From the explosive collision of pop melodies and high-spirited, rock energy, Catch The Young, an up-and-coming band from South Korea, emerged with a special mission to capture the fond memories of youth. While K-Pop has seen its fair share of instrument-clad performances, the arrival of the five-member band on November 1, 2023 with the debut single “YOUTH!!!” marked a fresh, electrifying take on the genre. On April 3, 2024, Catch The Young returned with their second album Catch The Young : Fragments of Odyssey with the title track “Voyager,” as a direct storyline continuation of their debut album Catch The Young : Fragments of Youth

In an exclusive Zoom interview with EnVi, while in preparation for their comeback, Catch The Young members Sani, Jungmo, Kihoon, Namhyun and Junyong shared details on their new mini-album, the band’s journey to establish a unique “youth pop rock” genre, and future goals.

Voyaging into a New Chapter

The debut album Catch The Young : Fragments of Youth served as the introduction to the group’s identity, capturing the essence of youthfulness and energy as the foundational direction of their music. Now, continuing the series with their sophomore album, Catch The Young : Fragments of Odyssey, Catch The Young delve deeper into their journey as each track reflects the growth and development they’ve experienced, symbolizing the path they embark on. 

The title track “Voyager,” in particular, communicates the desire to move forward together amidst challenges and decisions that they may face in the adventure of life. “It is about asking questions — if it’s right or wrong, when taking a certain path and making certain choices while we are living in this life,” Sani, leader and bassist of the group, said.

Inevitably, emotions were running high among the members of Catch The Young while gearing up for their first comeback after their debut.

Image courtesy of Evermore Entertainment

“Honestly, it’s very nerve-wracking because we want to show the better sides and the improved versions of ourselves through this comeback, so there’s definitely a little bit of pressure coming along with this,” Kihoon, the band’s guitarist, shared.

Amid the member’s nerves, however, lay a strong sense of anticipation to once again capture the spotlight with new music they have been working on for a while: “We are very excited to be able to bring this new album and show the new sides of Catch The Young to our fans, CATCHERS. We are working and practicing really hard every day,” main vocalist Namhyun added.

Members’ Picks

For drummer Jungmo and Namhyun, the English track “The Legend” holds a special place due to the challenging techniques the song required, since it boasts a hard rock style the band hasn’t explored before. Although chosen to be on their album not solely for the language but for the prospect of an electrifying stage, “The Legend” signals the band’s intent to continue releasing English tracks in the future.

“We want our fans all around the world to enjoy our music together without the language barrier,” Sani said. “If the opportunity is given, we hope to maybe complete a whole album with English tracks, or we can reinterpret the Korean songs that we have released in the past into English songs — I think that would be really interesting.”

Namhyun also named “Always, Forever” as one of his favorites, due to the lyrics that tell a love story. Sani, on the other hand, picked “Sentimental Journey”, citing the intro as “gold.” “Just the recording from the album is great, but once you watch the live performance, I think you will know what I mean.”

The track “Light on Me (1101),” chosen by Kihoon, is the band’s first fansong, and extends gratitude to those who have stuck by their side. “It’s really about comfort and resonance with each other, and asking someone to be my guiding light — or I can offer to be the guiding light for someone else,” Kihoon added.

Lastly, maknae and keyboardist Junyong chose the title track “Voyager.” Junyong shared that, “Once you take a look at the lyrics and the bassline or the guitar riffs, all the elements within the song really go well with the overall concept and message of this album, so that’s my favorite track.”

Strength in Self-Producing

The band takes pride in being self-produced, emphasizing the importance of directly writing their music and lyrics while they push forward with a genre called “youth pop rock.” “Some of these songs took extra details and care from the demo, arrangements, and performances, therefore I feel like they’re my own children,” Sani even wrote in a press release.

For one, the instrumental layering in “Voyager” significantly enhances the song’s atmosphere and message. Anticipation and intensity steadily build up, culminating in a final chorus accentuated by a guitar riff that deepens its impact and leaves a lasting impression.

“As a band, it’s really important to really understand our colors and concept,” Sani said. “We can add more depth to the message because we are fully aware, and understand exactly what we want to convey in our music. So that is a very meaningful process for all of us for sure.”

Because Catch The Young aim for a highly specific genre, the members’ involvement in the creative process fosters a strong sense of ownership in their music, and intensive collaboration. “Sometimes we can be a little bit sensitive while working because we are always aiming for perfection. But we are constantly discussing and practicing — working together to really convey our colors,” Kihoon said.

