When friends or lovers get into an argument, how should you resolve it? T-ara is standing before the public with this thought in mind. When people are angry because of your actions, and when an apology cannot resolve their anger, what should you do? T-ara has chosen to silently work hard and to wait until that anger melts.
Although it is common for artists to become emotional and cry during interviews, T-ara’s tears fell carefully even when they were falling naturally. T-ara, who can’t even escape vicious criticism when they simply prepare snacks for their fans, ended up saying tearfully, “We will work hard.” The questions and answers that required tissue everywhere until the end are now revealed without any changes.
Q: A comeback in a long time, how do you feel?
Hyomin: It’s been years since a comeback as the 6 of us. We disappointed some people before, but that won’t happen this time, we will work hard. We made our comeback nervously.
Soyeon: More so than rankings, we are just thankful that there are people who are waiting for our music.
Q: It seems like you had a lot of worries.
Hyomin: To be honest, we’ve never had a “blank period.” We were always running everywhere with no rest. Although this time wasn’t intentionally, we had a blank period and during this time, we really lost a lot of confidence and had a lot of thoughts. We had a lot of worries too.
Eunjung: Everyone’s attitude towards us are better than we thought it would be, we are very thankful. Just like when we first debut, our thoughts are just that we must do well. To be honest, whether people would like our music, we had a lot of worries like this. In addition, many singers are making their comeback in this period, and would they like our colour? We also had a lot of worries like this.
Q: A lot of other groups are making their comebacks as well.
Soyeon: The timing for releasing an album is very important, no? We thought we picked an appropriate time. It seems like this was a time appropriate for all other singers too, so we all made our comeback around the same time (laughs). We are thankful just to be discussed along with these other artists. We are really happy just to be mentioned along with SHINEE and IU etc. When we see news of that, we think “Wah, there’s actually us.”
Q: Now that you’ve made your comeback, do you feel more relaxed?
Eunjung: People’s hearts are always like that, we should be able to feel more relaxed now, but we still worry a lot about how we can maintain this. Should we keep doing the same thing next week? Should we change our dance? What about our clothes? Etc.
Hyomin: Because there are new comebacks every week, we are very nervous. Recently, there have been so many comebacks that rookies are hardly able to participate in music broadcasts. So we understand how valuable it is to be able to perform on music programmes.
Eunjung: In the past we would think that this was a given, but now we know how to be thankful. In the past, even if our managers don’t mention it, we would clear out Thursdays, Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays for our schedules, because we have to perform on music shows. We used to think that way, but now we would ask our managers, “Do we have any schedules?”
Q: T-ara’s schedules were very full in the past.
Soyeon: We had at least 5 schedules in one day, we were very busy. We thought that they were only schedules and didn’t think much about it. We only had thoughts about wanting to look nice etc. But after experiencing this blank period, we understood that those are not just merely schedules, but is something [precious] that finds its way to us. Now, we think that every single schedule is a precious thing to us.
Hyomin: Although it is better to not have experienced bad things, during that time, we only looked at the things in front of us and kept running forward following our CEO’s instructions. But now we look around us and behind us. It is something that can’t be expressed with words, but there are things we have gained. The time we spend with our fans and the way we treat our fans also changed a lot.
Q: Your first performance was at the Gyeongju Dream Concert.
Eunjung: It rained that day. Singing while it was raining, it felt very extraordinary and profound.
Soyeon: We felt different compared to the comebacks we had before. In the past, we would know that there were a lot of people waiting for us and we had confidence. But this comeback wasn’t like that. We didn’t have confidence, and the cheers and applause for us are also different from before, but we can only work hard. So we are even more thankful for the people who have given us applause all along.
Q: Experiencing something bad together, it seems like the friendship and love between members have changed as well.
Soyeon: The atmosphere between us is like family now. To be honest, there were times when we were so busy that we couldn’t take care of each other, we were just there together. But this time, we had a lot of time to talk and reminisce with each other. And since we carry the same scars, the understanding and care we have for each other seem to have increased as well. We became closer.
Boram: We now know that teamwork requires every single person.
Q: The leader keeps changing.
Eunjung: Even though there is a leader, generally we still make decisions together, so there is not a big difference. But things like conveying information, giving notice, gathering opinions, those are things that the leader would do.
Q: Even so, the atmosphere within the team would be different because of the leader right?
Soyeon: Boram unnie created a very relaxed and quiet atmosphere. Eunjung is really good at managing work, and she can organize things well even when things are very messy. When Hyomin was leader, we became more fashionable.
Hyomin: As a leader, the most difficult thing was to answer our CEO’s phone calls.
Eunjung: He would call at 6 a.m. and ask “Are you awake?”, “Have you seen your schedule yet?” Things like that (laughs).
Q: Because of what happened last year, it seems like you are more thankful to be on stage and to the fans.
Eunjung: About things we used to think were a given in the past, we now think “We are really thankful” “Ah, this is so good.” Not just to fans, but to the general public who watch our performance, give us applause, and sing along to our songs. In the past, we just feel like it is just a comeback, but now we are very thankful for these things.
Soyeon: We did earn things [from this incident]. It happened when we were receiving a lot of love. If that hadn’t happened, we would still be kids who didn't understand a lot of things. We would think that popularity is a given. To experience something like that at that time, it seems like we found something else that we had lost. The people who worked with us, those who visited us, our fans – in the past we really seemed to not understand their preciousness and didn't know to be thankful. But after that incident, we had a lot of thoughts and became more mature and responsible.
