[EXCLUSIVE] Interview: 20 Questions with YouTube's Briczennie

"Just a millennial czennie/nctzen + K-pop multi-fan who creates weekly multi-fandom K-pop content!"

I recently got the opportunity to sit down and interview with my third K-pop YouTube commentator in this ongoing interview series. Once again, this YouTuber was recommended from my previous interview (you can check out our chat with Jihoons Carat here). Nearing 4,000,000 views across their YouTube videos, they've managed to garner almost 25,000 subscribers.

Today, we talk with Briana, more commonly known as Briczennie from YouTube, in an exclusive interview covering their frank discussion of the controversies and situations within the South Korean music industry, some of their unpopular K-pop opinions, as well as their coverage of recent popular Mnet series "Kingdom: Legendary War" and "Girls Planet 999".

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 being recommended your channel, I've subscribed to and hit the notification button for new uploads. But for those readers who may not have heard of yourself or your work before, would you like to start by introducing yourself and discussing a little about your channel?

Hi, I'm Briczennie (bri-czennie), or Bri for short. I've been a longtime K-pop fan for the past ten years or so, and I decided to start making K-pop content on YouTube towards the end of 2019. I would consider myself a K-pop commentary channel, and my content ranges from news, commentary on trending topics in K-pop, and sometimes even K-tube trends like "unpopular K-pop opinions" videos.

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 is your favourite K-pop group or soloist, and why?

My current favourite K-pop group is NCT, specifically NCT 127. I'm a huge fan of SM artists, and I feel that NCT is a group that really captures SM's sound. SM has some of the best producers in my opinion, and the R&B and hip-hop influences in a lot of their artists' music really resonates with me. I also love their concept of three fixed units and one rotational unit (NCT U), with a concept of unlimited members. I think it's very innovative and interesting.

Besides their concept, I absolutely love NCT's music, especially NCT 127. I think NCT 127 has some of the best vocalists in the industry, and I love how they can go from tear-jerking R&B ballads to noisy dance anthems like "Sticker" or "Cherry Bomb". I'm probably drawn to them because I've been a fan of other SM artists, like SHINee, EXO, and SNSD for so long.

My favourite soloist is definitely Taemin. I've been a fan of SHINee since their debut, so I've seen Taemin grow from SHINee's maknae to an artist with his own distinctive style. His discography is extensive and amazing, he has a beautiful voice, and I think any K-pop fan will admit he's one of the best dancers the K-pop industry has seen. I'm looking forward to see what he does next when he is released from the military!

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

A group that I love and think is super underrated is A.C.E. Whenever this topic comes up on my channel, I make sure to mention them. They debuted with Cactus in 2017 and still haven't gotten one single music show win. They come from a small company called Beat Interactive, but I think their discography is great, plus they have amazing vocalists and dancers. They're just a very well-rounded group with amazing music and I wish more people knew about them! I would definitely recommend listening to "Undercover", "Slow Dive", "Take Me Higher", "Callin'", "Favourite Boys", or "Atlantis" if you want to check them out.

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

My earliest K-pop memory is watching K-pop music videos at my best friend's house when I was in middle school. At the time, I had heard K-pop before accidentally through YouTube recommendations after watching anime openings, but my friend formally introduced me to the second gen groups that ended up getting me into K-pop, such as SNSD, BIG BANG, SHINee, and 2NE1.

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

This is a very hard question lol. I don't think I can definitively choose one idol. Part of me wants to pick Taeyong, because I think our personalities are similar in some ways, and based on what I've observed on how he leads his twenty-two members, he seems like a good-hearted person and I would like to pick his brain about his work ethic and leadership skills.

But I would also like to talk to Taemin, because I love his discography and the way he performs and I have so much respect for his artistry, so I would love to pick his brain about his music, dancing, concepts, etc.

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

"OK!" by NCT U. I've been obsessed with this song since the "Universe" album dropped. I love the trap/drill vibes it gives off. It's just so catchy and "my baby says she wanna dance with a ghost" has been stuck in my head for weeks!!!

Thank you for going through those rapid-fire questions with me. Now, it's time to get a little more in-depth. With a steadily growing channel, and almost 25,000 subscribers to date, you are fast on your way to becoming one of the more recognisable channels in the YouTube K-pop commentary community. What is it about your channel that you think that has K-pop fans gravitate towards it?

I've had a lot of my viewers tell me that I'm quite unbiased and level-headed, and I honestly think that is why my viewers come back video after video. I try my best to be honest and genuine, even when I'm covering touchy topics, and I think they really appreciate that. I also try to cover topics that K-pop fans really care about and want to hear people's opinions about, and I think that's been essential in growing my channel as well.

