Are you curious why LE SSERAFIM has a fierce image called “Fearless”?
Chosun recently had an interview with Source Music Creative Director Kim Sung Hyun (34), who is responsible for producing the rookie girl group LE SSERAFIM, at HYBE headquarters in Yongsan, Seoul.
In 2012, Kim joined Big Hit and participated in directing the concept for the albums “The Most Beautiful Moment in Life: Young Forever” to “Dynamite” by BTS. This time, Kim has challenged himself in working on a girl group.
- What is the concept LE SSERAFIM is pursuing?
“We didn’t come up with a fixed concept. I only help the girls express what they want to convey.”
- When planning a group, didn’t you have a template in mind?
“From a company perspective, whether it’s BTS or LE SSERAFIM, we don’t have a fixed concept. First, through personal interviews with the members, I will listen to what they want to show. From there, I discovered the common ground that all members pursue.
In the case of LE SSERAFIM, I feel that they all have many ambitions that are not covered up. They are also not satisfied with reality. In addition, I feel their will to move on to the next chapter of their lives while keeping their individual colors. That’s why we decided to name the group LE SSERAFIM”.
- What is the difference between producing a boy group like BTS and a girl group like LE SSERAFIM?
“As a producer, I never thought I would set a fixed template for ‘girl group’. Whether it’s BTS or LE SSERAFIM, they’re both amazing, and I want to help them showcase their potential. I try to focus on revealing each member’s unique charm.”
- What is your description of each member?
“Sakura debuted in Japanese girl group HKT48, then IZ*ONE, and this is her 3rd debut. She always wanted to show a more mature image of herself. Similar to the case of Chaewon, who was active with Sakura in IZ*ONE. In our interview, I was impressed when she said, “If I want to try something new, I think I’ll try riding a motor.” Compared to what I thought, she’s a very cool, free-spirited person with a colorful ego.”
- How about the ballerina Kazuha?
“Kazuha has been dancing ballet for the past 15 years. I wanted to present the ballet aspect of her life in the best way possible.
Hong Eun Chae looks like a kid, and she said, “I don’t even know who I am yet.” That’s why I gave her the image of a strong and fierce young woman.
And Heo Yun Jin is a girl with a lot of ambition, she wants to succeed, and she doesn’t hide those ambitions, she always wants to show herself. So among the members, Yun Jin is the only one who tells her story with her voice.”
- There are some comments that claim LE SSERAFIM’s concept to be too sexual
“I have never thought about the general idea of what a female Kpop group is supposed to be. If that’s what some people think, then it’s their own perspective. To be very honest, the only thing I demand from members is their confidence. The opening scene of the MV was filmed in a gym, and is supposed to show off each member’s stable confidence. It is pretty much similar to what I have done with BTS.”
- Your company has reached the top position in the industry, despite strong competition, what are your thoughts regarding this?
“While the achievement is far from being my own, I personally believe that I do have qualities that’s befitting of HYBE and its artists. The management of BTS, TXT, and such did worry me from time to time. At some point, BTS would grow even further, and as someone without any brand reputation I’m basically a nobody. It was that moment that I received an offer to form a new girl group.
As a producer, I thought this to be a huge project where I can improve myself. I couldn’t pick which one I was more dedicated to. Making BTS was a challenge, and LE SSERAFIM a different one. The members and I, we are all facing our own obstacles. Therefore, “Fearless” is a comfort and a huge motivation to me.”
- Do you ever feel tired and bored?
“There are some worries that just won’t bode well in this industry. Schedules for new albums, pre-production preparations, filming, goods production, stage design… everything was a muddle. We had to do many contents, and had to juggle between the current album and future ones. It is this hectic schedule that exhausts me the most.“
- What prompted you to join HYBE?
“I was originally a fashion designer. I dropped out of the Fashion Design major and opened my own brand. It was then that fellow designer Yoni P recommended me to HYBE CEO Bang Si Hyuk. It was actually before BTS’s debut, and Bang Si Hyuk said he’s looking for an extra hand. And I like music, so I just hopped on the train. At first, Bang Si Hyuk only planned for BTS to be a hiphop group, but now their music has transcended across the world.”
- Have you ever thought that BTS could get as big as nowadays?
“Not once have I thought they wouldn’t make it. To seek an answer, I simply thought innovations and changes are needed. You can never be sure if an album will get successful, and most albums need to end within one page to get their points across. BTS is a prime example of a group who defy prejudices and stereotypes, and ever since they have changed the music industry. LE SSERAFIM would be the same. They are only just starting, but their colors will start to show. I believe that one day, LE SSERAFIM will be able to shine just like their seniors.“