After 17-month hiatus, WOOAH promises it's back for good

Girl group WOOAH poses for the camera ahead of an interview with the Korea JoongAng Daily. [PARK SANG-MOON]

WOOAH’s hiatus of a year and a half felt long — really long — for both the members of the girl group and their listeners. But WOOAH is finally reentering the business with digital single “Blush” and is vowing never to let its fans down again.

“I know our fans don’t like it when we say that we are sorry,” the girl group's leader, Nana, said during an interview with the Korea JoongAng Daily held in Mapo District, western Seoul, following the single's April 8 release. “But I just want to tell our fans that I’m sorry; sorry to have you guys wait for so long. It must have felt like a long time.”

“Blush” comes 17 months after the drop of WOOAH's fourth single, “Pit-a-Pat.” That's an unusually long gap between releases for a K-pop artist, particularly for groups just four years into their career.

“But we are now here, having trained ourselves to be sturdier, after many talks and discussions we had with each other [about how] to keep WOOAH's core identity while also improving our musicality,” Nana said. “As we go forward, I promise to never be sorry.”

So far, the group is keeping its promise: It has been hard at work on children's animation series “Secret Jouju,” collaborative song “Secret princess” and a music video of its own.

WOOAH sat down with the Korea JoongAng Daily to discuss its digital single "Blush," future plans and more.

This interview has been edited for length and clarity.

Girl group WOOAH poses for the camera ahead of an interview with the Korea JoongAng Daily. [PARK SANG-MOON]

Q: How did you spend your 17 months of downtime?

Lucy: I was actually preparing for my high school equivalency diploma, so I was busy studying for the exam for a while. I also spent a lot of time trying to improve my skills as we prepared for our comeback.

Sora: We trained hard waiting for our new music release. We also tried to communicate more with our fans, who have been waiting for us for a long time.

Wooyeon: I joined “Queendom Puzzle” with Nana and I think it helped me improve my skills a lot. I also don’t think we were just taking a break. We were busy practicing and prepping for our new album. I was also active with my acting career, appearing in web dramas. We also had a lot of sessions together where we shared our thoughts and discussed the future of the group. I think that all helped us strengthen our teamwork.

Nana: I wanted, with my heart and soul, to let people know who WOOAH is through our appearances in “Queendom Puzzle.” Thankfully, I was able to join its project group, so I was active as a member of EL7Z UP, meeting fans in and outside Korea. I also spent time as a co-presenter of “Show! Champion” until recently, and now I got to host a new show too. I’m a member of WOOAH, foremost, so I was busy training and practicing with the members.

I was very surprised by our members' [improvement] during our dance lessons and recording sessions. So I could tell that none of us had wasted our time.

Can you introduce us your digital single, “Blush”?

Wooyeon: “Blush” is a song that talks about the feelings of love. We are singing the mind of a girl who is blushing at approaching love, but at the same time tries to actively express her thoughts. We are also doing it the WOOAH way.

Minseo: I think you should focus on the chorus, where we go “You make me wanna blush, blush.” That’s where our key choreography is.

Nana: There’s a part in the song where I sing, “I feel like mani [the Korean word for a lot].” But the original lyrics were actually “I feel like money,” and we ended up going for mani so we could mix Korean and English lyrics together and make it more unique. Interestingly, I’ve had many people tell me that it still sounds like “money,” not “mani” when they listen to the music. It was supposed to be a dreamlike concept, so maybe I did my job well.

Girl group WOOAH poses for the camera ahead of an interview with the Korea JoongAng Daily. [PARK SANG-MOON]

“Blush” sounds somewhat different from WOOAH’s previous releases. Does this reflect a change in WOOAH’s musicality?

Nana: If you look back at WOOAH’s past releases, we’ve had all kinds of different music and concepts. I think WOOAH is a group that constantly challenges itself, and “Blush” was no exception. It wasn’t just “pretty” or “magical.” It also had a dreamlike element, and the performance was pretty intense, too, not to mention the hip side of the song. We’ve really worked hard to unite all the different styles into one. It is also our first dreamlike song!

I actually wasn’t worried about the members. I knew they could all pull it off well — I was more worried about myself. I’m someone who sings low and dances in a powerful manner, so I tried hard to match with the song.

Wooyeon: Just like our band name, WOOAH, we hope people are amazed by our music and our performances. We hope to keep our core colors while also presenting new sides of the band.

That being said, “Blush” was different from the other candidate songs we’ve previously had. It felt so new, to the extent that it had me asking “Is this really the candidate for our title track?” Listening to the demo track, though, I was so curious as to how our vocals would add to the song and how unique we could make the track.

Lucy: When I first listened to “Blush,” I was so excited to see what kind of choreography we could have. “Blush” had a more magical and pretty vibe compared to our previous releases, so I very much looked forward to seeing how we could incorporate the hip-hop elements that WOOAH was known for.

