B1A4 “flip it down, flip it up, do you know what that is in our dialect?”
I met with the five members of the ‘flower boy’ group, B1A4, who are in the middle of promoting their new song, ‘Baby I’m Sorry’, after releasing their first official full-length album, ‘IGNITION’.
Last year, they had a record of selling over 100,000 copies with just their two mini albums, ‘Let’s Fly’ and ‘it B1A4’. Thanks to that, they were able to grasp onto the newcomer award at the ‘2012 High1 Seoul Music Awards’ in January and the newcomer male group award at the ‘2012 Gaon Chart K-POP Awards’ in February.
Before meeting the five males, Jinyoung (21), CNU (21), Sandeul (20), Baro (20), Gongchan (19), I had a prejudiced mind that they would be “a fierce male, prince-like group with many noona fans”. However, after meeting them, I found out they were from various places such as Choongju, Cheongju, Busan, Gwangju, and Soonchun. The more I got to know them, the more pleasant young men they became to be.
Q: You came from different places, so is there an episode that happened when you first met?
“We were before ‘Infinity Challenge’.” (Jinyoung), “We played face down, face up and it was really funny because all of us used our own dialect for it. Busan would be ‘Jaendi~’, Soonchun would be ‘place it this way, that way, whichever way it goes’, Gwangju would be ‘pick a side, pick a side’, Choongju would be ‘sky, sky, ground’, and Cheongju would be ‘flip it up, flip it down, flip it up, flip it down.” [T/N: a game where you use flip over your hands to either side, but the name of the game changes from where you’re from. I didn’t do this justice, but you get the gist] (Everyone)
“Because a sprout grew from the potato, because a leaf grew, rock, paper, scissors~ This is different from each region too.” (CNU), “Choongju’s version is easy. Because a sprout grew from the potato, because a leaf grew, vroom vroom shot!” (Jinyoung), “Busan’s choice of words is funny. Because a sprout grew from the potato, because a leaf grew, potato potato bbyong.” (Sandeul)
Their title song, ‘Baby I’m Sorry’, is a song that expresses the sadness of a break up through a cheerful melody and beats. Although it’s electronic overall, rock sounds were added in some parts as well. Their music video, which was showed on Youtube, reached over 1.5 million views in 3 weeks. They also had their name placed next to the 7th place spot on a music broadcast.
Q: What kind of reaction do you want to receive through this album?
“There are people that tell us that we’ve really come back as men and then there are those who say that we still have our freshness. We aimed for that middle spot where you’re on the way of turning into a young male from a boy. Hearing that we’re macho or beastly, is strange. If I was to describe this in a color, I think it’s the stage where we’re about to turn into a vivid color after being a pastel tone.” (Jinyoung)
Q: Why did you happen to comeback during the same time that tremendous singers such as Big Bang and SHINee did?
“We planned to come out in January, but it was delayed because there weren’t really any songs we liked. In January, we were still telling our company that we should create a full-length album. It was when we weren’t definitely prepared yet.” (Sandeul)
B1A4’s fandom is tremendous to the point where they got 1st place in support rankings on their fancafe portal (78,000 members). After the ‘Idol Sports Competition incident’, their fans were given a bad name. The Idol Sports Competition incident is talking about the clash between their fans and Dalshabet fans during recordings for MBC’s Lunar New Year special, ‘Idol Sports Competition’. Although there were rumors of rape and kidnapping on the internet, the police investigated it and found out that it was only a lie.
Q: There was an incident with another group’s fandom during the recording for ‘Idol Sports Competition’, right?
“It was really sad to see our fans shown like that. Because it was the first time something like that happened, we were really taken aback and surprised, so just how bad would it have been for the fans. My heart really hurt. If words are misunderstood, I think it can become quite a scary thing.” (CNU)
Q: How is B1A4’s fandom?
“I think the amount of how much they like us is really big. They monitor us like professionals and endlessly support us.” (CNU), “I used to mainly read criticism posts because I wanted to improve, but I tend to read support posts more often now. Because I’m proud and feel a sense of achievement, a feeling to do better shot up.” (Sandeul)
Q: Is there a post you remember?
“A time when I feel that our fans are amazing is when they rationally tell us our negative points. They tell us things like, ‘I think the amount of comfort you have in your heart while singing is lacking’, and after seeing that, we fix it and it becomes strength to us too.” (CNU), “I get surprised when I see posts that seem like a professional’s reaction such as, ‘That angle isn’t pretty on broadcasts. Fans want this kind of angle and side.’ When we listen to the criticisms and fix them, fans say, ‘Oppa, you probably saw the post I wrote. You most definitely probably saw it. Thank you’. So without even knowing, I would start writing, ‘I saw it’, and then erase it.” (Baro)
Q: B1A4 is classified as ‘noonas’ romance-dols’.
“I think CNU would have a lot of popularity among noonas.” (The rest of the members)
Q: Baro-sshi, isn’t participating in ‘God of Cookery Road’ difficult? It’s a variety show where you have to eat.
“I tell what I honestly feel at that moment. However, it’s really delicious most of the time. Besides when I’m clear of what I like and dislike and when it’s strange because I’m eating something for the first time. It’s a good program where I can also restore my body’s health once a week. Foods with coriander in it are very hard and strange for me to eat. They told me they casted me because the way I ate was very pleasant.” (Baro)
Q: The main MC of ‘God of Cookery Road’, Jung Junha-sshi, is getting married.
