[EXCLUSIVE] Interview: 20 Questions with K-Pop Group Lionesses

"Let me see your pride. Because you're the one who shines like stars."

This week, I got the opportunity of a lifetime to sit down and interview a K-pop group for the very first time. And, for my first interview with a K-pop group, I made it a memorable one.

They are the very first openly LGBTQIA+ male K-pop group, who debuted just a few weeks ago, and with a debut single about coming out, facing homophobia, hatred, and life.

Today, we talk with Lionesses, a four-member boy group made up of Damjun, Foxman, Kanghan, and Lee Malrang.

To start off with, as I do with everyone, I want to sincerely thank you for taking the time to go through this interview with us! Since your debut, you have come to fame in the K-pop community for your status as the first K-pop boy group to have all of its members be openly gay. But for those readers who may not have heard of yourselves or your work before, would you like to start by introducing yourself and discussing a little about yourself and your music?

Damjun: Of course, we are not the first gay group, but exactly LGBTQ+ boy group. There's a funny story about this. Was it the day we recorded "Show Me Your Pride"? I also knew that this team was the "first gay boy band in K-pop" and made all the promotional materials accordingly, but Kanghan came out saying, "I'm actually a questioner", as if he was really hesitant to me and courageous.

It's like (I'm gay) I'm coming out with courage to my straight friends or parents.

From my point of view, whether Kanghan is Q, G, B or T doesn't really matter at all. I thought, "Whatever Kanghan is, he's my friend anyway, so who cares?"

However, there was an episode in which I complained to him while revising all the promotional materials that I made as a gay group to LGBTQ+ boy group, saying, "You should have told me before I made all these promotional materials!" (Haha)

Anyway, I'm DAMJUN, the leader of this team. (Laughter) I'm the main vocalist, lyricist, composer, and music director of this team. Also, Road Manager (because I'm the only member on this team who drives well). FOXMAN has a driver's license, but . . . Because I don't want to die yet. ^^), I'm in charge of management, marketing, SNS and YouTube channels, and so on.

Foxman: Since we are a group that started to give strength to minorities and send the message to the world, it is natural that some people like or dislike it, and some people may not like our music.

But we'll come to you with more diverse styles and good music, so please look forward to it.

Kanghan: Hello, I'm countertenor Kang Han.

Our group is not a gay group, but an LGBTQ+ group. The reason is that I'm questioning. Do you know about "Questioning"?

I haven't decided on my sexual orientation and sexual identity, gender identity yet, and I don't want to decide in the future, so I'm currently staying in Questioning.

I'll add this because I think there are some people who think I'm lying to hide the game. I might or might not be Gay, Bisexual, Pansexual and Transgender. And I recognise designated gender as male.

Lee Malrang: Hello, we are LIONESSES, a rainbow-coloured boy band that is active as an LGBTQ+ group. And I'm Lee Malrang, the MAKNAE of this team. Nice to meet you!

As always, to begin with, I thought we might cover a few quick-fire questions to get to know you a little better. So, who are your favourite K-pop groups or soloists, and why?

Damjun: It's definitely BTS. You'll be surprised to see the BTS goods piled up in my house. (Laughs)

In fact, of course, it is worth loving just because they are the seven most handsome men in the world. However, the global achievements they have achieved seem to be at the peak that "non-English-speaking' Asians can achieve. It also inspires Rookie singers like us, and especially messages such as "Love yourself" are in line with the message we want to convey.

Foxman: It's Jessi. She raps perfectly and at the same time is one of the best vocalists in Korea. As a singer and rapper, I want to be like her.

Kanghan: Since I was young, I have dreamed of becoming an opera singer by watching soprano Jo Su-mi. Of course, I'm still touched every day while listening to her song.

Lee Malrang: Lim Hyun-jung, Ivan Jiha, and Jeon So-yeon of (G)I-DLE. I love singers who reflect their minds and thoughts.

Which K-pop group or soloist do you think is underrated or underappreciated by K-pop stans?

