"A drunk mind speaks a sober heart" as the saying goes, and even though the members didn't really drank much, it looks like that's what Ilgan Sports got from their "Drunk Talk" with T-ara.

They have met with Eunjung, Soyeon, and Jiyeon, and they talked about their comeback preparations, their past issues, and more.

It is another fun interview, so have a good read below.

eunjung soyeon jiyeon

Will there be any girl group that fits the word ‘Love and Hate’ as much as T-ara. Having had so many hit songs after their debut in 2009, T-ara had gained a popularity that doesn’t only stop with the fandom but also the general public. The members who have it all from looks to talents, have received love from not only group activities but also from personal activities in dramas to entertainment to musicals. However, that love has turned into scary hate.

In a split-second, the fans who used to applaud for them have turned into ‘Anti’s who would fire malicious comments and vulgar curses at them. They received criticisms in the middle of controversy of losing a member and undergoing changes. They apologised and explained. They bowed their heads and pleaded but turning around the heart of the public that has once changed was not easy.

Now, T-ara has chosen to wait while shedding sweat (working hard) instead of continuously explaining. Whether they will be able to regain their past glory is an uncertain thing to even the members, themselves. However, they can’t just sink down. On the 11th, T-ara are releasing their 10th mini-album and coming back with group activities. They were sure it’s a ‘music and stage that no other girl group has tried until now’. We met with T-ara’s Soyeon, Eunjung, and Jiyeon at some open bar in Seoul. The first words of the members who went to sit down were “We might smell like sweat since we were practicing the dance just a while ago”.

T-ARA “There were many of our songs that even we didn’t understand.”

- First, checking their drinking limit.
Eunjung: For me, up to half a bottle of Soju. I’m the type whose face would turn so terribly reddish so I can’t drink often.

Soyeon: I’m sorry since this is a ‘drunk talk’, I can’t drink at all, unlike how I look like. I once drank one cup then got taken to the emergency room right away when I was in university. I would pour myself one cup of beer to wing it.

Jiyeon: For me too, half a bottle of Soju. But it’s a shame there aren’t much chances to hold drinking parties.

- In a drinking party, what bad drinking behaviour do you think causes the most ‘nuisance’?

Eunjung: I’m actually the type to understand the bad drinking habits of a drinking buddy. I wouldn’t want to hate a person for his/her unusual behaviours after getting drunk. Unless it’s too severe, it’s a side to people that would only show in drinking parties so we have to have fun and be understanding.

Soyeon: I’m similar to her. As a person who wants to drink but can’t, I’m always sorry to be the only sober person in a drinking party. A drinking party is a place where everyone gets messy and gets to say what they couldn’t say elsewhere, so being the only sober person amongst that is, by itself, a ‘nuisance’ (to the rest).

Jiyeon: I’m usually the ‘nuisance’ amongst the members. (Laughs). “You’d act cuter out of nowhere and make it tiring for us.” The members say. I’m a nuisance to the members.

- Eunjung-ssi, is there any snack to have with drinks that you’d recommend?

Eunjung: I’d recommend a Japanese snack called ‘Hirame Gonowada’. It’s a meal that consists of flatfish sashimi along with sea cucumber viscera seasoned with egg yolk and seaweed powder, it’s really yummy. The calories of snacks is a really stressful matter to women, but it’s not a worry at all with ‘Hirame Gonowada’.

-It seems that dieting is a hugely stressful matter to you as a girl group.

Soyeon: I’m, originally, not of a thin body-built. It’s of about a 8KG difference in my weight when I’m the chubbiest to when I lose weight during activities. It’s tiring since I worry a lot. I have to always take care of my body as I’m the chubby type, so is tiring. Having gotten used to diets, I’ve accumulated various know-hows, the members would give me diet tips from other girl group members as well. Rather than having any expert knowledge, I’ve become able to give about tips from real life experience.

- I think there might be members who are free from dieting.

