Meet the five treasures of Korean pop, FT Island. (by Hyemun)
Ask K-pop fans to list their favourite Korean groups, and you’ll probably get answers like “Super Junior”, “Dong Bang Shin Ki” or “SS501″. And one name that has been added to the list and is climbing up in popularity recently is FT Island (Five Treasures Island).
Making their debut in 2007 with the album Cheerful Sensibility, the five youngsters – leader and guitarist Choi Jonghoon (19), lead vocalist Lee Hongki (19), bassist Lee Jaejin (18), drummer Choi Minhwan (17), and Oh Wonbin – rocked Korean pop fans with their brand of pop-rock tunes.
That was followed by their sophomore album Colourful Sensibility, and Japanese single Soyogi.
In Jan 2009, Oh Wonbin left the band over musical differences and was replaced by guitarist and vocalist Song Seunghyun (17).
The change of members didn’t stop the group, who released a mini album Jump Up in February 2009 and most recently, their Japanese single I Believe Myself.
The group is also planning to release their yet-to-be titled third album in the upcoming months.
With such a packed schedule, it’s a wonder that the boys had the time to visit Singapore for a showcase and fan meet late last month.
They even took some time off to have a special chat with teens about music and each other’s bad habits.
teens: One of your most popular tunes is “Bad Girl”, so what’s the worst thing that a girl has done to you?
Jonghoon: We’re still young, so we really haven’t encountered any “bad” girls. But I guess we will meet one someday. (Laughs)
teens: So what would a “good” girl be like?
Minhwan: Someone like my mother!
teens: Why do you think girls love FT Island so much?
Minhwan: Because of Hongki.
Jonghoon: To be specific, it’s because of Hongki’s voice.
Hongki: (Loftily) And my eyes – you’ll fall in love with me once you look into my eyes.
teens: Do the other members feel neglected because Hongki is always the centre of attraction?
Minhwan: He’s the lead singer, so it’s natural that he’s the focus
Seunghyun: We’re a band, so the vocalist usually attracts the most attention. But that’s changing now.
Jaejin: That’s right. His popularity is going to drop any day now. Just you wait, he doesn’t have much time left.
Hongki: (Confidently) That will never happen, I promise. In fact, I’m sure I will be getting even more popular.
teens: Since you know each other so well, what is the quality you’d most like to pick up from the group members?
Jaejin: Hongki’s way with words. He can speak really well, which I admire.
Hongki: (Looks at Minhwan) I’d like to have Minhwan’s….. (pause)
Minhwan: Why? Is there nothing about me that you admire?
Hongki: Erm…. Minhwan’s strength. He may be young, but don’t underestimate him – he’s strong.
Minhwan: As for me, I’d love to have Jaejin’s staying power, his endurance.
Jonghoon: I agree. In my opinion, that’s his best quality too.
Jaejin: Seunghyun is often daydreaming and it often seems like he’s not paying attention to what’s going on around him. Others may not appreciate that, but I really like that about him. I think that’s what makes him special.
(Everybody shakes their heads)
Seunghyun: Jonghoon is a great leader for the group. (Everybody groans)
Jonghoon: Oh my, why is he being so nice today? (Laughs)
teens: So is Jonghoon really a good leader?
(Seunghyun and Jaejin start giggling)
Hongki: I’d rather think of him as a good friend.
teens: What is the habit you would want a fellow FT Island member to change?
Seunghyun: Well, …. for Jaejin always wants to win, especially when it comes to online games.
Jaejin: For Minhwan, he’s almost perfect….. except for his height and how he’s shorter than us. And he feels the same way about his height too.
Minhwan: Hongki always thinks he’s a genius, but I think his IQ is probably pretty low.
Hongki: Hey, my IQ is 132!
Jaejin: (Disbelievingly) Really? That’s hard to believe.
Hongki: Jonghoon has this really bad habit of getting angry at everyone whenever he is embarassed, just to cover up the fact. But that makes it even more obvious.
(To Jonghoon) Things would be less obvious if you should just let it go and not say a thing.
teens: Which member would you date if you were a girl?
All: No one!
Jonghoon: I’d die alone.
Jaejin: I’d stay single for life.
Hongki: Date one of them? No way.
Minhwan: Well, I think I would make a good boyfriend – we all think the same thing, but only for ourselves but not of each other.
teens: What is music to you?
Jonghoon: Music is like a vitamin. I can live without it, but I am much healthier and happier with it.
Hongki: It’s like a good friend, an old partner who’s always around.
Minhwan: It’s my work and something I love. I think it’s great to be able to earn a living doing something I enjoy.
Jaejin: Without music, life would be very boring.
Seunghyun: Music is a necessity, something I need to live.
teens: Is there anything you’d like to say to your Singapore fans?
Minhwan: We really hope that we’ll get to hold a concert here one day, so we’ll work hard to make that dream come true one day.
Hongki: But that can happend only with the love of our fans….
Minhwan: So we hope our fans in Singapore will continue to support us and to help us realise that dream.
Source: Singapore’s Teens Magazine, August 2009 edition + primanoona.com