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“I can’t imagine B.A.P without Bang Yongguk”
―― It’s been a little while since seeing B.A.P as 6 hasn’t it! Leader Bang Yongguk has now returned, please tell us your honest thoughts about restarting activities as a whole.
DH: With Yongguk’s absence, it looks as if the group is missing something, so having his return, and standing on stage together again made me feel that we were complete. I felt confidence bubbling inside me too. The fans were really happy about it too, so it was perfect.
ZL: Yongguk carries a huge part of B.A.P, so when he came back, I thought, we really can’t make it without him. Like, I can’t imagine B.A.P with Yongguk. So I was very happy.
YJ: Promoting as 6 really is great. We’d been promoting as 6 for a long time already so although it would’ve been a given that he would come back to us, I still was truly glad.
JU: With just one person gone, the empty space is huge and I felt how important B.A.P was, how important standing on the stage together was.
HC: We got really excited and it was a good time. Gathering together like this is a true blessing, like a dream. It’s a shame that I had to pull out midway, but I came back again for the final day of the Seoul concerts yesterday and had a blast.
―― Himchan, you performed as if you had no injury at all, but how was your actual condition?
HC: Yes, I’m ok. Since I’m a pro after all.
DH: (in Japanese) Just like I thought
HC: (Laughs) There was some pain but I wanted to show my professional side on stage so.
DH: (in Japanese whilst applauding) Just like I thought
―― During the talks, you mentioned that “I felt quite a bit of pressure” about taking over the leader’s spot in Yongguk’s place for your previous release “FLY HIGH”. How’s it thinking back to then?
HC: Having to do the work of 6 people with 5 people was tough. Changing the choreographies, thinking about what to do about Yongguk’s parts which weren’t mine, it was tough to me because they were parts that I didn’t understand, but when Yongguk came back and we were 6 again, I felt at ease. It was mentally straining as well, but we worked ourselves to the bone because we wanted to show our perfect selves as pros, and although I don’t know how the viewers felt, it’d be good if our performances became good memories for everyone.
―― I’m sure Yongguk had regrets because of his condition, how did you feel about the members who were filling in your absence?
YG: All the members did well so I have thoughts that they did good work and thoughts of gratitude.
―― Releasing your 6th single “ROSE” in March in Korea and as well as appearing on many music shows, were there any memorable things?
DH: The most memorable thing was of course whilst making a comeback as a whole, and then having another slight mishap with Himchan’s injury. Our schedule was packed, so we thought to do anything to accomplish it, and that we’d make our fans worry if we don’t stand before them even as 5.
But with the concert as our platform, we were able to stand in front of everyone as 6 again and although there were many happenings during the promotion for this album, in turn, I think there will be many good things from now on so I’m looking forward to the upcoming world tour.
―― For this album, it’s been a hot topic that the production team has prominent domestic and foreign artists participating. Please tell us the reason for choosing “WAKE ME UP” as your comeback title.
DH: We were originally thinking of a different song for the title track, but after some changes, “WAKE ME UP” was the result from discussions by the members, the company and various people. It was put on the backburner twice before we made the decision, but when we tried recording “WAKE ME UP”, it turned out really well. Everyone that we showed it to commented “it’s really good”, so we decided to go with “WAKE ME UP”. The other songs “DIAMOND 4 YA” and “DYSTOPIA” were possible title track songs too.
“Our personalities are something that can’t be done, can’t be fulfilled by another member”
―― Finishing your comeback activities in Korea, next up is the release of your 7th Japanese single isn’t it. I heard the same song will be released.
HC: That’s right. Whilst preparing for this single, there was talk that an original Japanese song would be good, but because “WAKE ME UP” was created so well, we thought about a remake track instead. The Japanese fans will seem to like “WAKE ME UP” so we decided on that.
―― When releasing Korean comeback songs in Japanese, are there any things that you note in particular?
DH: When we’re recording in Japanese, the thing we prioritise the most is pronunciation. We haven’t mistaken the Japanese before, but we’re still not used to the pronunciation.
HC: (suddenly) Tsu, tsu, tsu. [T/N: A Japanese syllable]
DH: There’s nothing much apart from the pronunciation.
HC: (again, suddenly) “Nazo nazo” [T/N: ‘a riddle’]. They’re lyrics from my part (laughs).
―― Here’s a question relating to the title of the song. Whilst promoting as B.A.P, has there been anything that you’ve “woken up to or discovered”?
