“SQUARE TWO” Media Interview With BLACKPINK
On the afternoon of November 2nd, BLACKPINK had a media interview at YG Moonshot’s flag-ship store located in Samcheong-dong, Jongro-gu, Seoul. The girls talked about their trainee days, debut expectations, comeback tracks, goals in the future and more.
LISA whose favorite Korean food is gamja-tang (spicy pork back-bone stew), JISOO who threw a microphone away while swinging her arm during a rehearsal, ROSÉ who was touched by fried chickens sent by DARA, and JENNIE who says “right now” (the interview) in a shaky voice when asked about what was the hardest time since BLACKPINK’s debut. The real BLACKPINK out of the veil of secrecy triggered fandom with their cute appeals, not just with the intense performances on the stage that trigger girl crush.
Interviewers were even curious about how these shy and tender-hearted girls could present such powerful and intense performances on the stage.
In the interview, BLACKPINK was not just the “monstrous rookie” that dominated stages with overwhelming charisma. On the surface, the girls are like charismatic “black”, but inside, they are like shy “pink”. Girl group BLACKPINK’s members in the interview, not on the stage, were cute shy girls who were even hesitant to speak about what it was like to come back.
The girls said that their happiest moment was when they were with fans. Even though BLACKPINK swept No.1 on music charts upon their debut and took No.1 in a TV music show in the shortest period of time since debut ever for a Korean girl group, they were rather excessively modest and knew how to appreciate the big support from fans.
ROSÉ: “It’s our first comeback after debut. We’ve worked really hard for it, so please enjoy our new songs. Thank you.”
JISOO: “Just as you mentioned, this is a comeback like debut. We’ve come back with new songs. Thank you for listening to our songs despite the fact that no performance has been unveiled yet. We were worried as we haven’t been exposed to the media after our comeback, but people like our songs. I really thank them.”
LISA: “We’ve worked hard on our new songs, so I’d like you to look forward to our performances as well.”
BLACKPINK members talked about what it was like to come back, with quivering voices. They were shy and cute like most other girls, somewhat differently from the charisma they displayed on the stage. Many people at the interview shouted, “These girls are cuter than I expected”. Then, what would have YG’s CEO YANG HYUN SUK who directly picked and trained them felt like?
JISOO: “Mr. YANG? Haha. He’s like my father. He shows us captured images of our good performances and says he feels satisfied, and when we make mistakes, he also sends us the images, asking “What is this?” He takes care of us like our father.”
JENNIE: “He was the first one who sent us the captured image when we took No.1 in a TV music show for the first time. We checked the message on our phones after receiving a trophy and found out that he sent the message right after we were announced as No.1. Haha.”
The reason why BLACKPINK could take No.1 trophy in a TV music show within the shortest period of time ever for a girl group in Korea was because they had endured many years of hard training. Couldn’t it be very hard for them to wait for indefinite debut and future?
LISA: “I had difficulties with communicating as I’m a foreigner, but the other members helped me a lot. We relied on each other and that was how we could endure those days.”
JISOO: “We could rely on each other, as we had the common goal, interest, and objectives.”
JENNIE: “We went through inner struggles about if we could actually make debut. Once, our photos were unveiled to the public and news articles were written about us, so we thought we were making debut then. However, month after month passed with nothing happening, and then, five years have passed. Once the team was formed and the concept of our team began to be established, we could feel relieved.”
The members also smiled, talking about other names that were candidates for the team other than “BLACKPINK”.
JISOO: “Am I allowed to say this? Actually, we could have been “Pink Punk”. There was “Baby Monster” as well, and the most shocking name was “Magnum”. The name was like we’re transforming into something, but fortunately, we got this name of BLACKPINK.”
The members say that they feel like they are still trainees, even though it has been three months since their debut. BLACKPINK members’ lives are still the same with their lives before debut, going to practice when there are no official schedules.
Hard work always pays off. BLACKPINK swept seven music charts with their new songs “PLAYING WITH FIRE” and “STAY”. BLACKPINK also talked about the competition between the girl groups of three major music labels in Korea, which has been a hot issue recently. BLACKPINK said that building bigger recognition is more important now than thinking about that “competition”, showing a modest attitude.
JISOO: “We’re really grateful. Even though we haven’t presented any performances yet, many people are listening to our songs and loving us. We’re really grateful.”
JENNIE: “As it’s been not that long since our debut, there are still many people who don’t know who we are. So the most urgent thing for us to do is to expose ourselves more to the public, to make us better known.”
JISOO: “Haha. When I was doing the dance of swinging my arm during a rehearsal, I threw away my microphone by mistake. Since then, I grab a mic so hard to the extent that my hand turns red. Haha.”
In the interview, BLACKPINK members were so cute, but they were not just innocent girls. They are feeling burdened by the fact that their label is YG Entertainment. They are also matured girls, who are struggling to follow the footsteps of their super-star seniors.
