Korea's popular K-pop group "Shinhwa" said recently, wants to remain the country's longest-running "boy band" as it announced plans for a new album and concerts after four years away from the stage.
Clad in sharp black suits, the six members of the group expressed their excitement at a news conference in Seoul to mark their 14th anniversary and upcoming Asian tour.
"I feel really great and thankful about coming back to the stage," Eric, the group's leader, told reporters. He is also chief executive of the Shinhwa Company, an entertainment agency set up by the group. "We will become a group that stays in the center of the pop musical world for a long time in the future, not ending with our 14th anniversary," he said.
He expressed special thanks to Lee Soo-man, a singer and head of SM Entertainment, for having "six boys of naught" gather under the name Shinhwa, and also the group's fans for their consistent support.
After making its local debut in March 1998, Shinhwa and another boy band "H.O.T," which has since disbanded, enjoyed huge popularity through the late 1990s.
Shinhwa took a break from group activities for the past four years since its last concert in 2008 to celebrate the 10th anniversary of the band's debut, as members fulfilled their mandatory service in the military. While on hiatus, the individual members have worked as television and musical actors, solo vocalists and television entertainers.
Vocalist Lee Min-woo recently completed his military service and the group is expected to release its 10th regular album later this month.
Kim Dong-wan, another vocalist, said there was no secret to the group's longevity, but simply luck.
"Some groups separate after their members fight but, fortunately, such things became chances to bring us together more tightly," he explained.
The group said they will try "to be more like themselves" rather than change their style to compete with a recent flood of K-pop groups.
"We want to show that being old does not always mean being a step behind and that a masterpiece is not made in a day," Eric said.
Shinhwa will mark its comeback and 14th anniversary with concerts at Seoul's Olympic Park on March 24 and 25. Tickets for the concerts were sold out within 40 minutes of going on sale, according to the agency.
After the Seoul concerts, the group will begin an Asian tour that will take it to Shanghai, Taiwan, Guangzhou, Tokyo, Kobe and Beijing until early July. (Yonhap)