Apink Talks New Music and More as They Enter 10th Year: We Want to 'Grow Together'

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K-pop girl group Apink is celebrating their 9th anniversary this year. At the time when Apink made their entrance with the EP Seven Springs of Apink in 2011, famous girl groups like 2NE1, f(x), and KARA were setting the trend of futuristic dance music. Apink then appeared with the opposite "pure" concept, echoing stars from 1990s such as Fink.K.L and S.E.S.. As a result, Apink is loved by teenagers and the older generation alike.

The seven-member group grew musically as they tried on different variations of the aforementioned concept. Their song "Only One" (2017) set them apart from other K-pop girl groups who were mostly imitating New Jack Swing vibe.

Today, the Pinkrangers (Apink’s nickname) are entering a new phase. Making a comeback with "%%," they have clearly showed what “pinkrush” -- a combination of PINK and GIRLCRUSH -- is, demonstrating more charisma then ever.

Billboard Korea chatted with Apink about their new music and more. Check out the Q&A after the jump.

Tell us about your new single, “%% (Eung Eung).”

Nam-joo: It's a dance music track with dreamy and electronic sounds. It is also the title song of our new album [PERCEN.T]. The term "%’" is commonly used to mean "okay" among young people in our country, because they look similar in letters.

How much, percentage-wise, are you satisfied with the new album?

Ha-young: 50%. I guess there is good and bad in everything!

How difficult was it to learn the choreography? "%%" has some complicated steps, similar to those of "No No No."

Nam-joo: A difficulty rate of 100%! It’s pretty hard, a lot of waist-twisting and neck-spinning [laughs].

Eun-ji: "No No No" doesn’t give you time to rest. Similarly, in the case of "%%," it goes into the second verse right after the first. No time to take a breath!

Do you have a favorite song that's not heard as much as the title one?

Ha-young: "Good Morning Baby." It almost became our fourth mini-album [Pink Blossom]’s title song.

Cho-rong: That song was pre-released before "Mr. Chu." It was a gift to our fans and they loved it. They loved it as their alarm music [laughs].

Congratulations on your 9th year! Do you have any goals as musicians?

Eun-ji: More performances. I want to go meet fans in various countries. Also, I hope Apink members will grow together and be able to get together anytime to perform later when we get older.

Cho-rong, you seem to be taking part in writing lyrics.

Cho-rong: Thankfully, one song I wrote made it to our new album. Other members are good writers too. Next time, I hope we can fill our album with songs written by each of us.

Na-eun, you are a painter -- do you have any artists you look up to in particular?

Na-eun: There are so many artists I love. Eva Armisen is one of them; there is an ongoing exhibition about her in Korea called the “artist that paints and spreads happiness.” I want to make time to see the exhibition soon, and I want to draw small moments in life like she does.

Cho-rong, your "Done For Me" performance was quite a hit. Do you listen to Charlie Puth a lot?

Cho-rong: I have listened to almost all of Charlie Puth’s songs. I like "We Don’t Talk Anymore," and I just love his voice. I watched numerous videos of him performing when I was preparing for my "Done For Me" performance. As a fan, I’ve always wanted to sing his song during my concert. I am happy that more people know about him and I'm looking forward to his next release.

Eun-ji, you watched the movie Bohemian Rhapsody three times. What is your favorite Queen track?

Eun-ji: "Radio Ga Ga" would be my pick. When I listen to the line “Someone still loves you," it sounds like it’s talking to me or to us, Apink. Isn’t it encouraging to know that there is always someone who will remember you? I heard that the song’s inspiration came from a baby crying out "googoo" and "gaga." A masterpiece from such a simple thing! I must think simpler from now on. [Laughs]

For Apink’s TOP10 playlist, you guys chose two Ariana Grande songs to include.

Eun-ji: I picked "Almost Is Never Enough." The title touched me. I agree that almost everyone is not at all satisfied with their life. Not everything can be perfect.

Nam-joo: I love her voice. Such a powerful vocalist and performer. I also like her new single "Thank U, Next."

What do you personally think about K-pop?

Eun-ji: K-pop is very detailed, especially in lyrics. There is always a song that fits your situation or tells a story you want to listen to.

What do you hope fans take away from your music?

Na-eun: Most of our songs are meant to deliver positive energy, for example "No No No" and "Luv." I hope our music gives the listener a sense of comfort and energy when needed.