Your videos cover such a wide range of topics, from scandals, to unboxing videos, to even making your own unpopular opinion videos. You've covered survival shows, Mnet controversies, and videos where you react to the opinions of your viewers. Do you think that having such diversity in your content is what brings in so many viewers to your channel? And what is it that made you decide to have so many different types of videos rather than sticking with a niche?

I do think that variety creates a lot of interest in my channel. I think a lot of viewers enjoy coverage of things like survival shows and controversies, and they also like to hear differing opinions on certain subjects regarding topics in K-pop. I think my content, especially my videos where I cover controversies and/or give my opinions on issues, gets people thinking and creates discussion.

I initially started off as a K-pop reaction channel, but I found that I personally enjoyed commentary and opinion pieces better (and it seems that my audience does as well) so I think that will continue to be the focus of my channel, although I may do the occasional unboxing here and there in the near future!

Controversial subjects in the K-pop community bring with them controversy and backlash. Some of these situations which you have covered have included WayV's Lucas cheating allegations, BLACKSWAN's Fatou and Leia debacle, and the bullying scandals from earlier this year that included Stray Kids' Hyunjin amongst others. These topics must be incredibly difficult to make videos on, especially if they are still ongoing at the time. How do you go about making these particular videos, and why do you not shy away from the topics other YouTubers can be hesitant to cover?

Whenever I cover these issues, I try to first give the viewers information without injecting any of my potential personal bias and I also try to remain level-headed. Then at the end of the videos, I usually give my personal opinion on the situation, and ask the viewers to come to their own conclusion on what they think about the issue. With ongoing controversies, I think integrity is very important. I see a lot of YouTubers that cover issues, for example, a controversy where an idol is accused of something, but those YouTubers will not come back later with an update once that idol is cleared later on. When I cover controversial issues, like the BLACKSWAN controversy you mentioned, I always try to give my viewers the full story, from beginning to end, not just the initial allegations. I don't stray from covering these issues because I think that these topics should be discussed among K-pop fans, and I think it's great that I'm able to use my platform to create discussion.

This is honestly one of the things I find the most admirable about your channel. Your dedication to seeing a topic through to the end, including reporting on the spread of misinformation, and what the eventual outcome is, even if it is to the opposite of whatever fans believe. If more YouTube commentary channels did this, there would be more well-informed K-pop stans out there. ~ Ford

Covering many of your videos - such as ones regarding recent controversies or recently aired episodes of shows such as "Kingdom: Legendary War" or "Girls Planet 999" - would require an intense amount of study in an incredibly short amount of time. How much time do you spend researching your videos, and what is your script-writing process like?

It really depends on the video, to be honest. For my video series like "Kingdom: Legendary War" or "Girls Planet 999", my research would just entail watching the episodes, summarising them or highlighting points from the episodes that I find valuable, and then coming up with a script. Sometimes I might also go to Twitter or Reddit to see what other viewers are saying about the episodes, and include that input in my video as well. My scripts vary - they can be bullet points that just serve as talking points as I do my voiceover, or they could be a detailed script that I read word for word. I usually do word for word scripts when I'm making a video that requires a lot of details and facts that I need to get right. So, on average, my research usually doesn't take more than a few hours. The lengthiest and most tedious part of content creation for me is the editing phase.

Unboxing videos and even opinion videos aren't likely to take as much time create as videos on the recent bullying scandals or the Stray Kids' Woojin allegations from last year. Could you go through a description of the full itinerary regarding making one of your videos from beginning to end for us?

Once I decide on a topic, I conduct any research that's needed, such as collecting and reading sources and summarising the points I want to make. After that, I usually come up with a script and record my voice or record with my camera, depending on if it's a voiceover or facecam video. Next, I need to edit, which includes editing the voice recording or clips from my camera, plus editing in any other video clips, images, or music that I need for the video. Lastly, I usually check the video one last time for any possible mistakes and upload to YouTube!

While they were on the air, you covered each episode of Mnet's "Kingdom: Legendary War" and "Girls Planet 999". How were these videos different from each other to make, and how were they different from your usual videos to make? What made you decide to cover these survival shows on an episodic basis to begin with?

