NCT 127 on their 'First Love,' connecting virtually with fans, and new Japanese mini-album, 'LOVEHOLIC'

NCT 127 on their 'First Love,' connecting virtually with fans, and new Japanese mini-album, 'LOVEHOLIC'

From long-distance relationships to the exciting feeling of infatuation to self-love, NCT 127's new Japanese mini-album is riddled with love stories. Entitled LOVEHOLIC, the new record is the K-pop group's highly-anticipated gift to their fans.

"It's been a while since the last album was released in Japan, so we had a strong desire to make everyone happy with this new release," NCT 127 tells Bandwagon.

NCT 127 is a subunit of NCTa group that currently has 23 members total. Divided into smaller units based in various cities and take on different concepts, NCT 127 focuses on showcasing "Seoul to the world". The unit comprises Taeyong, Taeil, Johnny, Yuta, Doyoung, Jaehyun, Jungwoo, Mark, and Haechan. 

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LOVEHOLIC marks the group's second Japanese record, following their first full-length album Awaken in 2019. In true NCT 127 fashion, the group returns stronger than ever in an explosion of fury, passion, and power. The record showcases the versatility of the group, tackling both aggressive rap verses and melodic synth-filled waves of groovy R&B, while simultaneously narrating an array of love stories.


"This album has a variety of drama unfolding within it. The songs have such stories wherein we can find what is truly important for us only in these situations. Above all, we have made an effort to create an expression unique to NCT 127 so that you can find more enjoyable aspects in each song," says Yuta. 

Bandwagon caught up with NCT 127 to talk about their creative process and the stories and adventures that inspired their album LOVEHOLIC.

What type of music and themes can we expect from LOVEHOLIC? What was the process in conceptualising this particular comeback?

Johnny: We’ve enjoyed preparing the album, hoping that as many people as possible would like it, and similar to the previous NCT 127 albums, we wish that there would be a new discovery every time you listen to it.

Taeyong: Thinking deeply of someone, such as the frustration of not being able to meet your loved ones in person, the warmth and love that you feel even if you can’t see each other, and the scenery of having an exciting date with the one you love, are expressed in various forms of love stories in this album.  

Does the creative process differ when you’re creating a Japanese album compared to a Korean one? Do you face any challenges of performing and recording in Japanese?

Doyoung: For every album, each member interprets and expresses the meaning of the melody and lyrics while valuing the theme. In any language, we try wholeheartedly to pronounce the words correctly so that the people who listen to our songs can purely enjoy the music. More than that, we enjoy working through and trying new things on how we can express each song every time. 

Could you tell us more about the song ‘First Love’ and what story it tells?

Jaehyun: The theme is brand new love and the first date that many people may have experienced. For some of you, the experience may be just recent, and for others, it may have been a long time ago (lol). Anyone who has memories of their first love will surely remember that bittersweet twinge. I think it's a song that makes you feel a little melancholy with its old-school R&B-sounding melody, and it can be a piece of familiar background music that fits each listener’s world.

Mark: It’s like preparing to go out excitedly, but when you find your favorite girl from behind, your heart beats fast and can’t start talking to her. Or it’s like noticing the extraordinary scenery around you that you usually don't realise or feeling the power that you can do anything... Nowadays, I remember those days when I was able to see our fans in person that I can't now. I would love to sing the song with them when we meet again.

You mention that ‘First Love’ is a fresh and lighthearted take on the experience of brand new love. What other perspectives on love can we expect from the new album?

Yuta: Each song has a spicy keyword. You can enjoy it in various ways, such as simply enjoying the melody, or reading the lyrics carefully and making it feel like a short story.

'gimme gimme' is about a man who goes after his love though it’s not going the way he wants. 'Lipstick' is about a man who is crazy about a girl and being swayed by her charm every time her lipstick color changes (lol). 'Chica Bom Bom' is passionate, but it's very pure. 'Right Now' expresses a situation where you can't meet people freely right now, but you can feel love by talking and sending messages through your smartphones.  'Kick It' is a song with a message to overcome everything and to love oneself deeply.

Haechan, you described the title track, 'gimme gimme' as “an intense love song.” What kind of intensity should we anticipate from NCT 127 with this new song?

Haechan: If you look at the lyrics, you can see how the main character in this song strongly seeks love. In this song, I think his complicated feelings are expressed by the contrast between the rap and the vocal parts. The lyrics "gimme gimme" is repeated, but I think each repeat describes the ups and downs of feelings that are slightly different from each other. I believe you can feel the intensity with more impact when you watch the music video! 

In your previous online concerts, you’ve mentioned that you miss seeing fans in person, but are there any positive aspects you’ve discovered when it comes to connecting with your fans virtually/online?

Taeil: The positive aspect was that we were able to take on the challenge using various technologies.

I think people enjoyed the online concerts in ways that are different from live concerts where we can meet and enjoy in person. I think people enjoyed our stage to the fullest. So I think the good points were that we could try things that would have been challenging if it were offline, and also see everyone’s thoughts streamed in the comments section while it was online. 

Where would you like to go first (in Southeast Asia) when it becomes safe to do live concerts again?

Jungwoo: I want to go to all the places where people say, 'We want to see your stage' as soon as possible! lol

I truly feel everyone’s support from Southeast Asia. We often talk among the members that we are so happy that our fans in Southeast Asia are very passionate. Also, I want to try out cuisine that is unique to the country I visit, so I can't narrow it down to one place!! lol

Listen to NCT 127's LOVEHOLIC here.