It’s one lengthy interview, but it’s definitely worth reading. I personally think that 10Asia.co.kr never fail to provide good, if not the best, interviews so I’m glad that they get to interview SNSD again this time!
Girls’ Generation’s debut three years ago did not go unnoticed yet it could be called quiet compared to the feats they achieved in the years to follow — 2009 in particular was a fruitful year for them, placing atop music charts for up to nine weeks straight with song “Gee” which was followed by “Genie” which also saw immense success, winning them multiple prizes at music festivals at the end of the year.
But the nine girls have recently proven they may have merely kicked off their singing career. After making a debut in Japan in August through a showcase attended by 22,000 fans, an unprecedented number for a newcomer foreign group, Girls’ Generation has been making music history, breaking one record after another.
Their debut single “Genie” placed fourth on the prestigious Oricon’s weekly singles chart, selling the most copies of their song for foreign female artists including solo performers. They then became the first Korean girl group to rank No.1 on Oricon’s daily singles chart after releasing their second single “Gee.”
Back in their home country to promote Korean single “Hoot,” Jessica, Seohyun, Sunny, Taeyeon, Yuri, Tiffany, Hyoyeon, Sooyoung and Yoona met with reporters on Monday to speak about their latest endeavors.
Q: You placed first on Oricon’s singles chart. How did it feel?
Tiffany: We all cried. We were performing on stage when news came that we took third place with our first single “Genie” but we still all cried upon hearing about it. When we took No. 1, I woke up to a text message saying we got first place (laugh) and I cried as soon as I saw it.
Q: Before, your seniors went to Japan with the mindset that they are starting their singing careers all over again. But you acted like pop stars from overseas from the very beginning. How have you been treated in Japan?
Hyoyeon: I think the Japanese people we have met are just naturally kind and polite rather than us having received any form of special treatment.
Tiffany: I think I’ve rather gone back to the mindset of when we debuted three years ago. And I’ve become more cautious as well. But I told myself I should have fun even though we’re overseas.
Jessica: I was tearing up from the moment we held our showcase because I was so excited. I could hear our fans’ cheering before going on stage so my heart was overflowing with joy from the fact that the venue was full.
Sooyoung: It was the first time Girls’ Generation was making an official debut overseas and our seniors had done so well before us that we didn’t want to tarnish their name. I think we also felt a heartrending emotion, as if we were saying, “We’ve been doing well so far. We’ve come this far.”
Q: What do you think is the reason you became the first girl group to top the chart? You haven’t gone on that many television shows yet either.
Jessica: I think that in Japan, they’re fascinated by the composition of our choreography. We’re even asked, “How much do you need to practice to stand exactly in the shape of a v and in two lines?
Sooyoung: We were featured in NHK’s news which we heard in itself is a social issue. We even heard that Korean girl groups are great at both singing and dancing and that even their fashion becomes talk of the town. So we can’t let people down when they have such expectations of us. That’s why we’re happy but also felt that we need to practice more.
Q: Has the fact that you’re popular sunk in yet?
Tiffany: Some people imitated our dance moves while taking a photo, not knowing I was next to them. I felt so proud.
Jessica: An old Japanese man asked if I’m Girls’ Generation. And when I asked him how he knew, he said he saw me on the news. Sooyoung as well, in Shibuya…
Sooyoung: They didn’t recognize me. (laugh) Well in Shibuya they actually recognized me. Some people said, “It’s Sooyoung.” But people didn’t recognize me when I walked into a record store where there was even a huge poster of us stuck on the wall. (laugh)
Sunny: They wouldn’t be able to compared to when you have make-up on. (laugh)
Q: In Japan, they call you 美脚 group (group with pretty legs). How do you feel about this?
Sooyoung: They’re actually not that pretty (laugh) but we started being calling from a certain point on. At the same time, we’re also a bit worried that our performances or singing will be noticed less because our legs are being pointed out. I once saw on TV that only our legs were shot and not our faces. (laugh)
Hyoyeon: We get a lot of questions asking how we take care of our legs. But we can’t do anything in particular because we don’t have time so we either do a lot of stretching or lower-body bathing. We each stretch in our own rooms. (laugh)
Q: What advice did BoA give you?