“Junha hyung is so happy lately that adlibs continuously come out. I congratulated him. I will make sure to go to his wedding. He told me to come.” (Baro)
Q: Everyone eats well, but are everyone’s bodies good as well?
“Truthfully, I have a lot of fat. I didn’t know why our stylist director only gave me wide and baggy clothes. I asked why it’s always so baggy even after zipping the zipper or closing the buttons, but they told me it’s to cover up my body. I have quite a bit of hidden fat.” (Sandeul)
Right then, Baro exposed Sandeul as said, “Sandeul eats more compared to how much he moves.” To that, Sandeul responded, “If I lose weight, I’ll look like a skeleton so I purposely eat more.” When the reporter touched Sandeul’s side fat and acted like he was surprised, everyone laughed. Once I said that the cute side fats are called love-handles and that girls like it, Sandeul was happy.
“Really? Those words are like a ray of light to me. Thank you. Seems like I won’t have to lose weight. There’s nothing I can do now. Hahaha.” (Sandeul)
Q: Are you keeping up well with your health, which is an essential element for an idol?
“Rather than shaping up our bodies, health is more important for this group. And our weight and body are maintained somewhat through practice. We haven’t prepared six-packs or muscles yet. Even if we do exercise, it’s not to create muscles, but for our health. We sleep a lot the day before a performance as well. That way, we can think up ideas better.” (Everyone)
Q: Everyone’s personalities seem bright.
“Sandeul is the most social. Although Gongchan is the youngest, he’s serious. However, when he’s with the hyungs, he has a lot of aegyo. Because he’s the oldest in his family, he takes care of the hyungs well. Baro is our team’s vitamin. He talks a lot in real life and is really witty. CNU has a twist of a charm. He talks slow since he’s from Choongcheong-dong, but he makes everyone explode in laughter.” (Jinyoung)
“Jinyoung hyung is a positive person. He teaches the team members. Since he is the team’s leader, he gives us a more positive strength.” (Sandeul), “I’ve known him for 3 years, but even I’m turning positive.” (CNU), “Everyone was worried prior to our comeback, but Jinyoung hyung said, ‘Hey, don’t worry. Everything’s going to go well’ and I trusted our leader and followed him.” (Baro)
“If you’re negative, nothing good will happen. You need to be positive in order for something to at least happen in the middle if it doesn’t go well. I believe that the team’s mood and mind need to be positive in order for everything to go well.” (Jinyoung)
Their team name means that there’s one blood type B (Baro) and the other four have the blood type of A. They say their rival is the ‘BC Card’ (T/N: a Korean credit card company). Sandeul laughed and said, “When you type in ‘B’ in a portal site’s search engine, BC Card used to be the first thing that came out. However, B1A4 started coming out first too. We’re always nervous because we think we’ll lose to BC Card if they have an event. We need to work harder.”
“Although it may be hard if you say ‘B1A4’, it’s easy to remember if you understand the meaning and origin of it. It will help elders as well. When we wear our stage clothes and go to a restaurant, people think that we look like celebrities but they aren’t sure of who we are. So when we explain our team name then, they remember us next time as well.” (Baro)
Q: CNU tried out acting through ‘I Need a Fairy’ (although he’s the school’s kingka, he’s a guy that shrinks in front of the girl he likes).
“Cha Inpyo senior is really cool. Ah, there was a funny incident. I was waiting in the waiting room for the sitcom’s production ceremony, he said (while impersonating his tone), ‘Hey, CNU-yah, do you know how to do the shuffle dance? Dance it for me’. I danced it without music.” (CNU)
Q: B1A4 all do not have cellphones, isn’t it uncomfortable?
“Besides one thing, it’s not uncomfortable. When we want to order something to eat in the middle of the night or check something we ordered on the internet. It’s urgent.” (Baro)
Q: You order things to eat in the middle of the night even when you’re an idol group?
“We maintain our bodies by ourselves. If we look chubby on the camera, we control the amount we eat and if we lose weight, we eat deliciously to the point where it’s good to look at.” (Baro), “We’re allowed to eat up to 6000 won for each meal, but there isn’t a price limit when our CEO comes and buys us a late-night snack. We’re happy then. Our CEO doesn’t really pressure us about our bodies either. Since we all do well on our own.” (Everyone)
Q: CNU confessed that his ideal type was f(x)’s Krystal, but what are the ideal types for everyone else?
“A girl who only loves me. I dream of a movie-like love. I hope there would be something special that would happen even if we fall in love.” (Jinyoung), “A girl who’s heart is as wide and warm as my mom’s and can take care of me. I was just saying that I feel for Krystal’s charisma on stage, but they just concluded it like that on the broadcast.” (CNU), “A girl who I can converse easily with and who works her best at what she works in. (Baro), “A girl who is normally chic and cold, but shows a lot of aegyo towards only me.” (Gongchan), “I like a girl who shines when she does her job. (When the reporter asked whether or not they like glamour, he responded) Just why are you doing this to me? Haha.” (Sandeul)
Q: What do you think the secret is to having so much popularity among overseas fans?
“We were created into a comic prior to our debut. Fans translated it into various languages. I think that’s why we were accepted easily overseas as well. It’s really the strength of fans.” (Everyone)
Q: What’s your goal?
“Getting 1st place on a music broadcast, winning a Bonsang award during an end-of-the-year award, and opening our own solo concert.” (Everyone)
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