Stray Kids Aim to Reach A Global Audience with Relatable Take on K-pop: 'Stray is Okay'

.@Stray_Kids discuss their career, the 'Clé' album series, and their artistic vision

2/14/2020 6:32:00 PM

.Stray_Kids discuss their career, the 'Clé' album series, and their artistic vision

Stray Kids open up about their music, motivations, and more amid their 2020 District 9: Unlock world tour.

I.N: I didn’t write this, but in “My Side” there’s a lyric- Bang Chan: [translating}: “I hope these lyrics touch your ears.” I.N: I think about that a lot. Based on that lyric... How do you feel about the fact that maybe the lyrics aren’t reaching your listeners ears, since many don’t understand Korean or, with the new songs, English without a translation? 

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Bang Chan: For me, it’s pretty funny. And they [the members] may not know this as well. But sometimes I listen to Indian music, sometimes I listen to Spanish music as well, usually from Spain. Honestly, I have no idea what they’re saying. But I dunno, just the vibe of the song and how the person actually sings it, I get a lot of different feelings as well. That kind of makes me want to find out what the lyrics actually mean, and what the singer really wants to say through the song. I do understand that there may be Stays that may just listen to our songs but not understand the lyrics, and I completely understand how that feels as well. So just want to put that out there. [Laughs] 

Han: People may not understand the message completely but, while there’s strength obviously in lyrics there is also strength in the melody and just the song in general as well. We do think about that as we perform and sing these songs because there are different ways you can gain strength through music, the lyrics are just one element. 

In theCléalbum series, you went kind of grittier, darker, sometimes industrial, and just generally more experimental than some of your prior releases. Where did you draw inspiration from?Bang Chan: I think you’re probably talking about “Side Effects,” and also “Maze of Memories” which is really gritty as well. For “Maze of Memories,” it was pretty fast. We wrote it pretty fast. The lyrics go really deep. But we wanted to try a really raw -- If you listen to the song, the rhythm changes, the BPM changes, the vibes of the song changes, the instruments change as well. I dunno. We just felt like through this

Cléseries, especiallyClé 1where “Miroh” talks about just going for a new challenge with a lot of confidence. With that being said, we wanted to make a song like “Maze of Memories” really experimental.You said it took a short period of time to write the song, but what does that mean exactly? How long is your songwriting process usually like that that was considered fast? 

Han: It’s always different, every song. On average maybe 4-5 hours. Bang Chan: If everything flows smoothly. And we have to do the guide as well. With a guide, like six-plus hours. You talked a bit about what you wanted forClé 1,but now that you’ve finished the entire series, what do you want listeners to take away from the sonic era as a whole? 

Changbin: We told a lot of stories through theCléseries. There were a lot of moments where we had a lot of confidence, and ones where there’s a lot of confusion, a lot of thoughts running through our head. A lot of people are going through that same thing as well, when they’re going through a lot of confusing thoughts in their heads. So we wanted to relate to other people going through that. I was kind of hoping that when people listen to this series, they can overcome those moments together [with us] by relating to each other. 

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Are these feelings that you’re feeling as well? Changbin: Of course. I feel like everybody goes through that at some point. You released a lot of music videos throughout theCléseries. How do you feel the visual elements help relay your lyrical messages, if at all?

Bang Chan: Last year, we had so many music videos. But if I had to pick some, for example “Side Effects” itself has a lot of...Seungmin: ...Easter eggs. Bang Chan: Yea, easter eggs. Especially for “Levanter,” it has a lot of easter eggs. Everything has its own meaning. I guess we know what it’s really about, and it is kind of difficult but it’s always fun to know what Stays think about it as well, because Stays do have a hard time trying to really solve what the music video is actually talking about. Even at a fansign event, they’ll be like, “So what does this video mean?” Like, “No, you gotta find out for yourself.” It’s kind of really fun to just know that Stays are trying to solve what the music videos are actually talking about. 

Changbin: It’s like, “You should guess.”  Read more: billboard »

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