MAMAMOO debuted just a few weeks ago, but already, everyone has been asking, “Who is this group?”
While a good portion of the hype can be accredited to the slew of cameos in MAMAMOO’s debut music video for Mr. Ambiguous (CN BLUE’s Lee Jong Hyun, K.Will, Baek Ji Young, to name just a few), the fact that the interest has only continued to rise can only indicate good things.
MAMAMOO, a four-girl group including members Moon Byul, Solar, Whee In and Wha Sa, is already different, thanks to the fact that they all have a set of pipes on them, can all dance, and have the support of some of the biggest names in the business.
The four ladies of MAMAMOO sat with Mwave for an exclusive interview prior to their MEET&GREET , where they talked about their star connections, ambiguous men and their music.
Mwave: You guys have an interesting group name name – so what does MAMAMOO exactly mean?
Solar: So MAMAMOO is similar to a baby’s cry and the word “MAMA” is used all around the world so we wanted our music to be something that could be received as sort of a natural instinct to people.
Mwave: And you all also have interesting individual stage names – any stories behind the names?
Moon Byul: Moon Byul is actually my real name. My full name is Moon Byul In so I took out the first two syllables of my names for my stage name. My actual name is kind of interesting anyway, since it’s basically “MOON STAR” so I said I would use my real name.
Solar: It’s a stage name, and initially I thought of using the stage name Doremi, but our CEO thought about it and he was like, ‘I think Doremi isn’t quite right…’, and since I’m in charge of the high parts, I went up the scale a little and ended up with Solar (so-la)
Whee In: Mine is my real name too. Since my real name isn’t very common , the producers said that Whee In would be good
Wha Sa: My real name is An Hye Jin and Hye Jin is pretty common, and so even though I like my real name, in terms of individuality, it wasn’t something I wanted to use for my stage name. So with Wha Sa – people say, ‘Oh that’s ‘wha sa’ (bright)’, but they don’t really use adjectives for names. Like, they might say, ‘She’s neung-chung (sly),’ but they wouldn’t name someone ‘Neung Chung’. But even though the word Wha Sa is a little unfamiliar, I still liked it. So I told my CEO that I wanted to use Wha Sa and even though he kept saying it was weird, I said, “No, I want to use Wha Sa!” So in the end, he said it was fine.
Mwave: You guys also had a lot of interest because of all the cameos in your music video for Mr. Ambiguous. How did you manage to score such big stars?
Solar: Well with Wheesung sunbaenim and K.Will sunbaenim, we worked on ‘Some Guy, Some Girl (Peppermint Chocolate)’ and so they ended up helping us with our music video for our title track, ‘Mr. Ambiguous’. With Bumkey sunbaenim, we also worked with him for ‘Don’t Be Happy’, so he helped us out again. With Baek Ji Young sunbaenim, she’s known our CEO for a long time, since he produced her song, ‘Don’t Forget’. So since they’re really close, she came out to support us.
Mwave: Was the hidden camera event in the music video for Mr. Ambiguous real?
All: YES. So real. People kept thinking it was fake but it was so real!
Whee In: We didn’t even know they were filming! We were the only ones that didn’t know about it
Moon Byul: ALL of the staff knew about it – only us four had no idea
Whee In: Kim Do Hoon CEO came and told us that Baek Ji Young sunbaenim would be coming and he said that she’s really cool and that she’d probably treat us really well. So we were really excited and getting ready for her but as soon as she came, she didn’t even accept our greetings and just went straight past us.
Moon Byul: She was going to get dressed
Whee In: So we were like, Oh no, what do we do…And as soon as she came back the atmosphere was so bad…
All: It was so cold! Soo coold!
