New boy bands will usually sing of love, whether it be romancing or heartbreak, with hopes of quickly making fans by touching females’ hearts. But such was not the case for NU’EST, who became dubbed the ‘spokesmen of teenagers’ upon their debut last summer. The group consisted of members JR, Aron, Baekho, Minhyun and Ren, sang of the problem of bullying in schools through their debut song “FACE” which has long been a social issue in Korea. Then through their song “Action” from their first mini-album, the five raised their voices on nonconformity. It was only through their latest release “Hello” in February that they spoke of love, but it seems they may go back to where they started at.
The group, already gaining presence throughout Asia, met with TenAsia for an interview last week before hitting the road for their Asia tour “2013 NU’EST L.O.Λ.E. TOUR” starting in June.
Q: How have you been?
JR: We’ve mostly been practicing a lot for our concert in Japan. Aron is also the DJ for a radio program so he’s been doing that too.
Q: Could you each introduce the person next to you?
Ren: Aron is the rapper of our group. As the oldest member of the team, he always takes care of us and guides us. When we do something wrong, he tells us so and he also cooks for us. Aron is good at cooking things like pasta, he’s our chef.
Minhyun: Aron always tells us not to cook. I sometimes try to help, but he says “No.”
All: We all are really bad cooks. To the point you can’t eat the food we cook.
Aron: JR is the team leader. He dances and raps. JR is a bit childish so he likes reading comic books and assembling Gundam V plastic models.
JR: Minhyun is tall and such a model student. He’s also really clean. The four of us don’t clean much, so Minhyun usually does the cleaning. He scolds us a lot afterwards, telling us things like, “Clean up after finishing your meal” or “Do the dishes.” He’s like the mom of our team.
Minhyun: Baekho is the main vocalist of our team. He is very masculine and has a strong mindset but is also playful and a bit lazy, so he is the one I have the hardest time with as mom.
Baekho: What does Ren do? I think he’s the best looking on our team. And he likes weird clothes. He has a unique sense of fashion.
Minhyun: Ren’s closet is full of clothes that we avoid. He wears unique prints such as pyramids or flower patterns even in daily life.
Q: If Aron does the cooking and Minhyun does the cleaning, what do the rest of you do?
JR, Baekho, Ren: We decide by rock-paper-scissors.
Q: Since Minhyun does the cleaning, is he the best roommate?
JR: Minhyun cleans the house all the time. When we go overseas and stay in hotels, Baekho and Minhyun, JR and Ren share a room together and Aron stays with the manager.
Minhyun: There’s a disadvantage to sharing a room with me. I sing in the morning.
Ren: I share a room with Minhyun. He sings while taking showers and it wakes me up.
Baekho: Minhyun sings, but I’m fine with it. I sleep deep and singing doesn’t wake me up. I’m comfortable sharing rooms with Minhyun.
Q: You’ll be performing in a lot of countries soon including Japan, Singapore, Taiwan and Malaysia. Which country are you looking forward to going to the most?
JR: Japan excites me the most. My birthday is June 8 and that’s when we’ll have our concert in Japan. In a way I guess it’s sad because I won’t get to spend it at home.
Baekho: Taiwan. Because that’s when my birthday is. It wasn’t on purpose, it just turned out that way so I’m sorry to my Korean fans because they seem to be sad about it. But I’m looking forward to it.
Minhyun: I choose Japan. And it’s because we are currently practicing hard for the concert. I want it to be a success.
Aron: Malaysia for me. The shows in Japan, Singapore and Taiwan will be our own concerts but the one in Malaysia will be for our entire agency Pledis so I think it’ll be more special.
Ren: Singapore. The whole country was so clean when I last went. I felt like I was in heaven. Although Minhyun does a good job of cleaning too.
Q: What has been your favorite theme among the albums you’ve released so far?
Baekho: ”Hello” for me. And it’s because the choreography wasn’t difficult. I had a hard time with the other songs, sweating a lot. But “Hello” is pretty quiet and you don’t have to dance other than for your own parts. (laughs) That’s what was good about it.
Minhyun: My favorite is our debut song “FACE.” We sang as spokespersons for teenagers which I think many people related to so if we got to do another song, I’d like to sing one that many people can identify with.
JR: Every concept was good. I liked the “Hello” at first, but changed my mind after reading all the comments from fans. I always check them and many of them said they want us to go back to the theme we went with for “FACE.” That’s why I’m hoping our next album will be like “FACE.” It’s both because our fans want it and because I think our fans would feel sympathy to our music.
Aron: Though we didn’t perform it on stage, ‘Introduce Me to Your Noona,’ [translated title] is my personal favorite. I kind of like jazz and R&B.
Ren: I like “FACE.” It showed our color the most and fans responded to it well to.
Baekho: I choose “FACE” too. (laughs)
Q: Is there any country you’d like to travel to again or recommend for traveling?
Baekho: For me it’s Thailand. It’s the place that we went to most recently and we had such a great time snorkeling, riding motorcycles and bumper boats. Everything was so much fun.
Minhyun: We went to L.A. last December. I was so excited to go there since it was my first time. But we couldn’t do much because of our schedule. We mostly stayed at the hotel, concert hall and shooting site. Aron showed us around a little, but we didn’t have much time.
JR: I’d like to visit Paris one day. We were supposed to visit Paris once, and I got very excited about it. But it didn’t happen so I’d like to visit it and see the Eiffel Tower with my own eyes.
