[Exclusive] Interview: 20 Questions with Songe

"We were bored during quarantine and just wanted to do something. Then we thought, what would it feel like to be in a music video."

I recently got the opportunity to sit down and interview with Ace-A, I-SAK, KJ, Taka, U.T., Vin, and Zuka from Songe.

Songe are a group of teen-aged high school boys from Japan who remake K-pop music videos on YouTube together, and upload them to YouTube.

They recently remade "Not Today" by BTS, and have gratefully taken the time out of their busy schedules to interview with me today.

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! After recently discovering your remake of BTS' "Not Today" music video via Reddit, I quickly found myself watching over all of the music video remakes you've uploaded. Your fanbase is small, but growing, and certainly has a new subscriber in myself. But for those readers who may not have heard of yourself or your work before, would you like to start by introducing yourselves and discussing a little about Songe?

Ace-A: Hi, I'm Ace-A. I'm the one who has J-Hope's part in our remake of "Not Today".

I-SAK: Hello, my name is I-SAK. I had the opportunity to play in RM's role in "Not Today".

KJ: Hey! My name is KJ, and in the "Not Today" remake I had the chance to dance V's part.

Taka: Hi, I'm Taka. I had playing SUGA's part in the "Not Today" remake.

U.T.: Hello! I am U.T. and playing as Jimin in the remake.

Vin: Hi, I'm Vin. I'm playing the role of JUNGKOOK in this remake of "Not Today".

Zuka: Hi, I'm Zuka. In this "Not Today" music video, I'm playing the role of Jin.

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?

Ace-A: My favourite group is iKON. I love their many "ikonic" songs.

I-SAK: My favourite K-pop group is NMIXX, which debuted a couple of weeks ago. I love how their music flows and their dance makes me energetic.

KJ: My favourite K-pop group is (G)I-dle because I feel that they create their own world with their songs which differentiate them from other groups.

Taka: My favourite K-pop group is MONSTA X because I am amazed by their powerful performances and music videos.

U.T.: Actually, my favourite K-pop group is BTS. I love their songs, which have energy and always raise me up. It's been a pleasure having an opportunity to remake one of the BTS songs.

Vin: My favourite K-pop group is IVE. They have perfect visuals and their songs have a great vibe.

Zuka: TWICE is my favourite K-pop group, because the songs, the visuals, the skills, everything is perfect.

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

Ace-A: I feel that Weeekly is underrated. They have amazing songs and their ability to perform many concepts is outstanding.

I-SAK: I don't know if he is underrated in other countries, however, in my country, I believe that Zion.T. is underrated. Also, I want to recommend NiziU for people all around the world!

KJ: My pick for this question is the K-rock band The Rose. I simply love their vocals. Highly recommend them!

Taka: The group I think is underrated is the group called AB6IX. Though there were some changes to the group, their songs were always fantastic.

U.T.: Although I'm not sure whether or not they are underrated, I pick ENHYPEN for this question. Their songs are so catchy and I just want everybody to know how impressive their dance performances are.

Vin: My choice is fromis_9. I love their visuals and their songs are uplifting and energetic.

Zuka: One that I feel is underrated is Cherry Bullet. I feel that their ability is not in proportion to their reputation.

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

Ace-A: As a child, I grew up in an environment with a lot of K-pop around me. My mother is a big fan of 2PM and would play their songs in the car every day. I think I know all their songs off by heart now.

I-SAK: My K-pop memory first started about a year ago, when I first listened to "ICY" by ITZY. I was stunned by the dance and music they made, which got me really addicted to K-pop.

KJ: Produce 101 season 2. I was amazed by the talent of the trainees and when I realized, I was already deep in the Kpop world.

Taka: My first KPOP memory is seeing BTS "DNA" danced by a student at the same school. From there, I became addicted to BTS, TWICE, and BLACKPINK.

U.T.: I still clearly remember when I was fascinated by K-pop for the first time. KJ suddenly showed me “ON” by BTS, and I was actually reluctant to watch it at first; however, as soon as it started, I found myself getting into it and was not able to stop watching the next suggestion on YouTube. Since that time I’ve been a big fan of K-pop.

