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Since the start of their career, SF9 have showcased creative concepts and sonic styles in the K-Pop scene. It’s hard to deny the nine-member male group has a following in the UAE, seen when #SF9inDubai was one of the trending topics on Twitter in the UAE in anticipation for their performance here on October 17.

Along with K-Pop group Seventeen and actress Ha Ji-won, the FNC Entertainment’s act is in Dubai to promote the Korean wave in the UAE as honorary ambassadors for the Korea Brand & Content Expo 2019 Dubai.

Prior to their debut stage, Gulf News tabloid! caught up with the rising act. The members shared more on their upcoming performance in Dubai, their latest album ‘RPM’, concepts they’d like to try, what’s in store for them and more:

How are you all feeling about your first performance in Dubai?

Youngbin: We are excited to perform in Dubai for the first time. Thanks to Korea Brand & Content Expo 2019 Dubai for appointing us as the ambassador of the event, the excitement is twice as we could meet our FANTASYs [term for their fans] in Dubai.

Dawon: We are looking forward to the first performance in Dubai. We have prepared a lot to show the best stage to our Dubai FANTASYs.

What kind of performances are you all planning to show your fans?

Youngbin: As it’s the first time for us to perform in Dubai, we worked hard to make a bigger impression to FANTASYs who haven’t met us before. We will show you a powerful performance with SF9’s unique and trendy music, so please look forward to it!

With SF9 being ambassadors for Korea Brand & Content Expo 2019 Dubai, what are some of your thoughts on K-Pop’s popularity in the Middle East, especially in the UAE? Were you aware that there was a K-Pop following here?

Inseong: We’ve heard that K-Pop fans in the Middle East from other artists who have been here or through the news, but we couldn’t really feel it because we’ve never been here before. Then, fans have heartily greeted us upon our arrival in Dubai, so now we can feel the passion of K-Pop fans in the Middle East ourselves.

Hwiyoung: I know that a lot of other K-Pop artists have been seeing fans in the UAE through concerts and events. It is fascinating that we could communicate overcoming the language barrier we have, and we are anticipating to meet fans here more often through more activities.

I’d like to also touch upon your latest Korean EP ‘RPM’. What was the creative process and overall theme behind it?

Youngbin: ‘RPM’ is the title song and the album title describing the heartbeat as the speed of engine, RPM. It’s about fated love that one will run for till the end. Preparing the album ‘RPM’, all the members have vastly participated in overall production. Especially ‘Echo’, one of the songs in the album is the piece that Zuho participated in all the process of composing, lyrics and arrangement, putting our message to fans in it. It’s a song that Zuho and everyone of SF9 poured sincere hearts in, so hope fans enjoy this song a lot.

Inseong: ‘RPM’ is an album that members worked in all the process of production. Youngbin, Zuho, Taeyang, Hwiyoung, Chani worked on lyrics and Zuho took a part in composition and arrangement. We did our best to make a high-quality album. We will keep showing you the better version of SF9 every time.

Your latest single ‘RPM’ showed a bit of an image change from previous releases — a more powerful and futuristic new look. What usually inspires your concept changes and how do you get an understanding of what fans want to see you try?

Zuho: We tried to show a bolder and stronger performance with ‘RPM’. For example, to show the concept of ‘RPM’, which is speed of engine, we made choreography inspired by the engine or gauge of a car. We always try to show progress by getting feedback from fans on what they like and what they expect. We keep an eye on social media like YouTube and Twitter, or communicate with them through fan cafe or V app.

Chani: The biggest inspiration to us is our wish to always present sensational and new work through our albums. We try to do something more impressive that we haven’t tried before. We check social media to find the point where what we want to show and what fans want to see meet.

Do you have a music genre or a concept you’d like to try?

Taeyang: I want to try a concept that is a little sexier and more powerful than ‘Now or Never’. We’ve been trying many different genres, and we want to keep trying various genres without limiting ourselves to only one style.

Are you guys working on any new music right now?

Chani: Yes, we’re preparing a comeback while having the Asian tour. Please look forward to our new work... We are working hard to come back with good music so please wait for just a little more.

It’s almost the end of the year. How has 2019 been treating SF9? Do you have any standout moments?

Jaeyoon: Seoul concert is the most unforgettable moment. I felt the greatest happiness communicating with fans on the stage and every member had a solo performance in a way they wanted, so the impression from the concert lingered for a while.

Dawon: For me, the most memorable moment in 2019 was the SF9 Debut 3rd Anniversary Video Event. October 5th was the 3rd anniversary since our debut. Meeting the FANTASYs at the event, I realised again that we could come all the way here thanks to our fans who always support us. Thank you FANTASY!

Please say a few words to your fans.

SF9: Thank you all for your continuous love and support for SF9. We will keep advancing with full efforts. Please give SF9 a lot of attention and anticipation until we come back with a new album. I would like to thank FANTASY for always being there for us. FANTASY’s support and energy are the biggest power source to us. We will come see you soon with another great work. I love you FANTASY!