We Interview Idols: END OF IDOL

From the start of this small project dedicated to Vietnamese idols, I have had the idea to contact and interview them in mind. However, as a person who has a lot of worries, I just opened my email and then closed it multiple times. Perhaps, on that day, the heat in Vietnam ignited the passion flame in me (or it just burned all my worries and anxiety into ash), but somehow I had enough courage to compose an interview request and hit the “send message” button. 

And now we are here, with Shynii Quỳnh, Kim Anh and Rin from END OF IDOL, who have agreed to share a bit of their idol experience with us. 

(From left to right, Shynii Quỳnh, Kim Anh and Rin during one of their Month End Test)

Before getting to the interview, let’s have a quick introduction to END OF IDOL.

The first thing to note is, at the time of writing, even thought they have released a couple of songs, END OF IDOL hasn’t officially debuted. Therefore, all their content until now is considered “pre-debut content”. They currently have 11 members, divided into two units: TVTT (Thành Viên Tạm Thời, which means “Temporary Member”) who is representative for END OF IDOL; and TTS (Thực Tập Sinh, which means “Trainee”). Pretty straightforward, and we can get the hint that this may or may not be their final line up. 

Perhaps because of this reason, the members don’t have their own, individual social media pages yet. However, they are quite active on the group’s blog. Bad news is, everything is in Vietnamese, so you may need to ask for some help from our best friend, Google Translate.

(TVTT members, left-right, up-down, Kim Anh, Shynii Quỳnh, Lani, Melodee, Luna, and Rin.)

(TTS members, left-right, up-down, Khánh Linh, Ánh Dương, Haru, Miou and Thảo Nguyên.)

Up until now, END OF IDOL have released two original songs. Tomorrow, together, which is a cute song to cheer on for people during the COVID-19 crisis.

And Dandelions, a song about their dream and passion on this idol path.

In these two songs, you can only see the performance from the TVTT members, but don’t worry, I got you. For their April Month End Test, END OF IDOL organized an event called Mock Up Stage; Love Stories Show, where each member could perform a song and have some experience on stage.  All of those performances are available to enjoy on the units’ Facebook page but here’s a couple of the standouts from the event:

Anh và anh – Vũ Cát Tường. Performed by: Miou

Như mùa tuyết đầu tiên – Văn Mai Hương cover. Performed by: Kim Anh

The members of END OF IDOL are currently focused on preparations for next week’s FINAL EXAM DAY; to the Stage DEBUT, a public event marking the end of their Training Program.

The entrance is free, so if you happen to be in Ho Chi Minh City at that time, perhaps follow their Facebook page for information on how to sign up to the event and drop by.

In addition, we also have a teaser for the group’s next original song, Yes, Sir!. If things happen as when they release Dandelions, we might have to wait about 8 months at most for the full song to release. However, with the epidemic situation still under control in Vietnam, as well as the experience gained from the training process and from the first official song release, perhaps the waiting period will for this one won’t be as long.

Now that you are fully up to speed on the group, it’s time to meet three representatives from TVTT – END OF IDOL: Kim AnhShynii and Rin were kind enough to answer our questions and help us learn more about themselves, the group’s main concept and their training experience!

Homicdiols: Let’s start with a basic question: What inspired you to become an idol?

Kim Anh: Ever since I was little, I had a dream to be a singer. But when I grew up, as I listened to this question again, I forgot about that dream. I also don’t know for what reason. It wasn’t until high school that I started to like and learn more about idols. I really like their image, talent, as well as their difficult and challenging journey. They worked very hard and persevered. I also want to be like that. For me, other idols are the source of motivation and inspiration that makes me want to become an idol.

Shynii: Initially, I wanted to become an idol because I wanted to improve my shyness and fear of strangers. I think that when I have outside activities and group activities, I will be able to become more confident, and I won’t be afraid of strangers anymore. After I had the opportunity to enter the world of songs, I began to realize that one of the biggest motivations for me, the one that keeps me going down this path, is the feeling when I stand on stage to perform, sing and dance. That’s when I feel my thoughts and feelings can be conveyed to the audience in the most complete way. I think the songs and dances that I perform on stage can convey positive energy to the people below the stage. And miraculously, those friends who have received this energy also return their love. They also give energy to those on stage by chanting, calling our names and cheering us on. I feel this connection is a very beautiful thing, and I will always cherish that.

Rin: As for me, I’ve always liked the energy of the girls on stage. So I followed them. After that, I kept practicing along with their songs, until one day, I thought “Will I ever be able to stand on stage and shine like them?”. So when END OF IDOL recruited members, I submitted the application immediately, without thinking. And now I’m here.

Homicdiols: I heard that one of the three core values that END OF IDOL is aiming for is “maturity”. So how do you define your “maturity”? What role does END OF IDOL play in that maturing process?

