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CJ Entertainment Officially, NCT 127 was not the headliner of KCON 2018 New York, but the intricate setlist and crowd screams would have made one think otherwise. Kicking off with an intense dance introduction, pin-point performances of singles like "Touch" and "Cherry Bomb," and even a special rendition of their 2017 b-side track "Whiplash," the boy band delivered one of the longest sets of the fest and left an audibly obvious impact on the Prudential Center arena. The scene-stealing showcase marked the latest step in NCT 127's steady trajectory to more American visibility that recently included stops at Beats 1 radio, BUILD Series, and even a live Apple Store performance. Talking to Fuse the morning ahead of the set, the nine members reflected on their growth in the past year, where they see their band going in the future and the love that they have for the other members in their NCT brand. FUSE: NCT 127 is back in America! We first talked to you at KCON New York last year, your first U.S. show, so how are you feeling a year later?Taeyong: It's similar. What we're feeling is very similar, but now we're headed towards new goals in what we want to do. We're always thinking about what kind of songs we need to sing, what kind of performance we need to put on and what's good to show our fans. So overall, it's very similar, but it's always comes down to what's next to show to the fans.Mark: One more thing to add to that, like what Taeyong said, we do feel the same way with how thrilled we are to stand in front of our fans and with as much that has happened in the year, we have new things to show to the fans music-wise and performance-wise. We want to show how much we've developed as well and so we're just glad to meet our fans who have waiting for us. We also prepared a new intro for "Touch" and it's a lot stronger than what people are expecting, it's going to be the first thing that everyone sees. We also have three members perform one of our new songs "Whiplash" so people can look forward to something new. It really does feel like you guys are leading this kind of "new generation of K-pop," as they say. Do you guys feel this yourselves?Taeyong: Rather than being able to feel that we are leading this new generation, we feel that K-pop as a genre is at the forefront of attention around the world. We have to try really hard as just one of the K-pop artists in this genre and we feel like we need to really just do our best within this genre. But I think we're going to be in every spot in the whole wide world. Recently, you participated in the Empathy album by NCT that included a song and video performed by NCT 2018 with all 18 members in the band. What is a video shoot like that like?Haechan: All the members were involved and because there are so many members we had to concentrate a lot harder and there were a lot more things to pay attention to. But because we tried hard, the end result was actually a lot better. In regards to atmosphere of the music video, because everyone was there it was actually really great. Everyone was feeling great and, in general, it was just good. We saw you in Los Angeles recently performing and doing interviews. Now you're back in New York. Is the US more of a priority for NCT 127 this year? Taeyong: Yes!Johnny: [Clarifying] I feel like we are always getting ready to come out to wherever, even America, even anywhere else, because NCT 127 as a team is a group that starts in Seoul and we want to spread out into the world just to tell everyone what K-pop is. We want to show everyone what NCT 127 is, so we're always ready to come to America—come to anywhere, practically! You also recently made your debut in Japan and fans are hoping for news about a Korean comeback. What are you working on right now?Jaehyun: We are always preparing new songs, new performances, and I hope we have more opportunities to meet more fans like over the world. I think we are always ready.Mark: We actually don't know the exact date or anything [in regards to new Korean music], but I feel like we are always getting ready to kind of like make something, you know, to get back to our fans as quickly as possible. [We're involved with] every angle of the preparation, we're just trying to interact with the music. We are working on it. “I ask fans to keep their expectations high for the group.” — NCT's Taeyong KCON has a great lineup this year including some of your label mates like Super Junior and Red Velvet. But if you bring on one more artist to the lineup, who would you bring?Taeyong: There are a lot of different artists in SM Entertainment, and there are a lot of our seniors in SM, but because there are a lot of our members in NCT, I think we would really like it if we could perform at KCON with the other members of NCT. And do you have a message to the fans that are reading around the world and that may not get to see you as often as other areas of the world?Johnny: So, first off, I would like to say thank you for always, I guess like, always rooting for us and supporting us. We are always working on something to show you guys, so I hope you guys are always ready to come out and be like, "Whoa, NCT is finally back!" Taeyong: We're really happy that we can, once again, meet all our fans in New York and we want to continue to make great memories with our fans. NCT is going to continue to grow as a group, and I ask fans to keep their expectations high for the group.