The "Girls Planet 999" videos were definitely more tedious to create, especially in the beginning, due to the ninety-nine contestants, whereas "Kingdom: Legendary War" was a bit easier to create content for, since the show involved already established idol groups, many of which I was already very familiar with. The "Girls Planet 999" episodes also tended to be a lot longer on average with much more details that I needed to pay attention to, so the script writing process took a little longer than it did for "Kingdom: Legendary War". The difference between creating content for these survival shows versus other videos I make, was mainly that I was in a bit of a time crunch. I needed to create weekly videos for each episode, preferably within a few days of the episodes being released, on top of taking the time to watch the episodes, which is where my time management skills were definitely put to the test! I also needed to get clips from the episodes, take my own screenshots, etc., so these videos were definitely more complex to create when compared to my usual videos.

I decided to cover "Kingdom: Legendary War" because I'm a huge boy group stan, and I'm also an ATINY, so I wanted to watch and root for ATEEZ (ATEEZ present!). I had also seen clips of Mnet's "Road to Kingdom", and I thought the performances, specifically from The Boyz, were amazing, so I wanted to watch and participate in "Kingdom: Legendary War" in real time. I was also very familiar with the other boy groups involved, so I thought it would be a really cool idea to watch, see them interact with each other, and create content based on my commentary and opinions on the show as a whole, as well as the performances.

"Kingdom: Legendary War" was actually the first Mnet survival show I had ever watched, and the video series I created for it is hands down some of the content on my channel that I'm most proud of. Since I had so much fun watching and creating content for "Kingdom: Legendary War", creating a series for "Girls Planet 999" just felt natural.

While watching a back catalogue of your videos, certain controversial topics stood out to me as ones that I had also followed for most of their cycles. One of your most popular videos covers WayV's Lucas and his cheating scandal that came out earlier this year, while another topic you've covered in a few videos that also stood out was regarding former Stray Kids' member Kim Woojin. Many people have found both of these controversies particularly interesting. What is it about these two in particular that attracted so much interest, and why did you choose to make multiple videos on both of these topics?

I think with both of these scandals, the allegations were so shocking that it naturally trended and attracted a lot of people's interest. I hate to say it, but sometimes negative news gets people talking more than positive news . . .

For Woojin, I made so many videos on him because the story kept developing, and I saw that many K-pop fans did not have the full story. There was so much misinformation circulating about Woojin on the internet, so I made those videos to clarify what was going on and give facts rather than regurgitating the popular narratives that you see on Twitter and TikTok. I also have great subscribers who reached out to me as the story was developing, and pointed me in the right direction when it came to making content, such as informing me when Woojin's company, 10x Entertainment, released their documentary, "Finger Killers".

As far as Lucas, I continued to make more videos about him as I received more information. Like I mentioned before, I like to give my viewers the full story of a controversy, rather than just reporting on the initial allegations and letting it go. LUMIS (Lucas' fandom) reached out to me with more information as they continued their investigation, and I was happy to report on their findings for my audience to review and draw their own opinions. I'm also a nctzen, so I felt that it would be strange and perhaps even ingenuine to not talk about the Lucas situation at all, since NCT is my ult group and I cover so many other K-pop controversies on my channel.

I must admit that it can be rather disturbing how quickly these fake news and uncorroborated stories can be spread throughout the K-pop community, and how often these stories are never followed up when the eventual truth comes out. There are still fans in the K-pop community who believe all of the outrageous allegations made against idols such as Kim Woojin that have since been disproven. ~ Ford

You've made a few videos covering NCT Hollywood over the year, including what it means about the future and the globalisation of K-pop, why it isn't necessarily a bad idea, and the possibility of a TV show about it. It's certainly a divisive subject, but one that hasn't been covered by many YouTubers. What do you think NCT Hollywood means for a globalising music industry, and why do you think it's important for more people to be on board with the idea?

To be honest, I think it's a bit too early to tell what NCT Hollywood would mean as far as globalising K-pop and continuing the expansion of the genre in the west. SM Entertainment still hasn't released much info about the project yet, so it's hard for me to make a solid prediction. We do know that it's being produced and worked on by MGM and the team who worked on the vocal survival show "The Voice", so the fact that it could be on a major western TV network could potentially reach an audience that might not already be tapped into K-pop, thus expanding K-pop's reach.

I'm guessing NCT Hollywood would be another NCT unit that would focus on promoting in the West, but I'm not so sure. What I can say is I think this is another one of SM's attempts to tap into the Western music industry - we've seen it before with SuperM. I don't necessarily want to say that I think fans should 100% be on board because we still aren't so sure what to expect, but I would encourage them to not so quickly rule out NCT Hollywood yet, since we don't have all the details. If you're a fan of NCT, you know their concept, and you know their whole modus operandi is to be an expanding global group with limitless members, so it only makes sense that something similar to NCT Hollywood would eventually happen. Although I do understand some nctzen's frustration with this project happening before NCT Japan!