Aron: L.A. of course. It’s my hometown. I lived there. I know every corner of the place, but I like to visit it once in a while. The last time I went there was for the KCON. Mom, Dad, I love you (laughs)
Ren: I want to perform in New York. I’ve wanted to go see the Statue of Liberty since I was young. New York is also the background to the movie “Home Alone 2.” I dreamt about visiting New York while watching the movie then I was young.
Q: There was an incident at the airport in Singapore last year.
JR: We went to Singapore for a showcase last October. We were on the plane when there was an uproar amongst the fans. And some fans had said we hit them.
Minhyun: We had already taken our seats in the plane when the police came and asked me and JR to step outside. I didn’t know what was going on, but we followed him, and Aron came along with us to translate for us.
JR: We were told to get off because the police thought we had assaulted someone. But it turned out that some of our fans got into a fight with each other but the police misunderstood them and took us off the plane.
Aron: We resolved a misunderstanding, but the plane had taken off by then so we had to wait inside the airport for 12 hours for the next flight.
Q: Which singers are you closest to?
JR: We are close to BTOB, SPEED and VIXX because these three groups debuted similarly to us.
Q: What has changed for you the most since your debut?
Baekho: I met my cousin last time, and someone posted a photo of it on their twitter. I was surprised that people noticed me.
Minhyun: And everyone has become more handsome.
Aron, Ren: Thanks.
JR: I think everything is the same except for the fact that I tend to watch my behavior more since people recognize us.
Q: Which do you value the most amongst studying, dating or work?
Minhyun: To be honest, I value most what I’m doing at the moment. Studying is important as well but… man, what do I say. I studied hard when I was in junior high, but I haven’t studied much at all since training to become a singer.
Baekho: I think the work I’m doing comes first and then my studies?
Aron: Well, I don’t go to school. (laughs) I just want to both work and date someone.
Ren: I want to focus on my activities as well.
JR: The most important thing right now is to make ourselves known. Once many people come to like us, I think we’d naturally come to date someone too.
Q: Do you prefer older women, younger women or women of your age? (@PikaPokes)
Baekho: I like older women. There’s just a good vibe about them.
Minhyun: I don’t care much about age as long as I like that person.
JR: I don’t have a specific ideal type either. I just want someone that can take care of me. I’d be able to take care of that person too but just someone who’d be able to take care of me when I’m having a hard time.
Baekho: That would be someone older.
Aron: I’d like to meet someone my age or a year younger. I like cute girls.
Ren: I don’t mind younger or older. I just want someone that can take good care of me. My ideal kind of girl would be one that looks at the night sky lying on the grass of a meadow.
Baekho: I like long straight hair on girls, but it’s not that important. The important thing would be that her eyes be big. So someone older with long straight hair and big eyes.
Q: Aron, it was your birthday recently. How did you spend it?
Aron: I was deejaying my radio show and all of my group’s members paid me a surprise visit. We then ate, went to bowling alley and had cake.
Q: Do you like going bowling?
Baekho: Aron has played before and our manager is really good. It was the first time for the rest of us. But I think I have some talent for it.
JR: He’s actually not. He was okay at first but he gradually ran out of energy.
Q: It was Coming-of-Age day a few days ago. And you were the only person who became an adult, Aron. What did you do that day?
Aron: We practiced. I wanted to have a party so it’s a bit disappointing that I couldn’t. But I’m okay with it because there’s no such day in the States.
Q: What would you want to do on your Coming-of-Age day? (@PikaPokes)
Baekho: I’m going to have fun. I will do everything. (Q: Clubbing and drinking as well?) Of course, I won’t discriminate.
Minhyun: After everyone’s done eating, I will probably clean up, do the laundry and dishes, and scold them.
Q: Well, JR, you’re younger than Aron but the leader of your group. What’s the reason for this?
JR: I think it’s probably because of experience. I was a trainee for the longest time so I saw, heard and experienced more than them.
Q: But isn’t it it hard to say things to Aron as leader?
JR: Well, it actually doesn’t happen because I usually just ask for opinions or give suggestions.
Aron: I’m the oldest in out group but I have no problem with JR being the leader because I grew up in the U.S. We are like friends.
Q: JR, How was your kissing scene with actress Nam bo-ra for the music video to “Hello”? (Au Xian)
JR: We were first told about the kissing scene two weeks before the shoot. Then I heard that I will be the one who will do the that day. So I brushed my teeth a lot because it’s just basic manners. I also wasn’t actually going to kiss her on the lips but the director and my agency’s CEO got angry and told me to be a man about it so I had to. I was so nervous that I had no thoughts at the time.
Ren: He looked for mouthwash every 30 minutes. (laugh)
Minhyun: We were all watching the scene getting filmed on the monitor. And they were really kissing.
Aron: If you look closely at that scene, I’m in it. And I was at ease at first because it wasn’t snowing but it suddenly started to a lot yet they wouldn’t kiss. So I told them to hurry.
Q: Did you have to re-shoot the scene a lot?
JR: I made bloopers three times. Once before we actually kissed, and then twice for the kiss itself.
Q: And was it your first kiss?
JR: My first kiss. No honestly, it wasn’t my first kiss but I did it as if it was.
Q: When did the rest of you kiss for the first time?
Baekho, Minhyun: No comments.
Aron: What is kissing? (laughs)
Q: When will the next album released?
Baekho: One thing for sure is that it won’t be June. We have to perform overseas up till June so it’ll probably be July at the earliest. The concept of our next album is a secret. It’s been decided, but we want to surprise our fans. It’ll be a pretty cool album though so we hope our fans will be looking forward to it.
cr: 10asia INTERVIEW - Part 1 10asia INTERVIEW - Part 2