branch out to their dark side.
Leading the five-track package is “Anthem of Teen Spirit,” which Ayden described as a “song with powerful energy with synth sounds and locking song arrangement, and the melody of the track amplifies the emotions.” The dancer and rapper added that words to the song convey a message to step out of the box and have the courage to say no to the oppressive society.
Gushing about the latest album, Ayden added to what he said: “Our vocal and rap skills have matured over time, which listeners and fans should pay attention to when listening to our new music. The main track is also the outcome of our blood, sweat and tears.” he said.
Apart from the main track, songs that round out the new album are: “Lone Wolf,” “Burnt Out,” “Strike” and “I’ll Go First.”
The group said in unison that the term “anxiety” is an important keyword that takes center stage in the album. MU went on to say that EPEX plans to expand its unique universe by unfolding its stories and that the side tracks also signal and add to the emotions of anxiety.
This time, the eight-piece act drifted away from its high-teen and student-like concept and went for a mature look. Speaking about why EPEX opted for a different look, Baek-seung said the album‘s dark theme watched the overall concept of anxiety, which is why the band transformed into dark figures.
Dong-hyun opened up about his thoughts about the new album. He said the feelings of anxiety and uneasiness people of his age go through are similar to the album’s overall message and image, saying that the message EPEX wants to deliver to the younger generation underlines its latest EP.
“We are also people living in the 21st century, so we were able to resonate with the complicated yet thought-provoking feelings. The album unfolds all of those emotions, so you should listen to all five tracks to get a grip of what we want to say,” he added.
Wish chimed in, saying the band’s previous concepts and albums were perky, happy and showed the bright side of EPEX. “But for our new album, we’ve decided to don ourselves as dark figures to show the different sides of us. I‘m sure people will be able to revel in our new song’s dark and gloomy charms,” he said.
When asked about which feeling, in particular, the bandmates were able to empathize with, Wish said the band's humdrum of daily life was the biggest emotion they could relate to.
“Our life is a repetition of practice and coming back to our dorm. And at times, we feel that our daily life is somewhat dull, and I thought a lot of people who are our age would be able to understand our thoughts,” he said.
Wish also got candid about his current anxiety: “What if we don’t get as much recognition this time through our album, although we‘ve poured countless effort?”
All in all, Wish expressed his hopes that he dreams of seeing EPEX as a group that has room to grow and a band that people could look forward to in the future.
Also, as the up-and-coming band’s first anniversary is nearing, Ye-wang said he couldn‘t believe it had happened.
“Our fans have shown support and unconditional love since our debut. We were also lucky enough to bring home the rookie of the year awards during the music awards. I think we were granted the award to work harder, so hopefully, we could make a good start with our album.”
At the end of the event, Jeff said he wanted to take a step further in the new album.
“Many people call us one of the bands of the fourth generation of K-pop groups, but I want to go beyond that. Hopefully, we could be a boy band that could represent the fourth generation of K-pop groups,” he added.
The five-song package was released Monday at 6 p.m.
By Park Jun-hee (email@example.com