Since the release of their 4th single “EXCUSE ME” in September 2014, 6-membered K-POP group B.A.P have released their 1st full album “Best. Absolute. Perfect” after approximately one and a half years on March 30. This work which is titled exactly like their group name is overflowing with their confidence. It’s a given with their previously released singles, but the highlight is the inclusion of 3 coolest new songs; B.A.P are finally restarting their activities in Japan!
―― It’s been 3 years since you’ve debuted in Japan, what’s something memorable from these 3 years?DH: The most memorable has been releasing our 1st full album. Instead of releasing songs that we’d already released in Korea till now, this album has original Japanese tracks, so that alone makes it more meaningful. I’ll be happy if everyone loves the album YJ: In these 3 years, I think we’ve had many chances to meet the Japanese fans, and since there were the concerts too, we’ve had the chance to meet everyone through various events, and that is very memorable. JU: Personally for me, I love Japanese anime a lot and was able to come in contact with Japanese culture in these 3 years, so I think there’s something that I’ve gained from there.
―― As the leader, Yongguk-san has been leading forth the Japanese activities, when you look back at it, how were these past 3 years?YG: We receive a lot of support from the fans in Japan as well, so thanks to that, I think we’ve done well in these past 3 years. That’s why I’m very grateful to all the fans. Japanese promotions differ to Korean activities in some ways, so it always feels like we’re doing something new. We’ve also been able to experience something new from challenging things.
―― Could you elaborate?YG: It’s hard to put in words, but there’s a different atmosphere between the Japanese and Korean music market. However, we had already planned to perform our Japanese activities with our own style. So as a result, many people in Japan too were able to accept us for what we fundamentally are, and that is what makes me appreciative. I’m deeply touched that they’ve accepted us.
―― Earlier in the interview, Daehyun-san mentioned that “Best. Absolute. Perfect” was one of the most memorable things in these past 3 years. It’s your first Japanese album, and also released after a long while. Please tell us your thoughts now that it’s been completed.DH: Before the release of “Best. Absolute. Perfect”, various teasers were released and many fans loved them, and for one, I was surprised at that tremendous response. We’ve always said that “it’s a song that shows off B.A.P’s colour” for our past singles, but I think this work is the simplest expression of ourselves. And so, I can confidently ask you to take a listen to it.
―― I believe the Japanese fans also follow your Korean releases, but I think they can understand B.A.P even further with the release of “Best. Absolute. Perfect”.DH: I think so too. Not only the fans in Japan, but Korean fans are looking forward to it, and I think everyone globally is happy about it too. HC: Globally! You went far didn’t you (laughs) DH: Yes (laughs). I think people from many countries will be happy about it, so I want to perform it at as many places as I can to everyone. ZL: Especially since this isn’t a collection of the songs we’d released in Korea before, and is our first full album that includes original Japanese songs, so I think it’s an album with special meaning. The included tracks were recorded a little while ago. When I hear them now, I find areas where I think ‘I should of done it like that instead’.
―― That’s a proof of your growth.ZL: That would be nice if that’s so.
―― Since you said that you recorded it a little while ago, does it mean that “Best. Absolute. Perfect” overlapped with the production of your 5th Korean album “CARNIVAL” released on February 22?DH: No it didn’t. YG: Actually, the recording was completed for these new songs before the release of “MATRIX” and “CARNIVAL” in Korea. So we were able to work earnestly for the [extra] time that we had.
―― I see. For this album, “NEW WORLD”, “KINGDOM” and “BACK IN TIME” were the 3 tracks composed as original Japanese tracks, with “NEW WORLD” acting as the intro to the whole album.HC: It’s exactly as you say, in conjunction with the release of this first full album, I think this is the track that leads people into it. It’ll be nice if everyone likes it. DH: This song hints that this will be an album that goes from this point forward doesn’t it. If you listen to them in order, I think you’ll be able to feel our aspirations and intentions. ZL: “NEW WORLD” was composed by a Korean, but it’s penned with Japanese lyrics as a original Japanese track, so I wonder how it’ll feel if we produced it with Korean lyrics. The song itself will have a new feeling right? It has a peculiar atmosphere, is unique and cool.
