The guys of GOT7 (clockwise): Jinyoung, Yugyeom, Jackson, Youngjae, JB, Bam Bam and Mark (Picture: JYP Entertainment)
Even the closest families will disagree from time to time, but add into the mix pop stardom, world tours, and a famously fast-paced K-Pop industry and fissures can become even more likely to appear.
Apparently not so with GOT7 – JB, Mark, Jackson, Jinyoung, Youngjae, Bam Bam and Yugyeom – who, since their debut under JYP Entertainment in 2014, are still tight all these years later.
Their fandom I GOT7 (or Ahgase, unofficially) will already know but for the uninitiated: there are big personalities in this group. Rapper Bam Bam has a bouncy delivery and a personality to match; Jackson an admirable solo career and his own venture, Team Wang. JB, the group’s leader, is more thoughtful but his music runs deep with barely-contained passion. The same for vocalist Youngjae, with an added loud, infectious laugh.
So far they haven’t gone the way of era-mates One Direction – there was buzz around both groups in the time before 1D split in 2015 – and for Los Angeles-born rapper Mark, the secret to that is easy.
‘We’ve been together for such a long time that we just understand each other,’ he told Metro.co.uk.
‘In the beginning, we tried to talk a lot. However, as we spend more and more time together, we started to learn so much about each other. I think that communication is the key.’
GOT7 are back with Breath Of Love: Last Piece (Picture: JYP Entertainment)
GOT7 returned in November with new album Breath Of Love: Last Piece and double title tracks Breath and Last Piece. This comeback is notable for all members having a hand in producing – something which has gained importance to international fans as K-Pop continues to sweep the western world.
JB, GOT7’s leader who produces under the alias Def, says it’s important to the group too.
‘I think it’s natural to feel special and deliver the message more clearly when it comes to my own works,’ he shared, ‘however, we always try to put as much love into all the songs as we do in our original works.’
‘There’s nothing hard about producing music for GOT7’ Yugyeom, the brains behind the group’s tracks like Poison, 내게 (To Me) and Thank You, Sorry, says.
‘Maybe the hardest thing might be deciding which part should go to who! I agonise a lot about it.’
Youngjae, who produced Breath, adds of his bandmate: ‘I think everyone should check out the chorus part from Thank You, Sorry. I hope many I GOT7 listen to that part and feel the way I do.’
The seven member group debuted in 2014 (Picture: Getty)
Last Piece is a dramatic, electronic new direction for the group; however Breath, with an earworm whistle in the chorus, feels like classic GOT7, peppy and bright. See earlier singles Look or Page for reference.
‘I had so much fun doing both Breath and Last Piece but especially Breath. It’s so fun,’ says JB.
Jinyoung gave some insight into how the video, with it’s seamless transitions between members, was made.
‘There is a scene that Yugyeom puts his hand up. After that pose, it overlaps with JB. I thought that scene was really clever,’ he said.
‘We shot the same scenes with the same direction many times to get the exact matching scene for the next transition. I think the director did his best to make those transitions very smoothly.’
Youngjae feels like he has flourished this comeback and grown more confident over the years.
‘I think I feel more relaxed,’ he told us.
‘Looking back, I think I felt bad if I made mistakes on the stage, but now I try not to blame myself and I always try to do my best.’
Their good working relationship comes from ‘understanding’ each other, says Mark (Picture: JYP Entertainment)
It’s a feeling Mark clearly shares. His album track Born Ready is ‘a song about confidence, knowing that my time was coming and that I have been ready’ with a ‘love story’ spin.
Jackson, too, is comfortable in himself, telling us he is ‘on the right track’ in his career.
Discussing Breath Of Love: Last Piece B-side We Are Young, he explained: ‘I’d tell my younger self, “Always be blessed of what you have and always appreciate people around you who support you, and always work hard and make use of time wisely. Make your own history.”
‘This year was a very good time to reflect on myself and strategise for what’s next. I can’t wait until everything gets back on track.’
So when they’re not strategising, producing, or performing (the end of year award shows are in full swing, a typically hectic time for any K-Pop idol, let alone with a comeback as well) what do they do?
For singer and actor Jinyoung, it’s treating his body like a temple and managing stress.
‘I sleep well whenever I can get sleep’ he says, ‘and when I get stressed out during comebacks I usually try to find some time for myself.’
Bam Bam on the other hand likes to see what has got fans talking on social media. Yes, Ahgase, he’s watching you…
‘When we are busy with full schedules, I always check it after everything finishes,’ he explained.
‘There is so much funny stuff our fans make for us on social media. I really enjoy watching memes of us, too.’
Might some of that free time one day include an ATK rap mixtape or album (ATK being short for AmeriThaiKong – America, Thailand, Hong Kong – a nod to where Mark, Bam Bam and Jackson hail from respectively)?
‘Yes,’ Bam Bam said, being frustratingly mysterious, ‘if we have time and get any chance, we can try.’
Breath Of Love: Last Piece is out now.
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