T-ara recount their 7 years together as a group… “We have no thoughts to disband.”
T-ARA is making a comeback after 1 year and 3 months. Girl group T-ARA has enjoyed immense popularity, followed by multiple hardships and eventually overcoming them. They debuted in July 2009 with a song that catches everyone’s attention and swept the music chart. They displayed different concepts to existing groups and are overwhelming. T-ARA has received many loves from the public as a popular group.
The now-actress Hwayoung joined the group as an additional member in 2010 and participated in RLPL, BPBP, Lovey Dovey, etc which has placed 1st on numerous charts and won many awards. However, Hwayoung leaves the group due to discord 2 years later in 2012. Areum joined as a new member afterwards but also left in the following year and the group has continued as 6 members afterwards.
They’ve experienced numerous rise and fall but the members always comforted each other during these hard times and become each other’s strength. They hide their sufferings from people’s backlash, overcoming the difficulties and pledge to endure them one at a time.
They have a huge stardom in China and Japan, but they still hope to return and promote in Korea. They’re more focused on their music rather than popularity, not greedy and aspire too much, but instead climb the stairs one by one. This album will almost be like the starting point to what they’re about to show the music world in the future.
Q. What did you do for 1 year?
Soyeon: Split activities between China and Japan. I’ve missed Korean activities.
Q. It’s been 8 years since debuting in 2009, what are your thoughts?
Eunjung: I think it’ll be better if I explain by using the lyrics in our new song. “There’s nobody else who loves (us) like you do” is for the fans. We are reminded of people who like us and have been with us in the past. Of course, this would apply to other groups’ fans as well. They’ve went through the hard times together, that’s how they’ve become a family.
Q. There are a lot of singers making comeback recently. It’s a competition, are you worried about your rankings?
Soyeon: We have no expectations. (Laughs). We’re not aiming to survive on the charts, instead we just wanted to promote in Korea. During the 1 year and 3 months break, we’ve promoted in China and Japan. I don’t know if it’s considered a long time but, the fans have waited for a long time. I want to interact with the Korean fans as soon as possible. We don’t even concern ourselves with things like competition, we don’t even think about it. We made the album this time only thinking about the fans.
Q. It’s unexpected that the new song is a ballad.
Eunjung: As for the song this time, it’s a style that all the members agreed on. It’s an expectable concept coming from a girl group, but we didn’t do that. This time T-ARA tries to not be unique.
Jiyeon: It’s innocent and soft.
Soyeon: We’ve been doing exaggerated and loud type recently. As we practised, we felt bored and feel slightly refined at that.
Hyomin: Bored to the point of should we keep doing this. We’ve been around for 7~8 years, we feel like showing our mature self on the stage.
Q. If you’re to choose the song you’re most obsessed with out of all your hit songs?
All members: ‘Roly Poly’. We received lots of love. We enjoyed being on the stage and it’s a song which we really enjoyed the promotion of. We’ve always been 2 nd for 11 weeks and Super Junior sunbaenim got the 1 st . That song was 1 st on annual melon chart at that time.
Hyomin: It’s almost like a song that dominates an era.
Eunjung: We’re the group that leaves at daybreak.
Q. You were really popular but have to endure some difficulties after the discord with Hwayoung.
Eunjung: Our image as T-ARA changed due to that issue. We’ve gone through some difficult times due to that and the fans have experienced it alongside us. It’s our own issue so it’s only right we persevered on, but the fans have no such obligations. They’re still here out of their own will because they liked us and I can’t express enough gratitude and apologised enough. I will never forget this till the day I die.
Q. Is it possible to meet Hwayoung like nothing’s happened now?
Jiyeon: Hwayoung is doing well too; a long time has passed now I think we can smile when we do meet now.
Q. You’ve recently heard much news of groups disbanding and leaving, what is T-ARA’s plan?
All members: It’s something we’ve all been talking about but in our hearts we want it to stay the way it is. (The group that split/disbanded) has 7 years in their contract, but our first contract wasn’t even 7 years, in fact even shorter. We’ve signed a recontract 2 times. T-ARA will keep going in the future. We’ve passed the 7-years curse. We definitely have no intention to disband or split.