Eunjung: That would be Jiyeon, Hyomin, and Qri unnie. Qri likes foreign food. Food like hamburger, pasta, and waffles. After finishing our tiring practice, other members would hold back their hunger, but for Qri unnie, she would buy a cake and eat it at such a late time, and still wouldn’t gain weight. It’s really a bless as a woman. Boram unnie is also amazing. After her 20KG weight loss in the past, she’s been constant with her weight. It’s admirable. (Laughs).

Jiyeon: For me, I eat quite so much. I don’t even put any effort in holding back my hunger. Since we burn calories during dance practice, anyway.

- Is there anything that you’re especially so obsessed with compared to others?

Jiyeon: Black. I don’t like wearing colours like yellow and pink. There has to be some black whether on my outfit or even nails. It’s like an obsession. Our fans, as well, know that I like black but they do not know it’s to the point of being obsessed. Look at my outfit for today. It’s all-black. My outfits, bag, and nails are all black.

Soyeon: I don’t think it’s to the point of being obsessed, but I’m into pretty women. Whether at a cafe or on the streets, I’d have my eyes on pretty women rather than handsome men. I also like becoming closer with pretty women. Should I call it an admiration? I’d feel good when I look at them, you’d wonder why men would ‘scan’ women. ‘Staaaring’ from top to bottom. I’m a woman but I also ‘scan’ women. When I surf through the internet through my mobile phone and see a picture of a pretty woman, I’d capture it and save it.

Eunjung: I get bothered when (my car) doesn’t match the line when parking. Even when I tell myself that ‘this will do,’ I’d still try to exactly match the parallel line. I can’t stand having anything askew. Even when I’m applying skin lotions, I have to put everything in its exact place on the table so that I can apply the next lotion. When I don’t have my shirt, or anything of that sort, looking tidy then I’d keep fixing it.

- Amongst rookies and junior groups, is there any group that you have your eyes on lately?

Soyeon: It’s embarrassing, but I have the dream of becoming a producer, so I do watch other groups from that perspective. Instead of watching people of the opposite sex and going “He’s handsome”, “I want to get closer with that hoobae”, I’d instead think that “That person will do well”, “That person will definitely succeed with such a charm”, etc. I pay attention to the ‘Show Me The Money’ participants the most. Vasco sunbae-nim has been doing rap for about 14 years so he’s matchless, I also heard that Olltii is a legendary rapper in our country’s freestyle rap. ’구제 스웨거’ IRON’s rap is so great, but I think he’d be loved visual-wise too. Bobby is also very cool.

Eunjung: For me, Mamamoo.

Soyeon: Ohh right, right!!

Jiyeon: That’s right, Mamamoo are good.

Eunjung: First, all four have outstanding vocals, and their performance and facial expressions on stage are so good. Even their fashion, I think it’s matching each one’s own style well.

Jiyeon: For me, it’s Bangtan boys lately. I watched their comeback stage, they really did well. It felt like they owned the stage.

Soyeon: Should I add up one more team. They’re not rookies, but I think SHINee are very cool. I watched their ‘Everybody’ stage and felt goosebumps all over. Since I’m a person who’s performed on stage, myself, I know exactly what kind of moves are hard and what formations are possible and what are not. But SHINee’s ‘Everybody’ made me respect them. Showing such quality (on stage) is actually pretty hard. It’s not only me, but people at the music broadcast would thumb up for SHINee as well. Have you watched Taemin’s ‘Danger’ MV? His every look and gesture deliver the feelings so well, I get goosebumps at his skills. The ability to convey a certain feeling is harder than what you think. I’m a yet lacking person, so seeing people being so good at it feels so cool. SHINee are no longer ‘idols’,

Jiyeon: Seeing SHINee on TV, they’re great, but when you see them at the scene, they’re truly a piece of art. Those whom I saw that day have released all the energy that they have on stage. It’s to the point where the statement “The managers would go help SHINee get off the stage after just one pre-recording try” is true. We should also be like them.

- Please introduce the new T-ara album that’s being released soon.

Jiyeon: One of the most popular music genres in clubs nowadays is EDM (Electronic Dance Music) Music. And that includes a genre called ‘Big Room’ that is of strong beats. When you pass by a club you would feel the strong beats and dance along while feeling excited. You will get such feeling when you listen to our title track.

