[EXCLUSIVE] Interview: 20 Questions with Nugu Boys

[EXCLUSIVE] Interview: 20 Questions with Nugu Boys

 

"Promotions and updates for unknown and underrated male idols."

I recently got the opportunity to sit down and interview with an up-and-coming figure in the K-pop Twitter community in this ongoing interview series. Nearing 400 followers on their Twitter profile, they're quickly becoming the male equivalent of our previous interview with Nugupromoter.

Today, we talk with the team behind Nugu Boys from Twitter, in an exclusive interview covering an in-depth discussion of their interviews with the most unknown groups in the music industry, how they have developed as a profile in the three months since they first launch, as well as why "nugu" groups often go completely unnoticed in the South Korean music industry.

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! Your Twitter profile is used in promoting and conducting interviews with some of the most underrated boy groups in K-pop, and has gone on to become a must-follow profile for followers of smaller boy groups. But for those readers who may not have heard of yourselves or your work before, would you like to start by introducing yourselves and discussing a little about the Nugu Boys project?

Courtney: Hi! My name is Courtney and I'm the lead admin on Nugu Boys! I am in charge of interviews and events we host, translating, and regular updates! I joined the account a couple weeks after it was made in the intent to help Ella and Reve update about groups I knew that were so small that they had no profiles and under 1,000 fans. Soon after the original account was started, we ran into some issues including twitter suspending the account. We knew we had so much more potential and restarted with even more eager to promote the groups we knew deserved so much more! We hope to give these groups an even stronger chance of success and update fans on their favorite nugu idols and what they are up to!

Ella: Hello! My name is Ella and I'm one of the first members of Nugu Boys! The main goal of the Nugu Boys account is to promote smaller boy groups so we can help these groups grow larger fan bases and keep other fans up-to-date on their favorite groups. I hope that can help these groups grow and find success!

Zion: Hello Hello! My name is Zion, I’m the original creator of Nugu Boys! The Nugu Boys account is all about helping promote smaller boy groups so they can gain bigger fan bases and keep their fans up-to-date on everything happening with the groups and group members!

Diana: Hi, my name is Diana and I am a recently added admin!

Rara: Hi! My name is Rara, i’m from the UK. I’m one of the newer admins :)

As always, to begin with, I thought we might cover a few quick-fire questions to get to know the team a little better. So, who is your favourite K-pop group or soloist, and why?

Courtney: My favourite group is LAM (Like A Movie)! When I first found out about them, I didn’t know of any other fans other than my one friend since they are such a small group. Because of LAM I was able to find and make so many amazing people I am glad to call my close friends. Not only do all of the fans know each other and are friends, but the members are able to recognize their fans (through Vlive and SNS)! The members are so genuine and you can tell they are not afraid to show their true personality on camera.

Ella: My favourite K-pop groups are KINGDOM and TRENDZ. With both of these groups, I immediately loved them not only because of their amazing music, but because of the members themselves. The members always put a smile on my face whenever I see them in their YouTube videos as well as their posts on fancafe and Twitter. However, both of these groups make really amazing music and have such talented members. Their concepts are really fresh and unique and I always look forward to seeing what they are going to release next!

Zion: My favourite groups are TRENDZ, KINGDOM, JWiiver, BAE173, and many others! I personally have a liking towards groups with cool fresh or concepts we don't commonly see in K-pop!

Diana: My favourite K-pop groups are NCT, Jeong Sewoon, UNVS, and Ghost9, and many more artists, as I am a multi-stan. For me, I feel as though these groups (and soloist) stood out to me because of their chemistry with one another, as well as their amazing discography. They are also able to execute choreography so well that it amazes me, Jeong Sewoon included!

Rara: My favourite k-pop artists are TRCNG, Black6ix, Enoi, Chungwan, Black Level, Fistbump and 2Z. These artists stood out to me not only because of their discography but also their chemistry with each other and fans.

