When NCT DREAM made their live Stateside return last August as one of KCON’s most anticipated performers, a quiet moment when youngest member Jisung sang just two words from the boy band’s debut single “Chewing Gum” saw the Crypto.com Arena audience erupting into shrieks. It was a quick-but-telling indication of the local interest in the young boy band that made its Billboard 200 debut last year without a proper label deal.
While last summer’s festival appearance only included five of the seven NCT DREAM members, the entire DREAM crew is now gearing up for a proper visit to America.
On Tuesday (March 21), NCT DREAM dropped the English version of their nostalgic hip-hop single “Beatbox” before heading out on another string of dates in The Dream Show2: In a Dream world tour that includes seven arena shows in April. While many K-pop acts quickly make their way to the U.S. for concerts and opportunities — including NCT counterparts NCT 127, who began promoting in the States heavily after one year together — NCT DREAM is playing across the U.S. more than six and a half years after their debut. While it may have felt like a long wait, the band says the timing for the next step of their “journey” was important and they’re considering all aspects to make the next legs of the world tour special.
NCT DREAM’s Mark, Haechan, Renjun, Jeno, Chenle, Jaemin and Jisung tell Billboard that their newest English song not only was a present for the overseas fans they’re visiting, but also delivered a fresh musical experience for the band too. As the septet hint that more English tracks are on the way, and add they are “actively participating” in their forthcoming studio album due later this year, the focus right now is showcasing the onstage synergy of these seven — or “7DREAM,” as they call themselves.
Read more from the 7DREAM guys, including thoughts on their latest music, touring aspirations, messages for NCTzen fans, and what’s next for NCT DREAM.
Congratulations on the recent news of your growing world tour and English single “Beatbox.” You debuted in 2016; why is now the right time to focus some of your time on the west?
MARK: Everything comes with timing. This year, we are touring on a scale like never before and felt it’d be good to release an English single since we’re meeting fans around the world. We can’t wait to further continue our journey with all of our fans.
How was the experience of recording this new version of “Beatbox”? Is this indicating more English music from NCT DREAM?
RENJUN: It felt like we were recording a new song when working on the English version of “Beatbox” so it was quite fun. I tried to record in a way that’d suit the vibe of the track, and I believe this version shows NCT DREAM’s own colors well so I hope everyone enjoys!
HAECHAN: It’s been a year since we worked on this track again so I feel like we did better with recording this round. The demo track was actually in English; the vibe we first got when listening to it combined really well with NCT DREAM’s to give this version its own sense of uniqueness. And I hope people will look forward to hearing more of NCT DREAM’s English tracks!
What should fans expect from the U.S. leg of the The Dream Show2? Will you prepare special stages, or do you want to keep the current show intact?
JENO: This U.S. tour will be a chance for fans to learn more about NCT DREAM. We are also working hard to make sure that our shows are a place of interaction with our fans. We’ve only performed in the U.S. twice before, so it’ll be exciting to get to see different locations, stay longer and meet more of our international fans.
JAEMIN: I hope fans are excited for not only the “Beatbox” English version but all the stages we’ve prepared! Lots of work went into preparing to finally meet our U.S. NCTzens—we hope they are equally as excited to see NCT DREAM.
This is your first time performing your own concerts in America and you’re playing arenas. Is anyone surprised by the demand for NCT DREAM in the States?
CHENLE: It’s mind-blowing to see so many people show their love and support, and I cannot express enough how thankful we are.
JISUNG: This is the first time after the pandemic that we’re going to the U.S. as “7DREAM,” so it hasn’t quite hit us yet but I’m sure the moment we see our fans up close, it’ll sink in.
MARK and HAECHAN, you’ve had some experience with NCT 127 promoting across the U.S. Did you share any advice with the other members?
MARK: The only advice I told them was how hard we’re going to work. [Laughs] Despite my experience with NCT 127, promoting for NCT DREAM is a new beginning and experience for all the seven of us. The only thing I had to discuss with our members was to be ready to work extra hard, and to try our best to interact with our fans as much as we can.
HAECHAN: I just hope everyone enjoys the moment. It’s our first time in the U.S. as 7DREAM and I’m sure people are excited as well, but it’s important that we enjoy it ourselves so that we can create those memories for our fans.
Anything you’re particularly excited about seeing during the tour?
JENO: I’m most excited to hear the cheers of our NCTzens in all the countries and cities we’ll be going to.
CHENLE: I am looking forward to showing the amazing stages we’ve prepared to all the NCTzens that’ll be coming to see us! I’m also excited to be going to California because I’m a big Stephen Curry fan! We haven’t had much time to explore the U.S. so even the thought of simply being in California is exciting.
NCT DREAM has been so busy! You released Candy for the holidays, your first Japanese single “Best Friend Ever” at the top of 2023, there are Asia, Europe and now U.S. tour dates; when are you finding the time to relax and rest?
RENJUN: Even when we’re busy with several activities, it’s always a good time because it’s spent with my members so even working feels like fun — that in itself sounds like healing to me!
JISUNG: When we have a lot of schedules, there are times when we aren’t able to rest as much but I’m the kind of person who gains more energy from staying active. I do make sure to relax and take care of myself though on days that are less busy.
What else can we look forward to in 2023? We’ve seen a studio album on the schedule for you. Are there any spoilers you can share?
JAEMIN: We are actively participating in our upcoming full-length album and working very hard to bring out the best. I hope people will be able to see just how much we’ve put into it when the album comes out.
Anything else to add for Billboard readers or U.S. fans?
MARK: NCT DREAM is here to see you guys!!! Thank you to all the fans that waited so patiently for us to come—can’t wait to show you NCT DREAM and how we really care about our time here in the west. See you, guys!