Damjun: Since our team is still a rookie who has begun to be known (smile), we are cautious about whether we dare to point out a senior singer who we can evaluate and "undervalued".

There are fans who love them, and they are people who worked hard to make music. Everyone who works as a singer in the K-pop industry.

Through this album, I was loved for the first time by people who claimed to be "my fan" for the first time in my life, and I could see how precious those hearts are.

However, I really like the rap of "Yuk Ji-dam", and it's a pity that she hasn't been performing or releasing a song since she recently appeared on a YouTube variety show. She's a great rapper beyond what's known on the air.

Foxman: I think there will be many K-pop trainees who are outstanding in their skills and appearance, but are not yet known.

Kanghan: Holland. It's a pity that his musicality seems to be overshadowed by the title of "Coming Out Artist".

As such a Korean LGBTQ+ singer, I believe that he will continue to play better music with more confidence beyond the frame.

Lee Malrang: Most people devalue artists with minorities, such as women, queers, and the disabled, but I think we should all respect and support them who are consistently present as individuals and artists in their places.

What is your earliest musical memory, and how did you get into the K-pop music scene to begin with?

Damjun: When I was young, my music started when my parents, who were busy working, left my sister at an art academy, and my mum left me at a music academy and came to pick me up when she left work.

I learned the piano for the first time since I was young, but I was annoyed to read the score because I have severe astigmatism, and my fingers hurt so much when I played the piano because my hands were small. (Laugh) I complained to my mum that I wanted to quit the piano, and she had to leave me at the academy, so she let me take vocal lessons at the same academy. (Laughs)

My mum sent me to an art academy where my sister attended, and she said I hated drawing when I was young because my finders hurt if I held a brush or pencil for a long time. (My hobby is drawing now, but . . .)

By the time I entered middle school, the family environment became economically difficult, so I quit vocal lessons. I think I want to continue to be a singer even then.

I didn't prepare for a long time like FOXMAN, I was a trainee at a K-pop management company for less than two months when I was young. (Now that I think about it, it's not a proper company, but a scammer). After that, I majored in music at university and graduate school.

I released a few albums, and it was a ridiculous experience. While releasing a love song that I sing to a man as gay, I was afraid that "what I'm known as a gay" would ruin all of my music career, and eventually released the music by pretending to be "straight" without coming out.

In the meantime, many audition proposals and debut proposals have been made, but I was afraid of being known as gay (and I thought the traces I left on the internet or the gay community would someday be found by the public), so I had to refuse them all. Fear blinded me, making me keep making silly choices.

But now that I think about it, it's a good thing that I rejected all those proposals at that time. If I had become a singer at that time, I wouldn't have met my friend Kanghan, who feels like we have been friends for twenty years, Malrang, who is like my adorable youngest brother, and FOXMAN, who made me feel like I had a real older brother.

When we first started this team, we were very awkward with each other, but now it became a life that seemed never happen to me. Like being drunk and talking with Han all night, secretly decorating events with fans to celebrate Malrang's birthday, and being scolded by FOXMAN, "Take care of your health."

And I got to meet my beloved DEN.

Foxman: I was an idol trainee at a K-pop management company for two years. I also appeared in musicals and briefly in theatre companies.

Kanghan: I majored in classical music, opera, choir, and ensemble activities before LIONESSES. I joined the group through the leader DAMJUN, so I sang in front of you like this.

Lee Malrang: I didn't mean to be a musician originally. I worked as a painter and podcast broadcaster, and I often sang at a bar where gay people often held open microphone events. Director Bambi, who saw that, sent me a casting call, so I was lucky to join the team.

(DAMJUN's defense: From someday, the members began to call me Bambi, but I think they saw me not standing properly like a newborn baby deer because my legs were weak after the first dance practice. Lol).

If you could sit down to a private dinner with any one other idol where you could talk about anything you wanted, who would it be and why?

Damjun: It may be a sad answer compared to a pleasant question. I want to meet Jonghyun of SHINee, who is resting comfortably in Heaven now. When he wrote the lyrics of Lee Hi's "Breathe", I feel sad if his fans like me, who listen to the song, knew that the lyrics were "words to himself at the edge of the cliff", not "words to other in need of comfort."