Sora: The song felt so comforting and addictive from the first time I heard it. I could tell that both the public and our fans would enjoy the song.

Girl group WOOAH poses for the camera ahead of an interview with the Korea JoongAng Daily. [PARK SANG-MOON]

Were you in any way worried about the comeback? Was it not tiring?

Wooyeon: I started my career because it was what I enjoyed doing, so even if I was physically tired, I couldn't feel it myself. But because it's our first music release in a while, I couldn't just go on stage mindlessly. We prepared thoroughly and spent time making up our minds so we could match the expectations of our fans.

Nana: We are already approaching our fourth anniversary in May, and as I continue to be active with individual and group activities, I can really feel the toughness of reality.

I've been worrying about WOOAH more than anyone else for the last couple of years. New rookie groups are debuting each year — it will be tougher and tougher to survive each year. So while I've never been someone who says critical things, I just had to, due to the fear and worries I faced. I've been constantly reminding our members of the situations we face so they are somewhat alerted to it. I told them we have to be more professional.

Nana has been the leader of WOOAH since its debut. Did other members ever think of becoming a leader? Conversely, Nana, have you ever thought about giving up your role as leader?

Lucy: I must have had that thought a couple of times. I’m one of the youngest members of the band and I’ve been seeing Nana for quite a long time; I saw the sense of responsibility she has for herself. While I don’t think I’ll be as good of a leader as Nana is, I think it would be fun to change: Nana could have fun without the heavy burdens, and maybe that responsibility would help me grow further. I don’t think I could do it, though.

Wooyeon: She’s the most senior member of the group on top of being the leader. She took care of us since our trainee days, so I had thoughts of being the leader myself so I could take some burdens off of her. But I ended up realizing that helping and aiding her [as leader] would be more beneficial for everyone. Now, I’m just trying my best as a member of WOOAH, so she doesn’t feel much burden.

Minseo: This is her first time as a leader, and I was surprised to see how well she’s been doing with it. She teaches and helps me in a lot of ways, so I don’t think I could take her role. I am the youngest member of the group, but I’m trying my best, so she doesn’t feel that way. I’m trying to think like an adult.

Nana: I really have had that in mind, especially since last year. I was the youngest in our family and I was the youngest among the trainees. I was never the oldest, nor was I ever a leader of a group. It was my first time being a leader with WOOAH, and nobody told me how to. I had no choice but to watch K-pop videos and documentaries featuring BTS and Blackpink to see how they lead their groups.

That being said, knowing who I am, I think I’ll still volunteer to be the leader of a group in my next life, too. I’d rather be the one who volunteers to break the barrier. I can have others follow me in the back once I break the wall.

Girl group WOOAH poses for the camera ahead of an interview with the Korea JoongAng Daily. [PARK SANG-MOON]

Can you give us a sneak peek into WOOAH’s future music and activities?

Nana: WOOAH’s underlying core identity lies in hip-hop elements. So I hope to unleash that identity when the time arrives. That’s the genre that I’m most confident with.

While I can’t share many details at the time being, I just hope to meet our fans more frequently. I want to release more albums, do more album promotions and — while still a very abstract idea — I want to hold our solo concert and perform in end-of-year stages. I don’t mind having no breaks, if that is a result of us communicating more with our fans and promoting WOOAH more to the public.

Minseo: We finally started our official WOW fan club membership [on April 22] and I know that our fans have been waiting for an official fan club membership. I think the membership will enable us an option to better communicate with each other and provide us with an opportunity to showcase different things to our fans.

If WOOAH were to hold a concert, what would it look like? What do you hope to do?

Nana: Now that we have an official fan club, I really want to hold a WOOAH concert. It’s something I’ve always been dreaming about, and I had a taste of it as a member of EL7Z UP recently — it was just as I expected it to be. That made us really want to hold a concert ourselves, so we can totally nail that down.

I want us all to hold a handheld microphone and sing the entire concert live with a live band backing our vocals. The five members have distinct colors, so we should also have unit stages: a performance-focused stage, if you are confident of your dancing skills, a vocal-focused stage if you are ready to move the audience and so on. I also want to sing a song dedicated to our fans.

Wooyeon: We have a lot of really, really good B-side tracks, but we don’t often get chances to perform, so I would love to perform them in front of our fans.

If I were to pick a B-side track, I would pick “Straight Up.” It’s a song about our fans, and they seem to be enjoying the song!

Lucy: One of my all-time favorite B-side tracks is “Joyride,” and it had a very musical vibe when I first listened to the demo track. I think we should rearrange the stage to feel more like a musical stage.

Nana: I would love to perform “Round & Round” with a rock twist. WOOAH is always ready!

Girl group WOOAH poses for the camera ahead of an interview with the Korea JoongAng Daily. [PARK SANG-MOON]