Enhypen Talk Embarking on First World Tour After Debuting Amid Pandemic: 'Everything's New'

·5 min read

Nearly two years into their K-pop stardom, Enhypen will finally get to perform offline on their first world tour.

On Thursday night, the group announced via social media that they'll embark on a series of fall shows, including six U.S. dates — in Anaheim, Fort Worth, Houston, Atlanta, Chicago and New York — in October, as well as several in Korea and Japan.

Aside from the stops, which were released on social media, details of the shows are still under wraps. "We can't say too much about the tour right now. All I can say is that we're very, very excited. We're really looking forward to it," Jake, 19, tells PEOPLE.

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The seven-member group — which also includes Jungwon, 18, Heeseung, 20, Jay, 20, Sunghoon, 19, Sunoo, 19, and Ni-Ki, 16 — debuted mid-pandemic in November 2020. So despite having released four mini-albums (the latest, MANIFESTO: DAY 1, dropped Monday and sold 1 million copies in two days) and racking up fans around the world, they've never actually played an official concert, and their experience as idols has been largely in isolation.

"Still, everything's new," says Jay, a Seattle native who moved to Korea in elementary school. "This album is the first [time] that we can do offline programs."

Enhypen tour announcement
Enhypen tour announcement


They got a taste of that in May, when they played an in-person set for their fans (known as Engenes, a play on "engines") as part of the KPOP.FLEX festival in Germany. They've also performed remotely for TV shows, including The Kelly Clarkson Show. But the upcoming tour will be another level they're eager to tackle.

"This is the first time meeting that many Engenes in one venue, so I'm very excited," says Heeseung. "I'm really looking forward to it, but it's also our first time doing the performances in a really long time. So I think we have to get really ready for it."

While they promise diligence in their tour prep, the group's aesthetic for MANIFESTO: DAY 1 paints a different picture.

"Our overall concept is troublemakers," says leader Jungwon. "So we're wearing these outfits that give off this kid gang vibe and using spray paint."

The album's six tracks follow suit, while sampling styles from rap to alternative rock. "We're trying many different genres to find our definitive colors and our style," explains Jake.

Enhypen tour announcement
Enhypen tour announcement


The first single, "Future Perfect (Pass the MIC)," they say, draws on Chicago Drill, a rap style made famous by artists like Chief Keef, and presented a unique challenge for the group.

"We have a lot of members who really love hip-hop, so we listen to it a lot in our daily lives, but we never expected that we were going to try this hardcore genre," says Sunghoon. "It was new to us. So we gained a lot of help from our producers."

The group's complex and athletic dance style suits it well. The "Future Perfect (Pass the MIC)" music video (top), which also came out Monday, was choreographed in collaboration with Nick Joseph, who's worked with their label-mates BTS (Enhypen's label BELIFT LAB is an offshoot of BTS's HYBE).

The single's moves are "the hardest definitely. By far," says Jake.

Adds Ni-Ki, "Performances are our strong suit, so every time we come back with a new album we need to outdo ourselves."

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The album name, MANIFESTO, is also meant to convey an image of strength and a powerful sense of self, something the group, which was formed on the reality competition show I-LAND, has put a new focus on.

"We still have that image, a group made through this show and we want to really shed that. I think those thoughts are really well contained in this album," says Jungwon.

Enhypen tour announcement
Enhypen tour announcement


"Future Perfect (Pass the MIC)," for example, contains references to earlier songs including the I-LAND theme and singles "Given-Taken" and "Tamed-Dashed," mixed with lyrics about breaking out and visuals including setting a hooded figure aflame, all implying a sort of kiss-off to their earlier iterations.

We talked a lot amongst ourselves and discussed how we can show an upgraded and improved version of ourselves," says Sunoo.

Jungwon also notes, "All the members participated in the album making, from lyric writing and production to the storyline." Jake was the first to have his lyrics make a final track, "SHOUT OUT."

"I remember when I first got the demo, [the producers] told us this song was going to be the song where we can really connect with our fans, so when writing the lyrics I was really imagining interacting with Engenes and performing in front of them," he recalls. "When I heard that my lyrics got chosen, I was very honored."

Enhypen tour announcement
Enhypen tour announcement


Another first can be found in the final song, "Foreshadow," which includes three languages: Ni-ki, who was born in Japan, speaks in Japanese; Jake who's Australian, was in charge of English, and all the members took part in the Korean portions.

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As they tick off career goals — they've been featured by TIME, made the year-end "Best Of" lists of NME, DAZED and others, and, perhaps most importantly for their fanbase, boast 11 million followers on TikTok — the members are determined to push even further.

"We have been on this journey for the last two years and we've received so much love that we feel really grateful," says Heeseung. "But we are not going to stay complacent. We're gonna keep going up and work even harder to move Engenes all over the world."