Vin: About three years ago, I happened to see the music video for TWICE's "YES or Yes" and I was shocked, and from there I was instantly hooked.

Zuka: Vin showed me the appeal of TWICE. I remember hearing the radio version of "SIGNAL" and being drawn to it because of the great vocals.From there, I was fascinated by the high technology of kpop.

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

Ace-A: Rose from BLACKPINK. I like her voice a lot and also because she is fluent in English.

I-SAK: I think it would be Ryujin from ITZY. She was the one which got me into K-pop. I want to hear about her experience as a top notch idol.

KJ: It would be RM of BTS. I would love to know about his mindset because he seems to be a very intelligent person.

Taka: It would be Jisoo from BLACKPINK. I would like to hear about what had she experienced before she became famous.

U.T.: It would be Jimin. I just want to ask him how my performance on our remake is.

Vin: It would be Yujin of IVE. She is the same age as me, but she is leading a new group and I respect her very much.

Zuka: It would be Tzuyu of TWICE. I admire her very much for being humble, kind and hardworking despite her stunning visuals.

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

Ace-A: "The Feels" by TWICE. The song and the choreo are both so good.

I-SAK: "Step Back" from GOT the Beat.

KJ: "Shoot Me" by DAY6. It's a bop.

Taka: "Zoo" by TAEYONG, JENO, HENDERY, YANGYANG, GISELLE. It's a dance song that is pleasant to watch.

U.T.: "ELEVEN" by IVE. It has been stuck in my head.

Vin: It is "Mikrokosmos" by BTS. It is very motivating to listen to it while studying.

Zuka: I'm listening to "O.O" by NMIXX. The more you listen to this new form of music, the more you get hooked.

Thank you for going through those rapid-fire questions with me. Now, it's time to get a little more in-depth. The idea of remaking music videos by K-pop groups is an interesting concept and not something I've ever seen done before. Which member came up with the idea, and why did each of you decide to join?

Ace-A: KJ invited me to the group. I loved the idea of remaking a music video so it was a yes on the spot.

I-SAK: I joined this group when the second song came out. At that time, I was deep into K-pop and had communications about it with lots of people. Soon after, KJ invited me to join.

KJ: It was me and Taka who came up with the original idea. We were bored during quarantine and just wanted to do something. Then we thought, what would it feel like to be in a music video. Thus, we ended up recreating "Miroh" by Stray Kids. We only expected our friends to see the video but we were wrong. This is why we decided to make a couple more remakes.

Taka: When I was tired of living with Covid-19, together with KJ, we wanted to make our own K-pop music videos, which we adored. So we gathered the members and started practicing dance.

U.T.: KJ invited me to Songe. I wasn’t sure if I could play a role at that time but as other members were, I was also bored and frustrated during quarantine, and those feelings made me join the group.

Vin: I was initially invited to join KJ, but I declined because I was too busy at the time and wasn't confident I could pull it off. However, during the second song they invited me back and I was allowed to participate.

Zuka: KJ initiated the idea and Ace-A invited me to join. We started as a way to pass the time of the Corona disaster.

Your most recent music video reaction is of BTS' "Not Today", and is wonderfully shot. What was each of your favourite parts about remaking this particular music video?

Ace-A: My favorite part is J-hope’s rap part. It was difficult trying to lip sync to the audio because I don’t speak Korean but I’m very happy with how it turned out.

I-SAK: Since my role in this video was RM, I had enjoyed rapping and acting as if I were him.

KJ: The rooftop shot was very, very, very fun. The view was breathtaking and we couldn’t wait to watch the final result of the shots.

Taka: The scene where everyone except Zuka was shot was impressive.

U.T.: I like the part where everyone makes a gesture like shooting a shotgun the best. The choreography, the camerawork, and the editing, I feel everything was perfect.

Vin: My favorite scene is also the one on the rooftop. It was very windy and cold, but the view was great and it was so nice to dance.

Zuka: I like the music video reproduction of the rooftop scene. The location was also great. It was cold and windy and the filming there was tough, but the finished video was fantastic!

Your music video recreations are really stunning to watch, so I'm interested in the creative process behind making them. What role do each of you play in making these music videos, from the initial pitch to the finished product?