Tiffany: “I’ve done this for ten years already so it’s your turn now.” (laugh) But she also said, “I was alone but there’s a lot of you so you won’t have to worry.” (laugh)
Sunny: And that we could be lonely, that things will be very different from Korea. We try to be careful because the language is different and we don’t know a lot of things.
Hyoyeon: I think the language is the biggest problem. I study Japanese whenever I have time but it’s difficult.
Sooyoung: It actually feels like we’re on a school trip. We keep eating while carrying out our activities. (laugh)
Tiffany: And we play games.
Sooyoung: Taeyeon got us a nail dryer so we ask each other to do our nails. (laugh) There’s a lot to heed attention to but we’re trying to enjoy everything, as if we’re on a trip, and that’s been shown on television so I think people like how we come off as friendly and natural.
Q: You seem to have a lot of female fans in particular in Japan.
Taeyeon: Yes, we couldn’t adjust to the screaming at first. I think a lot of our female Japanese fans think that we’re cool and they want to try being like us.
Sunny: Watch out for what you say. In a Korean documentary about us, I had said, “I think we have a lot of middle-aged male fans in Korea and a lot of female fans in Japan.” Then a female fan of ours in Korea posted up all the information she has of us on the Internet and wrote underneath, “Sunny, do you see this? (laugh) I felt so bad.
Taeyeon: The Japanese members of our staff were surprised because they said it’s what is usually observed in male idol groups. And I think the reason that our middle-aged male fans stood out more was because artists usually mainly have female fans but we have middle-aged male fans.
Q: Speaking of female fans, Sooyoung, do you know that person? The person who screams in an extremely high pitch when you sing your part. (laugh)
Girls’ Generation: We all know her. (laugh)
Jessica: Shouting! (laugh)
Sooyoung: She once came to one of our birthday parties. So as a joke I said I hadn’t been able to pay her yet for her cheering this month. (laugh) I once laughed while singing my part because her cheering was so funny. I look forward to singing my parts these days because I wonder how much she’ll cheer for me everytime. (laugh)
Sooyoung’s legendary fan girl, if you haven’t noticed her yet… (cr; Fantasteak@youtube)
Q: She’s probably clearing her throat as she reads this article right now. (laugh) I think though that “Hoot” in particular has appealed to a lot of female fans.
Sooyoung: A lot of people said our album this time around seems to be an album for our female fans. We wanted to portray a more confident woman in her 20s and Yuri’s song is about how a woman feels one-sided love for a man which a lot of our female fans said they could relate to.
|Girls’ Generation members Jessica and Tiffany [SM Entertainment]|
Q: In “Hoot,” you each take turns receiving the spotlight. Is there anything that you pay particular attention to when you each sing your parts?
Taeyeon: What I was surprised while monitoring ourselves was that each member was putting on facial expressions as well while doing the choreography. And I thought that must look refreshing for the third person. And I wanted us to be able to express ourselves in line with the lyrics.
Q: Sunny and Jessica, you each sing in very unique voices in your parts. What had the director asked of you?
Jessica: That I sing in a sharp voice. We each went with how we feel based on that.
Sunny: When we were recording, the director said there’s a part where my voice sets the basic tone for when we sing altogether, so he asked I sing in a really unique voice. As if I was being strangled. (laugh)
Q: The choreography for “Hoot” is extremely complicated. How did you rehearse?
Jessica: We didn’t have much time so we ended up being able to concentrate in a short time.
Tiffany: We all know now what I need to do to make myself look pretty and that the member standing next to the one in the spotlight needs to do well for that person in the spotlight to shine even more. I think that’s how we were all able to do so well.
Q: How did you practice the dance moves?
Taeyeon: We work with a foreign choreographer but because he was very busy, he taught us just for a few days, so we just keep repeating by ourselves after that.
Yuri: It’s like class because he’d tell us to take it from the beginning to a certain point. So the choreographer wrote our names on a paper and told us where to stand and all.
