From a former YG composer to Block B’s Zico as producers. Each one of their albums becomes a hot topic, this is D-Unit. If “I’m Missing You” from their debut album had this powerful performance, their recently released 2nd full album’s “Face To Face” has a brighter atmosphere thanks to maknae JNey who joined the group and we can see a new charm of D-Unit. As their album got released simultaneously in Japan, it got sold out, so they receive love in Korea but also overseas. Block B’s Zico who produced this second album said he wanted to show D-Unit’s unique colorful style through this round of activities. Here goes our interview with D-Unit that was much anticipated.
Ram, UJin, Zin, J.Ney.
Please introduce yourself.
Ram: Hello. I’m Ram, D-Unit’s leader and mad unnie.
J.Ney: Hello. I’m the new fresh maknae J.Ney.
UJin: Hello. I’m UJin, D-Unit’s second oldest member.
Zin: Hello. I’m Zin who used to be the maknae (laugh).
Which role do you have in the team?
Zin: I’m in charge of the charisma. (laugh) UJin-junnie is in charge of the visual, J.Ney is in charge of the cute, Ram-unnie is the leader. (laugh)
Tell us about how you became a D-Unit member.
Zin: Ever since I was a kid, I wanted to be a kindergarten teacher or a vocal training teacher more than being a singer. I studied singing because I wanted to be a vocal coach and my teacher at that time was Ji Eun who was at YG. My teacher also did singer activities, she was a vocal coach, so I was jealous. I started thinking that I wanted to become a singer, so I consulted her and I ended up being introduced to my current agency. I took the audition. Our CEO said he was puzzled the first time he saw me. (laugh) Ram who had entered the agency the day before activitely recommended me.
UJin: As for me, I’ve loved music ever since I was a kid. I went to Australia for a while as an exchange student and I came back to Korea because I wanted to become a singer. I joined a big agency called YG through an audition and I became a trainee. I got to enter my current agency through and I debuted as D-Unit.
J.Ney: When I was 4, people saw my profil pictures and asked if I wanted to try acting because I was talented. At that time, I was very young, so my mom said it was too early. Fortunately, I got offered a role in a drama when I was 7. When I was 10, I met PD-nim by coincidence and this is how I got to debut with D-Unit.
Ram: I was very influenced by my family. It was natural for me to learn about music and I did band activities. I didn’t think about being in a group at first. I took the audition because my parents recommended it to me.
One thing comes to mind when I think about the performance for your debut song “I’m Missing You”. At that time, you gave off this strong impression that set you apart from other girl groups. How would you rate your 1st album activities?
Ujin: Our first album was a full album. If you ask the reason for it, it was because we wanted to show D-Unit as singers who could sing different styles. We didn’t get a lot of recognition as D-Unit back then, so we’re left with a lot of regrets.
Your “I’m Missing You” performance had quite a powerful choreography, so it must have been physically exhausting. How do you keep your stamina?
Ram: We eat as much as we spend energy. (laugh) There’s food and I think resting is the most important thing.
UJin: We also eat health food sometimes.
Do you also eat health food?
J.Ney: Yes. Like onion juice.
UJin: I usually eat a lot of healthy food.
Zin: Sometimes, our boss (DM) also gives us red ginseng extract. (laugh)
4 of the songs of your first album were composed by Ram. How did the other members react when they heard your songs?
Ram: They didn’t say much. (laugh)
Zin: “Sleeping In” is my favourite song. To be honest, we had some regrets about it, so it’s great that “Sleeping In” part 2 was released with our 2nd full album.
UJin: “Sleeping In” is also my favourite song.
Ram, I think the fact you were in a band before helped you a lot to compose songs. What mostly inspires you when you write songs for D-Unit?
Ram: I think that inspiration usually finds me out of the blue. I write lyrics mostly based on my experiences or the discussions I have with my friends. When I was in a band, I read lyrics and they were about deep stories. That’s why I try to make my writing easy when I work on our songs.
CEO DM who is your producer comes from YG. Some people say that’s the reason your style is overlapping with YG’s style sometimes.
Ram: Our CEO was in YG before and now he’s producing us. Because of our CEO, we got to work with many YG people. For our first album, from composers to our vocal coach, all of them were YG people. People wonder if we don’t copy YG sometimes, but I think it was unavoidable that their style rub off on us because the people who were in charge of us were YG people. We are thankful to them. The fact that people say we have the vibe of this big agency called YG makes us happy.
Tell us about “Affirmative Chapter 1”, your second full album that just got released, and your title track “Face To Face”.
