K-pop group HOT ISSUE talks about their debut, first single album ‘ICONS’; getting inspired by BLACKPINK, Ariana Grande, OH MY GIRL

To say it’s been an eventful year in the music industry would be an understatement. We witnessed some of the most successful solo debuts in the K-pop industry; new eras of music have highlighted the strengths of the groups. Amongst them is HOT ISSUE, the group that aims to rise through their talents.

EXCLUSIVE: K-pop group HOT ISSUE talks about their debut, first single album'ICONS'; enjoys listening to BLACKPINK, Ariana Grande, OH MY GIRL

Formed by S2 Entertainment in 2021, the group consists of seven members: Mayna, Nahyun, Hyeongshin, Dana, Yewon, Yebin, and Dain. They made their debut back in April with 'Issue Maker' and have already made their comeback in September 2021 with their first single album ICONS. They emerged as a prominent rookie icon of the 2021 K-pop music scene receiving love and support from the public while becoming a hot topic at the same time as their debut presenting eye-catching charm and unique identity.

HOT ISSUE’s 1st single album intuitively conveys a message that everyone is an extraordinary being, and that they can be an ‘icon’. Especially, this album is anticipated to showcase HOT ISSUE’s musical growth and greatly improved stage performance. The title song of this album ‘ICONS’ more powerfully conveys HOT ISSUE’s slogans ‘upfront’ and ‘fearless’. It presents the idea that I can also change and color the world with my own color after breaking the systemized rules although ‘I’ as a being may seem feeble and powerless. Additionally, they enhanced the level of understanding of this song by presenting a world that is changing bit by bit by the members fearlessly standing up for freedom in the music video.

In their first-ever interview with Bollywood Hungama, HOT ISSUE talks about their debut, their first single album, shooting ‘ICONS’ music video, enjoying the music of Ariana Grande, K-pop groups BLACKPINK, OH MY GIRL, DREAMCATCHER among others.

What is the concept of the single album ‘ICONS’?
YEWON: 'ICONS' is a concept that reveals the confidence and honesty of HOT ISSUE, which contains the message that everyone can break the set rules and change the world with their own color.

How fun was it to shoot the music video for the title track ‘ICONS’? Share some anecdotes.
YEBIN: We filmed the music video outdoors, and I remember it was really hot because of the sunlight. Still, I feel good because the natural light seems to be beautifully captured on the screen as much as we worked hard.

MAYNA: There was a scene that we filmed on a high rooftop, and I was really scared because I was afraid of heights. But I got better because I was holding hands with DAIN and NAHYUN next to me.

DAIN: When we filmed the music video, there were many scenes from high places. Before I went up without knowing that I am afraid of heights, I thought it would be cool to shoot there, but after I got there, I was so scared. But the members talked to me and held my hands, so I remember finishing the shoot safely.

Tell us something about the B-side track 'Hot Candy'?
DANA: The B-side track 'Hot Candy' is a song of a genre that combines trap-pop, comparing confidence in attractiveness that you can't escape once you fall for it to 'Candy'.

You are an all-rounder group with rap, vocals, and dance skills. Why was it important you’re your hone all the skills as a debut group?
YEBIN: There are still many shortcomings, but I think it's to show more diverse aspects and prove our skills and talents as artists.

NAHYUN: And since we are a team, I think the individual improvement in skills leads to improvement in the team as a whole. That's why we try to improve individual skills as a member of the team and for ourselves.

You've debuted this year and, in few months, you are making a comeback. What's something each of you has learnt so far as artists?
HYEONGSHIN: First of all, the biggest thing we felt together was that we got stage experience. And I think we learned a lot from the fact that so many people help to create a stage, and from feeling and expressing gratitude for them.

What’s one takeaway for each of you from this album?
NAHYUN: I think choreography of 'ICONS' is a genre that I haven't tried throughout my trainee period and even after we debut. So I think we were able to expand the scope of our dance genre while preparing for this album.

YEWON: Personally, I think our teamwork and my vocal skill has improved a lot. I felt that our teamwork improved a lot while preparing for 'ICONS' as I saw us matching much easier and faster than 'GRATATA'. As for vocal skills, it was my first time to sing a bridge part which has such a high note, so I felt a lot of pressure, but I think my skills improved in the process of practicing it.

YEBIN: All of the members seem to have a deeper understanding of the song through this album.

MAYNA: All of the members got cooler than before and everyone's confidence has increased.

DAIN: I think we've gained a lot from our skills, and I think our teamwork has improved also.

HYEONGSHIN: As I tried and practiced understanding the concept of this album, my confidence seem to have been charged a lot.

DANA: I think it's a vocal skill because I became to be able to sing the range of notes that I couldn't easily do during 'GRATATA' promotion. So I think it is the vocal skill and my red hair.

EXCLUSIVE: K-pop group HOT ISSUE talks about their debut, first single album'ICONS'; enjoys listening to BLACKPINK, Ariana Grande, OH MY GIRL

Since you debuted amid the pandemic, how have you kept yourself motivated during this past year?
DAIN: First of all, it was very sad and shame that there were no fans when we had the concert, but our fans cheered us a lot and sent us a lot of letters, so I was able to gain energy.

NAHYUN: Everyone hopes and strives to make the situation gets better quickly now, and I think this period will pass someday. It's very sad that we can't meet our fans face-to-face right now, but nevertheless, thanks to the fans who continue to support us, I think we should put aside our disappointment for a while and prepare for our comeback harder.

There are so many things to explore music and concept-wise. What would you try to do next?
YEWON: There are a lot of things I want to try and do, but I think we'll do well even with concepts like high-teen, so I'd like to try it at least once.

DANA: We are ready to pull off the concept no matter what concept it is, but personally, since 'GRATATA' and this album is focusing on delivering energy, I would like to try a song that can comfort the public, focusing on vocal skills.

Who are some of your favourite artists who you listen to a lot?
NAHYUN: I have a lot of songs on my playlist, but the artist I listen to the most is Ariana Grande since a long time ago.

YEWON: I like Dreamcatcher. There are many good songs and strong songs, but I listen to them very often because there are many recharging songs and lovely and bright songs.

YEBIN: I like OH MY GIRL. I really like them because I have a memory that I cheered up while listening to OH MY GIRL's songs whenever I had a hard time.

MAYNA: I like BLACKPINK. When I listen to their songs, I gain energy.

DANA: For me, it is Kiana Ledé. There are many things to learn musically from her so I like her.

HYEONGSHIN: I listen to CL's songs a lot. When I listen to it, I feel confident, so I listen to it often.

DAIN: I listen to a lot of Jessi's songs. She is really cool and I remember that she gave me a lot of energy. I'm gaining energy from her songs a lot these days.

Do you have a message for your fans in India?
MAYNA: We worked hard on our new album, so please give us a lot of support. Thank you always and we'll work harder in the future. HOT ISSUE will never let you down.

NAHYUN: I hope the situation will get better as soon as possible so that we can meet face-to-face. We prepared a lot for the comeback album 'ICONS' which has a different charm from 'GRATATA', so please show a lot of interest and look forward to it. Thank you so much~

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