BTOB’s Eunkwang Talks About Group’s Upcoming 10th Anniversary, His “Rival” Junior Artist, And More

BTOB’s leader Eunkwang has finally made his comeback!

On June 8, Eunkwang released his first mini album “FoRest: Entrance,” making his official return to the music industry following his discharge earlier this year. He commented, “Rather than a comeback, I see this as a solo debut. I think of myself as a rookie. Since being discharged, it feels like a huge wall has been removed. I feel more carefree as a person and mature as a singer.”

Excluding Peniel, who is an American citizen and not required to enlist, the remaining members of BTOB are now all completing their military service. Eunkwang spoke about his members’ enlistments, saying, “The treatment is very good these days. I told them to just be healthy. Since Yook Sungjae is still in basic training, I want to text him when he gets his phone. I want to tease him.”

Following his discharge, Eunkwang has also been busy with various variety shows. He commented, “I feel so passionate. It’s also bittersweet that I feel like such a senior with the arrival of so many new junior artists. Since there are so many multi-talented people in the industry, I’ve been working hard so I don’t fall behind. These days, PENTAGON is really cool.”

Eunkwang’s album “FoRest” also means “For Rest,” representing the warm comfort he wishes to convey through his music. He explained the inspiration behind his album, sharing, “While in the military, I spent a lot of time with friends in their early to mid-twenties. They had a lot of concerns both for the moment and regarding their discharge. I wanted to become of strength to friends like them. They enjoyed when I told stories about my past. I thought about unfolding that through music. In the future, I want to provide healing to youth and others who are having a hard time.”

Eunkwang personally starred in his music video for his title track “Nobody Knows,” of which he shared, “I’ve been receiving acting lessons. Sungjae has been supporting me lots. When I tell him I received lessons, he asks what I learned. Even when I was memorizing my script in the waiting room for my musical, Sungjae would come and play the opposite role for me. He’s a friend I am thankful for. When we filmed music videos with the seven of us, we would get rest time. However, since I’m filming alone, it was hard, and I missed them a lot. But I did enjoy feeling like I became the main character.”

After debuting in 2012, BTOB is now in their ninth year of promotions. Eunkwang commented, “We survived the 7-year jinx,” referring to the jinx where many idol groups seem to disband after their initial contract — often a 7-year contract — expires.

He continued, “Thankfully, the BTOB members are all kind. They comfort me and listen to what I have to say. I’m just thankful. We honestly don’t have anything to fight about and just resolve everything by talking. I always think that BTOB is standing together behind me.”

Eunkwang spoke about their upcoming 10-year anniversary, sharing, “Although there aren’t official plans for our 10th anniversary, I’ve talked about it a lot with the members. Since our enlistments were decided suddenly, we worried a lot about whether we would be able to celebrate our 10th anniversary. However, since [Hyunsik, Ilhoon, and Sungjae] will be discharged in time, I think we will be able to. We’ve been thinking of an album, concert, and more. We’ve even been calculating the date. BTOB’s full-group 10-year anniversary will be in 2022. Please look forward to it lots.”

With his new release, Eunkwang also talked about the competition in the music industry these days. He mentioned a potential “rival,” sharing, “Kim Jae Hwan is so good at singing. It feels like a rivalry. I need to follow and practice that much more and am just engaging in friendly competition.”

Lastly, Eunkwang commented, “I feel a responsibility as leader. As my five friends are in the military right now, I can feel that Melody (BTOB’s fandom) misses them a lot. Since I’ve been discharged, I want to fulfill that with my promotions. As leader, I will do my best and make sure our Melody members do not feel lonely.”

Watch Eunkwang’s solo music video here!

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