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[Article] bntnews Interview with Heejin, Vivi, Jinsoul, Yves, & Go Won (200504)

[Reporting by Im Jae-ho] Loona: the splendid girl group receiving attention every comeback for its distinctive lore, trendy musicality, and cool synchronized choreography. Members Heejin, Vivi, Jinsoul, Yves, and Go Won met with bnt. In an appearance unlike the recent charismatic "So What" promotion, Loona handled well a spring fairy-like concept and bouncy concept like popping candy.

Introducing themselves as a 'palette-like group', the members said they had many diverse looks prepared to show going forward. Seeing them answer each question seriously and adorably with sparkling eyes and smiling faces, I had the thought that there's a reason why this group is on the upswing.

Loona is currently on rest after successfully completing "So What" promotions. They say that they regret not being able to show their faces to fans very often. Talking about recent days, they also said they are hard at work on the next album's preparations while resting. Let's lend an ear to the words of Loona, resembling radiant spring sunshine.

Q. How do you feel about this photoshoot?

Yves: We really like bnt and are so glad to be on this photoshoot. Thank you for giving us not one, but two photoshoot concepts. Lately it has been break time for us so we've only been practicing in the practice room, so it's nice to be outside and relieve stress at this fun photoshoot. Thank you for calling us.

Jinsoul: We had a very "tough" concept with So What, so it was fun and refreshing to do this pure and cheerful concept.

Vivi: After such a long time, it feels great to be doing a photoshoot today, the outfits are pretty and I like the studio, and the combination of members was new so that was fun too. I hope you call us again in the future.

Heejin: It's been fun at the photoshoot today because it's been a while since our last one. The weather was great too. The bnt editor and writer also treated us very well, so I think the outcome will look good. I also bragged to the other members. If we have the opportunity later, I hope we get yet another concept for the photoshoot.

Go Won: We've seen bnt many times when other celebrities were featured. So we were really looking forward to this, and it was nice to try different concepts as well. They complimented us and took care of us well, so we had a good time during the photoshoot.

Q. What have you been up to lately?

Yves: We've slowly been getting ready for our new album, being on break, and personally I'm learning about writing songs and lyrics. Typically I've worked a lot on the choreo for not only the title but also the b-side songs, so I'm learning about how to design choreos too. My days have been busy while enjoying hobbies and practicing.

Jinsoul: I've been enjoying life while practicing, taking a break, and enjoying hobbies with members. These days we've been having fun with hobbies you can do at home. I like assembling gundams and I've been working hard on that too lately.

Heejin: We've all been enjoying our own hobbies, so it's fun. I'm drawing, learning about song-writing and learning foreign language too. I'm constantly learning something and practicing.

Vivi: Since we're on break we've been having fun among ourselves while cooking at home, eating, and having lots of time to play.

Q. How would you introduce LOONA as a group?

Vivi: We've been different from other groups since our debut. I think our differences started from there. Before our full-group debut we did activities as units. And when not doing activities we've uploaded many covers to Youtube and I think we've tried lots of things as a group.

Yves: Adding to what Vivi said, I think we're like a palette. We can combine solos, units, and so on, in various ways. You can mix paints on the palette as well as use the individual colors alone, so it's fun showing that variety.

Q. Before your full debut, you debuted with solos one by one. How did you feel when you first learned about that?

Heejin: When I first heard it, I didn't really understand the system. It was surprising but I didn't know whether I should like it or not. Debuting solo before the group was also a point of pressure. I worked hard while thinking of the members who would debut after me.

Vivi: I heard about this project before Heejin debuted. Other groups typically have a debuting lineup that gets ready together before debuting. We've even been different on that front. But thinking positively, it was new. Seeing as how there were no other groups that have done this I wondered if it was viable. I thouhgt it would be burdensome for all 12 members to have solo debuts.

Go Won: I thought positively about it, seeing the solo-debut system as a chance for one's personal charms. It seemed nice because each person is combined [with others] to form the full group, which maximizes the charm.