From Passion to Profession

A band is nothing without its blend of instruments, each one adding its unique timbre to the harmony. The members of Catch The Young, all of whom are music majors, came together in a fated journey despite different backgrounds and challenges.

Jungmo’s path to music was an unexpected turn. Unlike other musicians, his introduction to playing the drums started relatively late, at 20 years old. Nevertheless, his passion ignited and led him to audition for the program The Idol Band: Boy’s Battle, where after the show, a casting manager contacted him and set into motion his involvement with Catch The Young.

“There were times that I just ran into the wall of reality because I started so late compared to other people. I just had to compare myself to them constantly. I was seriously considering quitting music and finding another career in the future,” Jungmo muses. “But then I wanted to leave some mark on this journey. I wanted to do something where even if I quit, I could still look back on it in the future and not regret it.”

In contrast, Namhyun started playing the piano, drums, and various other instruments at a very young age. His commitment to music intensified when he set his sights on pursuing a university program as a vocalist. Through disciplined practice and determination, he secured admission. He then started uploading his entrance exam practice and wedding singer gig videos online, eventually capturing a casting manager’s attention which led him to the other members.

Similarly, Sani picked up the bass at church and felt the desire to study it more seriously, thus pursuing it as a major. In 2018, he was also a participant in the SBS show 영재 발굴단, roughly translated as Little Genius, where his prodigy in bass and producing music at a young age also caught the company’s interest.

Image courtesy of Evermore Entertainment

Another member whose beginning had twists of fate, however, is Kihoon who grew up as an athlete focused on his sport, but unfortunately suffered an injury that forced him to quit. Despite being an athlete, he was still very immersed in music and music dramas which made his new career pursuit a very obvious choice. “I was thinking about possible careers I could take [on] other than sport — and music just came to my mind because I loved doing it so much,” Kihoon added.

Last to complete the group’s origins is the youngest Junyong, whose journey went from attending music academy in elementary school to joining music competitions in which he won awards. Junyong also began to dip his toes in musical acting and training to be an idol, but his decision to focus on making music rather than dancing and performance prevailed.

As the members’ paths intersected, they ignited each other’s passion for music, which allowed the band to continue progressing in the industry. “I think meeting my members here really made me think more seriously about music. […] As we are making music together, I get to paint a bigger picture and see a better vision as a band together. So I think it worked out really nicely after all,” Jungmo remarked.

On Covers and Choreography

Equally essential to the journey of Catch The Young are their covers, interpreting songs from a wide range of iconic artists such as U2, Official髭男dism, Harry Styles, Jung Kook and fellow Korean band Day6. 

The members see covers as an opportunity to showcase their own style through songs already familiar to most, as they experiment with arrangements that convey their colors best. This is especially evident when they are turning pop songs into rock, and vice versa. “It’s really important to show our uniqueness because I believe not only as a group, but as individuals, we have a lot of charms to share,” Sani said.

Kihoon added that the members also try their best to reinterpret the songs with much respect to the original. “We will always break [the song] down into different parts and really find the core essentials, and then add our colors onto it so it’s with much love and respect. We have very high confidence in putting our own colors into already existing songs so that’s why we are always experimenting.”

Despite being a band, Catch The Young don’t shy away from sharing dance content with fans, given that some of them have idol training backgrounds. You will periodically see this when they’re doing fun TikTok dance trends, as well as in how they incorporate synchronized movements on music stages, especially with their debut song “YOUTH!!!”

“We would think about each other’s movements and how we interact on the stage as well. It’s a lot of fun to work on the choreography and perform with a [few] dance moves, because I think it really adds a nice touch to the hearing pleasure as well as the visual pleasure,” Junyong said.

The movements they add certainly elevate the energy, allowing the crowd to find something new in every performance. “We want the audience to have a lot of fun. That is the essential core of the idea of ‘youth pop rock,’” Kihoon added.

Global Superband Aspirations

Looking ahead, Catch The Young envision themselves as a band that shares its music and unique colors with audiences worldwide. As for this year, Kihoon said they have the goal of performing concerts at bigger venues with at least 1000 seat capacity, in the desire to meet more fans and make a mark on the industry.

“We want to be a global superband who can really share good music and just interact and perform in front of everyone who loves and listens to our music,” Kihoon shared. “And we are really ready to visit anywhere and to perform for anyone. Because what we’re really looking for as a band is to communicate, and interact, and have fun with our fans and listeners.”

Profile courtesy of Rebeca Gomes

To stay updated with Catch The Young, follow them on Twitter, Instagram and TikTok! Watch the music video of their new song, “Voyager” here

Want to read more exclusive interviews? Check out EnVi’s interview with LIL LEAGUE here!