Ace-A: We are lucky to have friends who help us with choreography, filming, makeup and even clothing. So I can concentrate on just learning the dance.

I-SAK: Since my friends around me are versatile, I learn the dance.

KJ: I edit all of the videos and communicate with our cameraman who is a close friend of ours. I wouldn’t say it’s an easy job but it is an experience like no other.

Taka: I will coordinate dates and locations, but not a huge workload. Dance practice takes up 99% of my works.

U.T.: Fortunately, my friends including Songe members were so helpful in various areas that I could refine the dance and sometimes give members tips on dancing.

Vin: The only thing I could contribute was to secure a studio for practice, so I learned the dance choreography perfectly by watching the original videos over and over again and practicing on my own so that the shooting would go smoothly.

Zuka: The members around me created an environment that allowed me to focus on my performance.

Your group YouTube channel recently reached 100 subscribers - the first major milestone for many content creators. What was your reaction when you found out, and did you do anything to celebrate?

Ace-A: I wasn’t expecting the amount of reactions we got, so I was very surprised by the global popularity of K-pop.

I-SAK: I was surprised that people around the world would watch our videos.

KJ: I really didn’t notice that we had reached such a milestone. But when we did, we realized that our work might actually be decent.

Taka: At first I was unaware of this fact, but when I learned about it, I thanked the members, support staff, and viewers.

U.T.: I didn't expect that we could reach that milestone at all because we started this project only for our friends. So I was really surprised when I found it out.

Vin: I didn't realize it at first, but I really appreciate people watching their videos even once.

Zuka: We were very surprised and grateful that so many people were watching our work and subscribing to our channel.

Your music videos showcase your group's many talents, from dancing to video editing and even videography. Where did each of you learn these skills, and how much practice did it take to get these right?

Ace-A: Because some of us live in the same neighborhood, we would wake up at half past five in the morning to practice the dance moves at the local park.

I-SAK: A friend of ours teaches us dancing. We couldn’t have danced without her and we are very thankful for her.

KJ: We’re actually complete beginners when it comes to dancing. Though another fellow friend of our’s that has danced for many years taught us the moves. We wouldn’t have been here without her.

As I mentioned I’m actually the editor of this group and I also plan out shoots. I’ve always been interested in videography since I was little. I taught myself how to edit videos and learnt the basics of videography through YouTube tutorials.

Taka: A dancer friend accompanied me every time when all the members practiced. I really appreciate it. This was made possible by spending days to keep the image of a real idol and reality close to each other before that practice.

U.T.: Thanks to my friends, the only thing I had to put effort into was dancing. Even though I had never danced before I joined this group, I practiced over and over, and got better step by step.

Vin: First, I had a friend who was a good dancer teach me the choreography, and the rest of the time I practiced by myself for an hour or so every day, watching the original video.

Zuka: I practiced alone at home while watching "Not Today"s dance practices. In addition, I had a friend who has been dancing for many years teach me. The editing is an explosion of KJ flair!

What K-pop music video do you think has connected with you and impacted you the most, and why do you think it had that impact on you?

Ace-A: I think the music video of "Gangnam Style" will stick with me forever. I was still in primary school when the song came out but I still remember the impact I felt when I first watched it.

I-SAK: I think "Dynamite" by BTS has impacted me the most. The song is very catchy, and trust me, when the song came out, everyone in my country was dancing and singing the song.

KJ: It has to be “Spring Day” by BTS. The cinematography and the symbolism in the music video makes it a masterpiece. The message within it is also relatable which makes it even more impactful.

Taka: It is "Follow" by MONSTA X. The dynamic editing that emphasizes the power of the dance, the detailed costumes and sets, and the expressiveness of the artists themselves combine to make a wonderful music video.

U.T.: It is "ON" by BTS (Kinetic Manifesto Film ver.) that impacted me the most. As I mentioned, this music video is a special one for me. I don't know exactly why this one grabs my heart, but the energy coming from the choreography, the rhythm, and the scenes raise me up.

Vin: It is "Heart Shaker" by TWICE. The music video is edited in such a way that it feels like most of the scenes were shot in one take, which is very interesting.

