EXCLUSIVE [INTERVIEW] VANNER on ‘CAPTURE THE FLAG,’ teamwork, and biggest takeaways: “The most important thing we’ve learned is to not back down”
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EXCLUSIVE [INTERVIEW] VANNER on ‘CAPTURE THE FLAG,’ teamwork, and biggest takeaways: “The most important thing we’ve learned is to not back down”

Five months after ‘VENI VIDI VICI’ dropped, the five-member boy group, currently signed under Klap Entertainment, VANNER made a swift comeback with the new album, ‘CAPTURE THE FLAG.’ Returning with the aim of making comebacks “as fast as possible.” 

 

TAEHWAN, GON, HYESUNG, SUNGKOOK, and YEONGGWANG are gearing up for a new chapter in their journey as they commemorate their 5th debut anniversary this year. “When we first debuted, I thought that we were just too eager to do anything. We didn’t know how to express our songs and stages. I think, now, we can express that eagerness in a much more natural way,” said HYESUNG.

‘CAPTURE THE FLAG’ is VANNER’s 2nd mini-album, featuring the alternative rock title track “JACKPOT,” the B-sides “PONYTAIL – KOR Version,” “After Party,” “Be My Love,” “CIRCUIT,” and “Across The Stars.” From the album cover to the concept photos and music video, this album embraces the striking duo of black and red, showcasing the boys’ powerful, sophisticated versions of themselves.

Following the release of the album, allkpop had the opportunity to chat with VANNER to talk about their latest comeback, growth, takeaways from participating in ‘Peak Time,’ hopes to hold a solo concert, and more. Keep reading to know more about the quintet!

VANNER’s shout-out to allkpop readers:

Check out our previous exclusive interview with VANNER’s Taehwan and Gon on “All I Want For Christmas Is You” here.

allkpop: Tell us more about ‘CAPTURE THE FLAG.’ I feel like this is the new start for VANNER. What’s the difference between it and your past albums?

TAEHWAN: Our new album ‘CAPTURE THE FLAG’ is the continuation of our previous album ‘VEDI VIDI VICI,’ which tells the story of finding our path and starting our journey. You can say that this particular album is about finding our “jackpot” and continuing to go on the journey we first started.

allkpop: Could you please share with us your overall experience preparing for this album with all the teams at Klap Entertainment — from the album production to music video filming? Also, how was your experience recording the songs?

TAEHWAN: We’re very honored to have worked with the producers for this album. We’re really happy that we have good staff around us. I think we have a good synergy together, and we’re always thankful for that.

HYESUNG: I’m also thankful for the opportunity to work with the legendary producers and good staff around us. With this album, I felt that we’ve grown up. And because of this, we hope to release even better albums and be better artists in the future.

allkpop: I heard that some members had injuries while practicing for the choreography of “JACKPOT.” How long did it take you to learn and master the choreography?

TAEHWAN: It took us about a month just for the practice. During the music video shoot and practice, we got hurt a little bit. I hurt my finger muscles.

GON: I also hurt my hamstring muscles. But I was able to kind of push through with my mentality during the shoot.

HYESUNG: This ‘CAPTURE THE FLAG’ album was very hard on our body out of the albums we’ve done. We got hurt a lot because we really wanted to show off the song’s tension and energy as much as possible. Right now, we’ve gotten a lot more comfortable performing. We feel like we’re getting better at every stage and every step. But we’re still working on our very best.

allkpop: What was it like working with Pentagon’s Hui and Wooseok as well as other lyricists and producers? Gon took part in writing a song, tell us more about how it came about!

SUNGKOOK: When we met Pentagon members, we were very honored and happy. Because that was the first time we’ve interacted with them in real life. I thought that we’d already gotten this far in our career in Korea because of the positive and energetic energy we receive from others. We’ve learned a lot and were able to get lots of comments from them. 

GON: When I first heard the song “CIRCUIT,” I thought it was very catchy, and I was happy to have had the opportunity to contribute to the lyrics. When I wrote the lyrics, I was able to immerse myself in the process very quickly. I think it turned out great because I had a lot of fun with it, and I’m glad our fans liked it.

allkpop: You took part-time jobs even after debuting as part of VANNER. What kind of worries and thoughts did you have back then, and how do you think it helped you shape yourself today?

HYESUNG: I had to take part-time jobs because we were in the COVID-19 era. Obviously, we weren’t able to go on stage during that time. We had to face reality… We got weak mentally and such. During that time, we were able to talk more about each other, and we were able to relate and understand each other more. Now, we’ve gotten a lot stronger together. Our thirst for the stage is our biggest strength.

SUNGKOOK: My biggest worries were my fans and my family being worried about our situation.

TAEHWAN: I was worried about our fans being worried about us. That was my biggest worry because we had a long break. But I didn’t think about it too much because I know our fans are still out there, supporting us. I feel like we and our fandom have gotten a lot stronger now.

 

allkpop: I read in an interview that the phrase “You shine whether you’re on or off the stage” you heard from a fan is what makes you keep going. Is there any particular comment you saw or heard from your fans that stuck with you the most? What kind of comment do you want to hear from them the most?

YEONGGWANG: The phrase “You could shine whether you’re on or off the stage” was very very touching. Recently, while we were doing our ‘CAPTURE THE FLAG’ promotions, we were able to do a lot of fan signs and get to hear such words. I’m so happy that VANNER has gotten a lot busier. And because we got busier, we had more chances to see each other. We’re so happy about that. It felt like we were able to release some stress from seeing our fans and hearing those kinds of words. Those words are, I believe, the most touching to us right now. And we hope to give back the positive energy to our fans.