Q. Wasn't it hard to wait for the group to debut?

Heejin: I was the first member to be revealed, and we debuted 22 months after I debuted solo. I just thought of it like, if it's long, it's long, and if it's short, it's short. I think I debuted rather quickly in general. Though officially we weren't a full group, I didn't get tired because we filmed a webdrama and had various other activities in between. While seeing how the other members debuted, I gave what advice I could and helped them. I spent the time like that.

Vivi: I kept watching over the other members debuting, and I prepared hard while anticipating the full group debut.

Q. Wasn't it hard to wait for the group to debut?

Heejin: I was the first member to be revealed, and we debuted 22 months after I debuted solo. I just thought of it like, if it's long, it's long, and if it's short, it's short. I think I debuted rather quickly in general. Though officially we weren't a full group, I didn't get tired because we filmed a webdrama and had various other activities in between. While seeing how the other members debuted, I gave what advice I could and helped them. I spent the time like that.

Vivi: I kept watching over the other members debuting, and I prepared hard while anticipating the full group debut.

Q. For this album, Lee Soo Man produced So What. How did that happen, and what are your thoughts?

Yves: While working on something else, PD Lee Soo Man found our cover video of NCT's Cherry Bomb on Youtube, and contacted us. Through this he got to produce our album. At first it was really fascinating and an honor. He participated and worked on even on the smallest of details. We're very thankful. At first it was a huge honor - I didn't believe it. I think the good results from this album was a combination of our hard practice and Lee Soo Man PD's producing.

Q. You got your first music show win with So What. A word on that?

Yves: At the time, we were in the waiting room and didn't even know we were nominated. It was a surprise just to be nominated, but the company said to prepare a speech, just in case. So I did prepare that, at least (laugh). Then I was suddenly handed the trophy when they announced the winner. I wondered if it was a dream but the writer signaled to me quickly, to give my speech. While giving the speech I kept thinking of people I was thankful for, and gave the speech to completion. Then I started crying as soon as I gave the mic back to the MC. I felt thankful for so many people. I felt again that the music show win wasn't the result of just our own hard work. I was thankful for the members too, as well as the staff, and I wanted to repay everyone's hard work with better results.

Jinsoul: I didn't cry (laugh). I almost cried before we went up for the announcement. I choked up at the fact that we were nominated. I wondered if it was possible in our last week of So What activities. But I was really happy to receive it. I don't cry when I'm happy, so I was really excited. I think it's a shame that our member Haseul and the fans couldn't be there.

Vivi: I think that getting a win on a music show has significance. Before our activities this time around, our instructors said that we could get first place this time. I thought that that would be nice, but wondered if it would be possible with all the cool people in newer and older groups. Even when were nominated, I relaxed myself since I could be disappointed. But when we did get first place, it really felt unreal. I thought that all the practice and activities and preparation I did with the members had a purpose.

Heejin: At the time, some staff members, who've been at the company since the beginning, said that it took too long for us to get our first win. Thinking about it another way, there are still many people who have never gotten a music show win. So, I first thought that we should be a LOONA that's more thankful and humble in our activities. Now I want to be a group that's not satisfied with 2nd place and improves, aiming for even greater heights.

Go Won: When they announced that we had won, I was so surprised that I just stood still for a number of seconds. The memories of us practicing for all that time flashed by. I thought of fans working hard to listen to our songs and all the letters they wrote, the people at our company who encouraged us, and the staff who worked hard. I choked up and cried. I really am thankful.

Q. You've done activities with 3 title tracks: Hi High, Butterfly, and So What. They have very different concepts. Which would you say is your favorite?

Jinsoul: If I were to pick now, Hi High. Because it's an exciting song that make you feel better. First off, it's exciting. It was definitely fresh. I think it's a concept that could only be done as a debut. The appearance of newcomers (laugh). When I think of that, it's really nice.

Heejin: I think Butterfly might've been the most meaningful song for us. With that song we won a performance award at an award show, and I think it showed to the general public that we were a good group. So I like that one the most.

Vivi: It's hard to pick. Since everyone has different tastes (laugh). But if I had to pick, it would be So What. It's very meaningful because of our first win.