Zuka: This is the music video of "Drunk-Dazed" by ENHYPEN. Not only do I like the song, but I also really like the mv structure and the world view. The part that impressed me the most was the second half of the song where blood rains all over the room. It was a very shocking picture.

Your stage names are all very bright and remind me of stage names used by K-pop idols. Why did each of you choose your stage name, and does it hold any significant meaning to you?

KJ: This part is actually kind of funny. We just wanted to seem like “K-pop” idols so we tried our best to come up with names for each other by playing with our real names.

As mentioned previously, all seven of you are currently high school students living in Japan. Do any of you hold dreams of auditioning for a K-pop company, or visiting South Korea in the future?

Ace-A: I don’t see myself becoming a K-pop idol but I will definitely visit South Korea in the future. I love Korean food!

I-SAK: I don’t think my future will be in the K-pop industry. However, if there's a chance, I wish to visit South Korea and meet one of my favorite idols!

KJ: I do think that it would be a thrilling job to have but currently I do not aspire to become one.

Taka: I'm sure I'll remain a general fan for the rest of my life.

U.T.: I'm not dreaming of becoming a K-pop idol, still I would like to visit Seoul to enjoy Korean food and atmosphere.

Vin: To be honest, I think it would be difficult for me to be on that stage. However, I love Korea and would like to visit and enjoy it as soon as the pandemic is over.

Zuka: I don't think it is so easy to be a Korean idol. I would like to visit Korea in the future and enjoy good food.

Do your friends know about your group and how you remake K-pop music videos? And, what has their reaction been when they've seen the finished products?

I-SAK: Yes, my friends know about it, and they tell me that they love our videos.

KJ: Our second video ("Energetic") was actually for a school event, so I think they do! In addition, we were only aiming to share our fun video with our friends only at first.

Taka: Many friends see it and leave kind-hearted comments. I really appreciate it.

U.T.: I think most of them do. We've thankfully got many compliments from them, which inspire us so much.

Vin: The most rewarding feeling is when our friends watch our videos and give us happy comments.

Zuka: I am happy to say that many of my friends know about it. There has been a positive response and we are very happy.

If you could remake any K-pop music video you wanted to, without any limitations on how much it would cost or how much work it would take, what music video would you want to remake, and why?

Ace-A: For me, it would be "ON" by BTS I like the song a lot and the animals and scenery in the MV.

I-SAK: It would be "IDOL" by BTS for me. The amount of people dancing in this video gave me chills.

KJ: I think it would be "God’s Menu" by Stray Kids. They use a robot arm to film a couple of shots which would be hard to rent with our pocket money 😬.

Taka: It is NCT U's "Make A Wish". Because we need to master a lot of cameras and lights, wear the best looking outfits, and most importantly, master catchy dance moves, and I think we will be able to do what we have never been able to do before.

U.T.: It would be "WONDERLAND" by ATEEZ, simply because I love both the song and the choreography. Also, we need a huge camping fire to shoot this music video, and that would be another reason.

Vin: It would be "Drunk-Dazed" by ENHYPEN. Of course I love the song, and the gorgeous chorus part of the music video is captivating.

Zuka: It would be "MIC Drop" by BTS.. If you could recreate the scene of the car burning or being blown up in the second half of the song, I think you would have something very powerful. This song has cool lyrics, so it would be worthwhile to recreate it.

You've recreated a few K-pop music videos now, but - being based in Japan - would you ever consider recreating J-pop music videos? Why or why not?

Ace-A: I would not. Because in my opinion, the dance is way better in K-pop music videos than in J-pop ones. Maybe because idols aren’t as popular in Japan than in Korea.

I-SAK: Since the videos in Japan are way different from Korea, I don’t think we would be making videos of music from J-pop.

KJ: For me, no. The K-pop industry is huge and a lot of investment goes into it which makes the music videos top class. Although I admire J-pop artists, this isn’t the case with J-pop music videos so I would prefer to recreate K-pop music videos.

Taka: Since I originally started this project because I was fascinated by the worldview created by K-pop, I will not remake it in any other genre.

U.T.: Unfortunately not. To be honest, J-pop music videos are quite boring and not so attractive to me. It is much more fun to remake K-pop music videos than J-pop ones.

