South Korean girl group After School is not your typical K-pop band. The band has a rotating cast of singers who regularly “enrol” into the group and eventually “graduate” out of it.
Last Saturday night, the girls performed to a crowd of 40,000 people for the MTV Exit concert. The next day, they spoke to 7Days about their impressions of Cambodia.
This was your first time in Cambodia. How was it?
It’s funny, we were all so worried at first. When we went to the stadium it was so large and we thought, ‘Can we fill all of this?’ Then at the concert, it was fully packed and everyone was shouting ‘After School, After School’. We were amazed and so glad. We just felt such a true support from the fans and a love for the Cambodian youth.
How do you feel about Cambodia?
Unfortunately we didn’t get to go out and about much, we spent a lot of time driving around. When we were in the car people waved to us and they were always smiling.
We were very glad to come here and be a part of this campaign. We had a really great impression of Cambodia and the food too, it is beautiful.
Why do you think K-pop is so successful in Cambodia?
Our songs are very easy, they are easy to sing and dance to. People love to follow it because us Korean people have a lot passion. We are people with a passion. The audience can feel our passion and they feel happy when they are watching us.
How does After School stand out from the rest?
A difference between us and other K-pop bands is we have this theme that you come in and you graduate - it’s like a school. We also have three different styles. We have a red style, which is sexy, a blue style which is pure, and an orangey-caramel style which is fun and exciting.
Who decides on the dance routines? We hire a choreographer who is ready 24/7 to make new moves. In every performance we have a theme – once we did a dance to drums, another time we did tap dancing. We have a special theme that we show at each performance, but we didn’t get to do that at this concert. As for training, it usually takes us about six to eight months to practice the routines. A lot of work goes in to it, we spend a lot of time training.
Why is it important to use your position of influence for good?
We used to only focus on our work, but now we realise all our support comes from our fans. We want to do stuff that gives back to them. Celebrities are very influential, and youth these days quite often listen to TV, media and stars more than they listen to their parents or friends.
We think it’s important to use our voice for a good cause.
Do you plan to come back to Phnom Penh?
Of course. We would love to come. Especially if it’s for a good cause, we would love to come again, again and again.