From left, Bam Bam, Mark, leader JB, Jr., Jackson, Yeong-jae and Yu-gyeom, members of the rising K-pop group GOT7 from JYP Entertainment, pose in this file photo. / Korea Times file
JYP's boy group to perform in Japan in October
By Kim Ji-soo
The seven "boys" of GOT7 exploded on the stage with "Girls, Girls, Girls" in January this year.
The performance dotted with "martial arts tricking" evoked images of boy band 2PM, a "senior" group that JYP Entertainment presented to the world six years ago.
GOT7 however is more hip-hop than 2PM, and while they have gone for a sweeter image in the new hit song "A" from their second mini album "Got Love," they said fans could still expect to see lot of technical elements in their choreography.
"You might see less of the powerful martial arts kicking with ‘A,' but you can still see similar technical elements as the ‘one-kick' in our new song," said JB, the group's leader, in an email interview with The Korea Times.
The group comprises of leader JB, 20, Mark, 20, Jackson, 20, Jr.,19 Yeong-jae, 17, Bam Bam, 17, and Yu Gyeom, 16, who trained on an average of two to three years at the JYP Entertainment before its debut this January. Their debut was highly anticipated as the group is the first boy-group put forth by one of the top three entertainmeng agency in years.
Training and competition at major entertainment agencies such as JYP, SM Entertainment and YG, is known to be grueling. Among the seven, three members are from abroad. Mark is a Chinese-American from Los Angeles: Jackson from Hong Kong; and Bam Bam, is from Thailand. All three, Mark, Jackson and Bam Bam now speak Korean fluently, sufficient to communicate with fellow members and appear on Korean entertainment programs.
Mark, Jackson and Bam Bam said that they found it hardest to endure when it was holidays and other Korean trainees returned home while they stayed back.
"But since the debut, we only have things to be thankful for," said JB.
This is the cover of GOT7's second mini-album "GOT Love."
The group is enjoying a noticeable popularity with their latest album containing eight tracks including remixes. The hit song "A" written by Park Jin-young, founder of the agency, also refers to a Korean word used to hide one's self knowing that someone likes them. It's a signature Park song that has helped them climb several charts. Park is joined by other composers such as Park is known for his fierce passion and strictness when recording, and it was no different for GOT7 members this time.
"I was recording once, and producer Park told me that I lacked feeling, so I started singing with feeling," said JB. "Then he told me that the feeling got in the way of my singing. He's really passionate when recording and I think his take on the song ‘A' (and the stage concept) has worked out well."
For the song, the seven youths are sweet, adoring boyfriend material. Are they that cute in real life?
"Initially, it was a bit difficult to strike cute poses and looks on stage, but now it's become a part of us," said JB. "I think all members are cute."
The members recently made headlines for saying on a radio talk show that they received sex education monthly during their traineeship. What is their take on dating? Korean k-pop stars have only recently began admitting that they were dating.
"I dont think that K-pop stars should be banned dating," said JB."But our priority is currently on promoting our second mini-album and our music," said JB.
The other members said that the leader JB was more chic and charismatic, but he too is your average 20-year-old that often leans toward the goofy
The music video for "A," which was released on June 23, has gained 3 million clicks as of July 8 and looking to break through 4 million. The group has vowed to release special editions of the music video if the 4 million clicks are achieved.The album also held onto the weekly No.1 spot on the Korean Gaon charts for the week of June 22 through 28. The group's record comes amid a fierce summer season where K-pop groups including Beast are releasing en masse new albums.
JB and the other members said that they were looking forward to the Japan tour that will begin from October and last through November.
"The stage is what makes my or our hearts pound," said JB. "We prepare so much before we go on a stage, so there is a mix of anxiety but also anticipation."
The group hasn't debuted officially in Japan but the album "Got Love" was listed within the Top 5 spot on the Tower Records World Chart division, portending success for its Japan tour.
"We will show our charm both as individuals and as a group to the Japanese fans," said JB.
Their music role models are the senior in JYP Entertainment such as 2PM, but outside, JB said that the members aspire to become like the veteran K-pop group Shinhwa.The group comprising Eric, Lee Min-woo, KimDong-wan, Shin Hye-sung, Jun Jin and Andy debuted in 1998 and remain active and popular.
The group has said that its aim is to win the Newcomer of the Year award this year. Asked if they were near the goal, JBreplied, "I think we still have a long way to go. In our view, we're just beginning."