Vin: I love music videos by Japanese artists, but I find that K-pop music videos bring out more of the artist's charm.

Zuka: So far, no. Personally, I find K-pop music videos more attractive than J-pop music videos, and more rewarding to remake!

During your time making these music 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?

Ace-A: "Miroh" was very fun because we had no experience of dance or filming music videos at all, and figuring things out and improvising on the spot was very difficult but at the same time a lot of fun.

I-SAK: "Energetic" was the one for me. It was my first video, and since we had the opportunity to dance at my school, it was a lot of fun.

KJ: It has to be "Not Today". Because we're all moving on to university, we may not have the chance to put in the time to recreate something again despite having the desire to do so. Thus, we talked as a group and decided that this could be our final comeback. This is why we put extra hard work into this comeback, which made it a bit emotional when we finished shooting. The process of making three remakes will forever remain as a beautiful memory in my heart.

Taka: "Miroh" left a particularly strong impression on me, as it was the first work for Songe, and it was a new kind of fun for us to create it by hand. I still love the time we spent shooting and creating the film the most.

U.T.: I like "Miroh" the best because everything was the first time for me then, and also because I can't forget the feelings I had when I watched our finished video for the first time. That was the most exciting moment I've experienced in Songe so far.

Vin: "Not Today" is a particular favourite. It was probably our last remake, so we put everything we had into it. It took us a full day and a half to shoot and by the time we were done, we felt that our bond had grown even stronger.

Zuka: The filming of "Energetic" was done at a school event, so we danced under a large crew and multiple expensive cameras. The sound was great and I was very nervous, but at the same time it was a very enjoyable experience that is not easy to have.

In the past, when we've interviewed YouTubers, store owners, and even K-pop idols, they recommended another member of the K-pop community. We thought we'd extend the same invitation to yourselves. So, if there was one other K-pop YouTuber you would recommend for people to check out, who or what would it be and why?

Ace-A: Recently I stumbled upon a YouTuber called Sharlee Music who plays K-pop songs on her violin. Her cover of "Psycho" by Red Velvet was especially good.

I-SAK: I would recommend a YouTuber called Koreos. They make tutorials of K-pop dances. I watched it when I used to remember my dance. It was very clear and easy to understand.

KJ: Jordan Orme! Without his insightful analysis of K-pop music videos I wouldn't have been able to pull these edits off. A must watch for K-pop fans!

Taka: It's for my friends to see, so I'm not confident I can show it to YouTubers. πŸ˜‚

U.T.: I would recommend a YouTuber called Funguypiano, who plays K-pop songs on the piano. The balance between an original song and arrangements is perfect.

Vin: I would recommend κΉ€ν˜œλ¦Ό. She is an idol trainee, but she also posts on YouTube, and her beautiful high notes captivate me.

Zuka: It is a YouTube channel called Seasong. She covers and sings songs by K-pop artists. I feel she has high singing ability and expression.

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 that you would like to share with your fans?

I-SAK: Thank you for interviewing us. Although we have not had any plans for the future, we wish to make a comeback in the future.

KJ: As I mentioned we haven't got anything planned for the future. Though we would love to comeback one day when we have the chance to do so. So it would be a pleasure if we could know about what you think about our remakes! Please feel free to comment on our videos!

Taka: We really appreciate you taking the time to watch our music videos and interviews. Nothing is set in stone for the future of Songe, but we hope you will remember us if and when we make a comeback.

U.T.: I am really glad that you watched our videos. I have no idea about the future, but I hope you will be waiting for us until "then".

Vin: First of all, thank you for interviewing us. Our plans for the future are blank, but I strongly hope we will all return. I'd be very happy if you guys would drop me a line in the comments section of our videos to let me know what you think!

Zuka: We are technically amateurs, but we hope you will look at us warmly. I'd love to hear what you guys think, so please do leave a comment or two!

If you haven't already, you should absolutely check out Songe on YouTube, and check out their recently uploaded remake of "Not Today".

Once again, we here at KpopWise would like to thank Ace-A, I-SAK, KJ, Taka, U.T., Vin, and Zuka from Songe for taking the time to talk with us today.

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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