Interview by Jaeki Cho (@JaekiCho)

How would you consider your visit to the States this time?

CL: We’ve decided to hold this tour with the intention of introducing ourselves. So, instead of embarking on a career in America, this is more so the start before the beginning. We’re here to introduce who we are, how we look like, what kind of music we make, and meet with our preexisting fans.

What are some difficulties you think you will face?

CL: We actually had this conversation on our way here. We feel like this is our third time debuting. We started in Korea, and then it was Japan last year. Like all starters, there are many places we have to introduce ourselves. When we debuted in Korea we had to do that, we did the same when we debuted in Japan, and it feels the same here.

There were other K-pop artists in the States. After seeing how they approached the U.S. market what have you guys learned, and how do you all expect to move forward? 

CL: Well, instead of approaching it differently, we just like to enjoy doing our music. I just think we want other people to enjoy it with us. We’re not trying to use a specific plan. If we’re sincere about our performances, we’re sure many people will connect with us. We try to stay cognizant of it at all times. 

What are some traits about 2NE1 that make tastemakers like Jeremy Scott and Diplo want to work with you girls?

CL: I just think we like similar things. We look toward similar goals. When we meet Jeremy, and Diplo, who’s friends with Teddy, we’re just all really passionate about what we do. It’s not about the money or the fame, they’re just people that really want to impact the world. Especially guys like Jeremy Scott and Diplo, they’re people that took things to the next level. And those people identify with other people like themselves. Real recognize real.

In comparison to other K-pop idol groups, did you ever feel like you girls are at the forefront of trends?

CL: What? We feeling that way about ourselves?

Yeah, like, “Oh, why are they biting our style?” Ever felt that way?

Bom: Yes. This is just my personal opinion. Let’s see. Don’t quote me. When we first debuted, you saw us wearing swimsuits. I feel like a lot of our styles are imitated.

How about musically?

CL: But, it’s not necessarily just us that are doing it. We’re just doing what we enjoy. So if others like it then that’s great. 

But you’re the “baddest female.”

CL: Yes, I am. [Laughs.] But I wouldn’t say we’re trendsetters, we just like to do something new. Because it’s not fun when you’re doing something that’s already done. And telling people about it is also what gets us excited.

Is 2NE1 the group similar in style and characteristics to 2NE1 as regular girls?

CL: That depends on each member.

Bom: For me it’s very similar. Instead of music that’s too amped up, I like things that are subtler and in the R&B lane. It fits my personal taste. Our foundation lies in hip-hop, so it works.

Minzy: It fits me well. I like hip-hop, rap, and R&B as well. All the songs, and just musically the group’s sound fit me well.

Dara: For me it was a bit different. Initially, I was very quiet, and reserved. My personality and musical taste were also less obtrusive. After I became a member of 2NE1, many sides of me that I haven’t noticed started to unveil itself. So I’m having fun in that sense. I wouldn’t say I’ve changed, but just sides of me that haven’t been revealed started to come out.

CL: 2NE1 itself doesn’t represent one genre of music. Our foundation lies in hip-hop, but we like to intertwine various styles of music. “Ugly,” has more so a rock flavor, we’ve also done records with some reggae twist, so I think diversity works best for us. For me, I’m very different on stage. Chaerin and CL are opposites. I consider myself black and white. On stage, I become the baddest female. [Laughs.] Parts of us that we don’t even know ourselves just come out through the music. 

On 2NE1 TV it seems like you guys have a wonderful relationship. How much of it is real? 

CL: [Laughs.] In front of other people we’re more reserved, but when four of us are together, we’re unbearably loud.

Bom: We can’t act that out. If they force us, we just can’t do it.

CL: We really can’t. We chit chat a lot, and it’s a lot of fun. Bom, Dara, and Minzy are very funny together. I’m usually the quiet one that's just laughing. I’m only talkative during interviews.

Amongst the members, does the age gap affect the chemistry?

Bom: Not at all. Seriously. I don’t really want to say it, but we’re really like friends. Sometimes [points at Minzy and CL] they take care of us like mom and dad. They really look after us.

CL: A lot of people get surprised. And some look at it in a negative light, but once you’re around us you’ll know. Both [Dara and Bom] spent a long time outside of Korea, so they treat us like equals, and look at us as friends in a very natural way. And we just have to watch out and not cross the line.

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