(*T/N: Red Velvet (레드벨벳) is often shortened to be called as Revel (레벨) in Korean. This also has the same pronunciation as the word ‘level’ in Korean.)
Higher than Red Velvet. The time that Red Velvet is living in right now is on a different dimension.
2017 was a year that Red Velvet ‘leveled up.’ They released three albums, mini albums “Rookie”, “The Red Summer”, and their second full album, “Perfect Velvet”, and spent the busiest year ever since their debut. Their fans were given the name “ReVeluv” and they also held a concert for three days in August. They were also spent a busy year individually. Irene took over the variety show and advertising market. Joy and Seulgi tried acting for the first time. Wendy released a drama OST and a solo song. Yeri debuted as a songwriter.
In 2018, Red Velvet will become five years old. What will 2018 be like for these girls who can take on both the apex of the popular and bright ‘Red’ conceptㅡ“Red Flavor”ㅡand a song that’s concentrated with the mysterious and alluring ‘Velvet’ conceptㅡ“Peek-A-Boo”ㅡwhich was released right after “Red Flavor”?
Irene “I teared up because when I saw the empty seats during the concert rehearsal, I realized that that many people came for the concert”
Last summer, I remember you said that you often look back at the memos you’ve taken on your phone. Do you take notes of your daily life these days too as if you’re keeping a diary?
Yes. I do take memos, but these days, I write things about organizing my schedule or deciding what to send to my managers, and about the movies that I have watched. I watched a lot of movies, and I took notes about them too. I watched “The Greatest Showman” and “Along With the Gods”.
There were a lot of firsts for Red Velvet in 2017. Your fans got an official name, and you had your first concert. What was the most touching moment in the concert?
On the first day, I didn’t feel anything particular because I was busy thinking about the performance. But, when I went to the concert venue in the morning to practice for the second day, I saw the empty space and realized that a lot of people came to fill this place up. For some reason, that made me tear up a lot. (Laughs) The weather was bad when the concert took place, but still, a lot of people waited for us outside.
What was the song that you had the most fun doing?
It was great how the fans in the pits all cheered when during “Zoo”. They all cheered for us when we suddenly turned around towards the stage, because before then, we were watching the seats on the second and third floor. I feel great when the fans say “Whoa~ It’s Red Velvet~ Whoa~ It’s Irene~” and just say my name. Even that means a lot. Also, I would like to thank the staff a lot too. When we have to stay up all night, they stay up to help us too. Also, I watched them build the stage too. I would like to thank the people who also built the stage.
What did you do on the first day of 2018?
As soon as my last schedule for the day ended I went home. I ate tteokguk with my family and went grocery shopping with my mom and sister. I made tteokbokki on my own too. My family said that it was really delicious. Really. So I felt really proud because of that. It turned out that I had a knack for cooking. (Laughs) I ate the tteokbokki while saying “Mom, don’t I have a knack for cooking?”
Although tteokbokki is an easy food to eat, it’s not an easy food to make yummy.
You do know! It’s actually a hard dish to make. It’s easy for the aftertaste to become dry.
Interviewer: Could you share any tips on how to make it taste good?
Tips? What could there be? Ah, I kept on saying “Mom, could you put this in for me?” (Laughs)
Interviewer: So, in the end, your mother’s cooking skills were the secret ingredient?
But still, I chose the ratio of the sauces. I put a lot of cabbage in because I like vegetables. I recommend putting udon noodles in instead of ramyeon noodles.
What are you into these days, Irene?
Me. I’m into myself. It’s fun to see how I change. A person can’t stay the same forever. When I see myself become closer and closer to what I wrote about myself in my memos, although I’ve liked myself before, I like myself even more. (Laughs)
Do you have any goals for 2018, Irene?
I wish I could be a more diligent person. I want to become a better listener and a better speaker.
Seulgi “Bowling was a more scientific sport than I thought. I wish Joy and I could score enough points to stay in the middle for ISAC”
I remember you showed me something you drew in the last interview we had. Do you still draw these days?
I stopped drawing for a while after that interview, but since it’s the new year now, I wanted to do something that I haven’t done in a while again, so these days, I’m doodling things. If in the past, I drew something to copy it exactly, these days, I’m trying to figure out what my drawing style is. Even though people look at the same object, they draw it differently. (While showing her cellphone) These days, I’m into the feel that drawing gives me. (While being embarrassed at the staffs’ gasps of admiration) I want to keep doing this as a hobby. People post videos of themselves drawing a lot on instagram a lot these days, right? I’m watching those clips often and copying them.
What did you do on the last day of 2017?
The members were all tired, but I wanted to go outside so bad that I went out to eat meat with Wendy and the manager.
Do you have anything that you did in 2017 that you want to compliment yourself on?
I want to compliment myself for working hard so that I could meet the fans often. This was Red Velvet’s busiest year, you know.
You also had your first concert.
