Posted by Elizabeth@BAPYESSIR.COM
You could say that 2016 was an explosive year for B.A.P.
Travelling around the world with their world tour that spanned 15 countries including Japan over 5 continents, and winning Best Korea Act for the second time in European music awards “MTV EMA 2016″. And gaining first on American Billboard’s world album charts with their 2nd full album “NOIR” that was released in autumn, creating a new record for winning first four times in that ranking; it has been a year where they’ve added several pages to their history.
In this interview, we look back on this year of 2016 and talk about the charms of their new single “FLY HIGH”.
※Bang Yongguk did not participate as he is in the midst of recuperating.
－－ To B.A.P, hasn’t the year 2016 become another memorable one?
YJ: I think this year was a truly busy one. We had releases in Korea and Japan, a world tour spanning the globe, were able to meet fans from each country and kept going without rest. I think it was an unforgettable year.
－－ The world tour “B.A.P LIVE ON EARTH 2016 WORLD TOUR AWAKE!!” that spanned 15 countries over 5 continents held concerts at Russia and New Zealand and such as well, making it a historical one being the first K-POP artist to hold a solo concert there.
DH: Through this world tour, there were many places that we went to for the first time, and I think holding concerts at those sort of places changed our mentalities. I’d think “our thoughts and visions have widened”.
By seeing and hearing the musical and cultural facets of each country, our understanding has deepened as individuals who are involved with art. It was the trigger that made me think that I have to learn more and work hard as an artist.
－－ Also, you held a total of 7 concerts in Japan in Tokyo, Nagoya & Osaka. What distinctive feature unique to Japan did you realise after touring the world?
DH: Japan really has a sensibility that is unique to them and I really love that. When I was a child, I was exposed to Japanese culture through movies, dramas and anime. After getting into this field, and physically going to Japan and coming in contact with the fans, I can relax when I’m surrounded by the buildings and trees on the streets. I feel that they lend their ear to us and listen thoroughly during concerts, and that they accept us too.
－－ Where were the most passionate fans?
HC: I guess it’s South America after all. I think the country’s culture is part of the reason too but their hearts are passionate!
ZL: South America is amazing isn’t it. Even though we came from the opposite side of the globe, they welcomed us really warmly.
－－ Well then, what did you realise was charming about Korea after going around the world?
YJ: Korea is our home country after all, and firstly we have our fans in Korea, which acted as the starting point to gaining fans all over the world. Also, Korea is our home base so there’s a closeness with it like we’re old friends. I’m more at peace than when I’m overseas and there’s no worries about communication. We sing mainly in Korean and I think they can understand us deeply.
－－ In the European music awards “MTV EMA 2016″, you’ve won “Best Korea Act” again after doing so in 2014. With the winner decided based on votes from fans around the world, B.A.P are the first to win the award twice. What do you think is about you that has led your performances to this point?
DH: We originally like pop and I think the music that we show through our performances is pop music that resonates with [people around] the world, and thus we have foreigners accepting our music too. We have what I believe are intense and manly performances, with meaningful lyrics, and on that note, it’s our forte too.
HC: B.A.P’s performances are hard core and I think that’s what everyone loves. So we don’t forget that either and think that we need to continue maturing and show a good stage.
－－ Travelling around the world, did you have the confidence that your dance performance could hold it’s own to the world?
JU: You asked a question about dance, but in my case, I think for them to like the entirety of my expression, the performance, inclusive of dance. I think we have the power to grasp the hearts of the audience on the spot with the performance that we put on with all the members.
－－ Your 2nd full album “NOIR” that was released on November 7 received first place on America’s Billboard world charts. With this, B.A.P has accomplished the achievement of placing first on this chart 4 times. Praises are being sung about your comeback.
ZL: I think it was feedback as the result of us having a place to appeal ourselves and the fans who waited for us so I’m very happy.
HC: But honestly, it doesn’t seem too real to us yet. I want many people to listen to our music from now on too, so I think we have to continue working even harder.
－－ It’s reflected in the title “NOIR”, but a tougher view on the world is indicated in the music video for “SKYDIVE” with a hard and serious sound via the recent hip hop movement that includes hard electro, alternative, trap and such. Do you feel like you’ve gained a new weapon?