JISOO: “We always monitor performances of senior YG artists. I believe that they display great energy and presence on the stage and that is the thing we need to learn most of all. Of course we feel burdened as all senior YG artists have achieved great success. We believe that we have to follow their footsteps quickly, so that we’re not left behind.”
To a question whether senior YG artists support BLACKPINK, ROSÉ answered, “Yes, everyone takes good care of us, as we’re the youngest team in the company.” She also smiled, saying, “Ah! Yes! We were practicing during the Christmas holidays and DARA sent us fried chickens. That was a very big support for us.” BLACKPINK went on to talk about 2NE1.
JISOO: “We’re honored to be compared to them and we don’t want to be different from them. Rather than wanting to show a different color, we just want to display YG’s unique color. Even though it seems that we’re just following, I don’t think that is bad. We want to follow their charisma and presence on the stage.”
Then, what are different strengths of each member of BLACKPINK?
JISOO: “LISA speaks good Korean. She uses Korean proverbs well, and that is really cute.”
LISA: “I think I’m almost Korean now.”
JISOO: “She even eats gamja-tang (spicy pork back-bone stew), haha.”
JENNIE: “I think JISOO is the most different from what people think about us. In real life, she is full of humor and she is mischievous. She likes playing games and she is really easy-going.”
JISOO: “People at yesterday’s shooting for ‘Weekly Idol’ show said so, too. They said I looked wild on the stage but I was actually like a little child… Haha. Everyone was a little bit surprised.”
When asked about the hardest time since their debut, JENNIE answered “Right now” in a quivering voice and smile shyly. She picked the time spent with fans as the happiest moment since BLACKPINK’s debut.
JENNIE: “I feel the most nervous in interviews. I think that is because we’re on our own, without any direction from Mr. YANG.”
JENNIE: “The happiest moment for me was when I met fans. I was surprised that so many people came to see us, and that was really exciting.”
ROSÉ: “I was impressed by our fans’ feedback for us. Their comments relieved and comforted me. I really appreciate them.”
Then, what would be the feedback that BLACKPINK wants to get from fans the most?
JISOO: “For ‘PLAYING WITH FIRE’, we put much focus on the choreography. I want hear from fans that our performance has been upgraded. ‘STAY’ is an acoustic ballad and I want to hear that this kind of song is also good for BLACKPINK.”
“I hope BLACKPINK will be a girl group welcomed by many people any time. Also hope to be a girl group that everyone likes no matter what genre we perform”.
“Each of us is a good friend to one another, so we’re like a group of good friends. We have to go on a long journey for the same goal together and we’re good friends. That gives us many strengths. I think the best part about being BLACKPINK is being with these members”.
That is JENNIE’s answer to a question about what the best part of being a member of BLACKPINK is. It has been only three months since BLACKPINK’s official debut, but the members have built deep bond and friendship among themselves during the time of their training for four to six years. Therefore, the one who best understands BLACKPINK is the members themselves. This is BLACKPINK’s stories told by BLACKPINK themselves about their appeals, ideal types of guys, and so on.
The team’s name is BLACKPINK, who do you think best fit color black and pink?
JISOO: I think black is the color for JENNIE. She likes to wear black clothes and her charisma on the stage fits the image of color black. Pink is for ROSÉ. In French, ROSÉ means “pink”, so even her name goes well with color pink. (What do you think is the color for you?) I think it’s pink and for LISA, it’s black.
You had spent a long time being trained, what was your secret for healing yourselves from hardships in the process?
ROSÉ: The best time for me is when I cook and eat with the other members, and when I laugh with them watching TV.
JENNIE: I like to eat at small but good restaurants. Eating at those places with the other three are the best memories for me.
What kind of restaurants do you mostly go to?
JENNIE: I find out information about good restaurants on the Internet. We’ve visited many Thai restaurants as well. It’s not just because of LISA, but I really like Thai food. I think we’ve eaten at almost all good Thai restaurants. (Any recommendations?) We mostly eat in the Hongdae area, and there are many good Thai food places there.
LISA, do you like Korean food? What is your favorite?
LISA: My favorite is gamja-tang (spicy pork back-bone stew). I’ve never seen gamja-tang in Thailand and I first tired it in Korea. It was perfect for my taste.
All of you seem to like eating very much, but you are in great shapes. What is your secret?
JISOO: We don’t even need to do exercise, because we practice dance really hard. Everyone in our team really loves to eat, so we have to eat delicious foods. We control our shapes by reducing the amount we eat when necessary.
Please tell me what’s good about the member sitting next to you.
JENNIE: We shot “Weekly Idol” show yesterday and JISOO was so easy-going and humorous there. I think she will show such free and easy appeals much from now on.
JISOO: LISA is so charismatic on the stage, but she’s actually like a little brother, not even a little sister, when not on the stage. She is so mischievous and she is cute like a little child.
