ATEEZ makes one team! The K-pop boy group is known as the “pirates of K-pop,” but what exactly does that mean? Keep reading for everything we know about the eight-member band.

Who Are ATEEZ?

The group consists of group leader Hongjoong, along with Seonghwa, Yunho, Yeosang, San, Mingi, Wooyoung and Jongho. They debuted on October 24, 2018, with their songs “Pirate King” and “Treasure.”

Most K-pop groups have a “concept,” which is their overall theme which help separate them from other groups. For ATEEZ, they are known as the “pirates of K-pop.”

“The pirate concept fits us so well,” Hongjoong told The Ringer in February 2022. “It can be mysterious, it can be powerful—we can say so many things and express so much within that theme. There are so many different types of pirates!” Hongjoong laughed. “Not real pirates. But we can imagine the concept in so many different ways,” he affirmed. “It’s not official, but we want to do more with that in the future.”

One of the most impressive feats of this pirate band is their humble beginnings. Most K-pop groups nowadays debut under huge South Korean music companies such as HYBE (BTS and NewJeans’ music label) or the “big three” (SM, YG and JYP Entertainments), which lead to a wealth of resources, networking connections and an already established fanbase. However, ATEEZ is a successful group that comes from a smaller company, KQ Entertainment, which is a feat in itself.

“Many people say that I can be proud of being a group from a small company that has made their own way,” Hongjoong told i-D in March 2023. “So if we continually do it like this with ATINY [ATEEZ’s fanbase name], then in the future people might agree that ATEEZ have made a change in K-pop. I think for now though, we haven’t done enough.”

On top of their small company roots, the group has their unique sound created by the group’s own members, as Hongjoong is a regular producer of their songs — which is almost never heard of in the K-pop world.

“These days, when I write lyrics or produce a song, I just start from zero,” he explained. “Before, if we had a pirate theme, for example, I would start with that as a topic. That’s why I found it so hard.”

Scroll through the gallery below for a members guide to ATEEZ.

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