If one thing has become clear in K-pop, when SISTAR releases a new single--all other acts should hide. The female foursome led with the inaugural No. 1 on the Billboard Korea K-Pop Hot 100 chart with up-tempo single "So Cool." Since then, the group has reached No. 1 with each subsequent single — "Alone" for three weeks in May, "Loving U" for a week in July and even their sub-unit, SISTAR19, is sweeping with the chart's current 4-week topper, "Gone Not Around Any Longer."
In the midst of a huge comeback, SISTAR19 (made up of vocalist Hyorin and rapper Bora) took the time to come to Billboard Korea's studios for an interview and photo/video shoot. Upon hearing their impressive chart stats, the humble duo remain in awe of their success, but appear to have no plans to slow it down. Despite Hoyrin suffering from a severe cold (not to mention SISTAR not collectively having a break in three years), the girls were upbeat and in high spirts in their matching black and white ensemble.
SISTAR19's "Gone Not Around Any Longer" has topped the K-pop Hot 100 for four straight weeks so far. What is it about this song?
[SISTAR single] "Alone" and "Not Gone Around Any Longer" have similar qualities, but the vibe is completely different. We wanted to think outside the box. But most importantly, the song is extremely sad. It may not touch your heart on a regular day, but it really touches your emotions when you focus on the heartrending lyrics—especially if you listen before going bed. When we first heard the song, we thought it was 1,000 times sadder than “Alone.” To express the agony of a breakup, the music video's visuals were emphasized with messy hair as well as wearing oversized, unbuttoned blouse. There are a lot of dance tracks these days, but I think the listeners appreciated and recognized the sad nature of “Gone Not Around Any Longer.”
The sexed-up choreography seems like the main focus of "Gone Not Around Any Longer"...
We usually display a fiercer charisma during our promotions as SISTAR. But for SISTAR19, we wanted to focus on our maturity and womanly charms. We don’t compete with each other; we help each other out on during our dance practices. We don’t think that we should be sexier than one another--we don’t even think we are sexy!
Your unit's debut track "Ma Boy" was a huge hit. Were you guys pressured working on a new project because of your previous success?
Instead of thinking as SISTAR19 or telling ourselves we need do better than “Ma Boy,” we just thought of this as a continuation of SISTAR and simply told ourselves that we wanted to present a better image than that of “Alone” and “Loving U.” “Ma Boy” is filled with sensitivity of a 19-year-old girl and this time, we wanted to communicate a lady’s compassion and growth. We’ve matured a lot; we wanted to try out more mature tracks.
There’s a huge evolution between "Gone Not Around Any Longer" and "Ma Boy."
“Ma Boy” is a groovy, feel-good track to listen to; the lyrics are sad, but it was expressed cheerfully. Whereas through “Not Gone Around Any Longer,” we tried to express a woman’s maturity.
What was the most memorable moment during SISTAR19 promotional activities so far?
Hyorin: The best thing about working as a two-member group is that it takes us lesser time to get ready and we have more space in the car. And our dance practice time is shorter [Laughs]. But the stage without them [SISTAR members Soyou & Dason] feels so empty. We cannot wait to go onstage together!
Bora: It didn’t feel more special or any different that it was just the two of us. We were all together when we took the No. 1 trophy on “M! Countdown,” because Soyou and Dasom, were MCs on the show that day. So, we felt like it was SISTAR receiving the award, not SISTAR19.
How exactly was SISTAR19 created?
We were always close as we became trainees around the same time! Around the time we released "Push Push" and "Shady Girl," a lot of people from broadcast companies used to ask if we were twins since we both had bangs and darker skin than the other two members. Our agency used to say it would be fun to put us together as a group. A year and eight months ago, when we debuted, doing a sub-unit project was relatively new. We formed SISTAR19 thinking that it would be a great way to challenge ourselves to show different musical colors. It’s fun that we can show our fans and audiences our new adventures away from SISTAR. We are glad that we were able to do it again with this new single.
NEXT: On Being No. 1, Overseas Promotions + New Album