By Cathy Rose A. Garcia
Boy band Super Junior T is making old-fashioned trot songs popular
once again with their hit “ Rokkuguh.” The group is composed of,
from left, Lee-teuk, Sung-min, Hee-chul, Shin-dong, Kang-in and Eun-hyuk.
Trot music, a unique Korean pop genre, is probably the last thing you would expect from a group of young, good-looking singers. Trot songs, after all, are most popular among the older generation.
These days, trot music is surprisingly trendy. First there was Chang Yun-jung, a female trot singer in her 20s. The baton has been passed now to the boy band Super Junior T. The group’s trot single ``Rokkuguh,” which zoomed to the top of the music sales charts, has both young and old singing along to its infectious beat.
Super Junior T is composed of Lee-teuk, Hee-chul, Eun-hyuk, Sung-min, Shin-dong and Kang-in. They are a sub-group from the 13-member Super Junior, one of the most popular K-pop groups today.
The Korea Times sat down for an interview with five of the six members of Super Junior T, before they were scheduled to perform at a music show on Friday.
Lee-teuk, considered the leader of Super Junior, admitted he was apprehensive when they were first told they were going to perform trot songs. Super Junior debuted in late 2005, but they already have a lot of young fans that love the group’s pop-dance songs.
``I was very nervous about it at first. I was really concerned that it may tarnish the image of Super Junior,’’ he told The Korea Times. ``We made it our motivation to be different from other pop idol groups. After discussing it, we decided to take the chance. Then we started recording the album and we enjoyed it a lot.”
As Super Junior T, the members had to adopt a different image by wearing colorful costumes more suited for comedians than heartthrobs. Sung-min, who recently changed his hair color from blonde to pink, admitted he was shocked at finding out they had to wear such colorful costumes. ``Now I think it’s fun to play around when we sing and perform,’’ he said.
Fans appeared to embrace the group’s new image, making ``Rokkoguh” one of the best-selling albums these days. This is quite unusual since trot music is not usually well liked by the young generation, who prefer pop and hip-hop music.
Even Super Junior T members themselves said they did not particularly like trot music in the past, although their parents and grandparents listened to a lot of trot music.
Now as trot performers themselves, Eun-hyuk thinks there should be no generation gap when it comes to music. ``I think its wrong to divide the generations by the songs they prefer. It is not only songs for the old generation, but also for the younger generation. Both can identify with the music,’’ he said.
Hee-chul said he feels good knowing Super Junior T’s music is helping bridge the gap between teenagers and their parents.
Whenever they perform on stage as Super Junior T, they try to put on a more energetic performance and dance moves different from their usual style. Lee-teuk said the group also gives live performances, in response to criticisms of lip-synching in the past.
The popularity of Super Junior T, and the main group Super Junior, cannot be denied but the members still feel they have a lot more to prove.
``Usually, a lot of idol groups take three years to achieve what we have achieved. But we’re concerned that we might have become too famous, too fast. I feel we still have a long way to go. Having these units with different identities, we can contribute to attracting more fans,’’ Lee-teuk said.
Shin-dong, known as the group’s funniest member, said he wants to work harder to establish the Super Junior name around Asia.
Lee-teuk added Super Junior wants to be known in China, Japan, Malaysia, the Philippines and even Europe. ``I was looking at some UCC (user created content) and I saw one made by Spanish fans, wearing similar clothes and performing our song. It’s great that we have fans there. We really want to be world-class idols,” he said.