Between dance practices, the members of ENHYPEN (JUNGWON, HEESEUNG, JAY, JAKE, SUNGHOON, SUNOO, and NI-KI) huddle around a Zoom call with Consequence. The atmosphere is casual — they’re in their practice clothes, a mix of tank tops and baggy tees, bright-eyed as they take turns introducing themselves.
While not the leader of the group — that title goes to JUNGWON, all of eighteen years old — Aussie bandmate JAKE assists with the majority of the conversation and translating duties. “We have practice and music show promotions after this,” he says. “A pretty busy day.”
The seven-member group recently dropped an EP, MANIFESTO: DAY 1, and are preparing for a world tour — their first, in fact. The global demand for the act is high. Having debuted in late 2020, the “MANIFESTO” tour will be the first time they’ll be able to perform for their fans, known as ENGENEs, worldwide. They’ve already charted on the Billboard 200 three separate times. They are the fastest K-pop group to reach 1 billion streams on their music. While ENHYPEN might be young, having not yet even celebrated two full years together, the term “rookie” doesn’t feel like it applies to anything about them.
Right now, though, dressed-down and casual, they look more like a group of friends than they do seven young stars within the rigorous world of K-pop. They work hard, to be sure, but they also enjoy plenty of things appropriate for people growing up as they are. SUNOO and JUNGWON love watching movies and going on walks together. JAKE and JAY are often at the gym — the latter is wearing a coveted HYBE gym shirt during the call — along with SUNGHOON, who adds that he loves playing video games, too. “League of Legends,” JAKE translates for him before bashfully hiding his face in his hands as the members laugh.
Their latest era, that of MANIFESTO: DAY 1, began with the lead single “Future Perfect (Pass the MIC),” which features choreography that quickly caught fire across K-pop TikTok. “I won’t be a fool no more/ I realize it now/ Give me that mic, this is day one,” HEESEUNG sings powerfully on the refrain.
The sentiment of the song communicates a desire for the members to stand on their own two feet, accepting their place within not only the musical landscape at the moment but the world at large, while also setting the stage for whatever next generation may follow.
“I believe our chemistry and our teamwork were one of the strongest points from the beginning,” JAKE reflects. “But as time goes by, it’s getting even stronger.”