Emerging from pop-rock group One Direction, Liam Payne tells Fuse after ten years of trusting the process and dedication he is set to release his debut album this fall. Having worked with Quavo, Zedd, J Balvin, Rita Ora and more Payne reveals he doesn't want to "pigeonhole" himself and wants to give fans a taste of everything. With five hit singles showcasing how versatile Payne can be, the new dad explains his debut will be a "mixed bag" and more of a playlist. "My debut album is kind of a bit of a mix bag at the minute. The idea I went for is one, I want to see what people want from me. I'm really into the idea of finding out what it is because I'm trying to do it myself," says the 24-year-old. "And we are doing so many different great songs. I mean, you know, from what you've heard so far. I've done so many different genres of music." Payne also shares how an experience in Peru influenced him to infuse Latin vibes into his music which would become "Later" featuring J Balvin. Watch the full interview above where Payne discusses traveling being the "biggest education" anyone can have and his first headline concert. Speaking of Liam Payne and Rita Ora's recent "For You (Fifty Shades Freed)" collab, throw it back to 2014 when Ora spoke about her highly-anticipated 50 Shades of Grey role as Mia Grey:
CJ Entertainment From an unexpected viral hit in 2014 to a member's health battle needing to have her sit out of a few album releases, EXID's road to K-pop stardom has been atypical but the cheers from the KCON crowd would make one think otherwise. Earning some of the biggest roars at KCON 2018 New York, the girl group performed their '90s-inspired new single "Lady," along with a handful of other singles, to greet their U.S. fans on the East Coast. Backstage at the final Day 2 concert of KCON 2018, just as the news hit that a record-breaking 53,000 K-pop fans had officially attended the festival, EXID spoke to Fuse looked back at their best memories from the '90s, looked forward to what's coming next and more. FUSE: Your latest single "Lady" is obviously inspired by the '90s. You guys are '90s babies, growing up in that time. Do you remember any songs that were really really popular in Korea during the '90s time or from your childhood?Jeonghwa: I was very young, born in 1995, so by the time I was able to actually listen to music and remember it was already the '00s so probably the other members that are better off answering this question. [Laughs]Hani: JYP [Park Jin Young], I really liked JYP songs. Hyelin: I would have school festivals and my friend and I would actually cover groups like S.E.S and Fin.K.L. and I think that actually helped my dream to become a singer.LE: I remember songs from Biggie— who's from New York! Where we are!— and Tupac, yes, of course. Songs like "California Love," I remember listening to a lot of old hip-hop music and songs. We definitely feel like trends repeat themselves and we're so happy that they're able to sing songs that we heard when we were younger. Do you see any other trends from your childhoods coming back?Hyelin: I remember "fanny packs." In Korea, they called it a sack, but it's called a fanny pack. Yeah, but it's coming back, we call it a side, you know, a side bag because it's cooler. But for me, I remember that it's specifically something my dad wore at that time, but now it's something that people wear.Hani: Bucket hats are back in style. And just like how the rim go around and round, trends go around and around, you know? And to add on to that, even when it comes to pants, back then there were pants with really wide legs, but it's starting to come back. And once again fashion, it comes and goes. No more skinny jeans for me. Thank you for all those memories, but looking forward to the future, what else does EXID have coming in 2018?Jeonghwa: Solji's health has been recovering very well and as we're watching her health get better, we're looking to come back as all five. I want a group comeback and the group wants the fans to continue to expect us to come back as all five. We really do hope that the fans continue to wait for us. “We feel like the world is just starting to come around and show love for K-pop” — Jeonghwa 2018 feels like a really special year for K-pop. EXID's music is reaching so many more people than ever, I think. Do you feel that it's a special year too?Hyelin: First off, we didn't have as much time to go abroad, but when we do see our group mentioned in the media we look into it and we're always touched to see what's being said about us and that we're being talked about overseas. When we do get a chance to go abroad, there are fans at the airport and those are the times when we realize that we're being loved overseas. Anytime we see our fans overseas, we get so much energy and so much support. We're always very thankful.Jeonghwa: Not just our team, but all the Korean teams are trying so hard to achieve their dreams and it's just right now that we feel like the world is just starting to come around and show love for this genre of music.Hani: And we feel so proud that it might just be because we're part of this genre, you know? We see that K-pop culture is actually growing right now, starting to be accepted in this world, and it's really surprising. So we feel this sense of pride to be part of this growing genre.