Despite it being a frigid February night in New York, there was a warm atmosphere with B1A4 in the minutes before their first NYC show in years. Talking to Billboard as the only outlet let backstage in midtown’s Stage 48, the guys seemed more comfortable with one another than ever, making loads of jokes, and often mentioning and giving shout outs to their fellow band mates. Impressively, the group’s main rapper Baro — who walked around backstage in a puffy winter jacket — gave every answer in English and spoke for the group often without a translator.
Read on for what B1A4 had to say at the kickoff of their Four Nights in the US 2017 tour including how their show has changed through the years, their goals for future albums, their relationship with BTS and VIXX, and more.
Billboard: Welcome back to New York, B1A4. How are you feeling?
Baro: We’re really happy, it’s been a “long-time-no-see” [situation] so we missed our fans so much, we missed Billboard. All our members are so happy right now.
Do you have good memories from New York?
Baro: Times Square and Guitar Center. We went to Guitar Center yesterday. Sandeul wanted to buy a guitar there, but he couldn’t find the right one so maybe next time.
How have your concerts changed since the last time you performed here?
Sandeul: This time, we feel like we can bond with the fans more.
Baro: For those of you who may not know, the members took a part in this album [2016 full-length Good Timing]. Jinyoung and CNU compose songs, I write up lyrics, and Sandeul and Gongchan gave ideas so this album and this concert is so very important to us like it’s our own project.
Speaking of the new album, does Good Timing represent where B1A4 is at as a group right now?
CNU: I hope there will be one of those albums in the future.
Jinyoung: It’s not representative of B1A4, but we are still B1A4.
Baro: Next time, we want to make an album entirely ourselves — like, all ourselves. I think we can do it.
What are your favorite parts of this concert?
Jinyoung: It’s all about communication with the fans. Not only can the fans watch the concert, but they can be a part of the concert. Like, in some songs, there are female feature parts, but we actually took those sections out so the fans could sing on their own and actually can be taking part.
Before the Good Timing album, you all had a lot of solo activities. Jinyoung, you produced some great girl group songs like I.O.I‘s “When Cherry Blossoms Fade” or Oh My Girl‘s “One Step, Two Step.” You’re good at B1A4 songs, but how are you also so good at making girl group songs?
Baro: He knows girls! [Members laugh]
Jinyoung: I’m very emotional and sentimental so that could be more, I guess, appealing to girl groups.
Sandeul: He’s one of the hardest working songwriters so that’s why you’ll see him doing writing for girl groups too. He’s like Steve Jobs! [Laughs]
And Baro, your sister just debuted as a solo artist named I under the same company, WM Entertainment. Have you gotten closer after this?
Baro: She’s very busy, just like me, so we don’t have a lot of time to talk to each other. It’s sad. Sometimes I’ll text with Yoonji, I tell her, “This is good” or “You can try [harder].” I’m really happy to do that. I want to be a good “oppa” [older brother].
Gongchan, you were recently on the variety show Celebrity Bromance with VIXX‘s Hongbin. Do you guys have “bromances” with other groups?
Gongchan: Yeah, sure! Sandeul is close to BTS‘ Jin and Ken from VIXX. When he, Jin and Ken are together, it’s always very loud with laughter. I wish the three of them would broadcast that on television to show everyone.
And Sandeul, you just completed your solo debut. Are you satisfied with how everything went?
Sandeul: Instead of satisfying, I’d say it was more of an experience. There were hard times building up to the album and promotions, but I learned better of who I am as an artist.
Lastly, CNU, you’ve been doing a lot of activities like OSTs, musicals, appearing on Masked Singer. What do you want to accomplish next?
CNU: Drama or movie. I’m actually the member who did dramas before anyone in B1A4 so I want to get more into dramas in the future. My favorite is Guardian: The Lonely and Great God on tvN, it’s a really good drama.
What’s coming next for B1A4?
Baro: We have [new album] plans, but we don’t know when it’s coming out. We always try to make comebacks — Jinyoung and CNU are always writing songs — we haven’t recorded anything yet, but soon. But we’ll say please always look forward to it.
Do you have a message for fans?
Baro: All our members love America and we always miss it here. Please keep looking forward to us and we always try really hard for albums. If you wait for us, we will comeback quickly. We’ll come back. Be well and please take care.