TASTY is a performance-oriented singing duo formed of identical twins who create explosive synergy. Their debut last year with “You Know Me” was a breath of fresh air to the K-pop scene because it was of the yet-to-be-attempted dubstep genre. And for their second album released this August, they set forth a title tune named “MAMAMA” of the never-before-seen swing hip-hop genre.
But TASTY’s members Dae Ryong and So Ryong can always go for new music and performances because of the special bond between them. And there was a bond that was tighter than that seen in any other sibling or twin. They firmly said each other is “a presence that cannot be missing in either life nor work.” And although they are charismatic on stage, they were cheerful throughout their interview and photo shoot with TenAsia. Below is the conversation with the duo that had the potential to achieve anything with their love for music and trust in each other.
Q. It took a while for you to make your comeback. How did it feel going on stage for your comeback performance?
So Ryong : I was extremely nervous unlike when I debuted. But I also felt really happy afterwards because when I watched it on screen, it looked like we had done as well as we had during practice.
Dae Ryong : When we made our debut, I wasn’t nervous and just happy because I didn’t know anything back then. But I realized that making a comeback was different because we felt more pressure. And I know we’d have to do better on the things we didn’t do well at but I was satisfied with our comeback performance.
Q. Your title track “MAMAMA” is about a guy who goes clubbing and upon seeing a woman he likes, tells her not to look at other guys. And INFINITE H wrote the lyrics to it.
So Ryong : They lyrics that they originally wrote were sexual. So when we showed them to our boss, he told us to change them, saying that they’re too vulgar. But what INFINITE H said in response was funnier. They said to us, “We think of sexual lyrics when we see you.” (laughs)
Q. Why do you think that happens?
So Ryong : I’d really like to know too. I just couldn’t ask them why back then.
Q. Some say you were referring to 2AM and 2PM where it says in the lyrics “Don’t look at AM, PM” because you used to be trainees at JYP Entertainment.
So Ryong : Oh, I heard that too. But that never even crossed my mind because we’re on good terms. 2AM rooted for us a lot this time around as well. And the thing is, INFINITE H wrote the lyrics! But please, the next time you get to interview them, ask them about that and the sexual lyrics (laughs).
Q. A singer needs to immerse himself into the emotions depicted in the lyrics to the song to sing it well. So does this mean you’ve been clubbing before?
So Ryong : I did before I debuted. I think I experienced everything that people in their twenties do because we made our debut late. And that’s why we can focus better on the song too. It was the same for when we shot the music video as well.
Dae Ryong : It’s easier to understand and then sing love songs after you’ve experience love rather than trying to sing them without ever having dated anyone. In the long run, I think it’s better that we made our debut late.
Q. But the song’s lyrics don’t really match with its title “MAMAMA.”
So Ryong : There are a lot of words that end with the pronunciation ‘ma’ so we decided on “MAMAMA.”
Q. A lot of people have said you guys are ‘cool’ after watching your performances. What would you say is ‘cool’ about each of you?
So Ryong : My hands. I have really pretty hands for a guy and I’ve also been told that I have nice ankles. I’m too embarrassed to mention other body parts though. If I had to pinpoint to something, I guess it would be my long arms and legs (laughs).
Dae Ryong : I think I have a cool personality. It’s really good (laughs).
So Ryong : Aren’t you bragging too much? (laughs)
Dae Ryong : Yes well, I know it’s weird for me to say so… I’m outgoing and engage in conversations well with others.
So Ryong : Yes, that’s right. You’re outgoing but also have good manners.
Q. “MAMAMA” is a unique swing hip-hop genre tune.
So Ryong : Swing is an old genre so it may not seem to be with the trend these days but it’s addictive and attractive. I’m sure you’ll start humming it once you listen to it.
Dae Ryong : And although it starts with swing, it changes into old school hip-hop. And I really liked the vibe it gave off when it does that. There are various types of hip-hop but old school hip-hop and swing came together to produce a sophisticated melody.
Q. I heard that songwriters have a hard time writing your songs in particular and such was the case with “MAMAMA” as well.
So Ryong : That’s right. Songs that would usually suit regular idol groups don’t suit us.
Dae Ryong : We needed something different because we can’t do cute and fluffy songs and the themes that other groups had previously done just didn’t suit us.
So Ryong : Songs that aren’t too strong and not too cute yet bring out our characteristics! We actually listened to a number of songs before making our comeback but we didn’t like them so we waited until we found one we like.
Q. There are a variety of songs other than “MAMAMA” as well. What sort of songs are they?
So Ryong : I personally hope that a lot of people fall in love with “ADDICTION.” It’s a slow jam R&B tune that shows off our vocals. And we made the rap to it for the first time as well. “2NITE” is a song that’ll go with the summer and is good for listening while driving around or when on a walk.
Q. You must like hip-hop if you made your own rap.
Dae Ryong : We really like rap and R&B. We listen to music when we’re in the shower in the morning, when we sleep, and even when we’re on the road. So when we made the rap, we did it in two hours of listening to the music. We made it with our own thoughts and sense. And we were happy because it got the green light in one go. We’re not that skilled yet but we’d like to become singers that can pull off both rapping and R&B singing.