That's why I can't sing "Breathe". Whenever I hear the lyrics he made, I think of the cliff he stood on, so I can't stop crying like a crazy man.

Of course, the pressure he felt to shine like a star in front of millions of people can't be the same as what I've experienced, but I know a little bit as a person who stood on the edge of the cliff.

"Your music made someone live, and one of them was me. I wanted to be a person who could give you strength when you were having a hard time, but I'm sorry that I'm the only one who got energy from you." That's what I want to say to him.

Foxman: It's BTS. Because they're cool. (Smile).

Kanghan: I personally thought that Jo Kwon of 2AM, who I respect, was really respectful when he showed passionate performance on stage.

And since BTS is the most loved people all over the world . . . In fact, BTS is a group loved by all people on Earth. (Smile).

And I like the voices of the two vocalists of BTOB (Changsub and Eunkwang), and I fell in love with them after seeing their various aspects when they showed interesting performances on variety shows.

Lee Malrang: MONSTA X's Wonho, Wanna One's Kang Daniel, and (G)I-DLE's Jeon Soyeon. The two people mentioned above are my ideal type, and (smile) Jeon So-yeon is my role model.

Wonho is my absolute faourite artist in K-pop, while Kang Daniel is also in my top five soloists. They would also be up their as my top choices as well. ~ Ford

And one last quick-fire question: what song are you currently playing on repeat, and why?

Damjun: The song I'm into these days in Megan Thee Stallion's "Body".

I love the way she uses rhymes, her rap vocalisation, and her character as an MC.

In fact, I once did my graduate school homework of analysing the composition, code progression, rhythm, genre, instrument source, lyrics, singing style, harmony arrangement, mixing method, etc. of all the top songs on the chart.

At first, the professor told me to analyse everything in a week, so I complained because I had too much assignment. But after completing my homework, I thought it was essential to know the trend as a composer and singer.

So starting in 2020, we're going to divide the first and second half of the year to analyse all the musical elements of Korea's Gaon Chart and the Top 40 Billboard Chart in the U.S., and this is annoying and a headache, but it's fun to know the music market trend over the past six months.

Now that January is approaching, the time to do that cumbersome homework is approaching. My hope is that the music of LIONESSES will be included in the top songs on the chart that I have to analyse every second and second half of the year. Since I made this song, I will have less time to analyse it. (Laughs).

Foxman: It's JeA and Lee Young Hyun's "Harmony". The lyrics are really touching. It's a song that I always listen to whenever I have a hard time. ^^ Please focus on the lyrics and listen to it.

Kanghan: The songs I usually listen to are Sohyang's songs.

Lee Malrang: Jeon Inkwon - "Fish"

The lyrics are like talking about my life as a queer. In fact, every moment of becoming a singer, doing art, and whatever I did was a struggle to live. Living with even a minority means that it is difficult to become a normal life, so the lyrics of this song are like my heart.

My favourite phase is "with everything that was lacking, overflowing".

Even the backup singer of the song was So Chan-hwi, one of Korea's top female rock vocalists famous for "Tears".

Thank you for going through those rapid-fire questions with me. Now, it's time to get a little more in-depth. While the situation in South Korea is steadily improving for the LGBTQIA+ community, the nation is still not the most accepting of the community. However, as a gay man myself, I can't begin to describe how exciting it is to see members of my community represented in the music I love most. What does it mean for each of you to be a representative in the South Korean music industry for young LGBT+ people and someone for them to look up to?

Damjun: One of my favourite singers, Fantasia, a representative R&B singer in the United States, was a single mother suffering from hardships of life until she won the "American Idol".

And she became a successful singer and put a song called "Baby Mama" in her album. Comforting how hard it is to live as a single mother in American society, she described American single mothers as "us" like herself.

The first verse of the song's lyrics is "it's time for us to have our own song". I have always engraved that phrase in my heart. And I also thought, "It's time for us to have our own songs."

