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Stray Kids on ‘Lose My Breath’ With Charlie Puth, 2024 Album, Tour


Only two months ago, Stray Kids told Billboard the band’s 2024 would be “very different from what we’ve done so far,” with the four-time Billboard 200 chart-toppers’ latest New York trip already proving that to be the truth.

Sitting inside a recording studio owned by their U.S. label, Republic Records, the K-pop sensations’ charisma, candidness and slight trepidation shone through in a laid-back, honest chat to recount their Met Gala debut, just-released collaboration with Charlie Puth, and the anticipation surrounding their upcoming projects.

Reflecting on their Met Gala experience, the members expressed how their initial worries eventually turned into pure excitement. “We didn’t know anything about Met Gala,” Stray Kids leader Bang Chan shares in his affable Australian accent, before adding, “It was a really good experience.” Felix shares that “it was an honor and pleasure for us to show what our team color is like” with their appearance, thanks to Tommy Hilfiger, marking a significant milestone in attending one of fashion’s most prestigious nights out, as they mingled with celebrities like Chris Hemsworth, Baz Luhrmann and Jennie from BLACKPINK.

Shifting to their first original English single, their collaboration with Charlie Puth in “Lose My Breath” is highlighted as an experience for their team to learn but also share their years of experience in blending musical styles. “We had a lot of freedom to express our opinions,” notes Han, emphasizing the collaborative nature of the project that included Bang Chan, Changbin and himself writing and composing alongside Puth. For the pure-pop affair, Hyunjin says his aspiration is “to show that Stray Kids can do this kind of song” as a testament to their versatility and willingness to explore different musical landscapes.

While SKZ spoke with nervous excitement to Billboard just hours before the release of “Lose My Breath,” the band’s anticipation for their potential new future projects was also palpable.

While details remain under wraps, Bang Chan hinted at the exciting prospects: “If there was a new album, it’s definitely very new, very different yet very genuine and authentic.” The tour — that may or may not have been spoiled by Tommy Hilfiger himself — is also important, and when Lee Know mentions how “there are countries we haven’t been to yet,” he seems to hint toward a truly expansive global trek.

As Stray Kids continue to break barriers and captivate audiences worldwide, the Kids themselves remain grounded and committed to continually improving and leveling up artistry. Like “Lose My Breath,” their upcoming projects all show promise in showcasing an evolving and maturing sound to affirm their status as boundary-breakers in the global music scene. Read the full conversation from Billboard‘s chat with Stray Kids below.

Welcome back to New York, Stray Kids. It’s great to have you back, and we have to give you a big congratulations on your Met Gala debut. Overall, how was the experience?

Bang Chan: There was a lot happening, but I mean, it was a really good experience. We had fun.

Felix: It was such a huge honor because it was our first time as a team, and to go with Tommy Hilfiger to the Met Gala. Like what Chris [Bang Chan’s birth name] said, it’s such an honor but also a pleasure for us to show what our team color is like. It was incredible.

Bang Chan: Because we didn’t know anything about Met Gala! So, we went in, and then as soon as we got in, we walked up the stairs, and then there was Anna Wintour, Bad Bunny, Jennifer Lopez and Chris Hemsworth. So we said “Hi,” and then Chris was like, “Oh, I know you guys! You guys are two Australians — aww, come here, boys!” He took really great care of us. Baz was there too.

Felix: Baz Luhrmann was there as well. So, we had a nice chat with him. It was very nice, very nice.

Bang Chan: Ben Simmons, the basketball player, who is actually from and born in Australia, he was there. There were a lot.

It was amazing to see all eight of you there, but I’m curious how you got eight invitations for the Met Gala and how you coordinated on the red carpet with your reveal as eight?

Bang Chan: Big thanks to Tommy.

Felix: Yeah, big thanks to him.

Bang Chan: But at the Met, Tommy had a little bit of an idea. Because we have to unveil what was underneath, right? So, we kind of rehearsed how we should show what our outfits were. We did exactly what we had to do and were told to do; it was all right.

I think it was more important than you might realize. But let’s jump to the present with “Lose My Breath.” What’s the significance of this being Stray Kids’ first original English single?

Bang Chan: It is kind of exhilarating if you think about it. But one thing I wanted to point out is, I’m very, very thankful to the members because everyone recorded their parts on point and very good. The English has improved, I don’t know why, but yeah. [Laughs] So, I’m very very thankful to the members but we worked on the song here [in this New York studio], I think it was like the room across. But we had fun because, you know, Charlie Puth is very musically talented so we learnt a lot from him; it was a great experience.

