Last year over 20 new idol teams tried their hand at becoming the next big name in K-Pop. The flow of young and fresh names was good, but the flood of new faces made it hard to tell one team from the other, as they were all young, good-looking and endured long training periods. It was hard to find the one gem that shone amidst idols who merely did what their agency told them to do.
Vixx, however, begs to differ. The group of course debuted with the support of its seniors like most other groups, as it′s rooted in Jellyfish Entertainment, the big ballad agency that holds Sung Si Kyung, Park Hyo Shin and Lee Seok Hoon, but it turned out there was more to this group than the big names behind it.
The six members, Leo, Ken, Ravi, Hong Bin, Hyuk and leader N, knew which way they wanted to go. Instead of aimlessly smiling with their pretty faces or trying to get their choreography to match perfectly, they concentrated on figuring out exactly which direction they needed to turn.
The members emphasized, "We would love to be popular stars, but we want to be musicians," in order to stay alive in the competitive market. It wasn′t part of their ′programming′; they really meant it.
It′s your first anniversary this year. This fact seems to have pumped you with new energy.
Ravi: "It hasn′t been a year yet since we made our debut, but this year we want to be even better than last year. In order to do so, we need to sing music that we can be satisfied with and that touches the hearts of the public. We poured a variety of stories and thoughts in our album with the hope that our music will be loved even more."
Your preview track ′I Don′t Want to Be an Idol′ made big issues. Is it about how the members truly feel?
Ken: "(Laugh) Of course we want to be onstage. Our agency asked us for ideas when it was decided we would release I Don′t Want to Be an Idol beforehand. The members got together to think about it, and those ideas made it into the lyrics. I guess you could say some of how we feel made it in, but it′s not that we don′t want to be idols (Laugh)."
N: "Of course, the lyrics to I Don′t Want to Be an Idol came from our ideas. We talked about it over meals, and we wrote how we felt toward our fans. One time, for a music show, only one of our fans made it into the audience, and we were so sad then. If we had been more famous, more fans would have been able to see us perform... We wrote down how sad we felt back then."
That′s such an idol answer, that you wrote it for your fans.
Anonymous: "We′re telling the truth. I hope you keep this secret for me (Laugh). I used to date someone when I was a trainee, but we broke up as I made my debut. I thought I should contain my personal emotions for a while if I wanted to fulfill my dream."
Ravi: "The relationships of idols; it′s a fun subject. It is, of course, something we need to be careful around too (Laugh). We got a lot of attention because we sang about a fun subject, and N hyung (big brother) is also appearing in The Romantic & Idol. We wanted to show how thankful we were toward our fans. As we said before, if we had been more famous or higher in status, we wouldn′t have had only one fan cheering for us in the audience. We wrote about how sad we felt about the little things in life."
The teaser for ′On and On′ also made issues for your vampire makeup and color lenses.
N: "I promise our performances will be shocking too. We′ll transform into noble vampires onstage as if we were acting in a musical. Our choreography, expressions and the acting we′ll put on will give off a new vibe."
Ravi: "If our previous performances were mostly soft and cute, this time we aim to show off our charms as big men. Many fans seemed to dislike how we appeared in color lenses, but we′ll make sure we bring something fresh to the scene with our noble vampire concept."
You say you′ve become men; which member do you believe has become the most attractive man?
Hong Bin: "We all worked out, eating only chicken breasts for three months in order to become men, but Ken hyung has become the most handsome. He′s lost weight, so his face has become slimmer and though his thighs were really thick before... (Laugh) He′s become slimmer. I could see his pants fit him better now (Laugh)."
N: "Ken really has become sharper. He used to introduce himself as the ′cute main vocalist′, but now he says he′s a ′big man′ (Laugh)."
These days N has been appearing in tvN′s ′The Romantic & Idol′. Do you monitor his appearances for him?
Ken: "We don′t have a TV at home, so we gather in our practice room to watch him. I′m jealous of N (Laugh). I could be romantic if I was on the show too."
N: "I was sad I looked so clumsy in the January 13 broadcast. I had to hug Spica′s [Yang] Ji Won, but I looked so nervous. Maybe it′s because I′m not old enough to be skilled around women yet (Laugh)."
I heard you don′t have cell phones either.
Ravi: "That′s right. We′re being analog in this digital world (Laugh). We have a team phone, and N hyung takes care of it. Since we don′t have cell phones, we don′t have room to care for other things, including love. What we need to do is practice and keep aiming for what′s ahead of us. Does this sound too much like an idol? (Laugh)"
Leo: "Ever since we made our debut, during the eight months of our career we′ve only been to our practice room and home, except for where we went during the one vacation we got for Chuseok. I believe we′ll have to work harder to reach our goal."
There are many idol groups out there, and more groups will be coming up this year; what makes you different from the others?
N: "We have many artists in our agency. They care for us, teaching us not only how to sing or how to perform, but also such skills like how to write lyrics. I like to dance, and sometimes they ask me to come up with choreography. I can promise we have much more to show because we′re not an idol that was made by the agency; they listen to what we have to say."
Ravi: "I liked hip-hop music so I wanted to be an artist or musician. I′ve debuted as an idol, but I′m also honing my skills toward becoming an artist. I′ve been working on my own songs, and writing my own lyrics. Our agency helps me become an artist. They come to me first for the rap lyrics for our album, and I′ve been able to dream more of becoming a musician."
Ken: "Now, we′re only active as a group, but later on when we become more able and skilled I believe there′s a chance we′ll promote as solo singers or unit groups. Our agency gives us such opportunities, so I want to work hard and succeed as a vocalist."
Hyuk: "I dreamt of becoming the biggest icon of our time. I′m active as Vixx and we′ll continue to be active, but I′m trying to find what′s inside me so that I can become a singer with my own color."