DD: The 2NE1 image has softened down overall of late, was that a refreshing change from your previous concepts and what brought it about?
CL: It wasn’t an attempt to break away from that fierce concept we are known for; it was something that came about naturally. We recorded fun tracks and decided to show a different side of ourselves that was more pleasant. We did have to adjust a bit to this performance aspect and even asked ourselves, “Are we really allowed to smile like this on stage?” We would be happy to know that the audience can get a good vibe and feeling through watching this performance and we all felt comfortable in this concept.
DD: What’s the biggest artistic difference between the 2NE1 of your last major album release in 2011 and this new album?
CL: It’s hard to reveal all of the exact differences since we have yet to release the material. However, I can assure you that you will see the fierce 2NE1 that you have seen on our past releases but also a more developed and evolved 2NE1. We’ve definitely evolved on this album and can’t wait for everyone to hear it.
DD: In the time you’ve been 2NE1 each member has grown up and matured but who has shown that the most and in what way?
Bom: I think Minji since in her case she has been dealing with this lifestyle much earlier in her life and as compared to her friends, so as a result I think she has developed strong mentality through this process.
Minji: I turned 20 this year, so I am planning on expressing my maturity in our performances and I hope that the fans look forward to it.
DD: 2NE1 have often been held up as “ambassadors” of K-Pop for the international market – did you ever see yourselves as that? And how did you feel about that role being given to you as a group?
CL: I’m thankful for it. We honestly just wanted to create the best music as possible and if the fans in the international market embrace it, we are grateful and appreciative. We feel like we should repay our fans with better music. Every time we release an album I think to myself “How should we make our fans happy?” I hope you guys enjoy the upcoming releases.
Dara: I believe there is a way of exchanging greetings with these foreign fans when we do overseas performances. I want to develop those skills gradually so that we can get closer to our international fans.
DD: With such a long time between albums there are a lot of eyes back on the group – do you feel the pressure to make your comeback a success, and how do you deal with that ?
CL: I believe now is the time to take everything to another level. It’s definitely a challenging task, but as long as we have to deal with this fact wouldn’t it be better to do it with a positive mind? I believe that if I enjoy the process I will be able to have good results and overcome the hardships.
DD: How do you personally measure your success as an artist? Through sales, chart positions, critical acclaim, fan reactions?
Minji: Indeed if we have good result on the charts we will be thankful and happy for it. However I believe it is more important that the fans have an interest and love for us than our chart numbers. There is no better feeling than when people tell me “I really like your songs” or hearing our songs everywhere we visit and also enjoying the songs ourselves.
DD: Do you read your own press? What are your thoughts when you read something that’s unfavourable or critical towards you… can you switch off your emotions or does it affect you?
Dara: It can be hard for entertainers to be commented with positive reactions in a way. I believe that negative comments are kind of an interest for people. It is more important how to apply these criticisms constructively so that I can focus on developing my talents and skills.