Go Won: Personally I like Butterfly because it's the most relaxing to listen to. Other songs are really exciting but I can enjoy listening to Butterfly while feeling tired too, so it's my style.

Yves: So What. While performing this song, I could throw away acting pretty. Even when styling, I asked them to make me look cooler, and experimented how I could look better when scowling onstage. I think it's a song that improved me and the other members too.

Q.Yves' trainee period was extremely short. Thoughts on debuting so quickly?

Yves: After I got the audition I was immediately notified that I passed. Then while living as a trainee for a brief period I went straight into debut preparations. I felt like my dancing and vocals were too lacking so I worked a lot harder. I did get some stress. So I think that was how I started working harder.

Q. Jinsoul recently had her first OST with "Meow, the Secret Boy." Thoughts?

Jinsoul: I did participate in my first OST. Getting to sing for OST was like a dream; it was a big honor to participate in one. I couldn't believe it. But it was my first time recording a ballad, so I worried a lot too. The song came out better than I thought, and the fans listened to it a lot, so the results were good as well. The members kept singing along to it and liked it, so I'm glad. I want to sing it with the members (laugh).

Q. Vivi is a foreign member. What brought you to Korea to prepare to become a singer?

Vivi: There were many parts to that so it's hard to mention just one. I had an interest in kpop from the beginning but didn't know that much about the system. But one thing led to another, and I'm at a company now. I thought it was good opportunity and tried going for it. I uploaded pictures of myself traveling in Korea to SNS, then I got casted (laugh).

Q. For Go Won, the tearful video of you dancing with Oh My Girl on Weekly Idol made waves. Thoughts on that?

Go Won: Even before recording I was nervous because I was such a fan. So it was a huge honor just to be with them at all. But then we got to dance together, and I really choked up. I got very emotional to dance with the role models that led to my dream of becoming a singer. Also I was very thankful for them because they gave us such kind words.

Q. Heejin was the first member to be revealed - you waited a very long time to debut as a full group. Did you ever get impatient?

Heejin: I suppose there was a bit of a wait, seeing the time it took to debut as a full group. But I had a good time practicing and seeing the other members do activities too.

Q. Yves received a good response to her highlight in So What ("strong sh-shock"). Your thoughts?

Yves: When I first got that part I wondered, "why did I get this part?" Even when recording, they just told me to yell all-out. Even when performing live, I tried to yell like that. The scowling expression came automatically. But the response was good and the fans liked it too, so I was very happy.

Q. You have a great response from overseas too. Any words about that?

Heejin: We haven't had many performances abroad. But when we go to things like award shows, many local fans come to welcome us, and that's how we've come to really realize that. I'd like to go overseas more and interact with the fans.

Q. Since all the members had a solo debut, you each have a solo track. Any song that you'd like to have, or really like?

Go Won: I like Yves' new. If you listen to it, you feel more confident. Even while attending after-school academy, I enjoyed listening to it. Your footsteps feel more confident. I'd really like to cover it sometime.

Yves: I like Jinsoul's Singing in the Rain. Before I became a trainee, when I first this song, the beat was really nice and I really liked the rap too. The beat was really fantastic. So this song made me really want to sing a song like this later. I'd like to cover it in my own version at a concert.

Jinsoul: Personally, Kim Lip's Twilight is similar to the style that I sing often and enjoy. I really want to sing song in that R&B style. Wish I had it (laugh).

Heejin: I really can't decide but if I had the opportunity it would be Kim Lip's Eclipse. I've never shown myself with that genre ever, and I'd like to try it.

Vivi: Olivia Hye's Egoist. In the dance-break in the middle, there's a backroll. I like sequences like that. If I had the opportunity I'd like to dance something like that too.

Q. Any fun stories from living together at the dorm?

Vivi: The most fascinating thing is that one time, I didn't meet anyone all day.

Heejin: That's because all of our living patterns are different (laugh).

Vivi: Someone can be waking up now, while someone else heads to sleep. Things like that are fun.