Soyeon: What we all agree on is that It’s a genre that no girl group has ever tried before. It’s an album that the staff have worked the hardest on. Our stylists have worked so hard, and Composer Shinsadong Tiger oppa has done the mixing, alone, 10 times. Our dance team has also suffered a lot, one of the dancers who’s been a dancer for more than 20 years said “It’s my first time with such a choreography.”

- The reason the dance was especially hard?

Soyeon: When you dance to EDM music at a club you’d usually dance according to how you feel rather than following a certain choreography. Putting a certain dance into the EDM genre is actually quite difficult to even us, but it was literally a ‘menbong’ (mental breakdown) to the choreographer and dancers.

- You came here after finishing your dance practice, so how were the results of today’s practice?

Eunjung: I think it’s the opposite. We had a mental breakdown again seeing the choreography. Rather than a mental breakdown in a bad way, it was a mental breakdown in a ‘Woah you can make such a choreography’ kind of way. You can look forward to it.

Jiyeon: I think there will be people who will be like “What’s that?” when they first see our stage. The music and performance are so unique and odd.

- If you were to describe the concept in one word.

Eunjung: It’s not ‘sexy’. This time, our album is not sexy. (laughs). It’s also not cute nor pure. It’s hard to describe it. It’s just ‘fun’. I think “Exciting” is the right word to describe it. describing it in exactly one word, I want our fans to do that after watching our stage.

Soyeon: When you watch our stage, it’s a song that, instead of making you have reactions like “T-ara’s song is really sexy this time”, “so sad”, “so cute”, it will probably make you feel like “Hey, should we go clubbing today?”.

-I think T-ara undergoes a transformation with every new album release.

Soyeon: Actually at first, the majority of our songs were songs that we complained about saying “Boss, how can do this?”. But we came to follow the sense of the person, who’s been in the entertainment industry for 30 years, called ‘Hands of Midas”. It’s not just his ‘sense’, he’s a person who’s been studying between what’s trendy and what’s popular a lot. So we came to accept that “Even if we don’t understand right now, he knows way better than us”.

Jiyeon: We had so many hit songs after believing and following after what says. ‘Bo Peep Bo Peep’ and ‘Roly Poly’ were so.

Eunjung: Now, instead of finding our transformations difficult, we enjoy it. It’s actually difficult every time boss Kim Kwang Soo comes to us with a new concept, but we come to enjoy it when we think of it as “We’ll try it out”. We try to get the pleasure from thinking “We eventually did it”.

- You’re on your 6th year since debut. I think you don’t get nervous on stage at all by now.

Soyeon: No, I think we rather weren’t as nervous when we were rookies. Back then, we were rather more confident so we enjoyed the stage. Because I prepared while only thinking of my stage, I just had fun so I wasn’t even nervous. As time passes, the public’s evaluation gets more focused on us, and I, as well, would pay more attention to my weaknesses and so start to get more nervous.

Eunjung: Ignorance is a bliss. Now I think more like ‘how will I look like if I put on such an expression’ and ‘How will I be seen as if I pull such a move’, etc, and so I rather get more nervous.

Soyeon: It’s been a long time since we used to be so much loved, so we now wish that ‘I hope we do well’ rather than be sure that ‘this will definitely do well.” We’re so much weaker than what you think. Since we get hurt so easily, we pretend to be stronger.

- Jiyeon, you were the 1st to go solo in T-ara. How was it like.

Jiyeon: First, It felt so lonely. Since I used to always be with the members, but I wasn’t (during my solo). Since I’m the magnae, the unnies have taken care of me and supported me, but it was hard since I was alone whenever I got interviewed or went on broadcasts.

- Wasn’t there any good points (of going solo).

Jiyeon: Since it was only me, it took a short time to prepare my makeup and hair so I liked it. (Laughs). It also felt very spacious at the car, I liked it. (Laughs).

Eunjung: What I was the most envious of was that she was able to bring her puppy along at the waiting room.