Kim Anh: For me, “maturity” means knowing how to appreciate what’s around, being self-aware and responsible for what you’re doing and will do. I feel like I still haven’t had this maturity, indeed, I’m still very immature in both thought and action. I’m still in the process of trying to improve myself. So, for me, END OF IDOL is like a place where I can realize this process.

Rin: For Rin, “maturity” is something very big. Not only growing up (in terms of age), but also having maturity in thinking, in speaking, or growing from daily experiences. It’s like a road where we walk little by little every day. We (the group) develop by singing and dancing, and then we also grow in the way we work, the way we stand on stage. Each person in END OF IDOL has their own growth path.

Shynii: Usually, people will associate “mature” with something very big, complicated. But for me, “being mature” is simply being brave enough to dare to face one’s fears. Like I said earlier, I was afraid of crowds at first. I think the moment I decided to join END OF IDOL to pursue a certain goal, I already took a new step in my growth. In my opinion, for the members of TVTT and TTS to participate in END OF IDOL, they have already had enough courage, and it is also a step on their path of growth. We are all moving towards maturity, both mentally and emotionally.

Homicdiols: When it comes to “mature”, people often think of it as the opposite of “cute” and associate it with “childishness”. I wonder what you guys think about this?

Kim Anh: For me, those two things can coexist. Whether it’s cute, or childish, it’s just a part of who we are. I feel like a person who has all of those characteristics (cute and mature) is also very normal. To say that an adult couldn’t be cute would not be true either. Maybe a person can grow in their cuteness? And sometimes, “childish” thoughts can also bring on a person’s own emotions. I think that thinking these two things must be opposites is rather rigid thinking.

Shynii: I also agree with Kim Anh. I don’t think “mature” or “cute” have to be separate definitions for each person, each adjective is just one of their many aspects. Like I said earlier, “maturity” is being brave enough to face one’s fears. So for me, it will be more about personality than appearance. I can completely imagine a person who has a cute appearance, but has a mature and professional working style. It can also be the opposite, a person who has a mature appearance but has a cute, lovely demeanor. Like when a “mature” person turns red because of something, I think that’s really cute.

Rin: A person with a cute appearance does not necessarily mean that their personality will be childish, and vice versa. I think that these two keywords (“cute” and “mature”) coexist in the same person… is still okay? (laughs) In fact, that person will be very interesting.

Homicdiols: Among the members of TVTT unit, it seems like there are a few members who have had experience in idol activities before. I wonder if these experiences are an advantage for your “maturity”?

Shynii: Regarding these experiences, I think there are both advantages and disadvantages. The advantage is, because I already have experience, when participating in group activities, I can easily work with others and quickly grasp the key points in the exercises or choreography that the teachers give us. However, I think there are still other disadvantages. I feel that people’s expectations for experienced people will be higher than others. They think that those with experience know what they need to do. People may also feel that what they do is taken for granted. This is also something that has bothered me lately. Moreover, I also feel that, when put on the scale to compare, experienced people will give the impression that they have slower and less visible progress than those who do not have much experience. But I am also very grateful for these experiences. Thanks to them, I can be more tolerant and able to support other members. This is what I’ve been trying to do lately to make the group better and better.

Homicdiols: It seems that the process of selecting members for the project took place around the time when the COVID19 pandemic is still quite serious in Vietnam.  YATTA! has tried a lot to support you guys through this process as a company. However, I think you will also encounter some obstacles and disadvantages. Can you share a few words?

Rin: When we joined the Audition Camp, which means the first 30 days as trainees, we had to study online. For both vocals and dance, it’s like skipping a minute and you’ll miss it. And because it’s online learning, it’s difficult to keep in contact with people, I think my learning progress got slower. At that time, there was social distancing, so we all had to practice at home. And the space at home is quite limited. We live with family, so there are quite a lot of inconveniences. We have to pass those 30 days to continue to the Training Program. And then here we are~!

Kim Anh: Online learning will be affected by many things, such as Internet conditions, electronic devices. Due to living with many people, daily activities can affect my study time. The vocal practice class will also affect the family. Therefore, we want to thank the teachers and the company for trying to support us, so that we can be more convenient when going through that time. I also want to thank myself and everyone for trying (laugh). 

Shynii: Online learning will have limitations in observing teachers as well as absorbing lectures. When we dance, we have to use our bodies a lot. And when we learn online, we can’t see the movements clearly, we also have problems with going left or right, stepping forward or backward. There were some small “incidents” like that. But we still learned to “survive” and to solve those. As for myself, although I’m afraid of crowds, I like the feeling of being connected and working in a small group. When studying online, people just meet during class, but don’t talk to each other afterwards. I feel a bit disconnected from everyone. We attended the class when it’s time, and logged out when it finished. We also barely messaged each other that time, so yeah, it was a bit sad. But fortunately in the second half of December 2021, we had the opportunity to meet each other. It just felt completely different while meeting face to face. When we practice and talk together, I feel that I can connect with everyone more.