Yves: Go Won and I were eating [raw] fish (hwe) and making fish stew. Go Won was boiling the stew and in the moment that I looked away, the pot had caught on fire. After that, we never had Go Won cook again (laugh).

Q. Any member characteristics or nicknames?

Go Won: Vivi-unnie's a "beast-idol." Even the Pilates instructor acknowledged that. She's really skinny but her whole body is muscle. She exercises very well too. She exercises often nowadays, I saw her yesterday too.

Yves: Vivi unnie's nickname is "Bbi-hengnim" (T/N: a play on hyung-nim, so "Big bro Bbi")

Heejin: Yves-unnie gets surprised so easily so she's a sunfish.

Yves: I get surprised so easily and I have a weak stomach. I'm so fascinated by the members being able to watch movies with blood coming out while eating tteokbokki and stuff.

Vivi: I eat while watching zombie movies. It's fine. I like those kinds of movies.

Q. I heard that after your first win, you guys started using banmal (T/N: not using honorifics when speaking). Any changes?

Heejin: Even when speaking with honorifics we've been casual in our speech so not much has changed. For people of my age or younger I didn't use honorifics.

Yves: I first suggested that we drop honorifics. I suggested it because I thought, I speak casually with my younger siblings on the phone without honorifics, so why not do the same with the members who I spend my time with like family?

Q. A concept you really want to do as LOONA?

Go Won: Since we've shown you our intense side this time, I want to try something fresh and light. I want a seasonal song so I'd like to try a summer song. I want us to do a concept such that when you think of that season, you think of LOONA.

Heejin: Rather than picking a certain concept, every time we release an album it's a different concept, so I want a concept that shows LOONA's uniqueness.

Vivi: The songs we've done as solos, units, and as a full group all feel different. I'd like to keep showing different sides of ourselves.

Jinsoul: With the concepts for Butterfly and So What, I couldn't really smile (laugh). For the next album I hope we have a song that's a bit funky.

Yves: Like Jinsoul, I like having very tight choreos, but I do feel like I want to show a side of ourselves where we just enjoy ourselves while playing on-stage a bit more loosely.

Q. For Halloween, Heejin and Yves covered Sunmi's Full Moon on M Countdown. Any thoughts?

Heejin: I was really happy to have that opportunity to cover that for the Halloween special. It's a song I particularly liked. I had fun the whole time while practicing. And as we got to do a special performance, I'm really thankful that sunbaenim (T/N: older person in the industry) noticed it.

Yves: I was a huge fan of Sunmi-sunbaenim even before debuting. I really liked her so much, when I heard that I'd get to perform Full Moon, I screamed. I was that happy. Sunmi-sunbaenim really has influenced me a ton ever since I was young so that I could dream. Luckily my dreams came true, and I'm even active in the same era as her. Now I want to be a hoobae (T/N: newer person in the industry) that she can be proud of.

Q. You're doing activities as a 12 member girl group. What are the positive parts of that?

Go Won: It's nice be able to show you performances with many members involved, I like that part. Also, I can get cheered up better as there are many people I can rely on. I'm not sure about the negative parts. Lots of people say there are many of us, but when we just have five of us like this, it feels like there are too few people (laugh).

Q. Recently Heejin and Yves were on Knowing Bros on JTBC. How was it?

Yves: They've been in the industry much longer than we have but they still treated us very well. Lee Soogeun sunbaenim looks just like my dad. When I told him that he treated me even better and even took a picture with me. It was great that we were treated so well like that, and when we watched Knowing Bros with everyone at the dorm, it was an honor to be there. I want to go on as a full group next time.

Heejin: It's a variety show that we like very much. We watch it while eating and on flights. I think we were so nervous that we didn't do much for screentime (laugh). For the things that we couldn't do because we were too nervous, I think we could show more things if we are ever able to go on as a full group. I think I learned a lot while going on a big variety show, which I think was nice too.

Q. Was there any story behind why you started uploading covers on Youtube?

Vivi: As we didn't have many title songs, we thought that we didn't have many times where we could show ourselves. So we uploaded the covers to show ourselves more.