Zin: Our second album is a full album. It comes out as “Chapter 1” and “Chapter 2”. When we released our 1st full album, it didn’t get many recognition, so it comes out in two versions this time. “Face To Face”, the title track, was written by Zico-sunbaenim. He said he wanted to show the colorful style of D-Unit. He said we expressed it well on stage and he was happy. There’s also a song written by Ram on this album. We like it so much that we had to put it on the album. And in “Chapter 2”, our title track will be “Thank You” which is also a Zico-sunbaenim’s song. It’s great. Please anticipate.
Your title track “Face to Face” is about two lovers who are tired of each other and want to talk face to face. I wonder if you’ve experienced something like this in real life.
Zin: I’ve been flying solo all my life. (laugh)
J.Ney: Ujin-unnie, please let us know!
UJin: I’ve been through it. When you’re in a relationship, you can get bored and you can get upset, and I think I’ve been in a similar situation a few times.
Is there a key step in the “Face to Face” choreography?
J.Ney: We call it the grouchy dance. It’s a step in which you lift your leg.
Zin: At first we thought about calling it the “good-for-nothing” dance. Then we thought about it in a cute way and we picked the name “grouchy” dance.
J.Ney joined the group for this album, the feeling must be even more unique.
J.Ney: When I saw them on TV the first time, I actually told myself it’d be great to work with them. This good opportunity came along as I was selected for this album concept. There’s an age gap, so I was worried about how we could become close. Rehearsing and working together really made us friends. It’s so much fun.
J.Ney, you’ve already been recognized for your talents because you were already in a girl group and you also worked as a model. How do you feel about being in D-Unit?
J.Ney: My blood type is A, so I’m shy. When I read the articles, there were many reactions at first. Some of them were not good. This gives me motivation, but I try not to care too much. When I go on music shows with D-Unit, people my age recognize me and this makes me happy. Without even noticing, I go “Oh, you’re here!” (laugh), I’m in a great mood.
Zin got stripped off her maknae status by J.Ney. (laugh)
Zin: I felt some kind of delight when I would say “I’m Zin, D-Unit’s maknae”, but it disappeared. (laugh) We’re here with a bright image this time around. J.Ney is full of energy, she has a lot of aegyo. She’s more of a sunbae than us, so she shows us how to do things sometimes. When we go to a broadcast station, she knows many people. In one word, she’s D-Unit’s “good luck charm”.
J.Ney: What to do? Unnie lost her maknae status, so I kind of feel like she makes me work. (laugh)
UJin: It might change in the future, but I want us to stay the 4 of us with J.Ney.
Ram: After J.Ney joined our team, our image was brighter, and people like us more.
It was good news to hear that this album was sold out in Japan.
Zin: Japanese people love us a lot. If we get the opportunity to, I want us to hold a real concert. We’ve already been to Japan a few times, but I feel like we get more energy every time we go because people are so welcoming.
Ram: It was great to even just hold hands with our Japanese fans. That’s why we think we must show them even a better image.
We cannot not talk about Zico who produced this album. “If D-Unit’s color was black all this time, I want them to wear various colors this time”, Zico said. Now that you’re in the middle of your activities, do you think you express it well?
Ram: Of course. (laugh) I even wonder if this isn’t the true D-Unit. People around us asked why we’ve been acting so dark when we can be so bright.
J.Ney: Their mood was dark at first.
Ram: I think it was to match the concept, so it would show also in our daily lives. While working on this song, I even had the impression that I’m finally wearing an outfit that is mine, that it’s the right match.
J.Ney: The current atmosphere is getting so much better, compared to the first time I met the unnies. I really love it!
“Thank You”, the title track of “Chapter 2”, was produced by Zico. If the song is well-received, shouldn’t you have to give him a gift?
UJin: He’s really interested in fashion. We want to give him a present, but he said he likes fancy brands. (laugh)
Ram: I think a heartfelt gift is the best. (laugh)
J.Ney: We must write him a “Thank You” letter. (laugh)
Some pictures you took with stars have been continuously a hot issue lately.
Ram: Our boss has a large circle of acquaintances. He’s also close with idols these days.
You took a funny picture with BAP’s Bang Yong Guk.
J.Ney: Our CEO put our sticker on a few singers’ outfits when we were at Music Bank. He said it was our trademark as he put it on them. (laugh)
Zin: We were also surprised when we saw this.
Ram: He even got pictures taken.
Zin: Recently, Verbal Jint-sunbaenim also uploaded a picture with a sticker!
How do you want to be perceived for this round of activities?
J.Ney: The unnies didn’t get a lot of recognition at the award ceremonies last year. I wish this song will get better reactions, that it will rank higher and that a lot of people will give D-Unit some love. I want to imprint the image “D-Unit survived!”. I want to broaden the range of my activities, be it for solo stuff or in a group.
Zin: When I hear, this is “D-Unit 2.0”, I don’t feel ashamed. I want us to be a group that makes you feel good.
Original interview: Cuvism
Translation: @onesunnylady – thesunnytown.com