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

Courtney: Even though I am a fan of many seriously underrated groups, I'd be wrong to not say Son Chamchi! I've been a fan of his since before he debuted and signed with his current company! His vocal tone is something that cannot be compared to any other idol, and I can say from personal experience with talking to him that he cares a lot about his fans and is a genuine person. For everyone reading this, I highly recommend his song "Kickgoing"!

Ella: Although there are many groups that I can think of putting here, Luminous is one group that I really feel more people need to appreciate! Luminous has some of the nicest members that really care about their fans. Their music is so amazing and really shows off their talents. Luminous deserves so much more love and attention!

Zion: I know very many extremely small groups but I think Noir might be number one for me. Their music is amazing and the members are very kind. They are very caring for their fans and I think they are deserving of way more attention than they get.

Diana: Personally, I think that UNVS is a very underappreciated group. Paired with their amazing discography, they are also good at dancing so definitely check them out if you have time! Two of the members are currently enlisted however, so hopefully they can come back safely soon!

Rara: This questions is quite difficult to answer, but probably withus! They debuted back in November of 2020. They're not that well known across the small boy group stan community.

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

Courtney: I think my earliest K-pop memory was when "Gangnam Style" came out when I was eight; however I didn't get into K-pop until around three to four years later! I remember hearing about BTS through a YouTuber I watched, and watching their music video out of curiosity. I've always been a big multi-stan and was always amazed by how hard idols worked to live the lives they had. I think that a big influence on me stanning smaller groups was because of Jonghyun, and wanting to have other idols be able to live their dream.

Ella: My earliest K-pop memory was in 2015 when I watched the music video for "Call Me Baby" by EXO for the first time. I immediately fell in love with K-pop after this. I soon after found nugu boy groups, such as Boys Republic and HALO. Wanting to follow these groups members and releases is how I made my way onto Twitter.

Zion: My earliest kpop memory was around the time after my birthday in 2014, a close friend of mine introduced me to EXO! She had me watch “Overdose” and from then on I have been getting deeper and deeper into kpop.

Diana: My earliest K-pop memory was when I was eight, when "Wedding Dress" by Taeyang was released. My uncle would constantly play the song and my cousins and I would start listening to it, as well as the various English covers of it. I officially became more involved in the K-pop fandom scene in 2018 after reminiscing about those times.

Rara: My earliest K-pop memory was back in 2017 when my friends were talking about BTS, so I decided to watch the "DNA" music video. At the time, I found K-pop to be too confusing for me. Then, in 2019, a friend got me to watch the ASTRO "All Night" music video, which really caught my eye. I then got more into K-pop after getting more into ASTRO and other groups.

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?

Courtney: Probably Tae.U! He has been in 4 groups since starting his idol career and I would love to ask him about his experiences and thank him. Not only this, but he is very calm and seems very easy to talk to. If not him, probably Mingyu from LAM as he is very fun to be around!

Ella: Dann, or Seungbo, from KINGDOM! I have always wanted to talk to him and ask him about his experiences as a K-pop idol. Seungbo has always been an important idol to me since I started listening to VARSITY and saw him in MIXNINE, eventually following him to his current group KINGDOM. Seungbo is one of the kindest idols I know and I would love to talk to him.

Zion: Ra.L from TRENDZ! From experience he’s someone who's extremely fun to converse with! His energy is everythinnngg, I’d love to be able to talk to him for a while! I would love to be his bff he matches my energy perfectly in my opinion.

Diana: I would love to be able to have a talk with UNVS’s Joonhyeon (Jun H.) and talk about life as well as his career as an idol, as he has been in different groups prior to UNVS. It would be nice to be able to receive even a grain of his perseverance and talent through this talk.

Rara: Probably LEDAPPLE’S Hanbyeol; I think he’d be someone really interesting to talk to and it would be interesting to listen to his experience as a 2nd gen idol. I’d love to talk to him about his career as an idol and any obstacles that he faced and how he overcame them!

