2NE1. Photo: YG Entertainment / Tenasia
2NE1 has been considered ‘different’ from the moment they debuted in 2009. They weren’t sexy or cute like other girl groups. And one of their strengths was that they could pull off the ‘style’ of Hip-hop. There is nobody you can compare them to in Korea.
They may briefly remind you of black girl groups like Salt-N-Pepa, En Vogue, or TLC but there is something that is still different about 2NE1. So what it is? Their style? Fashion? Music? Or boldness? One thing for sure is that they have become a group that is like none other – that is ‘special.’
2NE1, back in the music scene for the first time in almost a year with song 'Falling in Love' spoke to the media about the album.
This is your first song in a year.
Lee Chaelin (CL): We released “I Love You” a year ago but it’ll be close to the first time in two years that we’re fully resuming our activities. We had craved to go on stage with a new song. While working on our new songs, we said we should try to work as hard as we did before we released “Fire.”
Sandara Park (Dara): It’s almost feels like we’re debuting again. It’s exciting.
Gong Minzy (Minzy): We’ve waited for a new song as much as our fans have.
Park Bom (Bom): We were craving the stage so much to the point that we had to beg our CEO Yang Hyun-suk. And I’m not usually the begging type (laughs).
'Falling In Love' - 2NE1
You went on a break after going on your world tour last year. How have you been?
Bom: I went back to being like a trainee, taking lessons from a singing teacher, and I also bought different items.
Minzy: Sandara and I worked out a lot.
Dara: I was trying to make pretty abs but I worked out so hard that they’re starting to turn into manly abs. I shouldn’t have worked out as hard. I’m regretting it now (laughs).
Read also: 2NE1 2012 surprise concert in Singapore
Minzy, you’re 20 now (Korean age).
I’m the youngest on the team so the fact that I’m 20 hasn’t hit me yet. I made an attempt at being cute in the music video for our new song 'Falling in Love' to show that I’m 20.
The pink wig you wore in the music video left a strong impression.
Minzy: I told my stylist that I want to try wearing a pink wig. I have a habit of collecting photos of things I want to try out. And pink hair was one of them.
2NE1. Photo: YG Entertainment / Reuters
'Falling in Love' is a reggae tune that fits the summer.
CL: It’s a mix of reggae and hip-hop. It’s dynamic. And while the verse that Minzy sings is easy-going, the hook is lively. There’s the most hip-hop to the rap and the part that Sandara sings has the most reggae. Reggae is a new genre for us so it was fun coming up with the dance for it as well.
See also: 2NE1 photo gallery
The songs you’ve sung in the past are far from singing about songs that other love songs usually do. But the lyrics to your song this time are cheerful and lovable. Doesn’t it feel awkward?
CL: For us, it actually feels like it’s the first time we’re singing a normal love song. There was 'I Love You' as well but that was about a woman who is clingy. We mostly sang of songs telling the guy to back off so we’re finally singing a normal love song.
A lot of other girl groups go with lovable images. Have you ever imagined yourself doing that?
CL: We’re trying to be lovable in our own way. So you saying that hurts (laughs). We tried hard to seem more cheerful this time.
I understand that Teddy made the song. What was your first impression of it?
CL: To be more precise, it’s a song that Teddy and Choice37 made together. Choice37 is the person that made G-Dragon and Lee Hi’s songs. We originally did some rapping using 'Falling in Love' as the intro to a performance we gave for 'I Love You' last year.
Dara: I got hooked to it as soon as I heard it. Minzy’s part in particular made me feel like I’m at the beach.
Minzy: I’m the type that dances upon hearing music so the song made me want to dance.
Your new song is like a song for the beach. Have you been to the beach recently?
CL: I suddenly feel sad. The last time we went to the beach is… When?
Dara: It’s been over a year. I went to the Philippines for a photo shoot so I got to work and play as well then but I haven’t been able to go since.
You recently went on stage for Snoop Dogg’s concert in Korea. And he recently released a reggae album titled 'Reincarnated' under the name Snoop Lion. Have you listened to the album by any chance?
CL: Snoop Dog made the album by learning reggae directly in Jamaica. And I’ve liked him for a long time. It was fun getting to perform with him and it was good because we got to talk to him a lot.
Of the numerous girl groups in Korea, you probably differentiate yourselves the most in terms of style. Is there anything in particular you did this time around as well to differentiate yourself?
CL: We’ve been true to ourselves rather than trying to be different. And we’re returning [to the music scene] for the first time in a while so we just want to stay true to ourselves rather than trying to show a new side to us. We recorded a lot of songs whenever we have time, during the past two years so we can’t wait to have you hear them. Our style and wardrobe will depend on the song.
How many new songs do you have so far? I understand that you’ll be releasing a new song every month and then release an entire album in the end.
CL: It’s the way in which we released our mini-album last year as well. We started with 'Lonely', then 'Ugly', 'Hate You', and 'I Am The Best' before releasing the album itself. As of now, we have enough new songs to release two studio albums. We’re planning on releasing a new song every month and releasing an album in October. We haven’t decided on whether it’ll be a studio album or a mini-album.
2NE1. Photo: YG Entertainment
What did the rest of you think of CL’s 'The Baddest Female'?
Bom: It was like a new world to me. She pulled it off so well that I became a fan.
I think the energy that you experienced on your world tour must’ve influenced how you worked on your new album.
CL: We wanted to release an album with the energy we got from our concerts as soon as we were done [with our world tour] but we weren’t able to. There’ll be a lot for us to show once we get on stage since we’ve been holding ourselves back.