ZL: Without fixating ourselves on a set genre, we wanted to try different music approaches and I think we’ve done various types of music till now. But simply, there’s the core of B.A.P’s original image, and we want to continue trying different challenges with a little more to that [core]. To gain good results, each of us have been working hard in our own roles and I want to broaden the breadth of our music.
DH: There were of course, fun parts in the music video for “SKYDIVE”, and we also learnt and did new challenges like action and acting, but it was difficult at the same time.
－－ In Japan, your 6th single “FLY HIGH” was released today on December 7. The title track “FLY HIGH” has a different perspective to “NOIR” and is a song with a refreshing sound and memorable lyrics that are filled with hope.
HC: As you said, “FLY HIGH” has lyrics and a melody that is filled with hope so I hope it could become everyone’s strength.
ZL: It was a new venture for us too so I hope the listeners feel something fresh too.
HC: There were works that we released in Korea with a similar approach to “FLY HIGH”, so it’s not something entirely new, but I think the genre, melody and atmosphere is more impressive than anything we’ve done before.
－－ You show off a cool dance under the blue skies in the music video. It’s full of your smiles and a clip that fans will love, but what did you have in mind when you were filming?
HC: There was a female in the music video for “FLY HIGH”, but we didn’t know until we were there so it was a surprise (laughs).
ZL: And since it was the day after we filmed “SKYDIVE”, our bodies were weary too and it was tough (laughs).
－－ Do you still have a tight schedule now?
DH: We spent our time to film it since the music videos are something important, but I don’t think we didn’t anything else that hard otherwise.
ZL: I think we created a good video since we worked hard on it, and I want to continue doing this from next year too!
－－Furthermore, there’s “FIRE FLAME” which challenges an even sharper sound coupled with the single. Personally it’s a song that I really like.
YJ: When we first received the demo for this song, I thought “it’s really good!” and fell for it. The melody and lyrics match with the sound and it’s a comfortable song.
HC: There are many chances for concerts in Japan in the future too, so I want to incorporate middle-tempo songs like this as well.
－－ The 3rd track “WITH YOU” is the Japanese version of one of your representative songs that was included in your 1st full Korean album, and I think there were many Japanese fans waiting for it. Is there a particular phrase that you like from the Japanese lyrics?
YJ: I really love the lyrics for “WITH YOU” from the start to the end, the meaning really strikes deep like a poem and I want to sing it with the fans too. There’s the message about wanted to converse together and it’s truly a special song.
DH: If I had to choose, the lyrics “just having you by my side, I don’t need anything else” summarises the whole song.
HC: Same as “with you”.
－－ What are you most conscious about singing in Japanese?
DH: The language is different but I don’t think there’s too much different [otherwise]. “WITH YOU” in particular is sung towards the fans and putting our hearts into singing it doesn’t change.
HC: Since we sang it in Korean, the lyrics have always had this message, so I think we have to really sing it properly. On top of that, often, it’s come to be the ending song after various concerts. Whilst remembering the various emotions and thoughts I received from those times, I went into recording for this version.
－－ And then from January next year, you’ll be holding your 2nd original Japan tour in Tokyo, Osaka and Nagoya. If we take a count, it’s been about 4 years since your last original Japan tour so I think many fans have great expectations for it.
DH: Next year we’ll be entering our 6th year of debut in Korea. More than continuing to show new things in the future, I think we have to show something with higher quality.
YJ: We’ve released several CDs since the last original Japan tour, so the number of stages that we can show have increased and I want you to look forward to it. We’ve matured through the world tour and such and I hope to exhibit a good synergy effect.
HC: We actually had a meeting about the original Japan tour before coming to Japan this time. It resulted in an all-standing concert to show our new selves and the set list is also an important feature. We haven’t decided on the fine details yet, but I’m looking forward to this new format and I’m curious too as to how the fans will accept it. I want to continue working hard so that we can continue to show different changes.
JU: In addition to what we have already shown, I hope to show a new matured side to us. I want it to be a concert that lasts in everyone’s memories and I’ll begin preparations now so that it’ll be a performance that exceeds your expectations.
ZL: There are many Japanese songs that we’ve released just for the sake of our Japanese fans and Japanese versions [of our Korean songs] have increased too. Many ideas have come to me and I want to realise them even if a day earlier. I’m glad that we can communicate at an even closer scale next year so please look forward to it!
Source: Billboard Japan