Q. Are there any singers you like in particular?
So Ryong : I like Kanye West and DMX. I loved the songs in Kanye West’s recent album.
Dae Ryong : I enjoy listening to J.Cole’s songs these days.
Q. I heard that you grew up in China but dreamt of becoming a singer watching H.O.T and Rain’s performances since you were young. But I’m sure there was music that was better known than K-pop back then.
So Ryong : I happened to listen to a song that my friend was listening to. And it was H.O.T’s song. I really liked it as soon as I heard it. It was the first song I listened to and it was shocking. I asked that friend who the singers were and from then on I listened to H.O.T’s music, which led to Rain’s music, which I fell completely in love with.
Q. Then So Ryong, were you the one that informed Dae Ryong about music?
Dae Ryong : We’re always together. So it means I was there when he heard K-pop from a friend and I too was shocked upon hearing it.
Q. Don’t you sometimes get sick of each other if you’ve been together all the time since you were born? When we interviewed the twin members of Crayon Pop, they said that it sometimes doesn’t help that they do the same thing because they’ll also have hard times together.
So Ryong : I can’t agree with that. No matter how hard of a time one of us is having, we’ll talk a lot because we’re facing the same problem. And after discussing it, we’ll end up talking about positive things, which helps more.
Dae Ryong : We talk to each other whenever we face difficult situations. We have no secrets. We never get sick of each other. We get bored when the other person isn’t around so we just need to be there for each other. We also have rules. That we need to agree with what the other person says for us to do something. That both of us need to agree. We’ll never break that rule because once we start breaking it, we’ll break it more often and we’ll spin out of control later.
Q. Then are there ways through which you relieve your stress other than by talking to each other?
So Ryong : I think we’ll need to think about that. (After a while) We sometimes just meet our friends and talk to them but we can’t always tell them exactly what we’re stressing over. Nonetheless, I think we do it by just talking.
Dae Ryong : We actually don’t really like to drink either. We’ll maybe have a glass or two of beer? The best is to just talk about it.
Q. I heard that the key to the choreography this time is the ‘time dance.’ Are there any other moves you want to emphasize?
So Ryong : It’s not like we intended to emphasize that dance but I think people thought it was interesting because it was an unusual. But anyway, I came up with the entire choreography for “MAMAMA.” It may look difficult but it actually isn’t.
Q. Then what did you do, Dae Ryong? (laugh)
Dae Ryong : I made the changes.
So Ryong : We usually come up with the choreography for different parts of a song. If there’s a part of the music that I like, I’ll come up with the choreography for it and the same goes for Dae Ryong. The good thing is that we like different parts of songs so we end up completing the choreography together.
Dae Ryong : If there are parts where I’m completely stuck on, So Ryong will come up with the moves for it. We’re truly good at making up for the other’s weaknesses.
Q. Had you decided that you’d always come up with your own choreography?
So Ryong : At first we wanted to get choreography from an American choreographer because we’re not as good. But it wasn’t going to be easy so we decided that it’d be if we came up with our own. So we came up with a 20-second choreography, which we showed to our agency and they liked it so we came up with the rest of it.
Q. You’re both tall and good-looking so I think you may be interested in acting as well.
So Ryong : We moved to a new house but we don’t have a TV there so we don’t get to watch it often but acting is something I’d like to try out quite seriously some day. I heard that people that sing and dance are good at acting because they’re good at expressing. But I’ve never received acting lessons yet and want to devote myself to my actual job.
Q. Did you move houses? You said in your last interview that you’d get to move if you got first place on a music show.
So Ryong : Oh, it’s not a nice place at all. It’s just slightly cleaner and better than our previous house. And we live with our manager.
Q. INFINITE is on their world tour. You must envy them since you’re singers under the same agency.
So Ryong : Of course we envy them. We think that they’ve become as popular as one can as singers.
Q. What do you think is worth learning from them?
So Ryong : Their really kind personalities and good social skills. And how hard they work. We’re really good friends. It’s just that we have different styles when it comes to music (laughs).
Q. Who do you respect the most when it comes to performances?
So Ryong : Rain is truly the best. He looks amazing even when he’s just standing on stage.
Dae Ryong : He’s a good singer but also performs well to the songs. And I think all of that has a huge impact.
Q. What sort of songs do you want to sing in the future?
Dae Ryong : Songs that are more to the public’s taste. Like the songs that Rain sings — melodies that are better for singing and watching. So music that suits the public’s taste better but also has dance breaks in between.
So Ryong : We’ve sung strong songs till now. So we want to try singing songs that would be more popular with the public. And once a lot of people recognize us, we would then like to do our own music.
Q. Lastly, what sort of ‘taste’ do you guys want to become as TASTY?
Dae Ryong : Chocolate! A group that is sweet yet never gets old. A lot of people like chocolate so we too want to become a group that people always like.
So Ryong : Dae Ryong already gave the good answer. I… (After some thought) Oh, like spaghetti! No female hates spaghetti. We want to be liked by all women. I don’t care about men (laughs). No, it’ll be nice for guys to like us as well. But based on what we’ve seen so far, including our stage costume, I think we have a better chance with women (laughs).