TAEHWAN: The words that I like to hear these days is, “VANNER just destroyed the stage. They need to go and fix it again.”

allkpop: You said that you were worried about joining ‘Peak Time’ and that you might get hurt again and fail but you won! What do you think is the biggest takeaway you have learned from that situation?

GON: The most important thing we’ve learned is to not back down.

HYESUNG: I think the biggest part is the desperation we had to make our wish come true. And we actually felt that through this program. We’re glad that we were able to achieve our dreams once more and were able to overcome those times of difficulty. Before ‘Peak Time,’ we were very tired, desperate, and had lost hope. But we’ve learned that with the presence of the members, we were able to win the program. We learned to love and understand each other a lot more, as well as love the stage, after ‘Peak Time.’

allkpop: Now, your new album sold over 140,000 copies within its first week. Congratulations!  How are you feeling about this?

TAEHWAN: We’re so happy to be able to come back this fast. The result is a lot better than our previous album. And we are so happy and surprised. I’m very thankful to our fans, VVS.

YEONGGWANG: We’re very thankful that we can feel the love a lot more than the last album. We really tried hard to make better and fresh music. I felt like we successfully delivered that goal. I also feel like we’re being accepted by our fans and the public. This is giving us motivation to do a lot better and be stronger next time.

HYESUNG: These numbers are awards given by our fans. We’re really thankful to VVS.

GON: This was all possible because of our fans. We’re so honored and thankful for them. 

SUNGKOOK: The result of this album makes us even more eager to achieve things. Yes, I was very worried. And yes, I wanted to see how well our comeback went. But I’m so happy that our result is a lot better than our previous album.

allkpop: How does it feel when someone recognizes you in public?

SUNGKOOK: Because we’re currently doing promotions, we haven’t had the time to do our personal schedules. However, when we are in the middle of promotions and when we go to music shows, other idols and singers recognize us and they are like, “Oh! I saw you in ‘Peak Time’!” We’re very proud and thankful to ourselves, too.

HYESUNG: Just for anyone to recognize us, we’re already thankful. When someone says we cheer them on and that they listen to our music and performances, that’s another reason for us to do even better on stage.

SUNGKOOK: I will work hard to grow so that everyone can recognize me when I walk outside on the street or wherever I go.

 

allkpop: This month marks your 5th anniversary already — congratulations! Looking back to your debut, what development do you see and feel from yourself the most?

TAEHWAN: As VANNER was preparing for this album, I felt like, performance- and musical-wise, our skills got wider and bigger in terms of range. With ‘CAPTURE THE FLAG,’ the public can see us in a more mature phase.

HYESUNG: When we first debuted, I thought that we were just too eager to do anything. We didn’t know how to express our songs and stages. But as the years went on, plus our participation in the survival show, we were able to talk to each other a lot. I think, now, we can express that eagerness in a much more natural way. I’m currently doing singing, dancing, and even acting, and I feel like these are all part of my growth right now. We had a lot of thoughts and hardships along the way, but I feel like our good teamwork is one of the reasons we were able to get through these.

allkpop: How do you work on your bond and teamwork, especially when it comes to your music releases? Each member has different tastes in music; one song may be the best for one, but it may not be so good for another. How do you work together to make sure that all the members are okay with the things you’re doing together?

TAEHWAN: Yes, of course, we like different genres of music. But the best way to put them as one is to show new, fresh images of VANNER. That’s our priority. Once we focus on that and agree to do something new and fresh, our music then comes to one conclusion.

HYESUNG: We have different tastes and perspectives. But because we’re a team as VANNER, instead of thinking of this, we usually think of the group first. For instance, some members would just lead the songs and get feedback from them. If I’m the leader of one song, I push for it [to be released]. If we’re not confident about the song, we usually focus on practicing, so we can actually win over it. We’re pretty confident to be able to pull it off because I’ve seen that the members are very confident about anything new that comes to us. We want the public to see VANNER as, “Oh! They’re the group that can literally do any genre.”

allkpop: You only had one single album release in 2020, and 2022 as well as one EP in 2023. Now, you’re kicking off your 2024 with a great start — the release of your 2nd mini-album. Can we look forward to more music projects this year? Is there anything you have in store for your fans?

TAEHWAN: The biggest goal right now is to be able to come back as fast as possible with a new album and just anything we hope to achieve for this year. 

SUNGKOOK: With this ‘CAPTURE THE FLAG’ album, I feel like we were able to achieve what we’ve been aiming for. So, this may be a good step for VANNER to be able to achieve our main goal in the future. I hope our fans can actually be hyped up for this.

HYESUNG: Our biggest goal right now is, because we love being on stage, to do our solo concert or a world tour. Our goal for this year is to hold a concert where we can show off all of our songs. We’re all prepared to do it live with good performances. That’s our biggest goal ever. That being our goal, we hope to make many more songs in the future, so we can perform them live.

allkpop: Lastly, please leave your final message to allkpop readers and your fans!

GON: Thank you, allkpop, for loving VANNER and for being interested in K-pop culture. We have so much more to come in the future, so please hope the best for VANNER. Thank you for always waiting, loving, and being our supporter. We love you! You’re the best!

Socials:

Instagram: vanner__official
Twitter: VANNER
YouTube: VT Entertainment
FaceBook: VANNER_Official

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