Yves: We've uploaded three covers in total. In the videos, Heejin's t-shirt says "Burn." That writing was like a hint which we gave out before releasing "So What." Rather than a simple cover video, it also contained a hint for the next comeback. I hope that fans know that.

Q. What would you say your role is in the group?

Heejin: Hansel and Gretel. I keep leaving things. I'm the type that makes everyone around me take care of me (laugh). I'm good at losing things, dropping things, things like that. Olivia Hye takes care of me a lot (laugh).

Vivi: Jinsoul is like the news messenger. She always gets news first and shares it with the members.

Jinsoul: I have good memory. If I get an announcement for our schedule or something, I can remember it well and share the time or event with the members. Since I have good memory, I can't understand the members who can't remember things. We would all get the announcement but since Heejin or Chuu don't have good memories, they'll keep asking. It's frustrating but I keep it to myself and let them know (laugh).

Go Won: I have a newly made nickname, it's the "TV driver." I like watching TV so much that I'll be on the sofa all day watching TV. When the members come by I play the shows they like, personalized (laugh).

Yves: My ability to empathize stands out. I like listening, and when someone says they're having a hard time I stop what I'm doing to console them and give advice. One time, I was putting on my sleepwear after showering. I was putting on lotion with Kim Lip, and she was talking about having a hard time during dance lessons. As soon as I heard about that I sat right there and listened and gave advice for over an hour. It's not just about being nice, I think my personality is just more empathetic.

Vivi: I think I take care of health the best. I'm a healthy mom.

Yves: As the eldest unnie, she really takes good care of us. Whenever we cry she hugs us and just worries about us. She's the type to quietly take good care of you behind your back.

Jinsoul: She really only eats healthy food. I haven't ever seen her eat fast food or delivery.

Vivi: I can have plenty of that kind of food outside, so I try to eat healthy at home. Even when doing broadcast activities, I pack my own box lunches.

Q. Future plans?

Heejin: During our hiatus we hope to show you new and better sides of ourselves. And we got our first win with So What - I want to show you music that can return that favor.

Yves: In the future, I hope to see you on variety shows or other activities. I hope you look forward to that.

Q. How do you want LOONA to be remembered by the general public?

Vivi: I want to be a source of strength for the public. I want to be a group that gives energy.

Go Won: I'd like for people to think about us when they hear our name, like LOONA. I want to be a group with a big presence.

Yves: I'd like to hear "as expected of LOONA!" When cool sunbaenims have comebacks, I think "Ah, as expected of [someone]!" I want to be like that too.

Jinsoul: I agree with Yves. I want to be a group that you can just trust. I'm of the mindset that we need to work hard to have that level of skill.

Heejin: I just want to be a group that can be acknowledged everywhere. I'm proud just to be able to be a being that gives energy to fans. I hope to give energy to the general public, even if they aren't fans.

Q. Could you say something to your fans?

Go Won: It was unfortunate that we couldn't meet fans up-close during So What activities. As fans gave us our first win, I hope we get to spend more time together. We're receiving a ton of strength, so I'd like to say that I'm thankful and that I love the fans.

Heejin: I really want to say thank you to the fans for being LOONA members' driving force. We can't see you now but take care of your health, and I hope we can meet next time we have activities.

Vivi: We'll work hard to send lots of love, to match how much the fans love us. I hope you really wait for us.

Jinsoul: I'm glad that I can greet the fans during our hiatus through this pictorial. Typically we read things like letters while on break. We receive lots of love from fans and hear lots of things, but it's nice to send something this way. We'll keep you updated simply like this so I hope you look forward to that while waiting for us.

Yves: As we're on hiatus, we haven't been able to show our faces very much. Every time things are like that, the fans get sad, and every time that happens, we exclaim that we always love them, in their direction. We'll work hard and come back soon, so I hope you stay healthy and not have to wait too long. If you enjoy yourself until then, we'll find you soon.

Loona is a group that seems to have endless potential. We look forward to their diverse looks to be shown in the future, like a palette with diverse colors that keeps producing new colors as you mix. We await the group's return with a new appearance soon.

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