The web-like world of K-pop can seem awful sticky for a first-time fan – especially when trying to track SS301 (sometimes “Double S 301”). SS301 is a new name for an old band, which is itself a spin-off outfit of an older group.
Confused? Here goes in a nutshell: Five-piece boyband SS501 hit big with their 2005 breakout release Warning. So big that two members went off to star in musicals and manga projects. The remaining members – Heo Young-saeng, Kim Kyu-jong and Kim Hyung-jun – carried on regardless, in 2008 releasing upbeat dance track U R Man, under the name SS501 Special Group.
When the band regrouped as a quintet again a year later, the trio concept was put on hold, but it continues to hold a special place in fans hearts.
All the members went on to pursue successful solo careers, with fleeting five-piece reunions in 2010 and 2013. However, in early 2016 it was announced the same “Special Group” trio would be reviving that line-up – now dubbed SS301 – because the other two members of SS501 are currently undergoing military service.
Far from writing former bandmates Kim Hyun-joong and Park Jung-min out of the story, the trio have symbolically dubbed their comeback EP Eternal 5.
SS301, who launched first trio tour in seven years with a concert in Seoul on March 19, talk about their reunion and the Abu Dhabi gig.
How does it feel to be working together as a three-piece again after all this time?
We’re enjoying being together. We are always excited about every second because we were not only thinking of the group, but also our fans. It is not a new plan to comeback as this group, we all talk about the subject every time we met.
You’ve all pursued solo careers, but always return to the band. What is it that draws you back?
We never thought we were interrupting the activity of the group while we were going solo. Naturally, each member has a great career as a solo musician. However, we are sure that the more important thing is the gift of having fans who always support us. We think we should look our best as “the group”, because we have been loved as “the group” from the start.
Is there is a possibility of the band members currently serving in the military rejoining further down the line?
There was nothing to do but come back as three members. We look forward to bringing the band together soon.