[INTERVIEW] do idols know about the 90s?BTOB takes a ride on the time machine

Since long-ago-movie ‘건축학개론’ and till recent ‘Reply 1997′. In the 70s and 80s, 쎄시봉 and other more singers who were the ones gaining attention.. In 2012, eyes are turned backwards in the music industry. Male idol group BTOB, who debuted in March this year, had made their comeback with ‘WOW’ that reminds us of the past male duo group, Deux.

Born in the 1990s, feelings for music of that era? “Lyrics as pretty as fairy tales”

“The title of the album is ‘Press Play’ which means to press the ‘play’ button on cassettes. It has the meaning of ‘As you press play, BTOB’s music starts’. Based on the 1990s once popular New Jack Swing style, it has a familiar feel and trendiness to this song. Those who love Deux’s song may find themselves reminiscing of the past. During that time, it was an era where electronic feels were stronger. It was thought that people nowadays are getting sick of these type of songs. Dramas too are embracing the retro wave, and now it seems that it’s time for another round.”

Ironically, the eldest of the group, Seo Eunkwang and Lee Minhyuk were born in the year 1990. As for the youngest, Yook SungJae, he was born in the year 1995 when it was in the midst of Deux’s promoting years (1993~1996). 90s sang by those born in the 1990s, how will their song style turn out to be? BTOB said, “We have searched for lots of singers in and out of Korea who were born in the 1990s via the internet”, and “that was the time where lyrics are very poetical.” Also “They’re as pretty as fairy tales, even just by listening to it, we will be filled with feelings”
“They’re more into ‘hook’ right now, and the lyrics seem to be repeating itself, there isn’t much obvious story to it. Songs in the 1990s had their stories. It was the transition period between the analog and digital era, isn’t it? The sound itself has buried the analog feel, and this was the largest waste of all.”

“As we make it ‘retro’, we will lose out on trendiness, and to go back to that past style, they will find it unfashionable, isn’t it. Therefore, in our lyrics, choreography, performances, we did not lose out on our trendiness.  Not only it can remind people of the past, but they can be received with more refined styles too. For our outfits, we used hip sacs and more, providing a point to it.”

BTOB’s Seo Eunkwang, Lee MinHyuk, Im Hyunshik, Lee Changsub expressed, “Prior to this comeback, we actually wanted to go to the club”. Whether it’s in the album or the atmosphere on stage, because of their ‘Playful Idols” transformation, there was once a time they wanted to learn the ways (to be playful idols). But unfortunately, BTOB wasn’t able to do so. In the end, they watched “Step 4: Revolution” with Peniel, Yook SungJae, Jung IlHoon. “During our trainee times, Im Hyunshik and Lee TaeWon went to a club before”. Towards this, the members expressed their regrets (?) for not being able to go, “The feel was different. He learnt lots of gestures”

The growing pains which follows after debut… “On stage, we are the best!”

BTOB who have been living as a trainee for some time, the shortest duration was 7 months and the longest was 3 years, made their debut in March this year. After their debut, they have expressed that they have finally realized that they were just frogs in a pond. Debut song ‘Insane’ has started their greed, however, it’s not easy to enter in the top 10 charts. Idols have been facing this harsh phenomenon for a few years. And also these guys are one of the new groups that made their debut alongside with many other rookie groups.

Although they don’t think of a glamorous future, they don’t expect the response to be small either. Just a mere 6 months, BTOB who released a new album expressed, “The half-month period after we filmed for our music video, it was said as if we won’t be making a comeback,” and, “When times we stand on stage, we really want to brush away all those heartaches.” The situation where we will never know how much stress did they receive exactly.

“The debut we dreamed of during our trainee times and the monitoring after debut, they were different. As we debut, we had this, everything will be fine, and ‘We are the best’ confidence, but we realized a lot on where we are lacking. We felt that there were lots of parts that require more efforts and so we prepared even more earnestly. However, we did not let go of our confidence.

As we held overseas promotion, it seems like our courage and self confidence level grew. We didn’t do local promotions and more much, but there were a few hundred fans who came when we were in the airport, to meet us and cheer for us, and their looks as they sing to our songs, it made us grow a stronger confidence.”

The thing that nobody knows about, is that, prior to BTOB’s debut, they’ve lost weight. Especially Lee Changsub who weighed 80kg during trainee days, had dropped to being in his 60kg range, and is currently maintaining at this weight. Meanwhile, Seo Eunkwang and Lee Minhyuk grew a little more cheeks.’ This was to digest the ‘naughty boy’ concept. However, in an interview after their debut, Yook Sungjae who once mentioned “There’s no person in the team who looks/acts like a celebrity,” now reaffirms, “Even till now, it seems like we’re still growing” and, “Next album, perhaps we will be like celebrities?”

BTOB who expressed that they will bring back the 1990s genre with more capabilities. “We think there should be improvement in music” and, “We want to be different than others”. As the ‘WOW’ sound plays, BTOB will be surprising audience with their ‘different level, different grade’ starts from now onwards. BTOB Back Again.



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