As a result, I am the happiest person through this album.

If I hadn't met my beloved fans and members, I wouldn't have known how much I was it? Thank you to my members and DEN for making this the best year of my life. (But I think this will be updated every year).

Foxman: It's not known yet, and I think there's a lot I don't know yet.

By studying together and constantly talking about being "alive", I would like to play a role in making this society familiar with us as it is mentioned that people like us exist steadily, even if they are not necessarily familiar with everyone.

Kanghan: Thank you so much for asking good, and meaningful questions.

In fact, I thought I should study about my gender identity and sexual orientation.

Because everyone, including me, deserves to be loved, so I want everyone to know the great feeling of love.

So I also hope that it will be a society where I study about the feeling of love and proudly say that I love someone.

Lee Malrang: It's like losing a cross. But maybe because I've been through this hatred for a long time, I'm used to it. However, I decided to wear a cotton crown, so I'm going to endure it well.

Throughout the music video for your debut song "Show Me Your Pride", Damjun is the only member to show his face on camera. So, for Damjun, is there any particular reason that you chose to reveal your face in the music video? And, for the other members, is there a reason for keeping your face behind the mask, and do you have any intentions to unmask in future music videos?

Damjun: I actually took off my mask at the end of the music video to express the theme of "Coming Out" musically.

In fact, I was already a little known singer, and thousands of photos of my face were already posted on my Instagram. (Laughs)

However, I want to give more meaning to the act of wearing this mask than the act of taking off the mask. The meaning of this mask is not just a camouflage to hide its identity, but because it means, "All the people under this mask are a group of Lionesses with us".

The team's name, LIONESSES, is also derived from the fact that the strongest thing in the Savannah Plain is the top predators and Lions hunting in groups. It may be weak if Lionesses are separated one by one, but if they are in a group no one will attack us.

I want to be a group that protects each other, including not only the four of us, but also those who listen to and sympathise with our music wearing this mask. So even after taking off the mask in the music video, I am wearing a mask on YouTube content. This mask is also a symbol of solidarity that makes us ourselves.

And in fact, everyone didn't take off their masks because they didn't want to blame themselves for the reality that "people who still have to protect themselves in the closet door" could not come out. Someone has to say, "There are people like you, and it's not your fault, and you still deserve a pride".

Of course, I actually want that member to be the complete protagonist of the song when there is an event to take off the mask, so I keep writing songs all night long to write the best song for each person. (Laughs)

Foxman: I'm also waiting for the perfect song to take off my mask, and I think it's the most appropriate time when LIONESSES grows further and I have to focus on this as a full-time job. I believe that opportunities will come one by one.

Kanghan: To answer this question, you need to know why our team name is LIONESSES. The team name was given by leader DAMJUN, and many people know that the king of the Savannah is a lion, but it was named because they were impressed to see LIONESS hunting in groups.

And the mask we wear also symbolises the "face of Lioness", which means rather than thinking of it as a mask for us, we hope that the mask will become a mask for LGBTQ in Korea and come into the LIONESS group, not for LGBTQ individuals, and gain positive energy from us.

Lee Malrang: First of all, I'm looking at the time more.

Wouldn't it be more fun for the public to expect one by one than to disclose them all at once? Enjoy DAMJUN's performance now.

If I take off my mask, the world will turn upside down.

A lot of work must go into writing a song, producing the music, and deciding on the line distribution. How do the four of you work together when it comes to the creative process behind making a song, and when do you know when the song is finished and ready to be released?

Damjun: First of all, I control the technical things in music, but from the new song that will be released in March or April next year, all four of us are driving together. After discussing the message, style, and direction of music that the lyrics want to say together to draw a conclusion, it's not that difficult technically for a person with expertise in writing, composing, and producing the necessary lyrics.

In particular, we have Zantin, the best beatmaker. (Laughs)

When I work with an arranger with a very different musical background or taste, the composer keeps asking for corrections, and when things get longer, I'm embarrassed and just say okay even if I'm not satisfied, but Zantin is a beatmaker that embodies the sound I was drawing in my head better than I thought.