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

Courtney: “Couple” by LAM! It hasn’t left my weekly repeat playlist since it was released last year.

Ella: "Be My Love" by TRENDZ! Ever since TRENDZ's debut album came out, I have had this on repeat. I instantly fell in love with this song!

Zion: “Illusion” by Kingdom! I really love the entire vibe of the song!

Diana: I’ve been addicted to “Du Du Du” by TAN lately as the lyrics are super addicting, whether it be the original version or the English version. I just love the way the melody and lyrics flow.

Rara: "In My Heart" by Black Level. The song and it’s lyrics are just really cute.

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 profile, and growing to almost 400 followers in the three months since launching, the Nugu Boys team is working hard in aiming to promote the most underrated boy groups in K-pop to a wider audience. What is it about your profile and the work that your team does that you think has K-pop fans gravitate towards it?

Courtney: I think what’s different about our account compared to others, is that we specialize in groups that most people don't know exist. We try our best to get them known and get them a strong starting fanbase. We also inform fans about their favourite / former idols who they may have forgotten about or weren't able to keep up with. We also do a lot of research on groups in order to give them as much information on their favs as possible!

Ella: Something that sets our account apart from other similar accounts is how much we update every day. We are constantly trying to update the account so we can help people keep up-to-date on groups. We also try to be as accurate as possible and we strive to be a reliable source of information for fans of nugu boy groups.

Rara: I think it’s probably the daily updates on a variety of idols whether they’re known, unknown or forgotten etc. I also think that it’s because of how we strive to be very accurate with each post which shows k-pop fans that we are a reliable source :)

Nugu Boys also hosts a website where you hold your written interviews with "nugu" boy groups, including PLAY:MOON and LIONESSES. What were these experiences like, interviewing K-pop idols?

Courtney: LIONESSES was an amazing first interview with us, as we were successfully able to get their name and music to reach more people! Recently during our second interview with them, Damjun reached out to us on behalf of the group thanking us for helping them be known and supporting them so much. I think moments like these are very important not only as an admin, but as a fan because it shows that idols truly care about the fans and people that support them.

As for Play:Moon, I personally had edited an interview for a different company I worked at, and it gave me the courage to ask them for an interview with us!

Ella: Interviewing LIONESSES and PLAY:MOON was such a great experience because we could help get their name out there and reach more people. It was really nice to get to know these groups more and to ask them questions from us and the fans.

Zion: Having our first interviews be with LIONESSES and PLAY:MOON were amazing experiences, the members are all so kind and our interviews helped them gain a bigger fanbase, we are all really appreciative of LIONESSES and PLAY:MOON.

With so many groups and individuals debuting in the South Korean music industry every year (and more than 110 debuts in both 2020 and 2021 each), many of these "nugu" groups go completely unnoticed by the general K-pop public. Do you think that the South Korean music industry is over-saturated with too many debuting and pre-existing groups for many of these groups to find success?

Courtney: Personally, I don’t believe that the issue of groups going unnoticed has to do with the amount of groups, but rather the companies behind the groups. Many fans are able to get into a smaller group by stanning a bigger group first, or because of a relation to that group. I believe that companies start with good intent on helping their idols, but do not and are not quite sure how to get the group’s name out.

Another example of this is that companies tend to promote their idols to a certain group of people and do not extend from that. However, please keep in mind that many idols prefer this as they are able to be closer to their fans and experience the support first-hand.

Ella: I don't think that there are too many K-pop groups causing groups to go unnoticed, rather the under promotion of these groups or the companies behind them. Companies do try to promote their groups to the best of their ability but there usually a number of reasons cause these groups to go unnoticed. However, it isn't just the company's fault that these groups go unnoticed, there are many things that happen by what seems like chance that cause most groups to rise to the top.

