12 member boy group EXO (EXO, Kai · Luhan · Tao · Chen · Sehun · Lay · Xiumin · Baekhyun · D.O · Suho · Kris · Chanyeol) was one of the few rookie ‘survivors’ from last year’s music world. Out of the fifty rookie boy idols that came out last year, the ones that released a new album this year can be counted with five fingers. It is the same as breaking through a low survival rate of 1/10. They didn’t just succeed in simply surviving. They got the judgement of perfectly incarnating SMP (SM Performance) by representing singers that are thick with strong performance and sociality. They swept the rookie awards at end of the year · beginning of the year music awards as the successors of SM idols after Dongbangshingi · Super Junior.
Split into EXO-K, which is composed of all Korean members, and EXO-M, which is composed of selected Chinese members, the plan to attack the Korean·Chinese industry simultaneously is judged to be a high success factor. They were able to rise as a group that the Asian industry focuses on because they became an issue simultaneously in the Asian music industry’s center, Korea and China.
EXO K and M, whom are dreaming of a one step higher jump, have started activities as a whole with both teams tied together. In the new album ‘XOXO,’ their potential, remaining intact, was revealed. In just one week after release, record sales broke through 120,000 albums. In the title song, ‘Wolf and Beauty,’ the performance is as if seeing a musical climax and with the expressiveness, it is gaining the judgement of opening a new chapter of idol performances. We met with EXO, the leading roles of the future of Hallyu that is gaining more anticipation for next year than this year.
-It is 2 years in your debut. Do you feel your popularity.
“My parents or my friends often say ‘You guys have popularity now.’ The public that sings along to our songs also has increased. The record sales was also really good, and although it was only for a short time, we got first place on the music charts too. Now, even if they don’t know our individual members, I’m happy that there are more people that recognize our team.” (Suho)
“They said that it’s to the degree that even if our fans come to the public broadcasts, there aren’t enough seats so they cannot enter. Because we are sorry, after the broadcast we have a mini fan meeting, and now around 700 people come. If you compare it to when we debuted, it has increased a lot. There were fans that came wearing hanbok (t/n: traditional Korean clothes), and I also saw fans that came wearing wolf pajamas. I become extremely grateful when they pay attention to us like that.” (Chanyeol)
-After debuting last year, it took one year until the next promotions.
“We invested a lot of time in album recording and performance production in order to make an even better album. During that time, it felt as if we had become trainees all over again. Maybe it’s because of that, but it feels like we newly debuted.” (D.O)
-The choreography of ‘Wolf and Beauty’ is becoming a hot topic. What thoughts did you get after seeing the choreography gestures for the first time.
“It’s artistic. The dramatic choreography was extremely impressive. It seemed as if each gesture was alive. It was hard to express in detail from the wolf’s mouth to the wolf’s ears. It took some time to perfect if because the composition is diverse and the level of difficulty was high. Every time the choreographer got an idea the choreography would change and we would get in trouble because we got confused.” (Baekhyun)
“I was sorry to the members because I wasn’t able to learn the choreography in the beginning together due to an injury. An object of admiration, world famous choreographer Tony Testra came, but because I couldn’t dance together it was extremely hard.” (Kai)
-Already 120,000 albums of the new album have been sold. What do you think is the driving force.
“I think EXO promoting widely, separate as K and M, had a good affect. We gained a good reaction from foreign fans through the 100 day of promotions before debut. Not only the Korean fans, but I think the foreign fans are influencing in the sales.” (Sehun)
-Now EXO is promoting together as whole. Some strengths.
“We have the most members out of all the groups that are promoting now. Because we’re moving with twelve members, wherever we go, we stick out. If we add the staff, we’re a large troop of thirty people. We also travel with two vehicles. Because we have so many members, should I say it seems like we have something. I feel confident and find self confidence. We can also compose performances more diversely. We can give off the feeling of firmness and splendor.” (Suho)
“Because we spend time as twelve members, when we exercise we split off into partners well and we can enjoy any sports. We especially go bike riding on the terrace land on the Han river a lot. Because we have a total of three, we have to ride it in a rotation.” (Chanyeol)
“There are a lot of fun happenings. The two women that helped with things in the separate K and M dorms have also joined the household deeds. They seemed to have gotten extremely close now.” (Baekhyun)
-Are there any uncomfortable aspects.
“It is when we shower. Because there are only two restrooms in the dorms, 2~3 members have to shower all together. We have an order of first come first serve, but it has gotten to the point where when we arrive at the dorm parking lot, we don’t wait for the elevator but run up the stairs. Of course we go straight to the showers.” (Chanyeol)
-Because there is a lot of members, I think there will be a lot of trivial fun.
“We have bets a lot amongst the members. Our existence is nearly a bet. When we move with vehicles, we play rock paper scissors to arrange the seats. Because the way back seat and middle seat are uncomfortable, they are the least popular.” (D.O)
“It is also quite fun when ordering late-night snacks. Because we have a lot of members, we have to order around five chickens, for pizza four of them, in order for us to be full.” (D.O)
-Are there any difficulties for the Chinese members living in Korea.
“It was hard learning Korea’s etiquette. Because in China there are no honorifics, I wasn’t used to it. You also had to greet your seniors well. In China we don’t greet by bowing our heads, but in Korea, even if you just lock eyes, you had to greet them.” (Kris)
-How is it after living one year as an idol.
“There is no freedom. However, because we receive a lot of people’s love, I think it’s an aspect that we have to endure. There is also the pressure of becoming a public figure and having to show an example. Compared to others our age, we are living a more exemplary lifestyle.” (Suho)
“Becoming someone’s object of admiration is a thing that makes one really happy. Although we all fulfilled the dream of a singer, I also learned the truth that there is nothing in this world that is easy.” (Baekhyun)
-Have your hearts ever fluttered after seeing company seniors Girls Generation.
“Of course our hearts flutters the same. It’s nearly as if being in a fan’s perspective. When seeing them on the stage, our hearts flutter, when seeing them outside, our heart flutter too.” (Baekhyun)
“I liked them ever since I was a trainee. Especially, I like the song ‘Oh,’ and when they sang that at their recent concert, I screamed as well. Because I was screaming so crazily, the fans looked at me as if saying ‘What is he.’ Haha.” (Chanyeol)
-You achieved the goal from yours debut days of winning the rookie award. What is the next goal.
“We want to win first place on a music ranking program. We want to have our own concert. We are the best in Korea for team work. Even in the future, I want our team members to unite. I wish we can continue by loving one another, being considerate to one another, and being healthy.” (Suho)
source: Ilgan Sports
translation cr; nahbit @ exok-trans