Q. Your comeback song is not dance but medium tempo. Explain the change.
Eunjung: Actually we wanted to do another T-ARA –ish song. Another song where people who listen can make out it’s another ‘T-ARA’s song’. We wanted to do another upbeat song or EDM etc. But, the song this time is indifference and not as upbeat. Actually, we’ve also always wanted to do a calm song. We haven’t had the chance to try a song that other girl groups have given a shot at least once. We’ve done many unique concepts, this time we want something calm.
Jiyeon: Among other tracks, the mini albums have the title track, Chinese ver. and Inst. Ver.
Q. How much did the members participated in the album this time?
Soyeon: We hardly have any time this time. After the meeting for comeback preparation ended, the comeback is moved up to early November, there’s hardly any part where we contributed.
Q. You collaborated with Duble Sidekick again this time.
Soyeon: In our perspective, we’re already thankful for giving the song to us. We rarely receive compliments of nice songs. To others, they listen only because they believed in Duble Sidekick’s skills, in the perspective of a singer, we also believed in them and accepted it. There’s also a good atmosphere working together because we’re close with one another. Actually, we receive more songs from Shinsadong Tiger and Jo Youngsoo composer. We do wish to work with them in the future.
Q. Do you not worry about change?
Eunjung: Of course we do. But if you worry about it you can’t accomplish anything. We have to make a decision among the songs given.
Hyomin: We do worry if the song is too boring to listen to, but as we listen further we are reminded of the fans. It’s a song that’s suitable to listen to during cleaning or to concentrate while driving.
Q. I think you would want to be 1 st in music chart.
Jiyeon: We’ve agreed to do it in the most T-ARA way as possible. We will come out with the mentality of we’re receiving as many love as possible. Of course we don’t know what the public reaction will be like. We think of this time like an event.
Eunjung: We really do not expect anything like charting 1 st , getting all-kill or getting cheers. We only want this to be a memory between us and fans. We want to use our time interacting as much as possible with the fans. We do not cling on results for our promotion. To tell the truth, we’re only here because we miss promoting in Korea.
Jiyeon: We want to present fans with our hearts. We release our albums as a form of payback for their love.
Q. You have so many Chinese fans; it’s possible to get 1 st is it not?
All members: Eyy~ seriously, no such thing. We don’t expect getting 1 st . We’re only planning music shows, fan meeting and promotion
Q. If there’s anything you’d expect out of this promotion?
Jiyeon: A good time with the fans, making good memories. That’s the priority for this promotion.
Eunjung: We fed on memories to carry on living (Smile.) Long story short, we want to make good memories with the fans. To repay the protection the fans have provided us. Our gratitude can’t be expressed in 1~2 words. We don’t even know how to repay that debt. We will release many albums to meet them. Try to become a good person, or be an even better person. We’d like to keep going. This might sound like a cliché answer but it’s probably because we’ve endured more hardships compared to other teams.
Q. T-ARA is inclined to receive bad comments from the netizens. Is there anything you’d like to say to them?
Eunjung: It’s better than no comments. We’re fine with anything.
Jiyeon: We’ve released ourselves from it.
Hyomin: We’ve debuted for 7~8 years and it’s been 4 years since the incident. It was the Olympics then. This year is also the Olympics and we thought ‘Ah it’s been 4 years’. We couldn’t believe we actually suffered more and getting loved more during all that time. We tell this among ourselves but we really endured well.
Q. Another genre T-ARA would like to try in the future?
Hyomin: We’ve really done a lot since debut. Having fun and enjoying ourselves is our number 1 priority at the moment. We don’t really expect anything out of this promotion other than to enjoy ourselves. We are already content for the simple fact of us releasing an album.
Jiyeon: We’ve returned after 1 year and 3 months, we only want to have fun.
