It doesn’t matter what you think of SM Entertainment, the company is a beast in the Korean entertainment industry because they know how to stay on top of the game with their current idol groups. Sure, they’ve faced some issues with their artistes, but there’s no denying that the company has been working hard to make sure that their artistes are made of superstar qualities.
One of the most successful idol groups that they’ve produced is EXO, a Korean-Chinese boy band that made their debut in 2011.
The band originally consisted of 12 members, who were separated into 2 subgroups: EXO-K performs their songs in Korean while EXO-M performs in Mandarin. It was a unique but winning strategy because the company was able to promote the group in both China and Korea at the same time.
In less than 5 years, the group released multiple hit singles including “MAMA”, “Growl”, and “Overdose”. Their songs came with catchy beats and sleek choreographies, which helped them sell over a million copies every time they release a new album. Their 1st studio album “XOXO”, which consists of the breakthrough hit “Growl”, was released in 2013. The album proved successful, as it won both “Disk Daesang” at the 28th Golden Disk Awards and “Album of the Year” at the 15th Mnet Asian Music Awards (MAMA). Over a million copies of the album were sold, putting them as the fastest-selling Korean artiste in 12 years.
Last year, they released their 3rd EP, “Overdose”. Despite the member departure issues, the EP made them the highest-charting Korean male act on the Billboard 200. They even performed to a sold-out crowd for “EXO From. EXOPLANET #1 – THE LOST PLANET”, their 1st solo concert that started on 24th May at the Seoul Olympic Gymnasium.
Before EXO made their debut, SME continuously teased the group by releasing an exceptionally crazy amount of teasers that displayed the members’ talent. The method worked so well that the company was still using it for the promotion of their latest album, “EXODUS“.
“EXODUS” is their 2nd studio album that was released in both Korean and Mandarin versions on 30th March 2015. The comeback proved that they’ve returned to the Korean music scene stronger than ever as the title track, “Call Me Baby” received an all-kill status for being placed at #1 spot on all Korea’s major music charts.
On 31st March, the music video was released on their official YouTube channel. In less than 24 hours, the Korean version received over 4,000,000 views while the Mandarin version received over 2,000,000 views.
Prior to their comeback, SME released tonnes of mysterious teasers which caught our attention because of the way they built the anticipation. It proved that the group took few steps further in their career with the love and support given by EXO-Ls (as EXO fans are lovingly called).
And now, having covered most of the events organised by our friends from M.E. Malaysia, we were given a chance to interview EXO via e-mail.
Here’s what went down during our interview:
Congrats on being named the most influential celebrity by Forbes Korea! We understand that your previous album also sold a million copies. How does that feel?
We don’t really expect to sell million copies nor be in the top ranking. Just the simple fact that EXO is able to do comebacks and stood on the stage to greet our fans is something we are thankful about.
The concept for “EXODUS” is quite fascinating and it somehow linked back to your first mini-album “MAMA”. Tell us more about your comeback concept and how it affects you.
The album itself is called EXODUS which means “escape”. This album shows the shedding of EXO’s original image and to show you our more developed version. Through the “EXODUS” album, you can discover the evolved and matured images of EXO. Since we are coming back after a year, we are really nervous and excited at the same time.
The album’s title is “EXODUS”, what is the meaning of it? Please tell us the album concept and the direction of the music in the album.
This album shows the shedding of EXO’s original image, as well as a more developed version of EXO. Through “EXODUS”, you can discover the evolved and matured images of EXO.
Before the album was released, each member had a “Pathcode #EXO” clip, which surprised fans around the world. What was the hidden meaning behind it or the concept of “Pathcode #EXO”? What is the connection between each members?
The hidden message of the Pathcode is “awakening”. This means that EXO has awakened their supernatural power, and evolved into the next stage.
Please share with us the music style, track, concept, MV of the title track “Call Me Baby”.
“Call Me Baby” is about a song for a girl that one loves. The girl can also be perceived as our fans, EXO-L. The music style is a combination of old school music, together with the harmonising cheerful brass sound and the old school drum beats. We used the “long-take” technique for the “Call Me Baby” music video, which is kind of similar to a transition from a boy to a man.
Please share to the fans your recommended track except the title track “Call Me Baby”, and the reason.
Xiumin: “EXODUS”, it has a very fancy and luxurious atmosphere in it.
Chanyeol: I’d recommend “Transformer”! This is a really suitable track for EXO’s style, also the song itself is really good.
Sehun: A track called “Transformer”. I liked it since I first heard it. I like this song the most among all the tracks in the album.
How is the fashion style (fashion concept) of this album?
The fashion style is very manly, with an old school concept. But at the same time, it has developed into something classy. So it is different.
Your first regular album and repackage album in total has sold more than a million copies, which made you million sellers. What is the goal and the expectation of this album?
Chanyeol: We have achieved million selling for the album “Growl”, and I hope we can do it again this time.
From pure pop to R&B to dance music, EXO’s music is a mix of genres. But which music genre do you prefer and who do you listen to?
Did it surprise you that so many people are connecting with EXO’s music? How have the fans changed every single one of you?
Through our fans’ love, we can feel the happiness even more and deeper. As we are well aware about our fans’ love and attention, we work as one since we want to feel more happiness and give more love to others
You guys were given the chance to travel overseas for work. Since most of the teaser videos were shot overseas, how does that feel? Which country was the most memorable one for you, so much so that it made you want to go back there?
Chanyeol: I went to Barcelona, Spain to shoot my “Pathcode” teaser. I was sad that I did not have the chance to get into Sagrada Familia Cathedral. If I have another chance to visit there, I would really like to go to the cathedral.
Once again, we would like to thank M.E Malaysia for arranging this interview for us.