Friday, June 25, 2010

[INTERVIEW] Boy band MBLAQ - Part 1

Seung-ho [Chae Ki-won/10Asia]

MBLAQ member Seung-ho poses during an interview with 10Asia.

Seung-ho [Chae Ki-won/10Asia]

G.O. [Chae Ki-won/10Asia]

MBLAQ member G.O. poses during an interview with 10Asia.

G.O. [Chae Ki-won/10Asia]

Joon [Chae Ki-won/10Asia]

MBLAQ member Joon poses during an interview with 10Asia.

Joon [Chae Ki-won/10Asia]

Cheon Dung [Chae Ki-won/10Asia]

MBLAQ member Cheon Dung poses during an interview with 10Asia.

Cheon Dung [Chae Ki-won/10Asia]

Mir [Chae Ki-won/10Asia]

MBLAQ member Mir poses during an interview with 10Asia.

Mir [Chae Ki-won/10Asia]

Photographer : Chae ki-won ten@
Editor : Jessica Kim jesskim@

From left, boy band MBLAQ members Mir, Cheon Dung, Seung Ho, G.O. and Joon. [Chae Ki-won/10Asia]

These days, making a debut as an idol group in Korea is similar to a turtle egg that has been hatched on the beach. The moment the baby turtle breaks out of the egg shell and enters the ocean, he is guaranteed an infinite amount of freedom but a considerable number of them are put into a life or death crisis during the short time they head out to the ocean. Likewise, for idol group singers, the toughest and the most dangerous time in their careers is after they have made their debut and are trying to settle into their own place in the music industry. Most idol groups do not succeed in getting the public's attention and disappear from the spotlight right after their debut. Those who survived the phase come to life again through numerous stage performances and variety show appearances. It is only after people start recognizing them and gain a visible amount of fandom that the idol group members can get what they want, little by little. The members of MBLAQ are little warriors who battled through such dangerous survival game. MBLAQ, who caused a stir for being Rain's first idol group creation at the time of their debut, are gradually building up their own identity after going through many trials and errors and making as many accomplishments. These days, one can easily see them in any of Korea's variety shows. And not too long ago, they took the No. 1 spot on Mnet music show "M! Countdown." 10Asia met with the boys who just finished preparing for their dive into the ocean and talked about what they are currently up to.

10: Have you been watching the World Cup games?
Joon: Yes. I've been watching the highlights. (laugh)

10: Why? Because you are busy?
Joon: Yes. We are really busy. I used to want to be an actor so before I debuted, I knew what movies were playing in theaters. But these days I have no idea what's playing.

10: You are pretty much cut off from the world if you don't have time to watch the World Cup. (laugh)
Mir: It's the World Cup! (laugh)
G.O.: I think that is why we are living a pure life. (laugh) Like how guys in the countryside would be living. When I occasionally get free time and meet with other singers, I think to myself, "Ah, I am a very pure-living person." (laugh)
Joon: That is really, really, really true.

10: G.O., you even said on television that you went out with twenty girls before you debuted. (laugh)
G.O.: Whew, these days I feel like all that has been swiped clean and I have returned to a blank state. (laugh) Whatever you do, you feel bored if you do too much of it and you need a bigger stimulation. We have been living a secluded life for several years so I feel like when we do get the free time, we would have so much to do. And that makes me happy.

10: I heard that Mir sold a cow to go on a date. (laugh)
Mir: Yes, I am a liberal person... Haha. I think I've done pretty much everything in life.

10: The song "Y" reached No.1 on music show "M! Countdown." Did you have a change of heart after making No.1? (laugh) Didn't you have a celebration party or something afterwards?
Mir: We just rehearsed after the show, you know.

10: So you didn't have a change of heart. (laugh)
Seung Ho: My mental attitude did change a little. I feel more responsibility and I have ideas about what kind of music we should do next.
Cheon Dung: I just cried that night and forgot about it. Forgot about claiming No.1. I plan to keep forgetting about it if we make No.1 again in the future.

10: Seung Ho cried a little when you took No.1 for the first time on "M! Countdown." As the group's leader, perhaps you felt more emotional than others?
Seung Ho: I didn't think that I would cry. But my paternal grandfather passed away before we took No.1 and I would suddenly break down after saying a few words. If he had been healthy enough to be here for just two more weeks, he could heard our new song... So when I stood there making several comments, all the past memories really flashed through my head like pictures. I was very sad because I remembered my grandfather.
Mir: (imitates Seung Ho crying) Ugh- ugh-
Cheon Dung: He cried his heart away in tears.
Joon: I left mine in Sangam-dong [where the Mnet studio is located.].
G.O.: You know how they show the record sales and the judges' stats when they announce No.1? At that moment, you already start drawing out you emotions and strike a cool pose and...
Cheon Dung: I was standing next to him and he was already feeling emotional before that..
Mir: Everyone gasped for about three to five seconds and then started crying, but I cried the second they yelled "MBLAQ!" It was very embarrassing.

