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SHINee Interview at the YouTube Music Awards

November 17, 2013


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Holy shiznit guise. Here’s our video with SHINee. It took a long time to put up, even though we were finished it a week ago. Why? We’ll let you know. It’s a long story. It’s not a happy story. And it’s something that we’re never going to do again.

Here’s how everything unfolds: the time after our European Trip and before the YouTube Music Awards was pretty hectic for us. A bunch of YouTubers came over from the US and UK and we had some collaborative projects to work on with them to promote the YTMAs. At the same time, we were speaking with CJ Entertainment and finalizing our roles in the YTMAs. Those roles were independent of the collaborative project with the other YouTubers since we were doing the live backstage interviews for the YTMAs.

CJ’s Program Director came to our studio, sat down with Soo Zee, and went over the plan, what we’d say, where we’d say it, who we’d say it with. They scheduled in the interview with SHINee for us as part of our role in the event, and pegged it as something that would go up on our channel after the YTMAs. We agreed to that. SHINee’s managers agreed to that. Great! Things looked smooth so far.

After we posted our announcement video of our interviews with the artists, we picked a bunch of your questions, which we then submitted to CJ and to SHINee’s manager. The questions were approved. Lovely! We were ready to rock and roll, and were really excited for this opportunity.

Fast forward to the day of the event: we were in our artist tent waiting to do the interview with SHINee, but their manager delayed the interview and so we missed our interview time slot for filming in the backstage room. Crap! Since we had to prepare ourselves for the backstage event which was going live very soon, we then agreed to do the interview in our tent. Vice TV’s crew was nice enough to help us with lighting so that SHINee would look good. SHINee’s manager agreed to it.

He then told us that he didn’t like the interview questions anymore, so we changed them, on the spot, in extremely short time, frantically looking for good questions on Twitter that weren’t “TAEMIN OPPA WILL YOU MARRY MEEEEE.” After we got these questions we submitted it to him, and he agreed. Lovely. SHINee then came into our tent and we explained what we’re going to do. We asked our tiny amount of questions, Soozee translated, we got their answers. Boom bam!

There was once thing we didn’t include in this interview. We gave Taemin the “Taemin TaeMAN TaeMAXIMUM” shirts. We explained to SHINee that they debuted around the same time that we came to Korea, and we saw them change from a young group to a more mature and confident group, and how we made this shirt to kind of document of their growth, like Pokemon! Taemin smiled, we asked him what size he was, small or medium, because we brought both shirts and wanted to give him one that fits. He asked if he could keep both, so we all laughed together, and gave him both shirts.

After that was all done and SHINee left (ps-> Key said he saw our Music Mondays as well) we went onto doing our live backstage event. A couple of days later we finished the interview, subtitled it, and sent it to SHINee’s manager. We usually send our interviews to managers before we publish them, just as a courtesy. If they see something we didn’t see, like a member picking their nose, or an awkward stance that shows off their crotch or something, or a line from the interview that might be viewed as rude or conflicting with a product they endorse, we ask them if there’s anything we can crop or cut out. It’s not necessary, but we want to be considerate, you know?

But then SHINee’s management team just said No. No…what? No to the entire video. They didn’t like how it looked and didn’t want it up. It was shot in a tent and looks like it’s just shot backstage. No, don’t put it up. Now, Soo Zee explained to them, yes of course it’s in a tent and looks like it’s backstage…it was meant to be a backstage interview. She explained how we were backstage hosts with Taecyeon and Min and we did equally short interviews with other kpop artists at the same event. Didn’t matter, SHINee’s management still said no.

Now, this is something that we were not prepared for, since our sending videos to management isn’t an approval process; it’s simply a review process. Sending the video to them is just a collaborative effort to make final tweaks on the video to make it better for all parties involved. They already approved the video back when they told us we could announce it in our YTMA collab video. They knew we got our questions from you guise, SHINee’s fans, from that video. We put it in the teaser in our YTMA Backstage video. They knew we tweeted our pictures. Our audience – you guise – are waiting for it. We’re not NOT putting up a video. A tent looks bad? Not putting up a video looks way worse for all parties involved, not just us, but SHINee, too.

And what about all the hours we spent in editing the video? If they didn’t like the video, why did they come into our personal tent to shoot it? Why was the manager there with us in the tent, OUR TENT with our names on it, if he didn’t like the setting? Despite us giving ALL these reasons, the questions weren’t answered. All we heard was “no, don’t put it up.”

Okay…so, breathing very slowly and calmly, we went out of our way to offer a compromise: if they don’t like the video, then let’s have SHINee over at our studio, where we can film something in a better environment with more lighting. Sure, it’ll destroy our schedule for the week and cost us tons more time to edit and translate, but we’re willing to do that instead as a middle ground. SM’s response? Nope, not happening, either. It’s too difficult to get the five of them together. What the hell kind of explanation that is, I don’t know, since they’re in the middle of promotions and together all the time. So we suggested then that we shoot it in their space in the SM Studio. Again, no. All we know is that they said no to everything and weren’t willing to do anything else.

And here’s where things get really annoying. We honestly thought this: the PR team probably doesn’t understand the situation. They were just told to look at an interview, one of probably many, and to approve it. But they didn’t understand why it looks so backstagey. So Soo Zee, who has been talking to SHINee’s PR, finally tells her politely that we had agreements with other companies like CJ and Kia to do this video as part of the YTMAs. She explained to her, we’re not a news company in which we need you approve of a few pictures so we can post an article for our entertainment section. We’re not a gossip website that needs pictures and selca re-post articles in order to make money. We’re not press. We’re YouTube vloggers, there to vlog our backstage experience at a YouTube event. SHINee performed at the YouTube event by dancing and singing, and we performed at the YouTube event by doing backstage interviews.