Zion: Agreeing with both Ella and Courtney, I don't think the number of groups has to do with them being labeled as nugu. It’s mostly because a lot of them come from smaller companies and it takes them a little longer than groups from bigger companies to gain a lot of attention :)

Apart from the oversaturated South Korean music industry, what do you believe to be some of the reasons behind the relatively unknown identities of these "nugu" boy groups?

Courtney: Other than being underpromoted, a lot of smaller groups do not have the same budget as bigger groups which makes their music and content undesirable to most kpop fans. Also because of this, there are not many opportunities for them to stand out in the crowd. Not only this, but some companies are scared of failing their groups and tend to stick with promoting to a certain group of fans; which doesn’t allow for the groups to grow.

Ella: The under-promotion of these groups is the main reason why these groups go unnoticed by most K-pop fans. This is one thing that can be seen throughout many nugu boy groups.

Diana: I believe that another reason could be as Courtney mentioned previously, the lack of proper promotions and support of these groups. It is hard to decide for the main reasons however as it can’t be narrowed down to one thing.

Rara: Most of the time it’s the lack of support from not only the fans but the companies too. It’s a recurring pattern that I've noticed through most of the nugu groups that I'm a fan of. It’s also a lack of not only proper but basic promotions which leads to them falling into the obscure and getting forgotten and left unknown throughout their careers.

What do you believe is a necessary component for a "nugu" group to shoot to stardom, and do you think that every group is capable of this?

Courtney: Although this already happens with many groups, they need something to stand out in the crowd. Take A.C.E for example, with their many breakthroughs by being bold and ‘out of the ordinary’ they have gained many fans since their debut. I also think that of course they need a good company to back them, as well as a strong relationship with their fans and good chemistry between the members!

Ella: There are many components of a group that could shoot them to stardom but something that is really important is chemistry between the members as well as the fans. If a group has good teamwork and a great relationship with their fans then they can make it to stardom. However this is something that some groups may not exactly achieve in the end.

Zion: There's many components! I think main ones are promotions, teamwork, and how the group connects with their fans.

Diana: As there are a number of different ways to make it out of “nugudom”, I think there are definitely many components of course. One of the components that are necessary being good teamwork and perseverance as fans usually love seeing the chemistry between the group members. Ideally, we would love for every group to be capable of this but things can happen in life.

Rara: I think it’s probably good chemistry between the members and fans! In an ideal world everyone is capable of it but of course there are different circumstances / dynamics between each group.

Out of the "nugu" boy groups that you actively promote on your feed, which of them do you believe would be the closest to achieving more relatively successful fame both in South Korea and internationally, and why do you think it would be this group over others?

Courtney: This is a hard question for me since I know many groups that have the potential, but I would have to say that with some good promotion then LIONESSES! They have capability to show representation through the members, and inspiring and meaningful / powerful messages through their songs (similar situation to how HOLLAND became popular).

Ella: Just like Diana and Rara, I will have to say DKZ (formerly Dongkiz) because Jaechan recently starred in the popular drama Semantic Error. This really caused the group's popularity to grow significantly. DKZ also has a really fresh concept as well as really kind members which is drawing in more fans!

Diana: Ignoring the underrated artists that we also post, a “nugu” group that I see is currently achieving more successful fame is DKZ, formerly known as DONGKIZ. I think that due to the popularity of “Semantic Error”, which Jaechan, a member of DKZ, starred in, it definitely rocketed the group’s success. I think what also particularly stood out was the group’s involvement in the making of their songs as well as their personalities.

Rara: Like Diana I’d also say DKZ (formerly DONGKIZ). After the release of the drama "Semantic Error", the groups popularity and success has noticeably increased throughout the past few weeks. I feel that it’s also due to their youthful and lively concept which is drawing new fans in!

Being a fan of a smaller and less recognisable group is very clearly different from being a part of some of the larger fandoms out there (such as ARMYs and BLINKs). Many people mention the feeling of the sense of community within these fandoms, often finding them to be some of the calmest and nicest fandoms when it comes to the world of K-pop. What, in particular, do you think is a major difference between the fandoms of "nugu" groups and their larger counterparts?