Q: The comments online, have you seen them?
Hyomin: Although we didn’t read them in detail, we browsed through them. In the past we would look for negative things, but now we would look for positive things. There are more and more support messages, and there are more and more of positive messages as well. We feel happier as well. We will read them to each other as well with the thought that “Wow, there are even these [good] messages for us.”
Boram: There are also negative criticisms that can be constructive. Paying attention to those comments, with the mindset that “We did that before, we should correct that” is not bad. Although we cried a lot before when we saw very malicious comments, now we look for comments that can be constructive. Seeing malicious comments that would give us harm, now, instead of getting hurt, we seem to learn from them more.
Q: How is each member doing recently?
Jiyeon: It’s been a long time since T-ara’s last comeback, I want to show the best side as T-ara.
Hyomin: I filmed for a Japan move “JINX!!!” in the beginning of this year. It was during one of our most difficult times, and I’m thankful that I was given this opportunity. It was a very memorable filming.
Eunjung: I filmed for MBC’s “Welcome” recently. Living with students from Turkey, it was the first time for me to film a variety like this. Because I had to promote Korean culture and language, I did a lot of studying myself as well. To be honest, I had wondered whether any variety programmes would ask me to participate. I’m really very thankful that they asked me to appear.
Boram: Because I had been a bit unhealthy, I lost a lot of weight, but now I’ve become a lot healthier.
Qri: T-ara had a lot of overseas schedules. I prepared very hard for T-ara's comeback.
Soyeon: I appeared in “Haeundae Lovers” last year, but because of what happened, the drama seemed to have suffered because of me, I feel very sorry about that.
Q: Did your boyfriend Oh Jonghyuk give you a lot of support?
Soyeon: Of course he gave me a lot of support, he told me good job, and gave me a lot of trust.
Q: What is the secret to date for so long?
Soyeon: Although we started dating, we both have a very careful personality. Because of his military service and because I am an idol, we were both very careful. We began dating with a lot of trust in each other. It seemed as if waiting was very easy because the person I like went to the army. He must have had a lot of difficulties there but he still took care of me when I faced difficulties. Because we gained more trust in each other in those 2 years, so our relationship became better as well.
Q: You must have been worried when Oh Jonghyuk extended his military service.
Soyeon: Although he told me about it, I was still worried as his girlfriend. But I couldn’t express it because he is very determined. I could not express anything in particular. I just worried in my heart, but I watched him return successfully and thought that was very cool.
Q: Is there anyone else who wants to date?
Boram: It would be great if someone could like me, but there isn’t (laughs). I really want to date. I think out of all of us I’m the one who wants to date the most.
Q: Did the members know about Soyeon and Oh Jonghyuk dating?
Eunjung: We knew from the very beginning.
Q: T-ara has tried cat and other concepts, etc., are there anymore concepts you want to try?
Soyeon: Our juniors are all so cute, pretty, and fresh. Is there this lovable concept that only girl groups can express? We want to try that too (laughs).
Eunjung: Mr CEO, please consider this (laughs).
Hyomin: It seems like our CEO is really amazing. Like a genius, he always seem to think of things that other people haven’t thought about.
Eunjung: During “Sexy Love” we were really shocked. At the time, it was very difficult for us to perform and have a natural expression on stage. But our CEO suggested that we do robot dance – so our expressions were neither smiling nor crying (laughs).
Soyeon: It seems like we don’t create the trend, but we just change it (laughs). Retro and shuffle dance were something that other artists had already done, or we would only do something after something became a trend. We would ask “isn't it already too late?”, but it always ended up becoming popular.
Q: This time, “I know the feeling” is also a trendy phrase.
Eunjung: We were worried whether we would interfere with Gag Concert.
Q: It seems like there are a lot of misunderstandings about your CEO in the public too.
Soyeon: Our CEO saw a lot of the messages and was very hurt. But if there are good messages, he would be very happy.
Eunjung: He used to be like a tractor/bulldozer, but his body and heart has become a lot weaker. He listens to a lot of our opinions now as well.
Soyeon: It feels like he may be someone who cried the most in front of singers. He asked before “Am I difficult to get along with?” Actually we have seen the normal and private side of our CEO. We've seen him when he cried in front of those comments and when he is troubled because of us. He is someone more common and normal than people think.
Q: Lastly, is there anything you want to say to fans?
Qri: It seems like we have only received from our fans but have never given them anything. We are really thankful to our fans.
Hyomin: You’re the member who doesn’t cry even when we achieve number 1 [to Qri who teared up]. Not just to fans, but it seems like there is so much to say to the general public.
Eunjung: To be honest, for this comeback, we wondered if we would be able to receive love. But there are still people who are curious and love T-ara’s music. For that we are very thankful. Regardless of what they say, they only say it because of the appearance we present. We will accept it all and work hard.
Hyomin: More so than asking for forgiveness or apologizing, it seems like it is more important to work hard and present a side of us that will make others say “They’re really working hard.” In the future, we want to express that sort of feeling no matter what we do.
Eunjung: When friends or lovers are mad at each other because of something the other person did, and even when repeated apologies cannot resolve the issue, the most important thing is to keep working hard until the other person’s anger melts away. It seems like we have to do the same thing as artists.