Still, the PR person said, no. She even told Soozee that it doesn’t matter that SHINee’s manager said yes to the interview, because the PR are the ones to approve everything. Sidenote: so what you’re saying is, I never have to ask for a manager’s permission to film a group again because the managers have no power and are literally just bodyguards? That doesn’t make any sense to me. So Soo Zee responded, as nicely as possible, that we’re not calling them to ask for permission because it’s not theirs to give. We’re simply trying to explain the situation because it seemed that there was miscommunication.

When Soo Zee told her that, the lady actually gave a scoffing laugh, and told Soo Zee she’d call back, then hung up the phone, and she never called back. She flat out…laughed at Soo Zee, in a “do you not know who you are dealing with?” kind of way. Poor Soo Zee, who has been nothing but super polite to all of them, gets rudely laughed at all because of this tiny 2:00 minute SHINee interview. Martina here: that really pissed me off. Soozee doesn’t deserve ANY of this stress and bad vibes over a SHINee interview. We still haven’t heard back from them, and doubt we ever will again.

So, that’s the big story, and I understand that some people will think this looks bad on us. SM doesn’t like the way SHINee looks, and we’re not understanding that it doesn’t show them at their best. We’re being unreasonable, then, and forcing SM into an awkward situation. Yes, I know some people will walk away from this blogpost thinking that we’re the ones being divas here. Our position, on the other hand, is that this is exactly what everyone agreed and signed up for. They performed at the YOUTUBE Music Awards! YOUUUTUUBBBEEE!!! We are YouTubers that were supposed to do backstage interviews with artists before and after they were on stage. We were supposed to give the excited vibe of the YTMAs, to show what things were like behind the scenes. That was our role in the program! That’s what we were signed up for! That’s the only reason why we went to the event. It was supposed to add a splash of on-the-fly light fun vibe to it, just like a YouTube video! Did you see the NYC YTMA event? That shit was crazy! Personally, we like the video, and we’re happy to put it up. They talked about some things that were light hearted and fun, you heard their input on their fav hairstyles, and you had a chance to see Key speak a little bit of English. This was supposed to be SO simple and fun and we hoped it made the Shawols on this site happy as well.

But, to us, it really dragged us down and made us feel icky. The icky icky bad mojo vibe of what it’s like to butt heads with a giant million dollar company that cares more about iron-clawed control than individuality. Seriously guise: this isn’t what we signed up for. We’re just two people that go around having fun making videos, and we are lucky enough to be able to make a living off doing this, but it was never a secret business plan or driving life goal.

We’ve been fortunate enough to have a lot of random chance encounters, like chatting with U-Kiss backstage at Inkigayo and having a blast. We interviewed B.A.P, Block B, UKISS, and Z:EA all in poorly lit change rooms! Do you like them any less because of that? After being lucky enough to get the EYK Nasty Studio, we’ve done other interviews in our studio and had loads of fun. And that was our goal, to take Korean artists and make them more approachable and understandable to their international audience. The mini mini Marshmallow sticker booth is ALWAYS amazing, I’ve seen even the most exhausted kpop star grin from ear to ear laughing in that booth.

This, though? This isn’t fun. And, not only that, we wasted SO MUCH of our time talking with all of these managers when we could have been making fun videos. We wasted so many days being annoyed and trying to find the right words to say to try to get SM to work together with us when we could have been out and about being silly on camera. Soo Zee was drained. We were fuming. The vibe in the Eatyourkimchi Studio was sour as hell. And when we realized this, when we realized how gigantic a pain in the ass this whole experience was, in contrast to the great times we’ve had working with other people in our studio, we realized that we don’t want to do stuff like this again. Maybe if things change and we only do interviews in our studio, or maybe if we make managers and their PR team sign a contract. I don’t know. All I know is that the satisfaction we got out of this is farrrrrr smaller than the frustration. Not worth it. Totally not worth it for us.

We’re not a “Kpop company”. We do Kpop Music Mondays once a week. The rest of the week we’re talking about Naughty Hand Gestures, Driving to the Coffee Prince House, talking about Indie Music, Playing with Tea Divers. Kpop is a small portion of what we do, and it’s the one that always causes us the most stress, especially in situations like this. We want to talk about Kpop videos in a fun way, and do interviews in a fun way.

Our goal as a new business isn’t to be Kpop authorities; our goal as vloggers is to have fun and enjoy our lives as the happy married couple that we are. Since becoming a business we’ve made it a goal to surround ourselves with positive people, and so we added two new people who we love being around, Soo Zee and Leigh. We all genuinely love working together, love brainstorming for videos ideas, and love being creative! We love that we have Nasty viewers that like similar things that we like, and we like trying to include you guise in our decision making process as much as possible. That’s what we like dealing with. But if dealing with SM is going to ruin that for us, then we won’t deal with them again. Sorry guise. I know some people will think that we’re so biased, yada yada yada, but the stress that comes from this isn’t worth the effort. And it’s nothing against SM Kpop artists personally: Super Junior and f(x) are lovely, and Kris, despite our short meeting, was a really nice guy! We’re biased against repeating negative experiences. We’re humans with preferences; we’re not a news outlet that’s neutral and balanced.

So that’s our long story. We’re exhausted from this encounter, and we’re glad to finally be over with it. I’m sorry this took so long to put up. We’re gonna take measures in the future to prevent this from happening again. I hope you still kinda liked the video, even if you know what the back story behind it was like.



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