It's lucky to be able to collaborate with such a compatible artist. I don't want to let go of his hand for the rest of my life. (Laughs)

In other words, it was an answer that slightly leaked information about the next song. Loo forward to April next year.

Foxman: As we talk a lot about the society we felt while living with LGBTQ+ and the perspectives and prejudices of society toward us, I think there is a natural source to write songs.

For songs with rap, DAMJUN tends to start making rap to the rhythm after simply completing the melody and lyrics. Show me your lead and the next new song, the rap flow is naturally created with a little more pop feel. (Laughs)

Kanghan: In fact, I'm not familiar with this kind of work. The process of making classical music and the process of making pop music is really different. (Smile). So I'm sharing opinions as an opera vocalist with DAMJUN who's been through both sides and studying how to digest it as pop music.

Lee Malrang: We exchange a lot of opinions with each other, and DAMJUN makes it into a song. I'm expecting the next song around April.

A new song or two in April sounds like an absolute great bit of news for Den. ~ Ford

I now have some specific questions for each of you individually. The first one is for Damjun. You have previously mentioned that yourself and other members get strength from reading comments from fans. Is there any particular comment you have read that sticks in your mind as the most memorable? If so, what comment was it, and what about it gives you strength?

Damjun: All the comments are too thankful for me. Especially, it's amazing that foreign fans sympathise with the lyrics and say they like it. I and FOXMAN wrote the lyrics in Korean and translated them as much as I could (although English and Japanese were inspected after I translated them), but of course, I translated them poorly and put them in subtitles rather than the real translators, but fortunately, they worked.

["Show Me Your Pride"] One of the comments in the music video:

"The lyrics truly spoke to me, as someone who grew up with oppression in my life because of my sexuality, this song is a beautiful anthem. I wish I had this when I was younger, and I wish I had that courage sooner. Thank you, truly."

There was a comment like this.

I got emotional when I saw this comment, because I needed a singer like LIONESSES even for a young eighteen-year-old.

If there was such a lighthouse, I wouldn't have taken the opportunity by making silly choices. This comment seemed like something I was saying to myself.

A question now for Foxman. At thirty years of age, this makes you one of the older idols to debut in a K-pop group this year. Although debuting younger and younger idols seems to be becoming the norm in the South Korean music industry, do you think there's something to be seen in debuting older idols who have had more life experiences and can bring these experiences to their singing and music?

Foxman: It is regrettable that K-pop idols are limited to age.

They have to enter the competition at a young age, and I've felt the sense of failure more than anyone else when they didn't succeed in the competition.

I would like to inform young trainees who have fallen behind in competition and are in a sense of loss, that "age is not all, and life experiences are also important to you".

Also, I want to help children who have a hard time and have a lot of worries because of their gender identity at a young age.

My next question is for Kanghan. You have studied opera, and have already used your operatic tones in your first release as a group. What is it about opera that attracted you to study and learn it, and do you have a favourite opera you would like to share with your fans?

Kanghan: The reason I studied counter tenor was because I had experience in choirs since I was young, and through that experience, I naturally studied opera.

My favourite opera is Mozart's "Le note di Figaro". I played the role of Cherubino in this opera.

"Le note di Figaro" translates to "The Marriage of Figaro", and is considered one of the greatest operas ever written. The role of Cherubino is to be the page of Count Almaviva, and is one of the characters central to the opera. ~ Ford

And, of course, I also have a question for Lee Malrang. There is a six year age difference between yourself and Foxman, and a large age difference between yourself and the other members of the group. What have your older members been able to teach you about making music and about life in general, and is there any wisdom that you have been able to impart on them as well?

Lee Malrang: At first, I thought I'd only be cute because I was the youngest. (Laughs). I'm busy acting as a brother among the older members these days. (Laughs). I'm just kidding.

Through FOXMAN, we learn that the mindset that artists should have, how to manage themselves through HAN, and that DAMJUN involves much more labour than expected for a project.