Whee In: So we were all so nervous so we were stiff and we couldn’t do our best and then
Wha Sa: And the director was like, ‘We’re just filming to get some cuts, so don’t worry about it and you can just lip sync.’ So we were like, ‘Oh really? Okay!’ So when sunbaenim told us to show her, we were just lip syncing. And her response was, “Why aren’t you singing live…”
Wha Sa: So inside, we were thinking, ‘But the director told us to do it this way…’
Whee In: So Baek Ji Young sunbaenim told us to do it again, live, so we did it a few times while she was taking all these notes and then! It was the moment, and she said, “Oh…Do Hoon oppa said it was a group he raised, but I’m really disappointed.”
Whee In: So at THOSE words we were just all “AHHHHH” and just so shocked. And we were all holding in our tears , but right at that moment, the director said, “Solar…Baek Ji Young is good at acting huh?”
Moon Byul: Apparently, that was supposed to be the last word for the hidden camera
Solar: The last word was supposed to be “Solar” and so when I first heard that, I was thinking, ‘Why is the director pointing me out…’
Whee In: So for 5 minutes we were trying to figure out what was going on and then
All: Then she started laughing and screaming
Solar: And then the tears came out!! Because we were so happy, so the tears just came out.
Whee In: I was SO relieved it was a hidden camera.
Wha Sa: That was the BEST
Solar: But to give more behind the story, originally, they were supposed to keep going. So after she said “Solar”, she was supposed to single me out and ask why I was so bad . But then it ended up finishing before that.
Moon Byul: Ah yea, after it was all over she said a lot of good things, that we were doing well and she was really sorry
Whee In: That we should continue lip syncing haha
Solar: She gave a lot of support and a lot of good advice as a senior in the industry, sharing what kind of expressions we should do,
Moon Byul: When we went to the music show for our debut, we ran into Baek Ji Young sunbaenim there, and she greeted us so enthusiastically, and was giving us so much encouragement, telling us to do well and it just gave us so much strength. So sunbaenim’s encouragement was really good.
Mwave: You guys have already collaborated a lot of with different singers, like K.Will and Bumkey – is there anyone else you’d like to work with?
Wha Sa: Mamamoo has been promoted a lot as a group that doesn’t get stuck or boxed in, so hopefully, making that a reality, instead of just collaborating with a singer , I would really want to collaborate with Ryu Seung Ryong sunbaenim (actor). So it would be a song… but since Ryu Seung Ryong sunbaenim is such a interesting character, and his personality is so awesome. And when you watch him in movies, and he sings little parts, his voice is actually really gentle. So I really think that something, something good, would come out if we collaborating with Ryu Seung Ryong sunbaenim. So I really want to do something with him.
Moon Byul: Crush sunbaenim! His music is really diverse, and his voice is really sweet. So I think we’d match well together. And with the Urban R&B style, we had ‘Don’t Be Happy’ in that style, so I think it’d be a collaboration
Moon Byul: Yea, from what I heard…I think..we’re the same.. age. I heard that he’s ‘92
Mwave: Isn’t Bumkey close to Crush? Couldn’t he help make something happen?
Moon Byul: Yes so… hehe…
Mwave: Do you have any particular genres you want to try out in the future?
Whee In: We don’t want to be boxed in, and we really want to try all different genres. So with our mini-album, all seven songs are of different genres. Jazz, hip-hop, funky, we want to try all these different genres.
All: We all have really different tastes…
Solar: I really like hip-hop. Even though the way I sing isn’t hip-hop style at all, I really enjoy listening to hip-hop.
Whee In: I really, really love hip-hop
Moon Byul: For me, I really like R&B pop. I feel like it’s music that fits any mood, any weather.
Whee In: I really like R&B and urban too. And I really want to do that kind of music, so that’s what I listen to normally.
Wha Sa: I also like to listen to R&B and hip-hop, so generally I really like black music. But when I’m listening to music at dawn by myself, just for healing purposes…I like old pop.
Mwave: You said it was all different, but the styles you like all sound pretty similar!
Wha Sa: Yea, but when you look at the exact songs that we all like to listen to, it’s different.
Moon Byul: Yea, it’s interesting, the songs and music we actually listen to are somewhat different
Mwave: CN BLUE’s Lee Jong Hyun ended up playing the role of ‘Mr. Ambiguous’ for your video – were you happy about that?