You are so involved in your music, and Charlie Puth is also so involved in his music. How did you find the balance behind the scenes to collaborate?

Han: Since it’s a collaboration, the way we work might be different and there could have been clashes. But in the end, we were very open and Charlie was very open with ideas too. We had a lot of freedom to express our opinions and tried a lot of things So, we balanced it out from the get-go; it was very smooth. And with all these ideas we get from each other, we developed the parts that we wanted to show each other and the parts that we wanted to get closer aligned and eventually finished off the project.

Changbin: I was just really thrilled. There’s the Charlie that I know on social media, on videos or YouTube or whatever, and I think it was he even more than what I’ve seen on YouTube or social media so it was really cool. It was cool. He’s so musically talented, and it’s something that I, myself, want to learn from and want to have in being so versatile when you’re making music.

What are your goals or hopes for this song?

Hyunjin: Since it’s a pop genre-type of song that we haven’t done before, I want to show that Stray Kids can do this kind of song — I want to show the world, STAYs, everyone that we can do music like this. We also have a performance as well, and I want everyone out there to see what kind of performance we’ve prepared this time.

Since it might be a sound people don’t expect from Stray Kids, how do you think about or hope to introduce something new to fans?

Felix: This whole pop genre is very different to us, but like what Chris hyung said, we’re able to record the song and the lyrics perfectly through our own feelings and our emotions, which means we’re really able to express what the song is. And because we’re all experienced in making music and just showing fans what our style is, I think fans will really enjoy “Lose My Breath” as it is.

Bang Chan: It might not seem like a Stray Kids song, but in the end, it is our voices, we did write the lyrics, the melodies and everything as well. But I don’t know what people will think! I hope they can get a hint of Stray Kids in the whole platter.

I have a theory that “Lose My Breath” is the first taste or connection to the “special album” you teased at the top of the year...

Bang Chan: Um…I think of it as a side quest. “Lose My Breath” might just be a side quest…

I.N is smiling, though!

All: [Laugh]

Bang Chan: What I can say is: If there was a new album, um, it’s definitely, very new, very different yet very genuine and authentic. Because the messages that we want to say through music are all packed inside.

What’s the message you want to share when it comes to “Lose My Breath”?

Seungmin: We just want to appeal that we can, all of our members can sing the pop genre. From the moment we first began recording, everyone has been used to singing [in] like a really strong tone, but this time we try to, what the word in English? We tried to power down and compress — compressed into our natural voices. We tried to tone it down and record with a sound that naturally fit to the pop genre. I think that’s a big difference compared to the last album — I think that it will appeal to STAYs.

Bang Chan: It’s funny because I don’t usually get opportunities now to talk about what we did and everything, but definitely, with “Lose My Breath,” we did try a lot of different vocal techniques while we recorded the song. I hear that especially with Seungmin. Changbin as well. Everyone did their part so good.

Mr. Hilfger did share that you’re preparing a 40-date world tour. Can you share or confirm anything about the tour or preparations?

Bang Chan: He spoiled it on TV…and he spoiled it for us as well. [Laughs] I guess there would be a tour? But we’re still in the preparation process so we don’t know what’s what or don’t know how it’s gonna set out…

Seungmin: Lee Know wants to say something!

Lee Know: There are countries we haven’t been to yet and foods we want to eat while on the tour; touring means we can see a lot of STAYs. I think that’s what I’m looking forward to the most. It’s the chance to meet different STAYs in different parts of the world that is really important. But we haven’t started choreographing or developing the blueprints for the stage yet.

You’re in the moment with this single, but what’s coming up for Stray Kids in the immediate future? Or what message do you have for fans as you start this new chapter?

Bang Chan: [To their team member in the room] How much can we say?

Stray Kids team member: The less you talk, the better!

Stray Kids: [Laugh]

Bang Chan: Well, we don’t want to raise your expectations too much but when we head back [to Korea], it’s going to be late May. We’ve got some preparations for, well, let’s say, I guess a tour. If there’s an album, probably the album. Probably festivals. That’s is, you know, if. I don’t know if it’s true or not,

Han: There is nothing 100% real. We don’t know what’s happening.

Bang Chan: Lollapalooza is something that we’re really looking forward to. The one in Paris was amazing, there were a lot of people in the audience, and now we’re off to Chicago.

I.N: We want everyone to look forward to “Lose My Breath,” but there are a lot of things that are gonna come up and I hope you don’t get too surprised about the things that are going to come.


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