Soyeon: Me too, Me too.

Eunjung: All of the T-ara members really love puppies. When we’re having group activities there would be so many people at the waiting room and it’d be messy so we can’t even think of bringing our puppies. However, it’s possible when you’re a solo singer. Seeing Jiyeon bringing her puppy with her and leaving her schedule with it made me so envious.

- I think you’d make a kakao talk group for the members and chat a lot there.

Soyeon: It’s mostly complaints. (Laughs). ‘Ah it’s so tiring’, ‘That certain schedule today was really tiring’, ‘Will this song do well’, and along that. Eunjung’s role is mostly informing us, ‘They say we’re doing so and so in so and so schedule, you all prepare’. Hyomin would release her ideas, while Qri unnie and Boram unnie would reply to us, and worry along.

- What about Jiyeon?

Eunjung: All she would say is ‘Let’s go ride skateboards’. (Laughs).

Jiyeon: But no one would answer me. (Laughs). When I check the number (of how many people read the message), they all have read it but still none answers so I’d say “Why are you not replying”, only then the unnies would say “Uh I have something to do today”, “Uh I can’t” and among that. (Laughs).

- Who’s the least talkative?

Soyeon: It’s Boram unnie. She obviously reads everything but what’s annoying is that she wouldn’t reply. (Laughs.)

- There must be someone who uses emoticons and pictures a lot.

Eunjung: Hyomin would mostly talk with emoticons. She would purchase special emoticons that you’ve never seen before and then abuse them.

Soyeon: Qri unnie would mostly take pictures of the food she’s eating at the moment and then send it. Hyomin and I would often send any idea-shot pictures that we have.

- What about Jiyeon.

Eunjung: (Laughs) Jiyeon would take a picture of herself riding a skateboard then send it.

Soyeon: No one would answer whenever she asks ‘who wants to ride a skateboard with me?’ so she would later send a picture of her riding a skateboard. Then Qri unnie would say “Cool” and then the conversation would end. (Laughs).

- There must be a catchphrase only used between the members.

Soyeon: (to the members) It’s been long since we debuted now, can we say ‘it’?

Eunjung·Jiyeon: What’s ‘it’?

Soyeon: ”Oho”.

Eunjung·Jiyeon: ah~ haha

-What’s ‘Oho’?

Soyeon: It’s been 3 years now living in our parents’ house. We used to live in dorms up to 3 years after our debut. We used to be so busy back then so we couldn’t sleep more than 3 hours a day. We had so many schedules where we would come back at midnight and leave at midnight. However, it was a waste to spend those 3 hours sleeping so we all would just stay awake. We couldn’t visit our family nor meet our friends so we just stayed up on our computers.

Eunjung: Having too many meetings and schedules at such a young age, a person might become like this.

Soyeon: While being in our car, seeing people meeting up with their friends at a terrace while drinking coffee makes us so envious. So the word we came up with that our manager oppa doesn’t know about was ‘Oho’. So for example, when I say “Jiyeon-ah, oho?” then it means “Jiyeon-ah, will you go out at dawn today?”. If she was to go out she would answer with “Oho”. (Laughs).

Eunjung: Because back then, our manager oppas’ had a strict surveillance over us. They would take our mobile phones and keep opening the door to make sure we’re there.

- But wouldn’t the managers get to know that later? If they keep hearing ‘oho’ ‘oho’ from the backseats.

Eunjung: Really? They wouldn’t know.

Jiyeon: They wouldn’t know. If one of us would say “Oh!Ho!” tactlessly in a loud voice then the other members would altogether go ‘Oho’ ‘Oho’ ‘Oho’ happily in a rhythm. (laughs).

- What do you do when you go out at dawn?

Eunjung: At midnight, we would stuff pillows under our blankets, put on wigs, and hardly escape but when we go out we don’t have anything to do. It’s not even like we can go to clubs, we couldn’t play around properly fearing that some weird rumours would come out. We would just go to a 24 hours coffee shop. But why were we so happy.