Yeah! Before that, we only got to watch other artists’ concerts. I was amazed at how so many people like one artist so much that they memorized all the lyrics and cried while watching the concert. But when I got to perform at our team’s own concert, I couldn’t feel any of that. I was like, ‘There’s a lot of people..’ I was touched because even if I messed up on stage out of being too excited, they didn’t really care and kept cheering me on because they were all my fans. Also, they reacted a lot to every single word that I said. (Laughs) That made me tear up.
The fans are worried right now because Red Velvet is competing in the “2018 Idol Star Athletics Championships.”
Joy and I are competing in bowling. We even practiced yesterday. The teachers said that we were really good at it and that we had a shot at winning first place. They also encouraged us to come and practice more often.
Interviewer: Can we look forward to you guys winning a medal?
You know, when you bowl, sometimes you do well, but other times you don’t. It’s a very scientific sport because you can only get a strike only if everything works in harmony. (Bursts into laughter) I wish we could score enough points to stay in the middle. I hope the ball doesn’t go into the gutters.
What are you into these days, Seulgi?
Film cameras! I finished developing my first film roll. Actually, it’s my second one. I accidentally opened my first roll up while changing the film, so when I developed it, the pictures didn’t come out well. The results for my second roll are pretty good. Do you wanna see? (While showing her phone) I took pictures of the other members too. They say to not look forward to your first pictures too much, but this isn’t that bad, is it? (Laughs) I’ve wanted to take pictures with a film camera for a long time. I got recommendations from a photographer that I’m close with, and then bought that camera immediately. But it turned out that I accidentally bought a manual camera instead of an automatic one, but I had fun learning about manual cameras too.
What are your goals for 2018, Seulgi?
I learned that worrying about something doesn’t solve the problem. I’m going to try to live simpler and more fun.
Wendy “After getting a text from my mom saying ‘I’m proud that you are my daughter,’ I burst into tears”
You had beef on the last day of 2017 with Seulgi and your manager, right?
What? How did you know? We had Australian beef. (Bursts into laughter) It was yummy. (Laughs)
What did you do on the first day of 2018?
I spent it with my parents. They live in Canada right now, but they stopped by Korea for a few days, so I dragged them to places that I’ve wanted to go to. We looked around Ikea and Starfield Hanam in one day.
Aren’t those places packed with people all the time? What if they recognized you?
No one knew who I was because I didn’t have my makeup on! (Bursts into laughter) But the place was so hectic that I didn’t get to buy anything. I went all the way to Ikea but only bought zipper bags. I was planning on buying a cabinet, but it was all sold out. I felt so dizzy at Starfield Hanam that I looked around the place quickly only to get out of there as fast as I can. I only gained muscles from that trip.
Let’s take a look back at 2017. What’s the thing you regret about the most?
I started the year off on a good foot, but I think I wasn’t able to keep that streak as the year ended. I think it’s because of dieting. Now I’m worried that I’m too healthy again, but still, when I was on stage, I gave it my all.
Interviewer: What do you mean? I think you don’t need to lose weight anywhere.
No, there are a lot of spots I have to slim down. That’s why I’m all covered up right now. (Laughs)
I heard you sang your solo song for the first time at the concert.
I was happy because I was able to make my dream come true after becoming a singer. I realized after the concert that so many people like me and that it’s a blessing to be able to be onstage with people that I love. I tried to record every scene of the concert with my eyes too. It was my first time singing solo so I was really nervous. I know I could’ve done better, but I have no regrets.
I can see that you’re tearing up a bit as you’re talking right now. You cried at the concert, didn’t you?
When the members told the audience that my parents came and that it’s their first time seeing me perform, I burst out into tears. I’m sure my mom started to cry as soon as I started because she tears up often. I burst into tears after the concert a second time after seeing the text that my mom sent, which said, “I’m so proud that you are my daughter.”
What are you into these days, Wendy?
I’m into life. (Laughs) I’m a stay-at-home person. And, I’m also the kind of person who only hangs with the people they know. I still want to learn more about the other members. I’m like a stalker.
But now, I’m thinking of trying to go outside more often and meeting new people. Before, I really used to only go back and forth between my house and the practice rooms. Other than that the only other occasion that I went out for was when I had to get my picture taken before music shows. I went outside to buy everything that I planned to wear for those photos at once. (Laughs)
So your goal for 2018 is to go outside the house?
Yeah! That and losing weight healthily. Health comes first. Also, I hope the minds and bodies of the people who see me will be able to become healthier.
Joy “After getting advice to look for voices that fit my character well, I’m busy listening carefully to peoples’ voices these days”
You’re really busy going back and forth between dramas and variety shows even from the start of the new year. You got the female lead role in the drama “The Great Seducer” and you’re an MC of “Sugarman 2.”
I have a heavy weight on my shoulders. (Laughs) “Dangerous Liaisons” was released too long ago, so I did research about my character while watching a remake movie about that novel, called “Cruel Intentions”. My character, Taehee, is a contradictory character. On the outside, she looks like a person with no interest in boys, chic and smart, but on the inside, she’s drawn to people who flirt with her.
