[Trans – Interview] MYNAME “We Have Gone Through Growing Pains In Japan”
It’s their 5th year since debut. We’re talking about MYNAME, who entered the music scene in 2011 with the release of their first single album ‘Message’.
News Way recently met MYNAME at their agency H2Media’s office in Samsung-dong, Gangnam, Seoul after their comeback performance.
MYNAME made a speedy comeback with their 4th single album ‘Just Tell Me’ just 2 months after the release of their 3rd mini album ‘Too Very So Much’ in March. Taking away the promotions period, it’s only been a month. This comeback shows their strong desire to perform in Korea before moving on to their Japanese promotions.
“When you look at other idols in Korea, they release a lot of albums. Since most idols have strong performances, you have to be on TV a lot to get your name out there. We weren’t able to do that. Since our previous album ‘Too Very So Much’ has a different musical style, we got to know our fans more and we thought that putting another album out now will help us a lot. It’s our first time making a comeback this quick so it’s sad that we couldn’t rest, but I personally like this more. I love being able to promote continuously.”(Gunwoo)
MYNAME started promoting ‘fun songs’ since their last album ‘Too Very So Much’, and the results have been good. They have gained more recognition in Korea ever since. And finally, with their #1 spot on Japan’s Oricon charts last March, they got a taste of success in Japan first.
“We achieved #1 in Japan first. This was something unexpected, and not anyone can get this much support from the public. But we definitely want to achieve the same results in our country. It’s the same as becoming an athlete and wanting to win the gold medal. That’s how we can get even more support in Japan as well. I think this desire caused our musical style to change.”(Insoo)
While promoting in Japan and gaining popularity, they suddenly had a thirst for promoting in Korea. That’s why they want to be acknowledged in Korea and get the name MYNAME known to the public. That’s something admirable.
“We thought about throwing away what needs to be discarded. By trying and not being afraind, things worked out for us. Each member decided their own character, outfits and even down to each facial expression. We have to push our way forward now.”(Insoo)
“In the beginning, we kept thinking ‘We need to show them.’ But now, we are taking the ‘Let’s have fun’ approach. We started the change from our previous album and it seems that the fans watching feel more comfortable too. When we go to a TV station, we look like a group that just made our debut. (laughs)” (Seyong)
While promoting as a group, the thought “We have to do well” stopped them from enjoying on stage. The members weren’t able to show off a tenth of their charms. Now, they’ve put down all that burden and are enjoying their promotions.
We couldn’t believe that this group has been around for 5 years. In truth, 5 years after an idol’s debut, most fall into a period of crisis. But there are no discords between the members and nobody has left the group. There is not even a gossip about the group’s breakup. When we asked them why, the reason was simple.
“We are quite simple-minded. Actually, we didn’t even know that idols falls into a slump when they reach 5 years. (laughs) This is the time where we only worry about what we can do to be better. Since we’re more popular in Japan than in Korea, we are going through the struggles of success but we are still not known at home. Looking straight ahead and thinking for ourselves, we didn’t have the time to fall into a slump.”(Gunwoo)
“I think we are not in a slump because we haven’t reached the top. Hahaha. We just keep climbing up the mountain. There are still a lot of people who think we are rookies.”(Seyong)
“We’ve been doing mellow songs up till now and we think that’s the biggest reason for our failure. It’s now a battle of characters. We want to be singers who can connect with the audience no matter what we put on. We’re wondering why we didn’t realize this sooner. We want to be respected singers.”(Insoo)
Compared to rookie idols, a group that has been around for 5 years would have slowed down in their progress. Leader Gunwoo said, “Even if this album doesn’t do well, we plan on putting out more albums,” showing the group’s positivity.
MYNAME made headlines during their debut for being the first group produced by 1st generation idol singer Hwanhee from Fly To The Sky. How is Hwanhee as a producer?
“Since Hwanhee hyung is a singer, he gives a lot of input in our music and especially in picking our title tracks. I’ve learnt a lot from watching him. As a producer, he is a great person, but above all, he has personally shown us how to be a long-term singer. Seeing Fly To The Sky promote as they did in the post, we gained more confident that we can do the same too.”(Gunwoo)
“In truth, we have thought to ourselves ‘Why does he not care about us when he is our producer?’ He didn’t talk much with us. But according to our CEO and director, Hwanhee hyung is always working on picking our title tracks despite being busy with his own schedules. Without anyone knowing, he is the one who’s been pushing us steadily from the back.”(Seyong)
“There are times when we are really afraid of him. While directing our albums in the beginning, he would be harsh on us when we didn’t do well. It was scary at that time but thinking back on it afterwards, we know that he was doing it all for us.”(Insoo)
Last March, MYNAME made it to the #1 spot on Japan’s Oricon charts. It’s an amazing feat they achieved after 5 years. There is a reason why MYNAME have gained popularity in Japan.
“We did not ride the Hallyu wave to enter the Japanese market. We first went in there and started promoting on small stages. There are fans that we gained back then without the help of the K-pop wave, but I think we were able to gain popularity because Japan is characteristically more inclined to stay loyal to the artists they like. But we still think that Japan is still a step we’re taking while going through the hardships. If ‘Just Tell Me’ does well in Korea, we would be able to get better results in Japan too.”(Seyong)
“Our Japanese fans know how K-pop singers perform. Also, the way performances and TV broadcasts are done in Japan is very different from the Korean culture. Korea focuses on digital releases but Japan focuses on physical releases. Singers in Korea appear on TV a lot but those in Japan do have more performances to increase the group’s awareness. That’s the difference between Japan and Korea.”(Insoo)
“Japan is still centered on analogue. Rather than internet articles, they print more magazine or newspaper articles. Our fanbase is also wider. If they like the song or the singer, the fans will definitely come to watch the concerts. We even have a 72-year-old fan. We were very surprised.”(Seyong)
Recently, the Hallyu fever in Japan has started to cool, putting it in a crisis. But even so, K-pop is the best culture to the Japanese fans. Lately, groups with new styles like VIXX, BTS and Block B are popular, but even older groups like 2PM are still as popular as ever.
Insoo explained, “Japanese fans judge Korean singers based on how different their performances are each time they hold a concert. We are also very curious about how other groups hold concerts. The Japanese fans value sincerity. They look at how much emotions you put into your performances. Their standards for K-pop have gotten higher, so they watch every group closely.”
In Japan, gaining success and holding on to the #1 trophy is something they use to estimate if you’ll go far, apart from understanding the culture and putting in enough effort to match it. Although they couldn’t achieve the same popularity in Japan, with such efforts, the only problem is time.
Throughout the interview, MYNAME used the word ‘struggles’ a lot. They are not a group that got popular at once, but they went through many struggles in the 5 years after their debut to get to where they are today. As before, they have a place to reach, but they don’t plan on giving up.
“We want to move forward. We hope our fandom can grow but we want fans of other groups to say we’re fun to watch and not push us aside. Our group’s goal is to work and release albums for many years to come.”(Gunwoo)
“We want to be a group that doesn’t stop nor give up. Since all our members are on the MYNAME plane, we will keep on going and not let our engine fail. We don’t know when we will achieve #1 in Korea, but we will work hard to get it this year. Please watch over us.”(Insoo)
There’s a saying that goes “Falling water droplets make a hole in a rock”. Even though it’s a small step, with patience and perseverance big things will happen. This phrase keeps running through our minds throughout our interview with MYNAME. With the attitude of rookies and hard work, the small droplets of MYNAME will one day definitely be able to make a hole in a big rock. We are rooting for MYNAME’s future.
Source: News Way
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