3, 2, 1. “This is happening right now,” Yoon Ye Chan recounted; it was the only thought running through his mind backstage. Hwang Seong Bin, who is also unable to forget the group’s nerve wracking debut, chimed in with his own recollection before they took the stage. “I just kept feeling nervous,” he interjected his thoughts, assuring us he had a great time as he added, “and also excited.” 

On October 11, Nam Seong Mo, Park Seok Joon, Yoon Ye Chan, Cho Seong Il, Hwang Seong Bin, and Kim Do Gyun’s lives changed forever as they stepped onstage and debuted as Great M Entertainment’s first boy group, 82MAJOR. The six members held a showcase for their debut single album ON, featuring tracks “FIRST CLASS” and “Sure Thing.” 82MAJOR displayed their youthful charm and raging passion with an album that leader Seong Il described as an effort to “expand [their] musical spectrum” and “build [their] own color.” 

The newly debuted group made the transition from trainee to idol look seamless while executing clean choreography, and strong vocals, in killer performances. However, it has been nothing less than a whirlwind. Before they could take it all in, their schedules quickly became a push-and-shove of radio shows, music shows, photoshoots, and interviews. Just as their fans are experiencing the group’s beginning, 82MAJOR are also adjusting to the novelty that is life as K-pop idols. 82MAJOR joined EnVi on Zoom to spill all about their debut, trainee memories, and party tricks. 

First Time for Everything

I spoke with 82MAJOR who had palpable charisma across the screen of a Zoom call. Their energy bubbling, the members matched my curiosity with eagerness. Question after question, the artists gave enthusiastic “oooooh,”’s, nodding in satisfaction, and articulating each answer thoughtfully. Their warm and professional demeanor made it easy to forget they are new to it all. 

“The time between being a trainee and an artist is so short, you really don’t get to digest. So you just try your hardest in the matter of a couple of hours,” Ye Chan said. Their first challenge? The “FIRST CLASS” music video. 

Music video recordings come with their own set of challenges: navigating camera angles, maintaining dance quality, and surviving long shoots. An intricate and edgy video filled with deep timbre rap verses, impressive motorcycles, and powerful choreography, “FIRST CLASS” sets the tone for the group’s hip image. In particular, the rain scene, as cinematic as it was, wasn’t planned. Rain started pouring during their shoot, and instead of calling it off, the members carried on. Trying their best on slippery floors and inclement weather, they had a distinct memory of looking up into fat rain drops for an overhead shot. Staring up into the sky and holding back the reflex to scrunch their face, the members came to understand that adaptability and perseverance is what determines success in this industry.

Jot It Down

82MAJOR’s name comes from Korea’s area code, 82, and their passion to be a major force in the industry. A name like that requires delivery of innovative ideas and plenty of earworms. Putting pen to paper, the members weren’t phased by the pressure of writing their debut tracks. After all, writing got them started in their careers. 

A diary assignment in elementary school inspired Seong Mo to be an idol. Introspective enough at his young age to plague himself with an existential crisis, the rapper asked himself, “Hm, what do I want to be in the future? What is my dream?” The answer came easy for his colleague Seong Bin. “I want to be famous,” he stated plainly. “If you become famous, your words gain strength.

Honoring his childhood goal to make people “laugh and cry with his music,” Seong Mo and his members composed the lyrics to “FIRST CLASS” and “Sure Thing.” Their songwriting process entailed an initial meeting to settle on ideas, vibes, and what they wanted to convey. “I want [our fans] to take away ‘Oh, 82MAJOR is this type of group.’” Ye Chan said. “Oh, they can do that? And they can do that? Are they good at this as well? Oh, and they’re good looking?,” he added, pursing his lips with a smug expression.

That said, it was a challenge to figure out how to establish the group’s color. Deciding to not settle, they composed two distinct tracks. “Sure Thing” is an upbeat pop song with the members adopting a youthful schoolboy concept. A change of pace, “FIRST CLASS” is a beat forward, hip-hop song with a bad boy concept. 82MAJOR went all out for their album, showing us their versatility and range as performers. 