10: Did you think that "Y" would receive this much response from fans? They might feel that the song is a bit different from the current trend because it keeps tension throughout the whole song rather than emphasizing the chorus.
Seung Ho: I was worried when I first heard the song. The current songs all put their stake in the chorus whereas this song focuses on the vibe. But we felt most confident expressing ourselves through "Y" than any other songs.

10: What was it like rehearsing for the performance? The song could look funny if you can't keep up with the rhythm, which subtly changes throughout the song.
Seung Ho: First, you just keep practicing over and over agin. And it is important to put it all of your efforts when you practice. It is better to sing like you are really performing on stage rather than letting loose, not singing live and practicing that way ten times. We don't have a microphone in our practice room so we sing with our raw voice. But we sing with the sound turned down and check it afterwards.

10: What is it like dancing and singing at the same time? It must be a tough song to perform live because it has one long flow.
Seung Ho: At first, I wondered if we could really do this. I had never sung a song in such way, so it was hard and I got scolded a lot too. I went into a slump thinking I can't sing and I worried how I'm supposed to do this dancing a tough routine at the same time... But you end up doing everything in the end. (laugh)

10: In the dance choreography, there are many movements that elongate the body line but the chorographer also put in very intense dances moves in a lot of places. But you also have to keep the flow of the song till the end. I thought the creator and the performer of this routine are all crazy. (laugh)
Seung Ho: Yeah. "Oh Yeah" is about the strong performance, so you just have to give an intense visual feeling to viewers. But "Y" has one long flow from the beginning to end and you have to exude a good vibe. If you start panting because it is hard, the dance moves look too tiring. On the other hand, if you go too loose with the singing, it could sound boring.

10: Lee Joon starts singing in the beginning, setting the tone of the song. How did you interpret the song when you sang it?
Joon: It is hard even now. You only hear the beat in the beginning part. I have to set the pitch and get in tune as soon as I turn around in the choreography. That is why I start singing "Some, some, somebody" right before I go on stage so I can hit the right note. Still, that not changes often during television appearances.

10: You have to keep your muscles tense throughout the song because there are intense dance moves even when you are continuing the singing flow. How did you rehearse for that?
Joon: (When told he has to take an individual photo shoot) Ah, I have to answer this before I go! (laugh) I have stuff I want to say.

10: Say as much as you want. (laugh)
Joon: There are times the flow breaks down while I'm dancing and I kind of bounce my body. That is when the singing continues on naturally. When we were promoting "Oh Yeah," I got a lot of negative criticism about my live performances. So during the rehearsals, I was determined not to get criticized this time but I couldn't do it. To be honest, it is still hard. But really, after doing it several hundred times, I feel like my heart and other organs are breaking down [like the dance flow] and popping out. (laugh)

10: The highlight in the song is the group dance. What was it like practicing for the choreography together? The rehearsals must have been a bit different from other groups.
Seung Ho: We went through a lot of trial and error before coming up with that choreography. Unlike when we debuted, the members also had individual activities to carry out and there was only a certain time when we could all meet. So we had to really concentrate when we were together and there was pressure that we had to master the routine by the next day.
G.O.: The song is not a very commercial one so we had a lot of worries over whether we should keep the dance routine commercial and easy for people to follow or to keep it non-commercial like the song.
Seung Ho: When we rehearse dancing, one person sits out and observes the four members. We take turns sitting out and do it five times. We have been practicing this way since we debuted and we were able to communicate a lot of our opinions. And when five of us monitor the videotaped performance, that speeds up the rehearsing process.

10: Mir, you were in a different situation than other members because you are a rapper.
Mir: I still feel pressured. (laugh) In the first album, I started singing the song in the beginning and it was a big burden because it is hard to kick off the start.

10: On your debut single, no less. (laugh)
Mir: Yes. And even Ji-hoon [referring singer Rain who created and trained the group] put pressure on me, saying "The beginning is the most important part." Plus, "Y" has no vocal ad-libs and my rap part comes on instead. It is burdening because I have to make an impact on the song when it is almost about to end. Ji-hoon guided me through it himself but it was very difficult. And you are in a state of excitement on stage so when you take a breath the wrong way, that can mess up your rap too.

Senior Reporter : Kang Myoung-Seok two@
Reporter : Choi Ji-Eun five@
Photographer : Chae ki-won ten@
Editor : Lynn Kim lynn2878@
Editor : Lee Ji-Hye seven@

Source: Asiae
(Please do not remove any credits when taking out news from theksource.)


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