A couple of weeks ago, Stray Kids made history in America when Billboard announced that their brand new album Ordinary was performing well enough to debut at No. 1. Billboard 200 albums chart. The seven-song collection scored the highest good sales week in 2022 as 103,000 people within the U.S. alone purchased a copy.
Ordinary was not just one of the very first. #1 album for the K-pop boy group and their debut on the Billboard 200. It’s rare for a band to reach the top in their first attempt; however, Stray Kids have been picking up momentum all over the globe for the last several years. And now, with the support from Republic Records, it seems there’s no limit to what they can do.
Stray Kids is now the third South Korean group to chart as a No. one album in the U.S., following BTS and SuperM. I had the advantage of having a conversation with the entire group (band leader Bang Chan answered most questions and translated for many of his group members) only hours after their success was revealed. We talked about their momentous occasion, reaching American fans and how they cannot be waiting to sing and sweat with their fans once more.
Hugh McIntyre: I am thrilled to speak to the band at the top. One album in America right now.
Bang Chan: Aww! It’s weird!
McIntyre What is it like to feel like to reach the No. 1 In America?
Bang Chan: Wow. It’s amazing. We heard about the news a while ago and were stunned. We weren’t sure the right words to use. We talked to one another and asked, “Did this happen?” We were looking through the newspaper, and we were all shaking. It was awe-inspiring. We were indeed able to achieve these results mainly due to how lovely and gorgeous Stays is. Also, a big Thank You to everybody there who showed appreciation and love for our new album.
McIntyre Is the 3rd Korean artist to release an album that ranks No. one album in America after BTS and SuperM. What is it like to be piece of that group?
Bang Chan: If we can reach this level, it is highly gratified. We believe that it was an extremely positive opportunity for us. We think it’s going to be another essential lesson…something that we could be able to learn from and inspire us to strive to be better and push ourselves to higher goals. As I mentioned before, it’s because of Stays that we’ve gotten this far. They provided us with an enormous and beautiful present. We want to make more to give them. It’s like a massive engine that propels us forward.
McIntyre: Absolutely. I have spoken to many artists making it on the Billboard charts, and I’m always interested. Sales numbers or charts positions, do you pay attention to them? Do they affect you?
Bang Chan: We try not to think about it for too long as we prefer to concentrate on what we’re doing right now. Focusing on what we’re supposed to be doing in the present will likely bring us great things soon. We review our past actions, the documents, and the history, but we look them up as great feedback. Reviewing our past experiences can help us grow. Therefore, I believe we pay attention to it, as we focus only on what we need to do today.
McIntyre The other day I was looking at an episode of the Gaon charts. The sales figures you have from Korea are incredible and the numbers there’s America too. It’s true. The statistics are actual. Millions of people globally are purchasing your album at a time when people aren’t doing that anymore. What do you do to grasp this kind of admiration?
Seungmin: In The Ordinary album, we did an ounce of variation. We were a bit nervous about making a change to something. I’m sure that a lot of Stays enjoyed the idea. We’re sure to be very grateful for the friendships we’ve built between Stays and us. We’re thankful for your assistance.
Bang Chan: In continuation of the topic Seungmin mentioned, We really emphasized the need to present something fresh by Stray Kids. The fact that the fans were pleased with it is really, very good to know. It was a great success.
McIntyre, I’m personally surprised because you’re involved in the writing process and the curating and the performance. This isn’t how most groups function. Why is it so vital for you to focus on all aspects that you perform?
Bang Chan” [Singling for ChangbinWe’re the ones performing. We’re the ones who sing on the stage. The audience is the one singing the lyrics. We think it’s vital that we’re the ones creating the message, to be honest and honestly express our emotions. We’ve been writing our songs since we were trainees. Since then, we’ve been creating music about what we want to convey about the message we want to speak to all. This is why Stays are really keen on hearing our songs.
