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[Article] Starnews Korea Interview With LOONA (200421)

Girl group Loona, who debuted as a full group after a process of revealing one member each month, grew consistently step by step and matured into a global idol group in two years since debut. Having crafted a Loonaverse without stumbling, they have come together to deliver their message to all Loonas around the world.

Buoyed by this growth, Loona showed their potential in winning two awards at the Asia Artist Awards in Vietnam 2019 (2019 AAA) including the popularity award. They further achieved milestones such as a music show win as they showed a new side through "So What", the title track of recent mini album [#], preparing a stepping stone to leap even higher.

First of all, you won two awards at 2019 AAA.

Kim Lip: "It was an honor for us to receive any award at a ceremony, but we were so surprised to receive two. Thank you to the fans who let us realize how much we are loved, and to many people who have helped us. We'll work hard so that you won't be disappointed."

Yves: "In our acceptance speech we also said we'll be sure to make fans proud. We want to always be working harder and to repay you by becoming even more splendid artists."

There was a large crowd that gathered as soon as Loona landed in Vietnam.

Chuu: "Seeing so many people who came to the airport, I was really surprised but also happy that they sought us. So we tried to send you hearts and greet you as close up as possible as we walked by. If I meet them again next time, I'd like to tell them that I love them once more."

The Star15 Popularity Award is voted on by the fans, so it must have felt even more special.

Olivia Hye: "I knew from the website that we were nominated for the popularity award, and watching the voting results I could feel the fans' love. So receiving the actual award on stage I was overwhelmed with emotion and I teared up. Since the fans produced this award for us, it's even more valuable to us as well."

Loona recently completed a successful promotion. The brilliant rate of growth was particularly noticeable, including a first music show win through "So What".

Go Won: "We worked hard during the 1-year hiatus and tried to show you a new side with the "So What" comeback. I want to say thank you one more time to the many people who enjoyed it. I was so happy that we were able to produce a good result."

Chuu: "I've always been thinking that it'd be nice to experience a win, and we got to achieve our first goal through "So What". We achieved this goal but we won't settle, we'll be a Loona who strives towards someplace even higher."

On the other hand, it must be disappointing to be apart from fans due to the effects of COVID-19.

Jinsoul: "Right. Unfortunately we couldn't meet the fans during this promotion. So once the situation gets better, we want to prepare occasions like fan meetings and concerts where we're able to meet the fans first. When we promote on music shows there are lots of events like mini fanmeets where we can meet fans up close, but since we got to do none of these things I was disappointed even during the promotion."

"So What" is intense right from the intro. Shouting "I'm so bad" straight-up from the beginning. Our reaction was "Is this really a Loona song?" How did you feel when you first heard the song.

Hyunjin: "For me, with the many repeated melodies and seeing how it just hypes you up while listening, I thought 'This will work if we just do it well'. On first listen it might be bewildering because of the many diverse sounds, but it's addictive. If you haven't listened yet, please do."

Chuu: "It uses interjections and diverse instruments. In particular it's a song that emphasizes a girl-crush and funky image. This kind of color is shown off often by girl groups, as a trend, so it's true that we were concerned about the competition. I think that's why we sharpened our swords even more and prepared hard."

Things like Loona's unique concept and messaging distinguish Loona from other K-pop groups, but on the other hand, there's been commentary that these are unfamiliar to the general public and raise the entry barrier to get into the group. But many have reacted that you took a step closer to the general public with "So What".

Olivia Hye: "I think it's because what we showed you this time is definitely more familiar to the public than what we showed before. And there was a big reaction to that. But in our opinion, the public is also growing more and more familiar with Loona."

Yves: "I think the concepts we've shown from the member reveals until now can feel unfamiliar to the public, but it was a necessary process in order to tell our lore and story. And I think the reactions to this promotion came as those stories connected. What I really want to emphasize is that the things we are saying are not just our stories. They can be applied to anyone, so please don't think of it as too difficult, and I hope you can enjoy them in a relaxed way."

From the full group debut song "Hi High" to "So What", you've had a concept change in all three releases so far. Now even the public is expectant and thinking "How will Loona come back next time". Isn't there any pressure?