DAMJUN knows how to handle everything technical needed to make and work on the team's music, so I think it's still maintained. I'm always thankful to the members.

Your debut single, "Show Me Your Pride", is about coming out and facing homophobia. This undoubtedly resonates with many of your fans. How much does this song mean to each of you, especially when it comes to considering your own coming out stories and the homophobia you have faced in the past?

Damjun: Actually, we need one person who says this, right? "You are a person who shines like a star", or "Tomorrow, the sun of tomorrow rises."

It's also a story about me in the past. Wouldn't I have made a slightly different choice if I had been comforted by these words in the past? That's what I think.

What's interesting is that I made this song. Right?

Even before this song was released I had to listen to it tens of thousands of times for recording, music mixing, music video shooting, video editing, and subtitles.

A few days ago, I had a little mental difficulty, so I sat in the car with a sigh and started the engine. By the way, Bluetooth audio is automatically connected to my car and "Show Me Your Pride" is automatically played. So I was just listening.

Then, FOXMAN said, "Tomorrow, the sun will rise". It's brighter than today's. You don't have to hide or try to avoid it. "The bright sun is on our side," he rapped, and I suddenly got choked up because it seemed like a word to me. That was the most fascinating.

I want to make you think, "Im a good person enough to hear this from someone".

Foxman: I know that it is greed to want everyone to like us, just as each person likes something and dislikes something. However, I wanted to say, "We are alive like this", and "We are the same people."

Some people do "coming out" right now, and some people still have to stay in the closet, but if you think about the hard work a little bit, and if you can think of it as a festival, it would be very grateful.

Kanghan: I think homophobia will continue to exist.

I don't think the controversy will stop if we force attention and love without acknowledging and understanding each other.

In fact, I don't remember feeling pain from coming out in the past. Because my friends have loved and hugged me so far. For my family, I haven't come out yet, but if I have to come out some day, I will be a person who can overcome the wound.

And actually, I don't want to force my fans to come out. I just want to tell you to love yourself in the process of getting to know yourself.

And I can't bear all the wounds or pain of my fans, but I hope that the mere reason we exist while doing music like this will be a help to you.

Lee Malrang: In fact, I didn't have to come out. (Laughter). There is a Korean slang word called "Walk-com", which means "Walking Out". In fact, because I'm that "Walk-com", I got a lot of stinging eyes and there were people who hated me for no reason.

For me, this song is really liberating. In fact, shortly after the release of this song, DAMJUN cried and said, "We're a group that came out, but I don't want you to be criticized because you're more misunderstood for being too much", so coming out is both a horror and a great courage for queer.

But the moment I opened the door of the closet and came out, I think it was also goodbye to the fear that surrounded us (actually without substance). We felt it at the Seoul Drag Cabaret, which was performed in December.

Despite debuting just two months ago, you have already skyrocketed to international attention as a group. Did you ever expect that as a group you would become this famous or receive this much attention, and what has the experience been like for you?

Damjun: Who could have predicted it? (Laughter). For the first time in my life, I had an experience asking my friends because I didn't know what country they were talking about with a heart emoji.

However, compared to other K-pop teams, we have fewer human resources and budgets, so it would have been nice to upload more content and communicate with fans more, but we are always sorry for not being able to do so.

Of course, I want to buy Malrang a building of his favourite tteokbokki restaurant, allow HAN to hold a solo concert at the Sydney Opera House, and make FOXMAN a successful idol that keeps coming out no matter what channel he turns on when he turns on the TV.

That's why I want DEN to be able to see us more comfortably on our live stages, content that we can communicate with fans, entertainment shows, movies, and anywhere.

I decided not to die until I achieve it, so wouldn't I be able to live until I'm 200 years old? (Laughs).

Foxman: No, I didn't imagine that at all.

Thank you for loving us much more than we thought, so we hope to meet those expectations in the future. Please look forward to it and wait for the next song. We love you.

Kanghan: I didn't know I would receive so much love. I'm just grateful and I feel new every day and I can't believe it. Thank you so much to everyone who loves us.

