Teen Top is back with their fifth mini-album “TEEN TOP CLASS” that includes title track “Rocking” for which the boys rocked the unfamiliar dance genre free step. It sure looked puzzling but the boys, known for their precise moves, made it look easy during their comeback showcase in Seoul, Korea on August 27. They were returning to the K-pop scene for the first time in four months since their hit tune “Walk By…” in April.
Teen Top had just come back from Los Angeles that morning after performing at “M! CountDown” in the city on August 25 as part of Korean culture festival “KCON 2013″ but they were energetic than ever and they showed they were more than ready to rock K-pop.
During the showcase, Teen Top talked about the free step and their desire to present something new for their fans. They also spoke of what they wanted to accomplish by the end of this year and announced that they will hold a concert in Taiwan on November 9.
Q: How do you feel about returning to the K-pop scene with your fifth mini-album “TEEN TOP CLASS”?
L. Joe: We are happy to finally show you what we have worked on for a long time. We prepared our comeback with dance genre free step.
Q: You just got back from Los Angeles after performing at “KCON 2013.” How did your fans overseas react?
Changjo: I was amazed because people recognized the free step in our choreography.
Niel: I was able to understand the powerful influence of K-pop and how much people were into it. I hope that we will help spread K-pop.
Q: Is there something special you have prepared for fans if you were to hit first place on televised music programs?
Chunji: Well.. We do want to hit No. 1 on television music programs and if we do, we will hold a guerrilla date with fans in shopping district Myeongdong in Seoul. I also hope that we will win a trophy at the end of this year.
Q: Wouldn’t your fans who live outside of Seoul feel left out? Is there something that more people can participate in?
Niel: Hmm… the Myeondong event was something we came up with after a long discussion. Changjo is really good that making quick decisions. Changjo?
Changjo: Erm.. How about we upload a parody version of “Rocking” with us and our fans in it?
(Reporter shakes her head.)
Changjo: No? Uh-oh. (Freezes)
Chunji: We will go on a trip with our fans. Is this one okay?
(Reporter nods her head.)
Chunji: (Relieved) Phew. Good.
C.A.P: And, Chunji will pay for the expenses.
Chunji: (Willingly) I will!
Q: Tell us more about the new album.
Chunji: Our album is full of various genres and our unique color.
Niel: Some of us liked our title track from the beginning while the rest of us didn’t like it at first. Chunji was one of us who weren’t really sure about it.
Q: Would you care to elaborate?
Chunji: When you listen to it repeatedly, it grows on you but when I listened to it for the first time, I was afraid that it wouldn’t be a hit. But after listening to it while practicing our moves, I started to like it and agreed to select it as our title track.
Changjo: At first, I wasn’t sure what the genre of the song was. But it turned out to be addictive after listening to it over and over again during practice. It really brightens up the mood.
Niel: On the other hand, I liked it the moment I first listened to it.
Q: Some are concerned that Teen Top is losing its color.
L. Joe: We tried something new to change our style and I understand if our fans are in doubt at first.
Niel: I feel the same way. We wanted to show a completely new performance and visual with the free step and so on. It may seem unfamiliar at first but I’m sure they’ll like it in the end because it’s a good song.
Q: What was most difficult about free step?
Niel: Free step in itself is really puzzling. We had to put a lot of weight on our ankles and a lot of us ended up pulling our ligaments. Changjo was the one who got hurt the most. He tore his ligament.
Changjo: Yeah, that was because it was my first time trying out the step.
Q: What was the reason behind taking up such a big challenge?
Niel: It was something new and a dance that we could fuse our precise moves into. During our performance earlier, Changjo slipped but we did it on purpose to make it more memorable.
Changjo: Yes, that is true. (Laughs)
Q: Do you think that you will trigger a new trend with the free step?
Niel: There are different kinds of free step.
L. Joe: And the steps we are doing are the basics. So I think there are a lot more people who are better than us and we can help spread the dance.
Q: How was filming your music video in Hawaii?