Moon Byul: We were really surprised! When we heard that the Mr. Ambiguous main role was CN Blue’s Lee Jong Hyun sunbaenim, we just were like (gasp) wow..how did CN Blue sunbaenim end up helping us? But when we actually met him, we were really surprised. He’s really tall and he’s so good-looking, but he had such good manners
Whee In: Yea, in the beginning, it didn’t really match in my head, to be honest. But after meeting him in real life, and seeing him at the music video shoot, I felt that he fit that atmosphere (of Mr. Ambiguous) really well. And he even played guitar on set and he was so good!
Solar: Yea, he just started playing! Right on the spot!
Whee In: Yea, right on the spot – so I was really impressed.
Wha Sa: His first impression is kind of cold right? But then he’s not like that at all! He was saying how he wanted to take off his makeup right away, and asking when he could take it off (laugh)
And he was just messing around and he just laughed a lot
Initially, we were a little burdened and nervous – since it was our music video shoot, and because of the concept, we were the ones who had to lead but since we’re rookies, we were a little nervous, but they all followed us so well that we were so grateful.
Mwave: So what do you think about ambiguous men in general?
Moon Byul: Honestly? I think they’re whatever
Mwave: Any first-hand experiences?
Moon Byul: No experiences…but honestly… to be all ambiguous and not be certain… (laugh) it’s so… I mean, if you like me, just like me!!!!
Moon Byul: Yea, so I really don’t like it. I wish the guy was just honest and clear!
Solar: Me…too… I really, completely, totally don’t like it! I actually had someone like that a long time ago, but since he was being ambiguous, it wasn’t this or that…I think someone who’s honest about his feelings is best.
Whee In: I think being ambiguous is bad… just be clear
Wha Sa: I mean…what girl would like it?
Mwave: But some girls like mil-dang (playing games, push&pull) games,
Wha Sa: We all just don’t like mil-dang. We just want them to be honest.
Mwave: So you all are the type to be straightforward with guys?
Moon Byul: But then on the flipside… we like to do mil-dang
Moon Byul: He can’t do it, but I can! That’s the way girls think!
Mwave: Okay, okay – so if a guy were to pursue you, how would you want him to do it?
Moon Byul: I really like when a guy is bold. In sort of an extreme way, I prefer if the guy focuses all his attention on me. In a extreme way! Just a guy who doesn’t look at anyone else but me…but I mean, I’m the same way. If I end up liking someone, then I’m the type to go all-in. So I would want the other person to be the same way.
Solar: Me too! I really like a guy who actively pursues.
Wha Sa: For me… I prefer if he really loves me, but on the outside, he shows it somewhat seriously? So…hm… gentle, but also gentlemanly?
Whee In: For me, rather than being super bold, I think, just when he does express it, I’d want him to be clear. So I’d want him to know how to hide it sometimes too
Mwave: And what about ideal types?
Moon Byul: I really like Gong Yoo sunbaenim. I sort of like dinosaur face-types and guys with broad shoulders, guys who can just grab and hug me in one go.
Solar: I like Simon D sunbaenim. I like hip-hop and when he raps, he’s so impressive and cool…so I feel like we could do something good together…music wise!
Whee In: I like Beenzino sunbaenim…but I mean he’s basically the ideal type for all girls in their 20s… so I didn’t want to say it, because it kind of hurts my pride! But yea, he’s my ideal type..
Wha Sa: I like guys who are fatherly, so…Ryu Seung Ryong sunbaenim or if we’re talking about foreign celebrities, George Clooney…
Mwave: Any last words for your international fans?
Moon Byul: We didn’t even realize that there would be fans overseas! We’ve just debuted! So we’re still surprised that we even have fans, whether they’re in Korea, or overseas..
So we really want to meet them! We want to get closer, just apart from celebrity, just comfortable, whether it’s with music or not, so please just think of us comfortably and please send us love!