'This album is going to be a bridge for GOT7,' the band says of their most ambitious and globally-minded LP.
The minutes before an artist releases their new album are precious, understandably nerve-wracking moments, but it's business as usual with GOT7. As the band wrapped their first-ever press conference to introduce Present: You and its tracks to local media at a downtown hotel in Seoul, the septet sat down with Billboard and Billboard Korea to go deeper on the themes of the LP, the significance of recording in multiple languages, their reviews of each other's solo songs and more.
Earlier in the day, the band spoke to local press both individually and as a group to introduce their latest body of work. In its first half, Present: You is defined by group tracks like shape-shifting lead single "Lullaby," the slinky, house-y glitch-pop confection "Enough" and the lush, uplifting EDM drops in "I Am Me," all marking some of the septet's most ambitious and complex tracks to date. The second half sees the first time the band has included solo songs from each member to allow him to share his unique style, from leader JB's pristine, R&B-inspired delivery on "Sunrise" to Jackson's viciously bold rap style in "Made It" to Jinyoung's reflective pop on the acoustic-leaning "My Youth." Not to mention, "Lullaby" was recorded in Korean, Chinese, English and, unexpectedly, Spanish as a true Present for fans with the accompanying video earning more than 40 million views to date and GOT7's first top 10 entry on the YouTube Songs chart. Present: You also hit No. 1 in Korea and spends its third week on Billboard's World Albums chart this week.
It all likely fuels why GOT7 were approaching their new album release with a sense of calm and confidence -- as noted both by this reporter and the MC of their press conference -- as they portray an accomplished sense of giving their all for their art and for their fans. As Jackson sums up their sentiments, "To be very honest, rather than having No. 1 hits, trophies...result-wise, that's important. But what's more important is we really hope that our fans really love this album and enjoy listening. The result means a lot, but that's not where we're finally going to end."
BamBam notes the hard work that went in to this moment too. "I feel like this album is going to be a bridge for GOT7," he says. "We came so far, we just finished our world tour and we just worked hard. Everything we did, it was for this album and it can take us to the next level."
Since the band previously recorded a one-hour comeback music special that would air on Korean TV in the coming days -- featuring the first performances of their new songs as well as special renditions of previous singles like "Look" and "Girls Girls Girls" -- the hours following their new album aren't used rushing to the next event, but instead for some very-rare moments to hang around the hotel. Mark drapes himself in comfy lounge chair to watch the "Lullaby" video (K-pop stars, they're just like us) while others sit to munch on chocolate milk and specially made, GOT7-branded chewy rice cakes (a traditional snack in Korea to celebrate a big event) or chat with their managers before heading to their next scheduled event later that night.
Undeniably, there was a sense of satisfaction throughout the day that only comes with knowing one had put all they could into their work. "At this point, at this moment, we're doing good," Jackson says, before explaining more about the meaning behind his solo track "Made It." "The reason I said 'We made it' and 'I made it' is because there's no comparison with anyone else -- the biggest opponent is ourselves. We're living our lives, we're [with] our fans, we're having our concerts, everything is about our fandom and us. Anything outside of that it doesn't really matter."
That same energy carried throughout the promotions of Present: You, during which the band scored multiple first-place wins on Korea's popular music programs and got to promote their new music to fans in Korea and Thailand; the latter country saw a headlining slot at the inaugural KCON Thailand. While the era had all the markings of a successful promotional run on the outside, the most important part may have been in deepening the connection with their fans. One of the last moments of the promotions was, appropriately, an intimate fan signing.
As the band hint at new projects and tours to Billboard -- some coming sooner than later -- the presents for GOT7 and their fans don't seem to be ending anytime quickly. Watch the full interviews above and below.