Jiyeon: We don’t even have any friends to meet at such a time. It’s a time where everyone would be sleeping so who would hang out. So we’d tempt a member and hang out. (Laughs).

- Soyeon-ssi, you are officially dating Oh Jong Hyuk, is Oh Jong Hyuk close with the members too.
Soyeon: We don’t have time to meet at all. (Laughs). We both have very busy lives, and we’re the type who respect each other’s jobs. Because we can’t get in each others’ way. We try our best to arrange our time and meet wisely. There are even cases where we meet for only 10 minutes and then part away. (Laughs).

- Seeing Soyeon-ssi dating, you might want to date as well. What kind of a man do you want to meet.

Eunjung: I have nothing in mind. Someone who works in the industry is fine and a common person is fine, as long as we are fated to be then we can date each other. I really don’t have anything such as “I hate this kind of person” in my standards.

Jiyeon: I actually used to want to date, but nowadays I don’t even think of it. Since we started working on our album (the thought of dating) has vanished away.

Soyeon: Since Jiyeon’s ideal type is someone who ‘doesn’t look like an idol’, it’s very hard for her to date. (Laughs). Actually, since idols would cast an ‘eye’ on other idols there are many cases in which idols date each other. For Jiyeon, even when there are many male idols in her surroundings she doesn’t approach anyone since she doesn’t like the pretty and ‘delicate’ kind at all. She likes the warm type like Yang DongGeun sunbae-nim but this type doesn’t exist at all among the surrounding idols.

Eunjung: But even so, I don’t think Jiyeon likes the tough and muscular type of men either. Just someone’s kind and warm.

- We thought you’d like a pretty flower boy with long ‘model pose’ legs.

Jiyeon: Ohh no way. no way no way. People in my surroundings do not ask me out because everyone thinks that I only like flower boys. And if someone who has a flower boy image asks me out, I actually don’t really like it. (Laughs).

Soyeon: Everyone, please humble up and come ask Jiyeon out.

- What’s your promise if this album gets a no.1 spot?

Eunjung: We didn’t even think of making a promise. I doesn’t mean we don’t look forward (to winning no.1), but actually we would be thankful if we just become no.1 candidates, not even win no.1. We actually were no.1 candidates last year with Number 9. We were only candidates but I got so touched and even called my mom. I was like “Mom, we’re no.1 candidates!” excitedly.

- Aren’t you being too humble.

Soyeon: No. When we used to receive so much love and get lots of no.1 wins in the past, we were thankful of course, but getting no.1 wasn’t really anything unexpected to us. However, now seeing the T-ara love shifting down like a parabola, we get surprised with just being no.1 candidates and become touched. I think we became more genuinely thankful now.

Jiyeon: That’s why we don’t need to have a promise. We wouldn’t make prediction, and if we get no.1 then we’d get touched and heartily say everything we want to say to our fans.

- The average life span of girl groups is 5 to 6 years, you’re now on your 6th year. Hearing that, how do you feel?

Soyeon: It’s true that we do hear “Your album needs to hit a daebak this time” often from our surroundings. But we wouldn’t get as nervous as you’d think. There are sunbae-nims who started earlier than T-ara and their fans still stay there for them, so we don’t get nervous hearing about a ‘Girl Group life span’.

Eunjung: Actually, it’s a worry since we’re a group who has spent a lot of time. However, I think there are many things that are more important than a ‘span’. Rather than only worrying, we are trying to show new sides of us and receive love from more fans.

- Where do you see T-ara’s position In the present music industry?

Soyeon: We think it’s an ‘obscure position’. In fact, I think we used to be on top in the past. Of course, there were SNSD sunbae-nims, KARA sunbae-nims, 2NE1 sunbae-nims and the like above us, but I think T-ara, too, has had many no.1 songs and received love. However, we’re now not rookies nor ‘no.1 singers’ so we’re in an obscure position. The company and the members are wishing for a very strong comeback. In order to be able to become top-tier again.

- You’re on your 6th year as T-ara, but it does feel like you’ve been there for longer than that.

