FT Island: 'We Were Spurred By CNBLUE While Holding Activities in Japan'
FT Island has ranked atop the Oricon Chart with their mini album entitled "Return".
FT Island, who recently released a mini album entitled "Return", seemed to have revitalized their spiritual energy during their ten-month break. The group members seemed more serious and their every comment during the interview revealed their ambitions. Lee Hong-gi, who abandoned his usually mischievous character, said with a smile,"I tried to become a diligent singer who gives off energy freely on the stage and to become more careful off the stage". FT Island has received impetus from their previous activities at the bottom of the Japanese music industry for the past three years. And the rapid ascension of another Korean band, the group CNBLUE (who belongs to the same agency as FT Island), also served to motivate them. The interview took place right after FT Island's first album in Japan ranked atop the Oricon weekly chart. FT Island became the first foreign singing group in Japan to be ranked in first place on the Oricon chart since 1970 when the Oricon began publishing rankings, so the members were delighted by their record. They said,"There were many popular Japanese singers, and we were more pleased as we have tried our best and we could gain a good ranking. In particular, we were very proud of the fact that our members' own songs were included in the album".
FT Island's impressive achievement could not be established within a day with good luck. They debuted in the Japanese indie music industry in 2008, and they have developed their abilities while releasing several albums. They made an agency contract with a large music distributing agency, Warner Music Japan, last year and they were able to achieve this feat only a year since their debut in the major music industry in Japan. Choi Min-hwan said,"We debuted in the Japanese indie music industry first to study music and improve ourselves. All the members participated in recording our album together for the first time, and we also played our own musical instruments when we released the second album in Korea".Lee Hong-gi said,"Our music became more mature as we released our songs that were specially made in the J-POP style in Japan with various versions in Japanese, English, and Korean instead of simply releasing our hit songs in Korea. In addition, we learned many things by looking at Japanese bands whom we could meet when we participated in the Japanese rock festival entitled 'Summer Sonic' last year. When you look at us while comparing our performances before and after we went to Japan, you might be able to notice the changes". During that time, the rise of junior band group CNBLUE reportedly worked as a positive influence on them. Lee Jae-jin-I and Lee Hong-gi said,"We feel jealous about CNBLUE because they have an image that we do not have. They are performing soft music with their elegant and stylish image. So we have to have competition with them. As they chase us with their music, we have to develop ourselves more not to let them close the gap between us. We are their seniors, so we want to become the best before them (laugh)".
As they became psychologically more mature, their album sounds brighter than before. Their title song "Hello Hello" is rock music with a fast tempo, and it sounds very dramatic as it adds acoustic sound and raps by Lee Jae-jin-I and Song Seung-hyeon during the introduction of the song. Another song entitled "Sunshine Girls" has a strong sound, but it alters its atmosphere with cute lyrics of the song. In addition, the song entitled "I Confess", which was composed by Choi Jong-hun, was sung by all five members together for the first time. Lee Jae-jin-I said,"We have felt pressure as we took a break for ten months in this rapidly changing Korean music industry. But we want to come closer to people by adding more popular aspects to our songs. We just want our fans to comfortably enjoy our songs".
FT Island debuted in 2007, and they have released a total of around 150 songs both in Korea and Japan, including this album. But the group members all agreed, saying,"We are still learning". They are saying that the MBC program "I Am Singer" has become their new stimulus these days. Lee Hong-gi said,"I feel really tense while I am watching 'I Am Singer' because I can feel how those senior singers become tense on the program. Their nervous appearances on the program were real. I was frightened when I imagine being a contestant, thinking,'What if I had to sing on that stage?' I will also appear in KBS 2TV's program 'Immortal Masterpiece 2', and have competition with other idol group members, and now I am really nervous due to the competition". After they hold activities on Korea for one month, they have to follow their next goals. During their concert tour all over Japan, they will perform on the "dream stage", Budokan. The group members delivered their wishes, saying,"We will close our tour concert at the Budokan on July 29. The concert will be with 10,000 audience members, but the venue is a symbolic place for bands, so it will likely be that we have achieved our first goal. We would also like to perform at the Tokyo Dome later". They admitted that their ultimate goal was gaining popularity as a successful band. Choi Min-hwan said,"We are different from other idol groups not because we can play musical instruments, but because we are still learning and doing our best to improve ourselves by practicing to present better performances to our fans. We want to be more acknowledged by people as a recognizable band".
Source: english.kbs.co.kr/Ent... (English Korean)