Nintendo has been having massive success in South Korea since it launched the DS Lite there back in January 2007. Last week, on 15th April, Nintendo Korea finally unleashed the updated DSi format in the usually PC-centric territory. However, rather than sliding it onto the market without much hype, it has enlisted the help of the most popular pop group in South Korea right now, 소녀시대, pronounced So-Nyeo Shi Dae and often referred to simply as SNSD (which translates as Girls' Generation in English). Several members of the nine-piece girl group have already featured in various TV adverts and extended promotional videos. Now the group are working on tour in the Far East, but Stephanie ‘Tiffany’ Hwang took the time to answer some questions in a quick chat with Cubed3.
Adam Riley, Senior Editor at Cubed3: To start with, could you please tell our readers a little bit about SNSD? Stephanie 'Tiffany' Hwang, Girls’ Generation (SNSD, 소녀시대): We debuted in August 2007 with our debut song 'Into the New World.' There are nine members in our group including me. There's Taeyeon, Jessica, Yoona, Yuri, Seohyun, Sunny, Hyoyeon, Sooyoung, and me (Tiffany) *smiles*
AR: How is SNSD's new song, Run Devil Run, doing in Korea since its release in March? Considering how the style of music is very different from Oh!, what has the reaction from fans been like so far?
Tiffany: The song's doing very well on the charts. We just won a ‘Mutizen Award’ for the song and we're very happy about it [AR: This is given to an artist on TV show Inkigayo when they claim the No.1 spot ]. Most of the fans said it's very different, but they like it, so it's good! *smiles*
AR: Run Devil Run is a cover version of a song originally sung by US singer Ke$ha, but why did you choose that particular song to cover?
Tiffany: Well, I wouldn't say it's a 'cover'. She just sang the demo version and then SM bought the song for us [AR: SMTown is the label the group is on, and is part of SM Entertainment ]. We didn't get to choose what song to sing.
AR: What are some of your other favourite songs from Western music artists?
Tiffany: Hmm. I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE all Mariah Carey songs! Especially ‘Hero’!! *smiles*
AR: Can you briefly explain how the end of the video for Oh! relates to the new song, Run Devil Run? Tiffany: It doesn't really have a storyline, to be honest. The end of Oh! is supposed to tease the fans for Run Devil Run. The story of Run Devil Run is that Sooyoung spills coffee onto the computer, so the "dark" SoShi come out of the computer and start to ruin everything in the room. Then the Oh! girls come back and then we see what the "dark" SoShi girls were doing, so we unplug the computer and then they're gone! [ AR: ‘SoShi’ is a shortened version of the group’s full Korean name ‘So Nyeo Shi Dae’ ]
AR: Do play any instruments or help write some of the SNSD songs?
Tiffany: I can play the flute really well, but I’m not a good song-writer, unfortunately!
AR: Other popular music groups have eventually become so famous that they made a movie, with Western bands such as Spice Girls and S Club 7 being two examples. Considering how you have all starred in various Korean TV shows, do you think it would also be a fun idea to have a Girls' Generation movie in the future?
Tiffany: Haha! That would be awesome! But I don't think it's gonna happen *frowns*
AR: SNSD is the No.1 'Girl Group' in Korea at the moment, but do you already have many fans here in Europe and over in the US? Tiffany: From what I've read, yes! Some of the fans told me they're from Morocco, Saudi Arabia, France, England...
AR: Have any of your songs already been released in the Western countries yet? If not, do you think 2010 will be the year when Girls' Generation 'conquers' the rest of the world?
Tiffany: No, not yet, but you can buy the "Oh!" album on iTunes *smiles* We won’t ‘conquer the world’ this year...but hopefully next year! We're just focusing on the Asian markets right now.
AR: Wonder Girls have had massive success in the US with 'Nobody.' Do you think Girls' Generation can be even more successful than Wonder Girls in places like the US and Europe?
Tiffany: Definitely!! *laughs*
AR: With SNSD previously working with LG for the promotion of the LG Cyon Chocolate mobile phone and releasing the song Chocolate Love, would you like to also do a song to promote the Nintendo DSi?
Tiffany: Of course, I love to sing, so I would love to sing if they asked us!
AR: When did you agree to record adverts for the Nintendo DSi?
Tiffany: We made the deal in February this year, but I wasn't included in it...
AR: There are currently two SNSD DSi adverts being shown on Korean TV, but will there be more of them in the future? Tiffany: Yes there will, with more of SNSD this time! *smiles* [ AR: Some of the new adverts can be seen here ]
AR: In one of the adverts, you are seen playing Rhythm World [ AR: The Korean name for Rhythm Paradise/Heaven ]. The soundtrack included in that game is composed by Japanese music artist Tsunku. If Nintendo makes another game like this, would you like to include SNSD's music in it? Tiffany: Of course! Who wouldn't want their song in a game?
AR: If there was a videogame made about SNSD, what sort of game would you like to star in?
Tiffany: A fashion game, definitely *winks*
AR: For the past three years, Nintendo has worked with some very famous Korean actors and actresses for its Nintendo DS and Wii advertising. How does it make you feel to be added to a list of famous celebrities like Lee Na-Young Lee (이나영) and Won Bin (원빈)?
Tiffany: It's amazing, because when I was a trainee, I used to watch them on television, and being able to be on the same "list" as them now is indescribable!
AR: You all look like you are having great fun on both the DSi TV adverts and the extended promotional video from http://www.nintendo.co.kr that highlights the camera and photo editing software! Would the camera and editing software be something you would all enjoy playing with when SNSD goes on tour?
Tiffany: Yes, we need something fun to do! *smiles*
AR: It is often said that 'the camera never lies...' So who looked the prettiest when using the DSi camera? And who looked the funniest when you used the photo editing software?
Tiffany: The prettiest was...Yuri and the funniest was our Seobaby (Seohyun) *smiles*
AR: Has Nintendo been kind enough to give you all a free DSi? If not, will you be buying one?
Tiffany: Not all of us got one...I didn't get one! But I would love to buy it
. AR: Other than the camera function, what other things do you like about the Nintendo DSi?
Tiffany: Unfortunately I didn't get my hands on it because I wasn't part of the first two commercials…
AR: Have any of you ever played Maple Story from Nexon Korea? Do you think that Nintendo now has a 'killer combination' with SNSD doing DSi adverts and Maple Story DS releasing at the same time? Tiffany: I've played it once, and yeah it definitely is a great combination!
AR: Is a game like MapleStory DS something that you think you would enjoy?
Tiffany: If it's anything like the MapleStory for the PC, then yeah I would!
AR: The DS Lite has been extremely popular in South Korea for the past three years. Have you got one that you take with you when on tour?
Tiffany: I have a pink one *smiles*
AR: Have you tried the Nintendo Wii?
Tiffany: I’m not really much of a gamer, so no I’ve not tried it...
AR: Have you seen any information about Super Smash Brothers X, which is coming to Korea on 29th April for Wii? When you and the other SNSD girls want to relieve some stress, do you think that maybe this could be a good game to play? Fighting against each other with characters like Mario, Kirby, Donkey Kong, Pikachu and many other famous Nintendo characters is great fun!
Tiffany: That sounds fun! But I don't think we'll have time for that *pulls tongue*
AR: Final question - who is going to do better in the World Cup this year, England or South Korea?
Tiffany: SOUTH KOREAAAAA!!! *grins*