Kim Lip: "There's definitely pressure related to performance. We've become especially well-known for our performances, so we're always pondering how to utilize our large numbers and in what kind of choreography. And we've already tried a lot of different things like crawling on the floor and picking up members. Haha. There's a lot of pressure when we think we need to show you something new, but on the other hand we're also very excited to imagine what might be completed next."

Olivia Hye: "And I hope you won't forget that we are growing. We might come back in a way that's similar to what we've done before, but as we've gotten older, our experience and skills have grown just as much so it won't be the same. You can look forward to that."

On the other hand, these continuous image changes might mean that fans who enjoyed your previous image are caught off guard.

Heejin: "Of course the concept has changed each comeback, but the message we want to deliver is all the same. Please remember that no matter what we look like on stage, we are always Loona."

Choerry: "They're not sides of us that didn't exist before, they are sides we haven't gotten to show you yet. Even if we come out with something new, please don't panic."

Yves: "We tend to read the reactions. The kind that's most fun for us is this. "That girl is the same one from "Hi High"?" Stuff like that. Haha. We have an infinite array of colors. We're prepared to transform into someone different still, so get ready."

When I interviewed you a year ago, I remember you saying you really want a music show win. You achieved that goal. Curious to know what you're thinking about Loona's direction, goals, and growth for the future.

Heejin: "I think we're growing as we climb step by step. We earned a win this time around, so now it's time to climb towards the next level. We want to be Loona who are always climbing above."

Jinsoul: "Receiving awards and being recognized by the public are important things to be thankful of, but I think I'm even more grateful that as we continue to promote, we're becoming closer, we interact with many people on bigger and bigger stages, and we get increasing opportunities to show off our music."

Kim Lip: "Our teamwork especially has gotten better. Our appearance and skills have been upgraded, and will continue to be upgraded, so please look forward ot it. We'll become Loona whom you're always looking forward to what's next for."

Loona is also famous for cover videos. The cover of NCT 127's "Cherry Bomb" especially became a sensation and brought many global fans to you.

Yeojin: "First, thank you to everyone who looked kindly upon it. As we filmed covers we used them as opportunities to learn from and adapt to each group's strengths. It's nice to receive attention for covers, but from now on we'll show you more of what Loona looks like, not just what it looks like to cover other groups, so that we may be loved by even more people."

Lastly, please say a word for the Orbits that you couldn't meet through this promotion.

Olivia Hye: "First I hope you'll all take care to stay healthy. Loona is hard at work practicing and putting in effort for our next comeback, so please look forward to what we'll be like on return."

Kim Lip: "Thank you to everyone who loved "So What". It's so unfortunate that we couldn't interact much with fans, but I really hope we can see you in the next promotion."

Jinsoul: "It's a mistake if you think we're resting or playing around after wrapping up "So What" promotions. We're in the practice room putting in effort for what's next. Please look forward to it lots."

Chuu: "We were so disappointed too that we couldn't meet the fans while promoting. I hope we'll meet lots next time, and from events to performances, fan meetings, and concerts, we're planning to have many opportunities to meet with you. We'll stay healthy and well, so let's be sure to meet next time."

Heejin: "Especially through "So What" promotions, even though we cannot see you, I realized once more just how much love the fans send to us. We'll repay you with even greater love."

Hyunjin: "I was disappointed that we couldn't meet the fans this promotion but health is the most important, so please be healthy until we meet again. I love you."

Choerry: "Including the music show win, thank you for making Loona into what we are today. We'll continue working hard and repay you as much as we have received."

Yeojin: "As much as the fans miss us, we miss you so much too."

Go Won: "We wrapped up "So What" promotions well but I'm disappointed that we couldn't show you the performances in person. I miss you a lot, and I hope the situation will improve soon."

Yves: "A fan sent a letter, and they told us to become so successful that they would not be able to see us anymore. The fans surely want to keep seeing us from close by, but to wish a success so great that they wouldn't be able to see us, I couldn't fathom how deep those feelings must be. So even aside from us working towards success, I vowed once more that I should work to become an even greater person."

Vivi: "There were so many moments when I was thankful during this promotion, but I was disappointed that I couldn't tell you in person. In times like these that are hard for the whole world, I hope that our appearance, our music, could be strength for you."

Original Sources Part 1 Part 2 Part 3



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