by @mamongmay

Before you become a full-time NCTzen, learning about NCT can seem like a bit of a daunting task, but it’s a lot easier than you might think. This article will be a simple explanation of the units and how they work together.

NCT as a whole is more of a brand, less of a standalone group. Simply put, it’s a concept. Neo Culture Technology was coined by Lee Soo Man back in 2016 to describe the approach that the company would be taking in the future with its groups, marketing, and other ventures. This, of course, included the creation of the group NCT and the introduction of the concept of ‘limitless members’ in K-Pop.

NCT 127 and WayV are both similar in concept and organization. 127 is based in Seoul and their concept is to spread K-Pop throughout the world starting in Seoul, which is where they are based. This is directly seen in their name, NCT ‘127’ because 127° is the longitude of Seoul. Similarly, WayV is also a geographically based sub-unit. They are meant to target the Chinese market and promote their music in China primarily. Though their placement is not outright apparent in their unit name, their name still has a significant meaning. WayV stands for We Are Your Vision in English, and correlates to how we see the future with them and the group concept as a whole of going into the future.

NCT Dream is a little more complicated but still fairly simple. NCT Dream started with a graduation concept as it was going to be a group only for the teenaged members of NCT, but Mark was the only member who went through that graduation process in 2018. In April 2020, SM announced that the graduation system would be abolished and Mark would be rejoining the group, once again completing 7Dream. The current system is that Dream will always be made up of the same seven members that debuted in the group, but they may not all participate in unit comebacks if some of them are busy in another unit. An example of this would be if Haechan and Mark were touring or promoting with NCT 127, the other five members of Dream could still make a comeback and promote.

NCT U is the subunit that stays truest to NCT’s overall concept. It stands for NCT United and does just that – unites the group. Any member combinations can be part of an NCT U song. Members from Dream, 127, WayV, or members without a permanent unit like Sungchan and Shotaro currently can participate in NCT U songs. NCT U line-ups change with each song because it is based on who fits the song’s concept the best, or whose voices suit the song best. Examples of NCT U songs with legendary line-ups include ‘Boss’, ‘Baby Don’t Stop’, and their most recent release ‘Make A Wish’. NCT U is also used somewhat often to house members until they can join a fixed unit. Before WayV debuted, Ten, Lucas, and Kun were only a part of NCT U line-ups before being placed in WayV. Similarly, Jungwoo debuted in NCT U as well, until he joined NCT 127 during the ‘Regular’ era in 2018. Right now, Sungchan and Shotaro have both debuted with NCT U. Sungchan with ‘Misfit’, a b-side on Resonance Pt1 which also had a track video, and Shotaro with the title track for NCT 2020, ‘Make A Wish’. They will most likely be placed in a fixed unit in the future but until then, they are in NCT U.

Hopefully, this helped explain the units a little better and helps you on your way to becoming a full-time NCTzen!

thumbnail: Taeyong and Johnny by @mamongmay