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[Interview] Dal Shabet, “We’ve gone from having 10,000 Anti-Fans to 3,000”

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2011.08.31 16:29 Mwave Oh, MiJung

"The number of anti-fans has dropped significantly. I think if we work a little harder, we won’t have any at all.”

For six member girl group Dal Shabet, every day, as of late, is a good day. Although the girls have not had a moment’s rest since debuting in January, it’s difficult to tell by the smiles on their faces. It seems the girls are finally reaping the benefits of their hard work as they’ve noticed the number of anti-fans has decreased and they’re able to enjoy performing on stage now.

Over a 100 teams debuted as idols between 2011 and 2012, adding to the already fierce competition between rookies, senior idols and non-idols. Most rookies hit the hard wall of reality and ended up disbanding, while others started touring offline events instead of televised broadcasts.

[Interview] Dal Shabet, “We’ve gone from having 10,000 Anti-Fans to 3,000”

[Interview] Dal Shabet, “We’ve gone from having 10,000 Anti-Fans to 3,000”

The girls received a lot of criticism at the time of their debut due to Girls Generation comparisons. The fact that E-Tribe, the creative minds behind Girls Generations’ Gee, produced Dal Shabet’s album and the propagation of news articles hailing the group as the ‘next Girls Generation’ only fanned the fire.

"We’re thankful to even be compared to the best group Girls Generation,” said members. “We gained 10,000 anti-fans as a result of the comparison, but the number has since gone down to 3,000,” the girls added with a laugh.

The members continued, “We received a lot of hateful comments for no reason at the time of our debut. However, there are more supportive comments these days. We’re happy because we feel like we’re being rewarded for our hard work.”

"Aren’t negative comments an expression of interest too?” countered the girls. “I think our anti-fans saw how hard we work and have turned into fans. We want to work harder to turn the remaining anti-fans into fans. Please keep an eye on us.”

Dal Shabet, who debuted with ‘Supa Dupa Diva’ in January, has already released three mini-albums, including its latest release ‘Bling Bling′, proving that the girls have indeed been running at full speed.

Although their faces show signs of fatigue, the girls are all smiles. Leader Viki said, “We prepared for the next album and participated in other scheduled activities. We only sleep two to three hours a day, but we’re thankful to be busy. We feel really fortunate to have work. We all want to do more.”

A lot has happened in the short time since Dal Shabet began group promotions. In July, the girls performed for their first foreign audience in Singapore. The girls said, “We were touched by the fans who made banners for us even though we had never been abroad before. All we could think about was that we need to work harder. We even danced more powerfully that day.”

The members have even had fans come to their house in Chungdam-dong, asking for their autographs. They said, “We thought fans only went to male idol groups’ homes,” and continued with a laugh, “It was kind of awkward because we didn’t know what to do when the fans came to see us at our house.”

In their midst, however, there are rookie groups that have managed not only to stand out, but also to threaten the status of other groups already in existence. B1A4 is one of them. This group swept up rookie awards inside and outside Korea with its five albums and even won a Bonsang at the Golden Disc Awards this year.

We interviewed the members of B1A4, who are busy with broadcasts, commercial shoots and working on its next album.

Member CNU said, "Our popularity? To be honest, we can′t really feel it yet. Still, thanks to our appearances on Immortal Song more older people recognize us at highway rest stops. I feel proud whenever that happens."

The group′s fan club has already managed to gather over 140,000 people, ranking it among the large-scale fan clubs. The age groups of the fans in the fan club have also diversified following the group′s appearance on Immortal Song, as more non-teenage fans have started to join in. San Deul and Baro won the Kim Bum Ryong special with their rendition of How to Live Like a Man, achieving a rare win as idol group members.

On the day the episode aired, B1A4 held its first exclusive concert in Seoul. The feat came just 600 days since the group′s debut, with 11,000 fans there to witness it.

Baro said, "I don′t know how the other members felt, but I was really nervous. I was nervous the entire time I was onstage too. The second day was better because I had settled down a little... but on the first day I was near a so-called ′mental breakdown.′ I thought personally that maybe I fit better in smaller club performances in which I can get closer to our fans."

[Interview] Dal Shabet, “We’ve gone from having 10,000 Anti-Fans to 3,000”

[Interview] Dal Shabet, “We’ve gone from having 10,000 Anti-Fans to 3,000”

The Dal Shabet members also give their all on variety programs. Member Ka Eun recently placed second in the hurdle event at the Idol Athletic Championship, which will be broadcast as a Chuseok special. The girls also put on a powerful performance of Janet Jackson’s ‘So Much Betta’ and Kesha’s ‘Blow’ on the August 25 broadcast of M Countdown’s Idol Dance Battle special.

The girls have also learned a lot through their various group activities. “We did exactly as we were told during the recording for our first album. However, we contributed a lot of our own input for this album. We’re also learning how to be better performers on stage,” explained the members.

Dal Shabet hopes to win a new artist award at the year-end music awards shows. The girls have an advantage over other rookie groups because they debuted in January. As a result of their active promotions, the Dal Shabet members are also much more relatable. “It would be great if the fruits of our labor include the Rookie of the Year award. Please cheer us on.”

Photo credit: Happy Face Entertainment

Armed with its popularity, the group went on to hold concerts in Japan in January, meeting with over 30,000 fans. It is rare for a rookie group to sell out all seats in an arena just seven months since its debut in the country. The feat proved that the group didn′t win the Rookie of the Year award and the Best 3 New Artist Award for nothing at the Japan Golden Disk Awards.

Baro said, "We had held an exclusive concert in Korea, but we were still nervous. We′ve been in a variety of performances but I guess it will never change that I′ll feel nervous just before going onstage. I′m sure that the passionate support from our fans helped me jump and sing onstage for three hours."

On the last day of the group′s Japan concert, Baro put on a secret sketchbook event like the one that appears in the film Love Actually, drawing tears from even Gong Chan, rarely known to show tears.

Gong Chan said, "It was an incident that forced me into tears when I had held back all this time compared to my fragile big brothers. I could really feel the sincere message Baro wanted to convey to us and our fans, and I kept thinking back to what we had been through all this time. I broke down alone after the concert in the bathroom."

B1A4 will soon be celebrating its second anniversary in K-Pop. Did the members feel they had accomplished any of their official goals yet?

CNU said, "I had a goal so great I was embarrassed to say it, but I set such a high goal because I believed I would be able to get closer to such goals. It′s hard for us to say exactly what our goals are and how far we′ve come now; we′ve just taken our first step from the starting point. We′ll work hard to show our better sides."

"When we first released our album, I was simply in awe," Jin Young said. "Now, however, I′m completely different. I feel more responsibility now. I feel I should always improve.... Many thoughts buzz through my head when I′m working."

B1A4 concluded its interview with a message for its fans.

San Deul said, "We feel that we should repay our fans′ love by becoming even better with every day. These days the members have been talking things over, sharing new thoughts and concerns, so I′m sure we′ll be able to emerge as better singers. We won′t let you down, so please keep your eye on us."

Photo credit: enews DB

Reach reporter Park HyunMin on Twitter @happygato!

Dal Shabet 20110831
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