DH: We’re continually discovering something and always want to level up, but talking about recent events… Yongguk going on hiatus and Himchan taking a short break, I’ve felt and become aware of the member’s positions. I’ve come to properly understand “ah, this member has this role on stage, this is what they carry [in the group]”, and gain a lot in that sense. For example, in Himchan’s case, his overwhelming presence on stage and ability to grasp each and every frame. In Yongguk’s case, I think it’s the powerfulness in his rap.
ZL: The 6 of us all have different personalities, and I think that each of us have something that can’t be done, can’t be fulfilled by another member. That’s why when we allocate our parts on stage, it’s tough to try and do something about it when even 1 person is missing.
―― Is there a member who can’t “WAKE (ME) UP”, and doesn’t do well when awoken?
DH: Readyyy go! (whilst pointing at him with the other members) It’s Jongup (laughs)
JU: (in a tiny voice) Yes, it’s me.
DH: When Jongup wakes up, he’s exactly like the Pokemon “Grimer”. It’s a character that’s all grimy. He won’t wake up even if he’s called, he doesn’t answer his phone either; he’s the last person to wake. I’ve given up.
―― Then on the reverse, who has no problem with waking up early?
DH: (with confidence) That’d be me, the only one. I can wake up myself.
HC: What are you saying, I can wake up myself too.
YJ: I can wake up by myself too.
DH: You can wake up by yourselves, but you just don’t make it in time right guys (laughs).
―― Next is relating to the lyrics for “WAKE ME UP”. There is a distinctive line “up the stairs of an adult”, but is there anything that you’ve done recently that you thought you “climbed the stairs of an adult”?
HC: I feel that when I go to the TV stations. Me and Yongguk both don’t think we’ve aged that much, but there are kids who are 12 years younger than us debuting, so the age gap is huge (laughs).
DH: Samchon (laughs)
HC: Since it’s like that, we continue growing older and I feel that we’re going up on the stairs of an adult.
DH: I left the dorm and live by myself now, so I have to pay for the electricity, utilities, taxes, insurance and such by myself, and as I become more like a member of society, I thought “ah, there’s a process to becoming an adult”.
HC: Ohh, how cool!
DH: (pointing at Himchan) This person, about how much the utility bills are, about how the taxing system is….
HC: I know.
DH: Oh, so you know (laughs)
ZL: Those lyrics were the part I thought up and wrote. We’ve always sung songs with societal messages with a B.A.P twist, and although I’m the youngest, I have many things that I feel and want to protect. It’s the part where I wrote the lyrics, wanting to have the many people who listen to B.A.P’s music to empathise with it.
JU: Umm, when I’m going through a really rough time… (silence)
DH: Like right now? (laughs)
JU: When I’m physically and mentally worn, I think, “ah~ I’ve ageddd”.
―― In “WAKE ME UP”, what sort of dance will you show us?
DH: Firstly, not only in the title, but in the lyrics too, there are many parts with the meanings “awaken, wake up”, and in the choreography for the chorus, there are moves where you really feel that it’s “wake up!”. If you look clo~sely at the whole dance and not just that bit, [you’ll see] it’s all cool from the start to finish where you can’t miss even one move. It’s a dance with meaning so please turn your attention to that too.
―― For the limited edition of your 7th Japanese single “WAKE ME UP”, I heard that the matoki smartphone ring included is being well-received for being cute. Is there anything you’re particular about your smartphone accessories or anything that you love using right now?
DH: In the first place, we’re people who like our phones to be streamlined, so there are members who don’t even put cases on their phones. The ‘Apple’ image is cool so everyone doesn’t put on any accessories.
―― Have you actually seen the matoki smartphone ring?
ALL: Of course!
DH: It’s really cute and it seems like the fans will really like it.
(Spotting one of the staff’s phone which has a matoki smartphone ring)
DH&YJ: (in Japanese) Cute~
ZL: I want to go to Japan, and bring them all back.
―― This time, the new event called “flying kisses event” is a hot topic too.
DH: It’s our first time so I’m looking forward to it. Handshakes and high touches are often done and commonplace, so the company asked “what do you want to do?”. After discussions, the result was “flying kisses”.
―― Shortening that, it seems like you call it “furapo”.
HC: Ah, is that how it’s called? Furapo?
YJ: Ohh furapo.
DH: (whilst rolling his tongue) Furapo~!
―― (Bitter laughs) On the final day for the Seoul concert, Himchan was blowing kisses out at the end; which member blows out kisses often at concerts and such?