Hyomin: It’s actually dreadful if you look at it. I don’t know when exactly we’ve lost our goals. But this is not necessarily a bad thing. We have no heavy burdens. Of course, we’re apologetic towards the fans. In the fans’ perspective, it would be better for their favourite artist to clinch 1 st . I think it’d better if the fans lower their expectations now.
Q. You seem like you really like your fans. Any events you’d like to do with them?
Eunjung: I’ve always said this but it was never fulfilled, but I’d like to go camping with them. (Laughs) But it’s getting too cold now, should we still go camping or go to a ski resort? It’s better if we do it at least once.
Others: What Ski Resort!?? (Laughs)
Q. Any varieties show you want to guest as full members?
All members: We want to go on ‘Knowing Bros’. It’s spiteful but I think the viewers will laugh and enjoy at the sight of us getting spewed with insults.
Hyomin: That’s right. I think people would laugh (at us getting dissed). I want to go on ‘SNL’
Q. Any plans to release full-album within this year?
Soyeon: We want to release it sometime between March~April next year. It’s our 12 th mini-album this time. We’ve been telling our agency. Everything may be up to us but there are still no specific details on next album. For now, just focus on this album.
Q. Your hoobaes seemed really active these days. Anyone that catches your attention?
All members: Of course TWICE. Very pretty and makes us happy when we look at them. We watched Music Bank together last time and stuck ourselves on the TV screens like guys. We picked our biases. (Laughs). TWICE has 9 members and they’re all pretty. Really jealous.
Q. T-ARA members are also pretty. You’re now in mid-20s to early 30s. How do you self-manage?
Boram: I’m concerned with recovery with blood so I find things suitable for me to eat. As long as my body isn’t tired I feel like I can do anything. Like in the interview, I’m totally drained. Haha.
Soyeon: Your stamina goes down as you turn 30.
Eunjung: I also have chronic fatigue
Q. You’ve recently become very popular overseas. What’s the secret to getting such popularity?
Eunjung: Having released many genres of song, we seem to have a variety of songs to choose from. We seem to be able to satisfy different type of people. We’re doing fine everywhere else except in Korea. We debut during the rise of Hallyu and luckily got many love calls from overseas and enter the market. It’s not like we’re looking for something in particular, we just entered and fit naturally. We have many memorable concerts, in Japan Budokan, 10000 attended. In Shanghai Mercedes-Benz Centre 12000 attended. Thank you so much.
Hyomin: No particular reason on why overseas fans like us, but it are more because we have many contents. We’ve been really busy in the past but now that we look at it, we’re grateful for it. We filmed one MV per month, that’s 12 a
Soyeon: There’s also a time when we filmed for total of 300 hours for 5 MVs
Q. I heard you’re more popular than Beyoncé in China.
All members: We’re really surprised to see ourselves having the largest girl group fan base in China. We’re 1 st among
K-POP female artists. In the mixed ranking, 1 st is EXO, 2 nd Big Bang, 3 rd T-ARA.
Eunjung: In the Shanghai concert, the stadium is fully filled. We don’t know who to share such proud moment with, we
just talk about it among ourselves. (Laughs)
Q. Do you think you will regain your popularity in Korea?
Hyomin: I don’t think so. We don’t think to gain more popularity now. We’re just living in the moment.
Q. Do you have any big picture as idols that have been around for 10 years?
Eunjung: I want to keep carrying T-ARA’s name with me
Soyeon: Do some acting, even after getting married and becoming housewife T-ARA won’t split and will stay together
for the fans. Not in the near future but if you’re talking about the big picture.
Hyomin: The thing we’ve always said among ourselves is to stay together as T-ARA. We don’t know what will happen.
Even if we did split I want to keep having fan meeting and concerts even if we can’t do album promotion.
Q. What’s T-ARA in your life?
Eunjung: We call it ‘love-hate T-ARA’ among ourselves (Laughs). We really hate it, despise it, and gone through many
difficulties but now we know what each other is thinking just by looking at one’s eyes and expression.
Hyomin: When we quarrel during our dorm times it’s not really because of any reasons in particular. Even for biological sisters, they can fight every day when young and grow up to be closest friends.