LISA: ROSÉ is friendly and talks very well usually, but she is also a shy girl. However, she’s so cool on the stage and she’s also very cool when paying guitar. Her voice is husky and attractive.
ROSÉ: JENNIE may look not that friendly as she is confident, cool, sexy, and talented on the stage and on TV. However, she is actually a warm-hearted and cute girl. She is a charming and easy-going girl but I don’t think many people know about what she is really like. She has such unexpected and unlikely appeal.
You sing “love is like playing with fire”. What kind of guys attract you?
JENNIE: I like a man who does his best for his work.
JISOO: I’m attracted to a nice guy who really likes me.
LISA: I like a man much older than me, who can take care of me.
ROSÉ: I like a man with good voice. I’m less attracted to those who have voices that don’t match their images. (Whose voice do you prefer for duet?) I’ve always liked songs of senior YG artists. If I could have an opportunity, I want to do duet performance with BIGBANG. That would a great honor for me.
All idol groups have their own nicknames. What kind of nickname do you want?
JENNIE: Most nicknames are taken by other idol groups. So, I hope people see us and intuitively give us a nickname that perfectly matches us, like “Oh, these girls should be called something!”
Differentiate your life before and after debut.
ROSÉ: There wasn’t much difference. Our schedule mainly consists of going to the practice room just like our trainee days so I didn’t even realize that we made our debut. I want to see more of our fans.
What were your goals after debut?
ROSÉ: I did not know what to expect from our debut. When we debuted, I thought I should practice harder than before. I also have dreams of having concerts with our senior YG artists. I wondered if we can do it later.
Lisa on being a foreigner trainee.
LISA: I really liked KPOP so I dreamed of becoming a singer/idol. In 2011, a global audition was held in Thailand. I love Big Bang and 2NE1 very much so I chose YG (Entertainment).
Have you ever had a difficult time getting around?
LISA: I’ve been practicing for six years. (There were times when) I want to see my mom and want to go home. However, the members took care of me and gave support during hard times.
What do you want BLACKPINK to show in the future?
JISOO: Like the name of the group, we will work hard to show you a new mix of color and style with a strong image of black and a feminine image of pink.
On being compared with 2NE1.
JENNIE: We expected the comparison since we belong to the same company and our songs are mainly produced by the same person. We are greatly influenced by 2NE1 sunbaenims since we were trainees so it’s such a great honor to be compared to them. We hope to show more of our own color and make a name for ourselves in the future.
You have made a comeback in three months with a mini-album. And your album is doing well on the charts again.
JENNIE: We’re only a rookie, so I feel thankful that our songs are doing well on the charts. I’m also thankful to all the people that have listened to our songs even once. We’re back with “PLAYWING WITH FIRE”, and I’m glad that it’s very different to “WHISTLE” and “BOOMBAYAH”.
What is the secret to your popularity?
LISA: We haven’t done anything yet other than music shows, so it hasn’t really sunk in yet. I’m just happy that people know our songs although they might not know who we are.
What is the most definitive characteristic of BLACKPINK?
JISOO: Just like our group’s name BLACKPINK, I think the most definitive characteristic is that we can show many colors on the stage. We can do fierce and also feminine.
You have been trainees for a long time. But after your debut, you’ve only made a couple of appearances on music shows. Were you disappointed?
JENNIE: Yes, we’ve been preparing for our debut for a long time, and we had so much to show on the stage. For our debut album, we only focused on putting on great performances, so we didn’t get the chance to do other shows such as variety shows. But with this album, fans will be able to see more of us.
You’ve said that you wanted to be like 2NE1 when you debuted. Do you think you’ve become more like 2NE1 now?
JISOO: No, we still have a long way to go (laughter). Everyone loves 2NE1’s music and knows that their music is great. We’re still trying to be like them, and we will work hard to become more like them with this album.
Would you write you own songs when the time comes?
JENNIE: I think it’s too early to think about that. TEDDY listens to our opinions and reflects them when he’s working on our songs. He said that he gets a lot of inspiration from us in real life. It is intriguing to watch him working on a song so close. I think that maybe in the future I could try writing or composing a song.
Then, which BLACKPINK song best reflects the members’ usual selves?
ROSÉ: Now and then, I play the guitar, and members sing along. The style is very similar to “STAY”.
There a part in the lyrics of “PLAYING WITH FIRE” that goes, “Love is like playing with fire”. Have you ever felt this? How do you get into get into the emotion when recording your songs?
JENNIE: “PLAYING WITH FIRE” is about fierce love and compares love to playing with fire. I’ve never experienced a love like this, so I try to remember what I’ve seen in movies or dramas.
JISOO: We watch a lot of romantic movies and TV shows together. We scream when watching sweet romantic scenes. Our favorite show these days is “Jealousy Incarnate” (laughter).