Anybody who's watched any of your videos would know that you take on board the commentary and feedback of your viewers on a regular basis, and have included the opinions of your viewers in videos in the past as well. What made you decide to include the viewers so regularly in your content, and do you think that it's something more K-pop YouTubers should be considering when they make content?

I think one of the most important things about being a content creator is engaging with your community. For me, taking their feedback and including their input in my content is a great way to do that. On top of that, my viewers are great and have so many insightful things to say! I would definitely advise any K-pop YouTuber or content creator in general to look to your audience and get their feedback and input. It's extremely helpful, and listening to what type of content they'd like to see from you will help your platform thrive as well.

Where other YouTubers have started taking on the trend of increasingly lengthy, sometimes feature-length videos, many of your own videos have stayed within the traditional ten to twenty minutes. Is the idea of an hour-long plus video something you've entertained or would even consider? And why do you choose to keep your videos at the more common shorter length?

I have seen the longer formatted videos on YouTube and I think they're great! Personally for me, ten to twenty minutes is usually all I need to get my point across. However, if I ever decided to tackle a content that required a lot of lengthy, in-depth research, I would definitely consider doing a longer video.

What would you consider to be some of the craziest and most outlandish scandals to have ever come out of the South Korean music industry? And which is the scnadal that you've followed the most closely and taken the most interest in, and why?

Although he's now a Chinese idol and no longer associated with K-pop, the Kris Wu scandal blew me away. I've followed EXO since their debut, and even enjoyed some of Wu's solo music after he parted from the group, so seeing him arrested for such horrible crimes was shocking. I've seen a lot of idols accused of various things, but this time, actual crimes were involved and the idol was actually arrested. To me, Wu's scandal was just another reminder that as a fan, you don't truly know your idol, you only know the version of the idol that is marketed to you.

With more than a hundred videos on your channel, covering K-pop opinions, survival shows, and all of the most controversial news in between, there is sure to be something for almost any K-pop stan to watch. During your time making these videos, you must have had some interesting experiences. What sticks out as your favourite video that you've made? And what would you consider to be the most interesting or exciting moment you've had while making these videos?

Sorry for the pun, but one of my favourite videos that I've ever made is "NCT 127 Favorite (Vampire) | Review & Analysis". I loved NCT 127's title track so much that I just had to make a video to rave about it. In the video, I basically review and analyse "Favorite", from the concept teasers, to the song itself, including the production and lyrics, and lastly the music video. If you're a fan of NCT or you like music reviews and analysis videos, I would definitely recommend that you check it out, because I'm really proud of it.

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

I would definitely recommend the channel KpopHottakes. Micah runs the channel, and hes also the owner of the K-pop reaction channel Koko3op. I love Micah's KpopHottakes channel because he gives great commentary on K-pop, such as ranking his favourite vocalists in the industry, his favourite choreography, and his top fourth gen boy groups. Micah is also a huge SM artist stan like me, so if you want to see videos on SM greats like SHINee, Taemin, and EXO, I would definitely check out his channel. He always has interesting and insightful things to say about K-pop, and he's definitely one of my favourite K-pop YouTubers to watch.

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?

As far as some insight on an upcoming video, I'm currently working on a video in which I give advice to new K-pop YouTubers or individuals who want to start a K-pop YouTube channel and aren't exactly sure where to begin, so if that sounds like something you're interested in, definitely look out for it. It may be uploaded by the time this interview is published. Most importantly, I just want to say thank you to all of my subscribers and viewers. I started this channel for fun, and this year I gained about 20,000 subscribers, which I totally didn't expect so I'm extremely grateful!

I would also like to specifically thank my Discord server members and staff team. They are my core supporters and I appreciate them so much! I'd like to encourage anyone reading to check out my Discord server. We have about a little over 1,500 members at this point and it's a fun, safe community to talk to other K-pop fans and stay up to date with my channel. We're a very active community and have weekly events, such as our weekly K-pop listening parties. And lastly, I'd like to thank KpopWise for the interview and Jihoon's Carat for recommending me! It was a lot of fun and I appreciate the opportunity!

If you haven't already, you should absolutely check out Briczennie's YouTube channel here, and watch some of their great variety of commentary videos, including their videos on some of the most controversial topics in the South Korean music industry.

You can also check out their Twitter @brixelizabeth.

You can also check out the Discord server mentioned above at the following link: https://discord.gg/briczennie.

Once again, we here at KpopWise would like to thank Briana from Briczennie for taking the time out of their day to interview with us.

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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