McIntyre The first time I saw the E.P.’s title, I thought that it would be cool. I love the name quite a bit. It’s really clever. What made the idea come to you? this idea? What, if anyone may not be familiar with you or have heard of it, what does it mean?
Felix As Seungmin mentioned introducing the new concept…through which we wanted to convey not only our thoughts but also to offer something new and similar to the Stays around the globe. Therefore, with the words “ordinary” and strange, we decided to mix them up and transform it into Odd. We’re trying to say to inform people across the globe that it’s OK to be different. Being different is a way of showing how you can be unique and unique. It sends a powerful message and is very positive in every way.
McIntyre, A good explanation. It was a good explanation. What is it that makes Ordinary different from previous material? What is it that makes it different?
Bang Chan: [Translating for I.N.] The album is a masterpiece with its distinct concept, and in line with this concept are all the B-sides included in the album. Additionally, what’s separate from other E.P.s is that we’ve got two songs. The two units are entirely different. We’ve never seen it before. That’s a very significant distinction from other E.P.s.
McIntyre, The song is one that I thoroughly love, “Maniac.” The show is indeed about the subject on the show, but I genuinely love the show. Let me know the significance to you and what you would like people to get from it.
Bang Chan: (Translating in Lee Know] Most of our songs feature distinct types of music. Particularly “Maniac.” It’s got unique energy, but we wanted to convey an extremely controlled power that was slightly different in terms of vibe. As I mentioned earlier, we tried to communicate that it’s OK to be weird and unusual is, just average. It’s time to bring yourself and become a maniac. Bring out the maniac side of you. Do whatever you like and do whatever you’d like to do, and that’s the message you were hoping to convey.
McIntyre, I keep track of charts across the globe. I’ve already mentioned that your album’s success is very significant in Korea. It charted, and “Maniac” charted in the U.K. Now, it is charting that there are other countries as well. With just one album, you’ve gone from being one of the top groups in Korea to the top-performing artists around the globe. Do you find it difficult? How do you make that leap that fast?
Bang Chan: We still do not. It isn’t easy to comprehend for us too. We want to consider it as something we could take lessons from. Sure. It’s not like we’ve suddenly become superstars. It’s like an extremely long road that began with Stays. Together. We continue to move forward, and by bringing more people into the adventure, we’ve set out to start. This is what we’ll continue to strive for. Continue to go down the road. Continue to push towards the next step.
McIntyre, It’s your plan to tour the E.P., and it’s the most extensive tour you’ve ever done, I’m guessing. What do you think of the tour? Are you feeling excited? Are you worried?
Bang Chan: I am so thrilled!
[Translating for HanIt’s been so many years since the last time we saw Stays. The last time we saw them was two years ago. We truly, deeply are missing our Stays. We know there are Stays around the globe waiting to welcome us. Every day we’re working on the concert and preparing the tour. We’re thinking about our stays, which inspires us to prepare for the time around the world. So, we’re excited to go on tour.
Bang Chan: (Translating for HyunjinIt’s the summertime of the world tour time, and it’s quite a while since we’ve been touring in the summer heat, and he’s eager to experience the warmth of our Stays all over the globe. He is anxious to sweat it out as he sings.
McIntyre McIntyre: I don’t want to miss that, so great for you! For your younger fans who admire how you conduct yourself and believe they could wish to join this world, What tips would you offer them?
Bang Chan: The first thing I’d like you to do is to reiterate the message Ordinary is to be aware of the kind of thing you’d like to do. There’s no way to know if something is right or wrong; however, the only thing I can suggest is that if you’re comfortable with your choices and you find something you’d like to explore, take it on. Take advantage of the experience and be happy. I believe having fun doing what you’re doing is essential for anything you’re looking to try. If you’re someone who would like to experiment with music, I believe it’s vital, especially for music, to let go of being in control, not to limit yourself. Let it all out. For whatever you want to say, music can be the perfect platform for you to express it. If you ever do become an artist, perhaps we can meet!