HC: Everyone does it a lot.
DH: Yes, we always do it at any moment.
―― Yongguk does it too?
DH: Ah, Yongguk doesn’t do it much. (laughs)
YG: I did it a lot in the world tour last year.
“We are still here, because we experienced both good and bad as 6”
―― I think you’re used to Japanese activities by now, but is there anywhere that you haven’t been to but want to visit?
ZL: Onsens, rotenburo! And then, places where the fans are. I want to try going to the countryside too.
JU: Mount Fuji.
DH: Recently, I visited Sapporo in January for fun and I love the snow. When I see Mount Fuji, the peak is always covered in snow isn’t it. That’s why I’ve always wanted to go.
HC: There’s this manga “Fantasista” that I like, and there’s this island that the protagonist Sakamoto Teppei lives at. Is it in the North? I’d like to go there.
YJ: I want to go to Disneyland. I’ve been to Disneysea, but I still haven’t gone to Land yet.
JU: Ah, I wanted to go to Disneyland too! The Disney characters, I like them.
―― If there are any things you must do or places you must visit when you come to Japan lately, then please tell us.
YJ: Eating yakiniku! There are yakiniku places in Korea as well, but the Japanese yakiniku. There’s a yakiniku restaurant that I frequent in Japan. Pork and beef too… more like, I’ll eat everything on the menu (laughs)
DH: My favourite food is tonkatsu so I have to eat tonkatsu regardless.
HC: It’s pretty hard to eat authentic Japanese-style tonkatsu in Korea. The fat is still stuck to the meat in Japan isn’t it, for the pork loin. That is reaaally delicious!
ZL: Mine is eating melon-pan. I love it.
HC: When Zelo wakes in the morning, he always eats melon-pan with milk that has blue and white packaging.
ZL: I go for bread in the mornings. In Japan too, I’ll buy bread in advance; (in native pronunciation) American style. Whether in Korea or in Japan, I like to have it with milk.
JU: I watch Japanese anime and listen to Japanese music. I don’t know a lot but I like Ikimonogakari.
YG: I will definitely go to the convenience store. I don’t know the name, but there’s a gummy that catches my eye and I always buy it. There’s grape and muscat flavours, and it has gold packaging….
(We deduced it was “kororo” afterwards.)
―― Even just talking like this, I can feel how close you are between yourselves. Are there secrets to maintaining this closeness?
YJ: Not talking to each other when we’re in a bad mood. If you talk during those moments, the relationship will only worsen.
ALL: (bursts out laughing)
DH: It’s about knowing each other very well. And not only that, we’ve endured hard times as 6, and experienced both good and bad together. That’s why I think I’m here as we are now.
―― Can you tell if they’re in a bad mood just from looking at their face?
DH: Yes, I can tell but… there’s someone who teases us whilst being aware.
―― Who is it?
DH: I can’t say that. There’s that sort of an older someone. (Laughter erupts at Himchan who stares suspiciously at Daehyun) Why do you think it’s you? It’s Yongguk~
ALL: (bursts out laughing)
JU: It’s hard to say if it’s a secret, but around debut when we were still trainees, we slept together in the same room. There were 3 beds lined up next to each other, and we would chatter away before sleeping. I wonder if that stuff made any difference.
DH&HC: That’s right, that’s right~ (The two burst out in laughter for some reason)
DH: It was really fun~ back then.
HC: It was living with 6 guys after all. All the members were lying next to each other sleeping in the one room. If you tossed and turned, it was close enough that you would bump into someone.
ZL: It was like a big family sleeping together in a huddle in the one room.
―― The youngest Zelo is 20 years old now, do you go out drinking together?
DH&HC&YJ: We often do!
DH: We don’t live together, but we’re all in the neighbourhood so.
―― What alcohol do you like?
ZL: “Horoyoi”. Although there are many flavours, I like all of them.
DH: In my fridge too, there’s some lemon flavoured “horoyoi” as well right now.
―― To B.A.P who are close enough that you go out drinking together, regardless, is there anything that you think “please, fix this!” about a member?
JU: Yongguk’s face is too small so I want it to be a bit bigger.
ALL: (starts clapping and laughing)
HC: I know I know. When I’m next to him in photos, my own face looks bigger.
YJ: For me, Jongup is too good at singing and dancing on stage, so I think it’s ok if he doesn’t so well.
JU: (in a small voice) I won’t fix that.