Courtney: Because some fandoms are so small, the fans tend to try and find each other in order to share their love for the artist with one another. With most groups, all the fans follow and or know each other, and the members know almost all the fans!

Ella: Within the fandoms of nugu boy groups, there is a lot less drama that usually occurs within the fanbases. With most groups that have a smaller fanbase, there is a sense of community created that causes these fans to come together and support the group together. Most fans of these groups get along very well and create friendships because of their shared interests.

Zion: It’s definitely a lot more peaceful within nugu fanbases, with bigger ones there’s often a lot going on. Smaller fandoms are often very welcoming and it’s very nice knowing people by name, etc, within the fandom you’re in. I’d like to also think it’s pretty nice for the idols as well as it’s easier for them to connect with fans^^

Diana: “Nugu” group fandoms tend to be more quiet to their larger counterparts, or at least it seems that way to me. As it is a smaller fandom, there isn’t room for much drama as in the end we all unite to support our favorite artists and their works.

Rara: I’ve noticed that in “nugu” artists fandoms there’s less drama and more people get along with each other due to most of them knowing each other which creates a sense of a small, welcoming community.

What is it about these smaller "nugu" boy groups that attracts you into following them? Is it based purely on their music, the personalities of the members, or sometimes the followings that they have?

Courtney: I think that it is a mix of all of those! Sometimes you are able to just ‘click’ with an idol and their song(s), and hear something that others don’t. I also notice that some nugu groups (especially ones that promote by seeing their fans in person), are the most genuine and colorful idols as they are able to interact with their fans face-to-face everyday. As said before, since these idols have such small followings, fans are able to connect not only with one another, but with their idols as well!

Ella: I agree with Courtney! Nugu boy groups are often some of the kindest idols and it often can be seen perfectly with their interactions with fans as well as their own members. These nugu boy groups often have the most unique concepts in K-pop with great choreography and vocals.

Zion: I agree with Courtney <3

Rara: Like Courtney, I believe that it's a mix of them! A lot of “nugu” artists usually have really interesting/new concepts which aren’t really seen in mainstream kpop so it catches my eye. I also think it’s mainly the fact that everyone knows each other and that they most of the time get along!

The Nugu Boys brand is not only one used on Twitter, but also has a profile on Instagram and a website that hosts your written interviews with underrated boy groups. Have you, as a team, been considering growing your social media presence onto different platforms to garner a larger audience?

Courtney: Yes! Currently we are working on our Instagram, and plan to do face to face interviews with idols for Youtube in the near future! We are also working on making guides for very nugu groups/idols, and gathering more groups/idols to post about!

Ella: Yes, we are currently working on our Instagram and getting ready to post on there as well as on Twitter! We hope that we can one day host face-to-face interviews with idols that we can put on YouTube!

Zion: Yes, like Court said, we are planning on opening and running more social media in the future! We would love to widen our audience and have more eyes on these smaller boy groups!

Rara: Yes, we’re currently preparing the opening of our instagram. Through our instagram we’re hoping to connect with more fans and artists!

The Nugu Boys brand is not run by a single person, but by a team. How do you coordinate running the profiles to ensure no double-up of content? Do members have groups they're in charge of, or certain aspects that are their responsibility?

Courtney: We tried multiple different things, and ran into many problems such as availability of members at certain times. We found that a schedule where a certain person posts and a certain day works best! Also I’m very happy to say that I am very thankful for Diana who always makes sure we don’t miss anything!

Ella: We have a schedule that we use to designate who posts on which day. It has proved to be very useful for posting as much as possible each day. I am very thankful for Diana, especially who helps us make sure we post everything that has happened each day!

Diana: To add on, as each person posts on different days, we have not recently tweeted the same content twice. Each member on our team works hard to ensure that no one is overwhelmed as we work together and hold meetings to talk about details on the account!