The fans are happy that they’re able to see you through many routes starting from last year, but they’re also worried about your health.
Oh. I have a really weak stamina. (Laughs) I tried a lot of things for the first time last year. It was a first for Red Velvet to release three albums, a first for the fans to get a name, and a first to hold a concert. Also, I starred in a drama for the first time. I pushed through all of that with my weak body. (Laughs) I think that trained my body.
What would you score 2017 as?
85 out of 100. I have a lot of things I regret. I want to be pretty 365 days a year, so I tried a lot of styles to see what suits me. (Laughs) I cut my hair short, then dyed it red then back to black. I wondered what kinds of clothes would suit me well and experimented with a wide variety of clothes on my own. I think there was a lot of trial and error. (Bursts into laughter) I think I might have cut my hair too short.
Interviewer: No, that looked good on you. What was wrong with it?
Of course, if you think about the process that I took to reach that style, it looks pretty, but I don’t think that wasn’t the style for me.
What is the one thing that you are the proudest of achieving in 2017?
How my mindset changed from when 2017 started and ended. Before that, I always pushed myself to achieve something. If I couldn’t reach the goal that I had set, I felt so much pain and I attacked myself a lot by saying “Why can’t you do better? You have to do better.” Then, I started to see the people beside me. I learned that even in those brief moments when I talk about things I’m worried about to the other members and talk about it, I can feel happiness. I wonder now why I’d been so harsh on myself when I could’ve done better without doing that. I wrapped up 2017 with a happy heart.
Is there anything you’re into these days, Joy?
Sounds! I told the director of “The Liar and His Lover” about how I’m struggling because I can’t figure out who Eun Tae-Hee is the more I try to analyze her. He told me that since I’m sensitive to sound, I should try to look for sounds that suit Tae-Hee well. He said that everything will go well once I figured that out. So, I’m listening to how people sound these days. After understanding how people’s voices change according to their mood, I have so much to listen to. I ask my members “What kind of personality do you think a person with a voice like this would have?” while changing the tone of my voice.
What are your goals for 2018, Joy?
Not worrying too much about the results and always staying happy. This is something that I’ve personally been practicing for a long time.
Yeri “Someday, I want to perform my own song at the concert. I already made a song for the fans.”
What do you feel like after turning 20?
Ah, a lot of people asked me questions like this. Actually, because of my personality, I knew that I wasn’t going to feel anything special. It’s already been two years that I’ve said that I’m going to get my driver’s license as soon as I turn 19. I’m thinking about getting it this year, but I don’t know how that will turn out to be like. (Laughs)
What did you do on your last day as a teenager?
After MBC Gayo Daejaejun, I ate a lot of food with Ha Yeon-soo. Did I have one glass of wine? But, I started the new year very painfully because I had a stomachache on that day.
What made you sick?
Ah, that, actually… When I came home, I saw that there were strawberries on the table. I ate all of them because the other members told me to eat them because I did well and also because I like strawberries a lot. But my stomach suddenly started to hurt at dawn.
You know, some people recommend washing strawberries with baking powder because that’s healthier for your body. But there are two types of baking powder, one that’s edible and one that’s used for cleaning. I later found out that I ate the latter…. (Bursts into laughter) But I still finished my bowl of tteokguk, because it was the new year and stuff. I ate all of it thinking, ‘You have to push the bad food out.’ It was super hilarious.
What are you into these days, Yeri?
Hmm, I spend a lot of money when I go to bookstores. Recently, I bought another batch of books. I like bookstores because people don’t care about other people in bookstores. (Laughs) When I go to a bookstore, I find a place to sit down, pile a tower of books next to me and read.
Could you show me the list of books that you bought?
Then could I go and get my cell phone? Lemme stop the recorder for a moment! (After pressing the stop button on the interviewer’s recorder, she scuttled into the dressing rooms. Afterwards, while showing her phone) I bought “The Children of Gwaengiburimal”,“The Little Prince”, “Confessions”, “Sangatsu wa fukaki kurenai no fuchi o”, “Norwegian Wood”, and also a collection of Lee Byungryul’s poems. A lot of people recommend books for me to read. I read short parts of books, and if they sound fun to me, I just buy them.
What would you score 2017 as?
Interviewer: But it’s out of 100.
Ah, then 48. I have a lot of things I think I could have done better. I think 2017 was the year that I blamed myself the most. I wish that I could’ve talked more with the people around me.
What are your goals for 2018?
I want to live happily.
Is there anything that makes you feel happy?
I’m still figuring that out. I’m having fun writing songs and lyrics. Meeting the fans is also something that I enjoy. I felt really proud of myself when the song I created was released. I wish I could perform my own songs in the future, at concerts. Actually, I already made a song for the fans. When it became my 1000th day after debut, I posted some lyrics titled ‘1000’, and uploaded them on Instagram story. I made a tune to go along with that. I will be able to release this someday, right?