Lee Malrang: No, I didn't expect it at all. We were just planning to "satisfaction with making a work that we were satisfied with". (Laughs). I think everything that happened to us has been accomplished by you who loved this song.

In fact, when I first received global attention, I was embarrassed, and I was a little surprised, so there was a little conflict within the team, but thanks to that, I think we became a stronger and harder team like a family.

Now, we are trying to return the love we received from our fans several times. (Laughs).

You recently took part in the Christmas Seoul Drag Cabaret show, and member Kanghan is also a drag queen by the name of Rooya. What was this experience like, and what was the support that you received from the Seoul drag community?

Damjun: First of all, it was my first time meeting DEN, so I was very nervous.

was always someone else's song in the recording studio, and I thought everything would never happen to me, such as "a fan waving an electronic display with our team name on it," "a crowd singing along with my songs," and "a bouquet of congratulations after the performance." The performances of the drag artists I performed with (especially my favorite drag star, Faiona!) were so cool.

The most proud thing was that half of the admission fee revenue for the Seoul Drag Cabaret Show, which we participated in on December 12 and 25, will be donated to "Dingdong," a foundation that supports the independence of LGBTQ+ teenagers in Korea.

was able to spend my adolescence safely because I accepted that I was gay at home, but I know that there are far more families who are not. That's why on a cold day like today (it's -10 degrees Celsius in Korea right now when I'm answering the interview), I thought it was too harsh for LGBTQ+ young children who had to leave their homes. I'm proud that they worked as adults so that they can safely become adults.

Foxman: I was really grateful that I was able to communicate with the audience through live for the first time, and I was more reassured to have colleagues with me.

Kanghan: That's right. I'm also drag queen ROOYA.

So this Seoul drag cabaret performance gave me a lot of energy. Obviously, I thought that energy would be a great positive force when I sang, and I was able to always remember the audience's support when I announced LIONESSES at the Seoul Drag cabaret performance and dream about out future.

Lee Malrang: It was such a grateful experience, and at the same time, it was an impressive memory.

It was really nice to have face-to-face time with fans for the first time. Hurricane Kimchi planned this concert! Thank you so much!

Your most recent musical release, "Christmas Miracle", has already been a hit, with the music video being seen more than 5,000 times in less than two weeks, and features a gay couple putting up a Christmas tree together. What is the message that you hope to impart with this song?

Damjun: "Christmas Miracle" has two main messages. "Ordinary Daily Life" and "Miracle".

In East Asian countries where Christianity's cultural influence is relatively weak, such as Korea and Japan, Christmas is just a romantic holiday to spend time with lovers. On the other hand, in Western countries with a strong cultural influence of Christianity, Christmas has a cultural code called "Miracle Day where what we desperately hoped for comes true" that stems from "the birth of Jesus". I wanted to mix these two elements into one.

Hugging a lover in the subway, kissing a lover in an open place, and loving in a bright place are natural things for someone, but miracles must happen to someone.

I drew a world where "loving without worrying" was achieved, but the reality is not, so I think this can sounds like a "sad paradox" to someone. However, I hope it works as a signal of hope.

I often talked with the members, "If this day doesn't come, et's make the world like that through this song". (Laughs)

Foxman: In fact, we want to make pretty love on the street, but we wanted to paradoxically express through the music video that it is only possible at home, a safe place because of gaze and hatred.

Kanghan: As for "Christmas Miracle", everyone actually wants a miracle on Christmas, but we just want to "love".

We sang hoping that there would be a world where love is covered by hated and a world where we can say love is love.

Lee Malrang: Christian spirit is love, right? I think achieving "it" in this song is too biblical in a way. I can't believe that DAMJUN, who made this song, is not Christian.

I'm attending church diligently. (Laughs).

Many members of your fandom, Den, are also members of the LGBTQIA+ community, both from within South Korea and Asia, as well as from around the world. If you could share an important piece of advice to them, or give them a message, what would it be?

