Innovative rookie group 8TURN stepped into their debut spotlight with a creative, refreshing spin on hip-hop. On January 30, members MYUNG HO, JAE YUN, MIN HO, YOON SUNG, HAE MIN, KYUNG MIN, YUN GYU, and SEUNG HEON debuted with the mini album 8TURNRISE. Exploring themes of youth, ambition, and nonconformity, the octet appeared on the K-pop scene with a bold drive to push the limit.
In an exclusive email interview with EnVi, 8TURN shared the unique inspiration behind their title track, “TIC TAC,” and their transformative journey leading up to debut.
Set to bend the rules, 8TURN’s essence is present in their unique style. As seen in their concept photos and performance stages, 8TURN have an intriguing theme of wearing their pants backwards. Vocalist HAE MIN revealed the inspiration derives from a ’90s trend in the American hip-hop scene. The hip-hop duo Kris Kross originated the trend in 1991. They decided to wear their pants backwards to stand out from a crowd. Back-to-front trousers quickly became a hot trend in pop culture, becoming an iconic statement of confidence. “We wanted to get out of the conformities and rules of hip-hop, and we wanted to be unique in our own ways, which was our motto,” rapper YUN GYU said in their debut showcase. “We wanted to emphasize our own special motto, so that’s why we wanted to wear jeans backwards.”
The music video for 8TURN’S title track, “TIC TAC,” portrays a message of celebrating youth as well as incorporating ancient Egyptian references. Garnering 7.5 million views as of March 20, the eye-catching music video is filled with futuristic animations and vibrant colors. YUN GYU explained the members are sent by Anubis, the god of the dead, to investigate the modern world of the MZ generation (Millennials and Generation Z).
The members are shown sneaking a mysterious gold object through airport security. YUN GYU explained this object is a scarab, a symbol of rebirth and renewal in ancient Egypt. Believed to be used to gain protection and favor in the afterlife, certain scarabs were often hidden inside clothes of the dead. The members hope to make a positive impact on today’s young generation by carrying this symbol of prosperity.
In 8TURN’s debut showcase, leader and vocalist JAE YUN explained “TIC TAC” conveys an uplifting message to approach life without worry of an uncertain future. Paired with addictive pop beats and Latin elements, 8TURN display energetic and sharp hip-hop choreography. “Breathe out and let go of your worries / Breathe in more of these dreams,” the members sing, motivating their listeners to harness their youth and live in the present.
Opening the mini album, 8TURN declare themselves to be an unstoppable force in their rock-inspired track “WE.” Containing electric guitar and heavy beats, the song emphasizes the power of teamwork. The group expresses their passion to achieve their goals and exceed expectations even when it seems impossible. “WE” highlights their rich vocals and powerful rap, allowing each members’ unique strengths to shine through.
8TURN keep the energy going with the catchy hip-hop and R&B track “WONDER.” The lyrics portray the members running away to explore a new dreamlike world. The pre-chorus contrasts the high-powered chorus and raps. It features smooth, enchanting vocals from vocalists MYUNG HO, YOON SUNG, KYUNG MIN, and HAE MIN. “I think it’s the most hip track in our album. I think the somewhat dark vibe and our members’ voices match so well,” YUN GYU said.
“My favorite song is “Say My Name” because it is the best track for listening while relaxing or working, and I also like the vibrant ambience of the track,” rapper and maknae (youngest member) SEUNG HEON said about his favorite B-side song. The upbeat lyrics express a feeling of embracing euphoria without any worries or insecurities. It also separates itself from the rest of the mini album by revealing the group’s soft and playful side.
“Heartache” closes the mini album with slow synths and mellow piano as the song explores the emotions of heartbreak. Expressing feelings of confusion and loneliness, they sing, “I’m alone in the clouds / Unable to see a thing / Without an answer to be found / I’m left here alone.” Performed without choreography, the song spotlights the group’s vocal abilities as they passionately sing of searching for a remedy for their heartache.