Homicdiols: Due to the impact of COVID19, you also had to postpone the release date of the song “Dandelions”. But after many efforts, the song was finally released on June 27. Can you share a memorable memory, or your feelings during the making process of the song? 

Shynii: Hmm, memories? I think we’ve been working on this song for quite a long time. Because of the epidemic, it was delayed even more. When I first heard the song, I was very moved because I felt like my thoughts and stories were somehow recreated in this song. I used to pursue idol music before and was told by a lot of people that the path I’m on won’t bring me anything. I have also seen many of my friends stop this path to focus on their lives. At first, I felt normal, but little by little, many things accumulated and made me feel like I was alone. I started to doubt whether my choice was a mistake or not. Ever since I started participating in activities with END OF IDOL and meeting everyone, I have always carried the fear of being left behind. But when I was still scared like that, people started coming closer to me and showed me that these girls will always stand by me. I think that’s also the story that “Dandelions” wants to convey to everyone. That’s why when I first heard this song, I was extremely touched.

Rin: For me, the first emotion is always the most complete and immaculate. When I first performed the song, even when I overdid it a little bit, it was the perfect version for me. The first time singing “Dandelion” live in the practice room, for some reason, Rin felt very emotional. Although I feel that I am not good at singing, that is when I just gave everything to the song. And for me, that was the time when I sang this song the best.

Shynii: So now you can’t perform it well anymore (laugh)?

Rin: I still can (laugh)!! But the first time is just special and the most important moment, you know?

Kim Anh: Because the time spent working on this song is so long, I have a lot of memories. But the time I remember the most is when everyone sat down and shared their feelings about this song. The atmosphere then was the same as it is now, one by one, each person opened their heart. In general, everyone was very emotional that day and I’m glad I found people with the same idea as me. So, I’m very happy and grateful to be able to sing this song.

Shynii: Also, to talk about the most memorable memory, I think everyone here is impressed by the day we filmed the MV for Dandelions.

Rin: We need to go through these 24 hours to survive (laugh).

Kim Anh: That day was when we worked and stayed together for the longest time ever. And despite such a long working time, everyone tries and finds ways to cheer each other up to be able to complete the final product in the best way. So I was very impressed by it.

Homicdiols: It is known that Dandelions is the first song in Crystal Flower project for the first generation. This song belongs to “Flower” part, representing the process of self-development and the vitality  of END OF IDOL. So, among the members of TVTT, who do you think is the most suitable to embody this idea?

Kim Anh: Honestly, I feel that everyone suits the flower image very well. But to choose just one person, it would be Shynii. Because whether in work or life, Shynii is always a kind, persistent, optimistic girl, and she is always moving forward. In addition to self-development, she also always takes care of the team members. For me, she is an example to follow. So, I think she suits this image very well.

Shynii: Thank you.

Rin: For Rin, everyone has their own color, so each person will find their best way to express the song. But the most suitable and natural is probably Shynii. From the beginning, Shynii has always carried a positive image, diligently learning to move forward. Those are images that fit very well with an energetic song with a message that encourages people to move forward like “Dandelions”. The truth is that no matter how tired or discouraged the members are, Shynii will always be there to comfort, cheer, and motivate everyone to work together.

Shynii: I feel that maturity like a dandelion is a fragile image, but it has a strong vitality with the desire to leave its own mark on life. Dandelions are so fragile and so small. Actually, when I first heard the phrase “intense vitality”, I immediately thought about the fact that I was quite “old”. If it comes to the feeling of maturity, daring to face one’s fears and daring to follow one’s dreams and desires, I think anyone in the group can express that. That’s why I won’t be able to choose just one.

Homicdiols: Lastly, can you describe more about the group to overseas fans?

Shynii: At first, when I heard the name “END OF IDOL”, I was quite surprised by its pessimism and contradiction. I mean, we are idols, why is our group’s name the end of it? But then, when I asked Mr. Rei (their producer), I had my answer. Nowadays, as technology and media become more common to everyone, it’s much easier to become a celebrity or influencer. This phenomenon is starting to make the movement of traditional idols dwindle. People will gradually forget about traditional idols like before, with live performance stages or fan meetings. When Mr. Rei created “END OF IDOL”, he had the thought of reminding everyone that there was a time when idols were like this. It’s the direction that we want END OF IDOL to follow. We will focus on the basic skills of being an idol: singing, dancing, communication, behavior. There is a pretty cool tagline that Mr. Rei used, which is “This is not the end of idol. We are “End of Idol“”. And this is also what I want to say to everyone. We will try our best to bring back the image of traditional idols to the audience. 

Once again, thanks END OF IDOL for trusting and accompanying me in this interview. Don’t forget to check out their MVs and leave cheers to support this new unit.