Ricky: We filmed our music video in Hawaii for the first time. There’s a scene with a fist fight where Changjo actually hit L. Joe and he ended up with be nose bleed.
Changjo: (In an apologetic tone) I was only going to act like I was hitting him but I tried hard to make it seem more realistic and ended up actually hitting him by accident. He’s two years older than me.
L. Joe: We had it all worked out but we just went with the flow to make it seem realistic and I ended up with a nosebleed.
Q: L. Joe, maybe Changjo is holding a secret grudge against you?
L. Joe: (Jokingly) Maybe. We do share a room together.
Q: Who do you think went through the most change for the album?
Chunji: Niel! He is really.. (pauses and looks that Niel)
Niel: It’s okay. Let it all out.
Chunji: … not very cool.
Niel: (Laughs) I agree. I’m a type of person who doesn’t care about how I look. So I just dressed freely but with the new album coming up, I decided to undergo makeover. I really didn’t do much but I did try to change my style and fashion. Oh! And, my hair. Thank god, I look okay in purple so I’ll style myself with this color from now on.
Q: Like the title of your fifth mini-album “TEEN TOP CLASS” implies, what do you think distinguishes Teen Top from other boy bands?
Niel: Performance is what upgrades Teen Top’s class. We were worried that the moves were too difficult for our fans to make cover dances of but on the other hand, it’s something that other groups can’t easily accomplish. I’m pretty confident that we are the only ones who can mix up free step with precise moves.
Q: It has been three years since your debut but still you are very young. Is there something you want to accomplish in the long run?
L. Joe: I just got back to Korea from L.A. this morning and on the way, I watched an episode of talk show “Radio Star” where SHINHWA came out as the guests. I thought to myself that I wanted to become someone our juniors can admire and be inspired by.
C.A.P: It’s been three years and I’m only 21. So I want to be someone who constantly improves. In our album, there is a track where L.Joe and I rap and we got more parts in our new title track so that’s an accomplishment that I am happy about right now.
Ricky: I’m still under age so I want to be active individually in a different area as I grow older.
Q: Can you name the area that each member is interested in?
Ricky: I want to act after I have matured into someone who is admirable. I want to take on a role in a melodrama that makes you want to cry and become sad. It’s not like I have a specific role model but I think that there are a lot of actors I can learn from.
C.A.P: For me, I want to make contribute with my lyrics that I’ve been writing for when our album does well. I could feature for other artists and I also want to take a lot of pictorials.
Chunji: Because of my love for music, I want to take on musicals or lend my voice for a soundtrack for a drama.
Changjo: If we do well this time, I want to sing in a unit group. If I had to pick one person, it would be Niel because his voice is so intriguing.
Niel: I’m sorry but I’ll have to reject your offer (laughs). No, I’m just kidding. Yes, I want to sing in a unit group with Changjo because his dancing skills are amazing.
L. Joe: I personally want to be locked up in my room, writing songs if I don’t have anything scheduled.
Q: What did SHINHWA’s Andy, CEO of Teen Top’s agency Top Media, say about your comeback?
L. Joe: He was really into our song as soon as he heard it so that was big encouragement.
Ricky: He told us to have more fun on stage and he was worried that our bones will break after seeing us practice so he told us to take good care of ourselves.
Q: Is there a boy band that you want to beat?
Changjo: Not really. I just want our stage to be perfect.
Ricky: Erm.. I want us to be as good as Big Bang.
Q: What do you wish to accomplish by the end of this year?
C.A.P: If we are loved by fans from different countries, we will take off on a tour but that comes after our promotional cycle.
Niel: Please note that we will fly to Taiwan to hold a concert on November 9 so please look forward to it.
Chunji: And we also want to make an impression on television individually.
Niel: We will work hard with “Rocking” so that we will more than enough to deserve our fans’ love and attention.
Ricky: We will move forward working hard as always.
Changjo: Please look forward to our Asia tour and we will work hard to spread K-pop.
Reporter. Euna Lee firstname.lastname@example.org
Photographer. Gue Hye-jung email@example.com
Editor. Jessica Kim