In the beginning of this year, K-pop boy band GOT7 celebrated their 8th year anniversary—split screened over Instagram Live, however their recent group comeback early this week, marked chapter two for the septet. A fresh new start for the seven members, following their departure from JYP Entertainment in 2021 and their decisions to sign with individual agencies to focus on their solo careers.
A K-pop group in the third generation, the seven members of the group, comprising Jay B, Mark, Jackson, Jinyoung, Youngjae, BamBam and Yugyeom, delighted fans all around the world last month when an official announcement was made for their comeback in May. A piece of news that didn’t just garner interest amongst their loyal fanbase (known as IGOT7), but to everyone who’s cognisant of the inner workings in the K-pop industry.
Since leaving a “Big-3” entertainment giant like JYP, many were sceptical of the future of the group, especially since all seven of them had individually embarked on a new journey with different agencies. They were also working in different timezones, with foreign members Jackson and Mark, who went home to China and L.A. respectively for their solo projects. From a professional standpoint, the odds were stacked against them—especially with multiple speculations for the rights of the name, GOT7.
Just this week, the group’s comeback with a self-titled mini album GOT7, was the ultimate stamp of veracity. First teased with a construction theme, while fuelled by new social media accounts—(read: @got7_isourname), it was clear that the septet was returning with renewed confidence and aplomb, along with the claim of their namesake. But unlike the past group comebacks, this one was distinctly different. The members had individual schedules to match, separate arrangements with their agencies, and a new distribution deal with Warner Music.
Above all else, they were also returning as a self-owned group with all trademark rights belonging to all seven members, which never actually been successful in the history of K-pop. First-gen boy band Shinhwa had to spend 17 years mired in legal battles before owning the rights to their name, while Beast had to end up renaming the group after leaving the agency. But to many who are applauding them for making history, the boys are quick to deny any praise. In an interview with GQ Australia, GOT7’s leader Jay B remarks: “It’s hard for us to say we’re the start of something because we received inspiration from our seniors. There was Shinhwa and g.o.d, we’re just following what they’ve done.”
He too credits the outcome to all members’s respective managements as well as Warner Music, adding that this comeback “feels like a dream”. With time not being on their side with conflicting schedules, the promotional period for the comeback had to be a brief and succinct one. Nevertheless, GOT7 successfully held a two-day fan concert offline and online from Seoul last weekend, as well as a couple of back-to-back schedules on 23 May—the official album release date.
It’s an unconventional route they’ve all embarked on, and at the same time, an exciting breakthrough for the Korean entertainment industry, considering the restrictions and tight layers that are typically concealed in a K-pop group. GOT7’s latest move might signal a new charge for bands to take full ownership of their own name with freedom, as long as a unified stance and the right support systems are in place.
Below, the seven members share more about the process of building a fresh start, their latest album GOT7 and what it was like reuniting as seven again.
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Tell us more about the album, GOT7.
Jay B: The name is GOT7, which reminds all seven of us how important GOT7 is. We all were involved in getting the songs and picking the songs. We had all the blind tests on the demos that we collected and written and ended up picking the songs that we produced. The title track, ‘Nanana’ is one for the fans, to be a source of healing to them. This GOT7 album really represents our appreciation to our fans, it’s no different from being called IGOT7.
Jinyoung: It really is the most GOT7-like album—from the looks to the music. GOT7 shined the most on stage when Jay B produced. so this album represents that.
Jackson: [The title track] is so GOT7. It reminded me of ‘Thursday’ and ‘Page’, where we have so much fun on stage.
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What was the process like working on the album?
Jinyoung: We had many FaceTime and phone calls due to being in different places and gathering restrictions. Since last year, we were getting demos and putting the songs together. Also each of our managements have been very supportive of us doing GOT7. It wasn’t easy, but at the same time, everyone was very supportive which we are thankful for.
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Mark: We were prepping this since last year so I’m happy that it finally happened.
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How was it like seeing the fans in person after so long?
Jackson: It was a great time. It’s been a while and I missed seeing the fans. It wasn’t easy, but I’m so happy that it finally happened.
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Youngjae: I appreciate that the fans have waited for us. It was good to engage with them during the last two days.
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What drove or inspired you all to comeback as seven?
BamBam: We promised our fans that we won’t be going anywhere. So we wanted to prove that we are not disbanded.
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What was it like seeing 'Nanana's MV for the first time?
Yugyeom: There definitely is more synergy when we are together as seven of us, as compared to doing solos. Because we know each other so well, hence we were able to do the best on the songs that are written by us.
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What was the process like bringing the official trademark of GOT7, as well as unit names, to each member?
Jay B: Jung Wook from JYP helped a lot during this process. Even our lawyer said it is not this easy, so I really thank him for that. I could’ve done this process through a third party, but I just wanted to do it myself and to get a signature from each of the members. During this process, I learned that it was not easy but made me appreciate the companies and staffs who are working with the artists and brands.
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What do the last seven years mean to you and how did you all feel making the new album?
BamBam: The last seven years were very meaningful. Because of those days, we are here now. We want to continue to put out a great album as GOT7. Can’t tell you when it is, but it will happen in the future.
Jinyoung : It reminded us a lot of when we debuted. The excitement, nervousness, going from early 20s to late 20s almost to the 30s, but this project made us look back and reminded us of when we debuted. The last seven years have been like our roots. We just want to now grow and branch out.
Jay B: The last seven years feel like a photobook. It was a time of continuous growth. We will try to evolve and go along with the change that will come in the future. I can’t promise that we are going to be as active as before, but we want to continue as GOT7 along with our solo works. We want to show a variety of GOT7. It’ll be cool to have a festival-like show once in two to three years.