Risk and Reward 

There isn’t much 82MAJOR can’t do. I mentioned the whispers of one of the members being double jointed, and the idols beckoned Seong Il to show me. I didn’t know what to expect. Stepping up to the camera, he bent his thumbs backwards — lo and behold, a one of a kind thumb heart. My incredulous reaction sent the boys into full-blown belly laughs, covering their mouths and clapping their hands in satisfaction. 

Their jovial spirit makes you almost forget their debut required tremendous sacrifice and hardship. The K-pop industry is a unique system. Teens as young as 12 years old enter a training bootcamp until they are deemed ready to debut — or get cut. The process is competitive and grueling, yet it doesn’t stop people from dedicating their lives to being an idol. Ye Chan relocated from Canada to Korea, following his brother, P1Harmony’s Keeho, to audition. He went on to become a trainee for six to seven years. Do Gyun came from the countryside of Korea, growing up harvesting potatoes and tending to farm animals.

Moving to a new place came with its fair shares of awkwardness and allure. Do Gyun remembered being enamored by the sheer height of Seoul’s buildings. He attempted to hold in a smile, failing at the sound of his members giggling. The jokesters were prepared for the punchline. “The height of the buildings in Seoul are about twice or more where I come from!” He prefaced. “There was a really tall building and I was trying to look up and count how many floors are in that building, and I almost fell.” Dropping his head in embarrassment, Do Gyun received playful slaps from his members, astonished by his dorkiness.

Being a trainee came with as many good memories as hard lessons. Although of Korean descent, the cultural formalities were unfamiliar to Ye Chan, specifically the honorifics. “I would just go around calling older people by their first names,” he said. My reaction of horror left him chuckling. “They would get super mad at me. I was like ‘Huh? What’s going on? What did I do wrong?,’” he said, imitating the doe-eyed expression and innocent whine of his younger self. 

Teamwork Makes the Dream Work

Six boys, worlds apart, were expected to work together to succeed. 

It’s these dear memories that make the basis for the “Sure Thing” music video. Seok Joon’s past is of undying perseverance, facing countless unforgiving opponents in taekwondo. Ye Chan’s cameos take place in a skatepark, where he spent most of his childhood in Canada. Do Gyun, the group’s maknae, shares his burning youth in memories of practicing in his school’s empty halls. An introvert and former Show Me the Money 11 contestant, Seong Bin shares his passion for writing lyrics. Seong Mo reveals his willingness to look beyond his shyness to collaborate with fellow musicians. Seong Il highlights his athleticism as a former badminton school representative and basketball hobbyist. The boys couldn’t be any more different from one another. 

I asked Seok Joon, an avid bowler, which member he would want on his bowling team, not expecting the reaction. The call erupted into a roar. Like school children, the members shot their arms into the air and appealed to him, some puffing their chest and proudly pointing to themselves. Seok Joon, preening on the attention, drew it out. “Seong Il” he said after much deliberation. Ye Chan, a king of reactions, dejectedly pouted. In return, he got a consolidation pat on the back. 

Their dynamic is of contradictions: interjections, quiet listening, teasing banter, and affectionate pats. Their energy feeds off one another, finishing each other’s thoughts and building up any conversation seamlessly. I asked the members to take a step back and reflect on their past. 

“There have been times in my trainee career where I have given up. I just gave up on everything,” Ye Chan recounted. Looking back at his trainee days, even though it isn’t so far behind him, he’d tell himself, “Keep going forward, cause there’s always a path ahead.” “Just keep going bro!” Do Gyun blurted, honing in on that one particular phrase amongst the sentimentality. One after another, they began to jump in. “A beautiful world is waiting for you, so don’t give up. Just push forward,” Seong Mo added, ever the poet. “Cheer up bro,” Seong Bin stated coolly. 

A dynamic Seong Il worded plainly as “a bunch of town kids” hanging out, it just works. As Ye Chan said, “82MAJOR is just [that] type of group.”

Keep up with 82MAJOR and their upcoming projects by following them on X, Instagram, TikTok, and YouTube!

Want to learn more about 82MAJOR? EnVi breaks down their tracks “FIRST CLASS” and “Sure Thing” here