Rara: We created a daily rotation that we created in one of the meetings based on everyone’s availability so that it’s not too much for us, in fact I'm currently on break due to it being Ramadan but of course I'm also helping in other ways that I can!

Speaking on the team aspect of Nugu Boys, how did each of the members come to join the group?

Courtney: I remember when the account was brand new, it followed one of my fanbases, and I joined about a week later to help Ella and Reve update about nugu groups that promoted 1-on-1 with fans in Japan, groups I knew that had under 1,000 fans, and former idols that many people didn’t know were still in the industry!

Ella: I asked Zion if I could help run the account and was quickly accepted onto the team! We decided that we needed more help in running the account and had other people join the team. I am so happy that we have the admins that we do because of how hard everyone works and how well we work together!

Zion: Originally the idea of the account being made was my idea! I decided i could not run it on my own so I had to have some others join in to help me run everything. I’m very happy with the admins we have. They all work very hard for the account!

Diana: I joined the team recently in February of 2022. I had filled out their admin application form and was accepted!

Rara: I joined the team earlier this year in February through their admin application form!

What is one major way in which you would like to see Nugu Boys grow in the future?

Courtney: I would of course love for us to grow as big as Nugupromoter, and possibly become an official company in the future to continue promoting groups for a long time!

Ella: I hope that we can continue to grow as an account in the future. I hope that we can interview even more groups and hopefully form our own company one day!

Zion: Agreeing with Courtney once more, I would love for us to form our own official company from the audience we gain from promoting these groups!

Diana: I would also love to see more interviews with the groups that we promote so that we are able to learn more about them!

Rara: Also agreeing with Courtney, I hope for us to grow more this year!

In the past, when we have interviewed K-pop YouTubers, business owners, dance troupes and groups, we have offered them the opportunity to promote another member of the K-pop community they think should received more recognition from the K-pop fandom. We thought we'd extend the same invitation to yourselves. So, if there was another important figure in the K-pop community that you would recommend for people to check out, who would it be and why?

Courtney: Although nobody comes to mind right away, I want to encourage fans to support idols who have youtube channels or are still involved in the industry to give them a second chance at success! I also want to acknowledge the twitter accounts Underrated and Rookies and NuguMaster, who also post similar content to us!

Rara: Probably ploopy678 and midnight theories! I find their videos really interesting and informative. I think they’re videos discuss really important topics that deserve to be addressed and talked about!

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, or anything else at all you would like to share with your fans?

Courtney: We really appreciate everyone’s support towards us, as it’s very important in order for us to help nugu idols! We hope to grow our account to promote more idols/groups going forward, so stay tuned for updates as well as upcoming important events and announcements! Of course, thankyou KpopWise for this amazing opportunity!

Ella: As previously stated, we are working on our Instagram account. Other than that there is nothing else in the works at the moment. Our Google Calendar is updated with releases, birthdays, and anniversaries. Thank you for interviewing us!

Diana: As we stated before, we are currently working on our Instagram and testing out the basics. Other than that we do not have anything in the works, but thank you for keeping up with Nugu Boys and interacting with us. Remember to check out our Google Calendar, which is updated somewhat daily, for birthdays, anniversaries, and upcoming releases!

Rara: Like Diana said, we’re planning on opening our instagram account. Thank you to the fans for always interacting with us and our posts :)

If you haven't already, you should absolutely check out the Nugu Boys Twitter profile @nugubgs_.

Once again, we here at KpopWise would like to thank the team from Nugu Boys for taking the time out of their busy schedule to interview with us today.

Ford Carter

An avid fan of EXO since 2014, and a more in-depth multi-stan since 2019, Ford is a lover of international music and media from across Eurasia. Trot music holds a special place in his heart, as its sound is a perfect blend of kpop and Eastern European funk, two of his favourite genres. 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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