Sooyoung: I think the choreographers have a harder time than us. For example, if I’m way in the back, they’ll worry about how to pull me all the way up front. (laugh)
Sunny: So sometimes, we’ll make suggestions since we have it figured out better and they’ll take our opinions into account.
[Note: Just FYI but I’m pretty sure that the foreign choreographer(s) should be a she haha… AFAIK, there were only two foreign choreographers they have worked with and they’re women (Rino Nakasone and Lisette Bustamante). The girls’ Korean choreographer, however, are men (i.e Shim Jaewon and Gregory Hwang of BEAT BURGER).]
Q: You also dance in time without looking at each other.
Sooyoung: That really just comes from sense. (laugh) I saw on the Internet that Taeyeon and I cross over each other but I mean, how on earth did we do that without stepping on each others feet? (laugh)
Taeyeon: We both don’t want to shed any blood. (laugh) We all got stepped on a lot in the past. (laugh)
Sunny: There’s a part where we dance as if we’re walking in “Run Devil Run,” right? But since Sooyoung’s legs are so long (laugh) she once pierced me with her heels. It didn’t show since I was wearing black tights but when I came down from the stage, my stockings had stuck to my skin because I had bled (laugh). We’re wearing boots on purpose this time — to avoid getting hurt. (laugh)
Jessica: We definitely concentrate better now. When we first debuted, we didn’t know what we were supposed to do and lacked concentration but we’re put in situations where we have to learn the choreography in three days and shoot the music video so our concentration has become better as well.
Q: What do you think makes that possible?
Jessica: We eat a lot. (laugh)
Tiffany: There’s almost a convenient store set up on the sets of our music video shoots. That’s why our managers say who’s been saying Girls’ Generation eats 800 kcal a day… (laugh)
Yuri: That we actually eat 8000 kcals. (laugh) They’ve said they want to post up photos of us eating.
Tiffany: I think we make it through the hard times because we have each other. I’ll bear through whatever because someone else will be too and when one person laughs, everyone ends up laughing.
Q: Having such a relationship amongst your group must even more help nowadays with you pursuing your activities in Japan.
Sunny: I’d say that rather than us having become closer after going to Japan, we naturally came to band together after it became decided that we would be going. Should I say it came from sort of a fear of what we haven’t experienced? I think that’s why we banded together even more.
|Girls’ Generation member Hyoyeon [SM Entertainment]|
Q: What influence do you think your activities in Japan have on you?
Yuri: I think it’s been a chance to make our music known to a wider audience and maybe a chance to upgrade ourselves?
Sunny: “Gee” and “Genie” are song we promoted in Korea so we were able to remedy the shortcomings to make them more perfect and it also helped for when we prepared for “Hoot.”
Taeyeon: I saw that members of AKB48 are fascinated by how we practice and dance as a whole group so I think that’s what we can show through our activities in Japan. We want to be as professionally perfect as we can at least when we’re on stage.
Q: There’s rumor you’ll be appearing on NHK’s year-end show “Red and White Song Battle.”
Sunny: We’re still new to the singing scene in Japan so we’d be grateful to get to go on the show. But to think of spending December 31 there… (laugh)
Q: Isn’t is sad not being able to just play during Christmas and New Years?
Tiffany: You gain some, you lose some. And I think we’d rather be disappointed if we weren’t asked to attend year-end award ceremonies.
Sunny: And it’s not like we have anything else in particular to do. How sad. (laugh)
Q: What’s your future goal? You’ve already achieved so much.
Tiffany: We’re still hungry. (laugh)
Taeyeon: Yuri took part in the album this time but I think more and more members of our group will take part in producing future albums. Everyone is very interested in composing or writing songs. And I once met a French person in Japan who asked we go to their country as well. We also read a lot of comments on YouTube by our fans in Europe asking for us. So we’d like to perform in Europe one day.
Jessica: But in the mean time, I’d like for us to do a lot in Korea. We’re working in Japan as well but since we’ve also released an album in Korea.
Tiffany: Yeah! It’s nice being home. (laugh)
Senior Reporter : Kang Myoung-Seok two@
Editor : Jessica Kim jesskim@, Lee Ji-Hye seven@
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