Soyeon: Even in our 1st year, we still had the image of having been here for 3~4 years. We actually debuted on the same year as Secret and 4minute who are well-loved, and f(x) debuted just a week after us. It’s also only a 1 years difference between us and Girls’ Day. But T-ara definitely does have senior-like image.

- Why so?

Soyeon: Because we kept coming out without rest. We also had lots of personal activities in-between our group comebacks. Those personal activities weren’t only singing activities but also varied from drama activities, variety shows, music show MCs, and to even musicals which made the public feel familiar with us, and hence it feels like we’ve been there for a long time.

- You were more active than other girl groups.

Eunjung: Now even when we don’t get to sleep, we still don’t feel like it’s tough. The entertainment industry is harder the more you’re into it but we become thankful for the opportunities given to us and work harder thinking that ‘When will be able to do this gain”.

- The korean insudtry market is big and the profits are big as well, but just as much, the burden of being on the public’s spotlight must be big as well.

Soyeon: Hearing about malicious comments and baseless rumours about us is actually really tiring. Also, getting rejected by the public after working so hard, one can only get hurt by it. But we still think that we should endure it. It’s not a situation where we can just give up because it’s hard. It’s not simply ‘for the sake of making our dreams become true’, but there are so many things that we need to fight for for our families and company.

- Haven’t there been any false rumours before? Ones that you just want to go and correct.

Soyeon: There have been all kind of rumours. Hearing made up stories (about us) is very tiring. In the past we used to feel upset when they tell us about the rumours as if they were true but now we think it’s our share to endure them.

-Do you check internet comments.

Soyeon: I used to read them a lot in the past. Now, I don’t at all. I didn’t read them for fun, but I rather used to read them because there are so many things to learn from the fans’ opinions and because they’re also chances for me to develop to the better. However, since I’m also a human, It was hard for me to put up with the comments as they were slowly leaning toward the bad side. I actually even thought that “I want to die” once which I shouldn’t think of. Because I have someone in my family who had caught an illness after being hurt (from malicious comments). I might be able to read comments when I get stronger, but for now it hurts my heart a lot and makes me weak.

Jiyeon: Yep, I never read them either.

Eunjung: I read them. Only on days when I’m feeling clearheaded. (Laughs). I read them on days when I think that ‘I can read them and get them out of my mind.’ However, if it’s a day where I can’t let my schedule get affected emotionally then I do not read them. it’s forthcoming for an idol when it comes to being on stage, you have to show a confident look, but when you shrink in front of the audience due to being hurt from online comments then the stage will be ruined.

- There are celebrities who would reply to and counterattack malicious comments.

Jiyeon: We have so many hateful comments so replying one by one would be tiring. (Laughs).

Soyeon: We even had 20,000 of only malicious comments before.

- (After the scandal) I think even your personalities might have changed.

Eunjung: We changed a lot. We’ve become more timid about the society. We think “will they hate me if I do this”, “will they curse me if I act like this” way too much now. It can’t be helped since we’re celebrities but we became more conscious. To put in a good way, we became more cautious, and to put it in a bad way, we became more careful.

- Is there any of the public’s misunderstanding about T-ara that you want to erase?

Eunjung: But we know that we can’t erase that. Also, since of these misunderstandings and prejudices are made about T-ara, rather than erasing them, it’s more of a problem to carry them with us.

Soyeon: We actually know to what degree has the public shut the doors on us. We also know that there’s no use even if we explain ourselves “That’s not right,” “We are wronged.” We will just put on different efforts in order to be understood.

-At last, say a word to your fans.

Soyeon: It’s not a short time you’ve been waiting for T-ara, but I believe you couldn’t go crazy anticipating our album last time. We tried harder and prepared in order to make up for that. Having underwent hardships, I think we became more mentally mature. We want to show you that as well.

Eunjung: It’s our group comeback in about 1 year, but just as much, we had many thoughts. We’re T-ara who’s into their 6th year but we will show you a rookie-like image.

Jiyeon: I’m always very sorry to our fans. We want to show you a back-to-basics side to us in this time’s activities. Please watch over us.

Cr:Ilgan Sports