Perseverance and Persistence
Before the formation of pre-debut trainee group BOM (Boys of MNH) in 2022, JAE YUN and KYUNG MIN appeared on idol survival shows. KYUNG MIN participated in the survival show I-LAND in 2020. Despite facing elimination in the seventh episode, he used his failure as motivation to work harder. After competing on BOYS24 in 2016 and MIXNINE in 2017, JAE YUN realized achieving his dreams comes with sacrifice. “Of course I started my career because I love singing and dancing, but I understood that just enjoying is not enough to reach the goal. If you wish to excel and go beyond the limits, you have to practice and prepare like crazy, even if you lose all the fun of it.”
Leading up to debut, BOM introduced their chemistry as a cohesive unit through various YouTube content. The young trainee group dropped a series of performance videos showcasing their precise synchronized dance moves. Displaying innovative hip-hop choreography, the members incorporated garments to create intricate dance moves, such as handkerchiefs and sweatshirts. One month later, all eight members of BOM were revealed through their first vlog documenting their special training in Japan. In the three-episode series, they attended dancing lessons led by notable choreographers, such as ReiNa. “It was such a pleasure to take a class from a teacher I only saw on YouTube, and their vibe was exceptional,” vocalist MIN HO said.
Facing tireless days training, the members found their time in Japan helped them rediscover their love for music. “That was the first time I realized all the members, including myself, can dance with so much passion,” JAE YUN said. “Before then, we each had our position, and even the members with dancing positions did not seem very happy. But in a new environment in Japan, we saw a new side of our members dancing and shining, which we couldn’t see in our former studio.” HAE MIN agreed that this unique experience improved the group’s teamwork, strengthening their bond while gearing up for debut.
Evolving as a group in a short amount of time, young and hopeful BOM transformed into performance powerhouse 8TURN. The team’s consistent effort shone on stage throughout their debut promotions, bringing intense energy and charisma into each performance. “It’s beginning to feel real,” vocalist MYUNG HO said. “Every moment, every stage is so new, exciting, and makes me nervous. There are some mixed feelings too, but we are just beginning, so I am putting my best efforts!”
8TURN’s Sources of Ambition
When enduring tough challenges, 8TURN opened up about the top role models they turn to when in need of motivation. “I really admire Shawn Mendes,” eldest MYUNG HO said. “When I saw him on stage, I could feel his emotions even though we speak different languages, which was very impressive. That is why I respect him so much.” For MIN HO, he finds comfort when listening to the music of soloist and EXO member Baekhyun. JAE YUN shared that he finds British artists Sam Smith and Adele commendable for their strong storytelling abilities. “I think they tell their story with true honesty through their music, so they are my role models,” he said. Vocalist YOON SUNG expressed his admiration for soloist and Girl’s Generation member Taeyeon. Noted as his top K-pop idol, he respects her style and ability to explore new concepts.
HAE MIN finds BTS member V as the heart of his motivation. “I started pursuing the dream of becoming a K-pop idol because of him, and I always get inspired by his stage presence, and I wish to be like him some day,” he said. KYUNG MIN chose American artist Olivia Rodrigo as his top role model for her talented acting skills and popular music. Since he was a trainee, YUN GYU has admired rapper G-Dragon for his dance, singing, and rap skills. Lastly, youngest SEUNG HEON finds inspiration in Yeonjun of TOMORROW X TOGETHER. “His dancing and singing skills are amazing, but I really think his facial expression is on another level, so that’s something I wish to learn,” he said.
8TURN to the Future
Looking back at their four years of preparation and perseverance, 8TURN step into a new chapter of their journey. The group expressed their excitement for what the future holds. They aim for the ambitious milestone of winning a 2023 Rookie of the Year award. “I believe we can do it for sure, and we will prove it with our performances,” JAE YUN said. Sharing that he is currently learning to compose, HAE MIN is confident that 8TURN will continue to release music that shows their true colors. “You can expect the type of music only 8TURN can produce, so please tune in and you will see!” KYUNG MIN added.
The rookie group continues to deliver dynamic performances, recently making an appearance at KCON 2023 Thailand. Fans look forward to future activities with 8TURN and are hopeful in their future success.
Want more exclusive interviews? Check out EnVi’s interview with new boy group XEED here!