“The energy coming from our US STAY was truly amazing,” says Lee Know of Stray Kids, reminiscing on the experience of peering out into arenas filled with fans, collectively referred to as STAY. “Even after returning to Korea, we are still able to feel the emotions we felt onstage.”
Stray Kids — Bang Chan, Lee Know, Changbin, Hyunjin, HAN, Felix, Seungmin, and I.N — have two slogans they often tag onto videos and content. The first, “YOU MAKE STRAY KIDS STAY,” plays off the fandom name in addition to its encouraging sentiment; the second, “STRAY KIDS EVERYWHERE ALL AROUND THE WORLD,” feels like a succinct way to explain this moment in the group’s career.
The eight-piece K-pop act is in the midst of a world tour that shook arenas throughout the US this summer and is set to continue through Asia and Australia before the group returns to the States again in spring 2023. A sold-out global trek couldn’t slow their trajectory, so they’ve also released a new mini-album, MAXIDENT. It’s the group’s followup to March’s ODDINARY, an effort that debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard 200 albums chart — their first album to do so — cementing Stray Kids as just the third Korean act in history to achieve this feat. Stray Kids, everywhere, all around the world, indeed.
“We’ll always be hustling,” acknowledges Bang Chan (the group’s thoughtful, good-natured leader) when speaking with Consequence over Zoom a few weeks prior to MAXIDENT‘s release. “We still have a long ways to go.”
Over the course of eight tracks, MAXIDENT sees Stray Kids continuing to experiment and play, something that won’t come as a surprise to any longtime listeners. The group’s discography is largely written and self-produced by Bang Chan, Changbin, and HAN, who work collectively under the moniker 3RACHA. There’s always something to be said for groups who have a hand in creating their own music, especially within the idiosyncratic world of K-pop, and in the case of Stray Kids, it means the group has amassed an exciting, daring catalogue over the past four years.
Around the time Stray Kids sat down with Consequence, Bang Chan became the youngest K-pop idol within the top ten most credited writers in the Korean Music Copyright Association, with 137 songs registered to his name at the age of 25.