Damjun: Especially to young LGBTQIA+, I want to tell them not to give up their dreams because of fear. I hope you don't miss a good opportunity to achieve your dream just because I'm a "person like this", not because of your talent or your fault.

I hope you dream, always try to sharpen your skills, and catch the opportunity when you have a chance.

If there is still a had fight in the world, we will face it all first.

Foxman: Like lyrics "Tomorrow, the tommorow's sun will rise". "It's brighter than today's". "It's darkest time just before dawn".

You're probably having a hard time, or you've passed, but better experiences and happiness are waiting for you in the future, so I hope you live well together! Let's cheer up together!

Kanghan: For LGBTQIA+, who will be overcoming difficult times day by day, it is blessed to know your identity. I hope you don't get scared by the gaze of the world and don't have to suffer all the pain and wounds from the world.

I always love you, don't compare yourself to others, and I hope you become a person who takes good care of yourself.If you do that, I really want to tell you that you will be a beautiful person one more day.

And our pride, it will always make you shine!! Also, I would like to say that you don't have to show off on purpose and that you are beatiful as you are now. But if you want to show off, you can show off as much as you want. Because all of that is part of you!

Lee Malrang: I want to say one thing. "Nothing is more precious than your life". Once you live, you can see or feel a more hopeful future. Above all, I think we can focus on "surviving" and take pride in "surviving".

I hope you can meet a professional counselor or spend time smiling with good friends rather than groaning alone when facing a difficult situation. I'll make a lot of good music for you for a long time. Let's all survive well to hear that.

In the past, when we interviewed YouTube commentary channels Midnight Theories and Jihoons Carat, they recommended another YouTuber that people should check out. We thought we'd extend a similar invitation to yourselves. So, if there was one other K-pop group or soloist you would recommend for people to check out, who would it be and why?

Damjun: I would like to recommend the music of Korean jazz vocalist "Naakyeom".

Foxman: I recommend the Korean piano YouTuber "Bammat". He is a classical pianist.

I am always inspired by his passionate performance, and I hope that someday there will be an opportunity to collaborate in the music of LIONESSES.

Kanghan: I recommend Park Hye-sang, a Korean genuis soprano.

Lee Malrang: Ho Yeonju, she's a legend.

I'm going to have to check out ll four of your recommendations. Thank you for those! ~ Ford

Thank you so much for taking the time to go through this interview with us! For one final question, do you have any news, sneak preview information about upcoming videos, or anything else at all you would like to share with your fans?

Damjun: We are working hard to release a new song, and before that, we are going to create content that can communicate with fans and learn more about us.

It's time for DEN to enjoy entertainment shows like other K-pop fans, with LIONESSES. (Laughs)

Foxman: First of all, we are planning to release a new song in April. Among them, if possible, we are working to release one more song. What was confirmed in the first half of 2022 could be two or up to three songs!

Dear DEN, I'm sure everyone is having a hard time due to COVID-19, but please take care of yourself and one day I want to hug each of you face to face. I love you >_<

Kanghan: When DAMJUN releases a full-length album, he wants to shoot pictorials, put photo cards, and do everything he needs to do, but I think that's the most fun. (Laughs)

Lee Malrang: There's a lot I want to say about the new song, but composer DAMJUN kept covering my mouth. (Laughs)

According to DAMJUN, it's "My favourite song that I've written so far".

If you haven't already, you should absolutely check out Lionesses' music, including their debut single "Show Me Your Pride" and Christmas single "Christmas Miracle". Both of these music videos are in the above article.

You can also check out their Twitter @lionesses.official and their Instagram @lionesses.official

Once again, we here at KpopWise would like to thank Damjun, Foxman, Kanghan, and Lee Malrang from Lionesses for taking the time out of their busy schedule to interview with us.

All images in the above interview article were sourced from Lionesses official Instagram account.

Ford Carter

Ford Carter is an online blogger studying journalism who's hundreds of articles across half a dozen fansites from the music and television industries have now been read more than 300,000 times. From his home in regional Australia, you'll often find him binging kdramas or rewatching old editions of the Eurovision Song Contest.

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