Boy band MBLAQ member Mir during a photo shoot with TenAsia in Seoul on June 10, 2013. [TenAsia/ Gue Hye Jung]
Q. Mir, you earned much recognition and popularity after starring in MBC variety show “Real Man.” Do you feel it?
Mir: Not really. I just learned so much from the program, maybe the most among any other TV show I’ve done before, and I adore the show itself. I’m always ready to go back to the show. Actually, I could have joined last week’s episode but I couldn’t because we were all very busy readying for our new album. I was grateful when the show’s staff and cast said, ‘Come back anytime you’re free. We’ll keep your spot empty.’
Q. People say your rapping skills improved a lot in this album Mir. Do you think you’ve found your own style of rapping?
Mir: I still have a long way to go. I heard that there are two types of rappers—ones that rap to earn a living and ones that are crazy about rap itself. And I think I have been more of the former up till now. I’ve thought long and hard about what I should do in the future, but I think I won’t be able to let go of the mic. I know I could do some kind of business but I don’t think it’ll satisfy that something within me.
Q. Cheon Dung, you have gone from joining your group 15 days before your debut to showing so much improvement in your latest album. You must’ve worked hard on the side to make this happen.
Cheon Dung: I decided I wouldn’t appear on TV shows and declared it to my agency as well. No variety shows. Like Mir said, I thought about what I would do in the future without the members of our group and the only thing I could think of was music. Of course, I lack in many ways compared to everyone else but I didn’t want to be not good enough to come out alone. I heard that if you want to do well at music, you need to sit down and just write songs and sing all the time so I wanted to make as much of that time for myself as possible. Oh, I did dramas though because I wanted to (laughs).
Q. Your first TV series “Nail Shop Paris” is on air. What do people around you say?
Cheon Dung: I didn’t have many acquaintances in Korea because I made my debut only in a year or two after coming here from the Philippines. So the only people I knew were other trainees and the staff of my agency. But after filming “Nail Shop Paris,” I became close to the director, writers and other staff and they showed a lot of support when we released our new album. I’ve been told I’m doing well so it’s helped me gain a lot of confidence.
Q. Joon, you appeared in KBS blockbuster “IRIS 2” last year and soon-to-open film “Rough Cut.” Is there a specific role you’d like to try playing?
Joon: I don’t think I’m in the position to choose the role I play. If there is an interesting script, I’ll take on any role. When filming “Rough Cut,” I was fascinated from the very first scene so it was very fun to act. It felt like I’d never seen this sort of film before so I just really wanted to do it. I’d like to be in such a film again.
Q. It looked like you knew H.O.T and SHINHWA’s choreography very well. And you’re also known as having been a member of SHINHWA’s official fan club (laugh). Do you think those experiences have helped you be an idol?
Joon: I liked them so much. You know, back then, almost every kid in school went crazy for H.O.T, god or SHINHWA. They looked so cool to me that I watched their music videos over and over again. Hmm… I guess it’s helped me in some ways. I also liked Fin.K.L so I went to see their concerts. I’ve done things like waiting for them, waiting in the rain for them for a long time, so I know how our fans feel.
From left, boy band MBLAQ members Cheon Dung, Joon and G.O during a photo shoot with TenAsia in Seoul on June 10, 2013. [TenAsia/ Gue Hye Jung]
Q. Seungho, you showed various dance performances on MBC’s “Dancing with the Star 3” and won with a vampire-styled paso doble. Which performance was the most satisfying for you?
Seungho: I personally liked my standard waltz performance the most. It was so boring at first, having to repeat the same moves in a comfortable and happy face. It was so different from the fast and funky dance moves we usually do.
However, after learning the basic waltz moves and practicing it the second time with my partner, I came to know the real charm of waltz. I realized why standard waltz is appealing and why they chose it. I heard that my paso doble rocked, but I got more compliments from professional dancers after performing the standard waltz.
Q. From playing instruments, to assembling computers and bicycles, to doing magic, there seems to be nothing you can’t do. Are there any new skills you learned recently?
Seungho: There’s nothing I do roughly well at among the skills and specialties I’ve been known for. I put in lots of time and effort into them and with time, they just accumulated to make me an all-around entertainer (laughs). These days, I really want to play the flute but I haven’t had time to practice because of our comeback. For our next concert, I’d like to play the flute in collaboration with a piano.
Q. It has been two years since you parted from your former producer Rain. And Joon, you said you guys are “trying to find our style” during your comeback showcase. Do you think this album has helped with it?
Seungho: In a way, we received attention immediately because Rain was our producer. But to tell you the truth, it didn’t hit us at the time and it just put a lot of pressure on us. I think it (the separation with Rain) helped us bond better over our music and gave us time to try out this and that. If we knew who we were from the very beginning, we would’ve probably stayed that way. I think it’s good that we got to try out each album in a different style.
Cheon Dung: I’d say that this album rather marks a new beginning for us. If you’ve never failed, it means you’ve never taken up a challenge. I think that the more you fail, the more you’ll succeed. So I think we’re still in the process of completing ourselves by experiences many failures. I believe that we should fail even more in the future.
All: No way!
G.O: Yeah, I don’t think so (laughs)
Q. This October will mark the fourth year since your debut and Seungho, G.O and Joon, you’ll be in your thirties in four more years. What do you hope will remain the same for MBLAQ as a group or the members?
G.O: I hope Mir’s forehead stays the same. Because it keeps losing hair(all burst into laughter). It would be really sad if his hair is gone by the time I come back from the military.
Cheon Dung: I hope everyone stays obsessed with baring their skin.
Joon: Me too.
Seungho: I simply want us to live as long as we can. Of course, we get along well now and want to continue to pursue our activities as MBLAQ but you know, who knows what could happen? I’m sure good things will keep happening though, as long as we’re alive.
G.O: I want to live till I’m 770.
Mir: I hope these guys stay like this.
Reporter. Lee Hye Ji firstname.lastname@example.org
Photographer. Gue Hye Jung email@example.com
Editor. Jessica Kim