―― It feels like you’re stepping into a new world with “NEW WORLD”, and then finding a new kingdom with “KINGDOM”.ZL: That’s right. DH: It is our first full album so we wanted something very B.A.P-like. The Japanese fans like our strong concepts, so the 1st and 2nd tracks “NEW WORLD” and “KINGDOM” were born.
―― It’ll be fun to watch “KINGDOM” live wouldn’t it.HC: I’m in charge of the monologue in English for the intro. I’m not very good at English, but I identified with the need to endure in order to fulfill wishes. ZL: The raps were high-speed raps in every song, so I felt perplexed many times when we first started our Japanese activities. I’ve listened to “KINGDOM” over and over since it was finished, but since my Japanese isn’t that good, I’m worried if I conveyed the meaning across properly or not.
―― What about “BACK IN TIME”?HC: There’s a behind-story about this song’s production. The members loved this song, and instead of including it in this album, there were talks to release it as a single. However in the end, we included it in the album. All of us really love it, so I truly hope everyone can give it a listen.
―― B.A.P originally has a manly image, but your “mature manliness” has increased even more with the new songs.HC: We’ve aged a little bit haven’t we (laughs). DH: The album photos and posters were actually taken 2 years ago. You can enjoy both the 'before’ in the photos and 'after’ in us. Himchan was so handsome 2 years ago (laughs). ZL: There are 13 tracks to the album, but the concepts change depending on the song. Especially the 3rd track “BACK IN TIME”, is a very cool piece even if you don’t move and just perform it sitting still, whilst “NEW WORLD” and “KINGDOM” are songs that I want to show off with a performance that is unique to B.A.P. It’s an album where I can think up various arrangements and expressions for. YG: We, B.A.P, have expressed various messages through songs till now and sang songs that allow you to feel our charisma, and I think that these 3 songs will be the same. Rather than from a single place, I want the listener to feel our message entirely. JU: Our intentions are included in the lyrics after all.
―― The Japanese version of “CRASH” matches well with the Japanese lyrics, I only hear the Japanese version’s “suki dayo” instead of the “neol gidaryeo” from the Korean version now.DH: The Korean lyrics “neol gidaryeo” has the meaning of “I’m waiting for you”, but in the Japanese version it’s “I like you”. The words “I like you” are very good words, and through the whole song it comes up right at the end too, so just the words ‘I like you’ alone leaves you feeling very happy. I can convey the things I want to say to the fans through the songs so that’s very nice.
―― From April, you’ll be going to various places like America, Canada, Mexico and Europe for your world tour, and in Japan too in June. Please tell us your thoughts towards the tour.DH: We experience changes as we go on tour, so I think we can show a more matured side when we come [back] to Japan. YG: Right now I’m very excited and looking forward to it. It’s been a very long time since we had a world tour, and my anticipations are rising about the various things we can learn at the various places we visit during this tour period. I’m also looking forward to releasing more good music in Japan for everyone to listen to.
――Between the world tour and Japan tour, will the contents differ?YG: Yes. I think fans each country have their own preferred musicality and songs, so I think it’ll be nice if we alter it a little whilst touring. For us too, rather than performing the exact same concert over and over, I think something with a little change is better.
―― Since your debut in Korea in 2012, 4 years have passed. What are your goals for B.A.P in the future?YG: B.A.P will continue to pursue the music that we want to do. Not being chained to one area, we’ll constantly challenge and search for new things. By doing so, we’ll become closer and closer to “the music that we want to do” that we thought about when we debuted. Also, I want to have the chance to meet the fans as often as possible. Through our performances, I want to have many people listen to our music, and by meeting the fans, we also receive a lot of inspiration, so from now on too, I want to let everyone listen to our music with even more performances.