“At the beginning, we said to ourselves: ‘we did not ask for this'”

If you search for Ten and YangYang on YouTube, several fan-made compilation videos appear. Snippets of them feuding on Instagram Live, having fun behind the scenes at music videos, and pairing up in variety show content are put together, showing their quick rapport with each other. It’s so contagious that you can almost feel yourself getting closer and closer to the screen to listen as they naturally finish each other’s sentences. It’s a dynamic that many have playfully dubbed “brotherly energy,” an instinctive shortcut clearly born of living and working together for so long as members of WayV, the China-based sub-unit of NCT. .

After making their debut at WayV in 2019, the duo joined forces as a duo for the first time in August with the release of the English-language single “Low Low”, a summer track inspired by drum’n’bass. Both hyphenated when it comes to playing, the song – complemented by a colorful music video and choreography just eager to be the next TikTok trend – gives Ten and YangYang a space to shine. ‘a different way than they had before and the pairing feels like a natural fit. “I spend most of my time with YangYang, and we fight a lot,” Ten reveals to NME by video call, pointing out that it is mostly just quarrels and jokes. “I do a lot of things with him, like watching movies and trying to drag him out of his room.”

“If it hadn’t been for him, I wouldn’t come out of my room,” laughs YangYang in agreement. He says he’s a planner while Ten is someone who goes with the flow (something he used to his advantage recently when he convinced Ten to buy a skateboard on a whim, even though he had been planning how to get there for a while). They’re clearly chalk and cheese in many ways, even down to the specific types of nerves they feel when it comes to getting out of music.

“I think I get nervous before [performance] scenes, because there is time between the end of the clip and the passage on stage, ”reveals YangYang. “So before the stage you just say to yourself, ‘I don’t remember the choreography! What if I do it wrong? What if I have the wrong words or whatever? ‘ Yeah, I think it’s a little nervous for us.

YangYang from NCT. Credit: SM Entertainment

“For you!” Ten playful goals, this brotherly energy radiating again across the screen like these YouTube compilations. For Ten, nerves come when he shoots a music video: “During the music videos, everything has to be on time, right? And then you might have, say, two takes to film a role, and during those two takes I have to give my all, and I need to express myself as much as I can for a short time. time.

However, the duo recognize that their differences make their work dynamic, so much so that they are already planning more music in the future as a unit: “There is more to come so we can take it slow,” YangYang , the youngest of the pair, cheekily announces before quickly jumping to confirm that nothing is set in stone yet. “We just decided for ourselves now that we’re going to do more as a duo.”

They reiterate throughout the conversation that they want to challenge themselves with new genres and styles, and that that desire might have come from the initial route they wanted to take with the release that ended up being “Low Low”. . “We wanted to do something like Post Malone first, a heavy hip-hop vibe. We wanted something very powerful, ”reveals Ten. “They sent us ‘Low Low’, and at first we thought ‘we didn’t ask for that’, but it’s still a good opportunity for us because we never tried easy music. To listen “.

Despite this initial reluctance, it didn’t take long for the song to take hold of the couple. “The second day and the third day [after hearing the demo], even when we brushed our teeth or ate, the song kept coming out, ”YangYang admits. “We were like ‘this song is catchy’. Even our [WayV] the members continued to sing. The song would come out unconsciously.

Ten and YangYang live with their five fellow WayV members in dormitories they also share with two cats, Leon and Louis, and a beagle named Bella. The group is the Chinese sub-unit of NCT, and although none of the members are Korean (Ten is Thai-Chinese and YangYang is Taiwanese), they are primarily based in Seoul.

While a shared space of seven people and three animals may seem like the antithesis of a quiet environment – as members of NCT, the couple often juggle some of K-pop’s busiest schedules (not to mention Ten’s role as a member of SuperM and his recent promotions for the solo single ‘Paint Me Naked’). It’s obvious that it’s important for the group to feel like a home away from home, and YangYang says their pets, who now have almost as much affection from fans as the members themselves, are one. great part: “My room is directly at the front door, so every time we come home you just see our cats sitting on my bed.” I think it’s kind of like a welcome home for us.

But while the couple praise the times when they can kick back and relax (Ten enjoys painting, looking after his cats, and meeting friends while YangYang enjoys playing games and sleeping), it’s obvious they think already to what they can do to develop their work with ‘Low Low’. Fearfully humble, and perhaps hardened by the confrontational nature of online criticism, Ten admits to reading the comments from fans (referred to as Weishennie). “I think it’s fun reading the comments section. Everyone shares their own thoughts on the story and how the concept has evolved, and it’s just fun for me to read what they think about it, ”he admits.

nct wayv yangyang ten talk down down
Ten from NCT. Credit: SM Entertainment

Yet the singer also believes that he also sees it as a way to improve himself: “I think we have to read it because it is also part of the learning. Like, what people want might be different from our own thoughts about music and stuff, like “Oh, I think it’s good,” but everyone would think it’s good. People have a different point of view.

We are now closer to 2022 than to early 2021, and with more light at the end of the pandemic tunnel than ever before, the pair are looking to the future with vigor and drive to create their own opportunities. “I feel very fulfilled with this project,” Ten remarks tenderly, “so hopefully next year we can do more duet stuff with a different sound, a new choreography, a new concept and trying to change. role and all. “

Ten and YangYang’s New Single “Low Low” Now Available.

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