ChoRong’s soft tone was a perfect complement to BoMi’s boisterous laughter throughout the entire interview, and vice versa. They may have had different ways of speaking, but the sparkle in their eyes as they discussed trying new things was the same for both of them. As in their lyrics, they’re a “perfectly similar collabo.”

​Copycat is the first official unit album since Apink’s debut.
BoMi: It was so fun getting ready for this album. I was really satisfied with everything that went into it from start to finish.

ChoRong: We had so much fun that even the backup dancers and the hair and makeup artists said they were sad when the promotions were over. I’m proud that it was so fun to work on the promotion for it but by the same token it’s sad that a good thing has come to an end.

You were heavily involved in everything from the concept planning stage forward.
ChoRong: I thought the most important part was to show off the chemistry we have as CHOBOM, so I tried to go along with the twin concept from beginning to end.

BoMi: I invested a lot of my time and prepared thoroughly. I like it even more because the parts I worked on are right there in the album. This time I wanted to focus on making a music video with a story, so I pretended like I was a writer, opened up my laptop and wrote a story.

What did you want the music video to be about?
BoMi: I thought it might be fun to use the idea of VR games to give the video a twist at the end. The video ends with us trapped behind glass on a game over screen, which is connected to the album cover art. I wanted it to be like fans are helping free us from behind the glass when they open up the physical album.

ChoRong: The part where we manage to escape and run off holding hands captures the very beginnings of CHOBOM. We’re tearing down all the themes we’ve done before, one by one. So we did our best to express a sense of freedom.

You described this promotion period as a “breakaway” the showcase.
BoMi: I did everything I ever wanted with this album, so now I’m always on the lookout for the next unique concept. (laughs) And I can get more into it and feel more excited about it because ChoRong always says she loves my ideas whenever I tell them to her. She was very accommodating.

ChoRong: And I think we were able to pull off that concept because it was just the two of us. The other members of Apink are fairly conservative (laughs) so when they came to the set of the music video to support us and then they saw us, they were really surprised. I said, “We should make Apink’s next concept something like this,” and they immediately said, “We’re good.” (laughs) I really did all this thinking, If not now, then when?
  • BoMi’s vest by MUNN .
It feels different from what you’ve done as Apink.
ChoRong: I wanted to make a pure pop song. Music where it just sounds good, whether you’re listening to the song or watching a performance of it. We tried really hard to make it different from Apink’s style since we were working as a subunit, but it wouldn’t have worked if we suddenly did something radically different, like something very dark. So we chose to do a light, breezy song that was a good fit for CHOBOM.

Even the breathy vocal style felt different.
BoMi: There’s a lot of times with Apink that we have to use strong vocals. I had to really loosen up my vocals for this, so much so that I didn’t even recognize my own voice at first.

ChoRong: It was a good fit for me, actually. It’s my kind of song and my voice isn’t as strong as the other members’ so it was nice to be able to sing in my natural voice.

Your vocal styles are quite different. What was it like getting used to each other’s style?
ChoRong: I actually thought BoMi’s vocal tone being the complete opposite from mine made things better. It was more fun because of how different they are characteristically speaking. We kept discussing how to change things even while we were recording the vocals. We thought we had to sing in a higher key after we first tried recording “Copycat” so we rerecorded it. We also thought the lower key might make the stage performance a little lackluster so after thinking about it a lot we decided to raise the key for that reason, too.

BoMi: We’ve been listening to each other’s voices for 12 years so I didn’t have much to worry about when it came to our vocal chemistry. We found out how to match our voices during the recording process.
I’m sure it was just as important for the live performances to be able to work together well.
BoMi: I felt like I had to be able to copy her exactly, like a mirrored dance video, seeing as we were going with the twin concept. I spent more late nights practicing than ever before. I would even say I wouldn’t go home until I practiced more if it wasn’t right. (laughs)

ChoRong: I was a bit obsessive. (laughs) I put a whole lot of effort into every little detail of the choreography where we’re staring directly at each other especially.

Your hair, makeup and wardrobe were all very unique and interesting, too. What was the most memorable part for you?
BoMi: I’d like to hear from ChoRong directly about the pink and blue wig idea she was embarrassed that she came up with herself. (laughs)

ChoRong: I only wanted to wear that wig for the photo for the album cover. I took it off when we started taking pictures for the photo cards because it was a little embarrassing. (laughs) I never tried a look quite as shocking as a blue and pink wig before. I thought it would be good to use two contrasting colors for the twin concept so I made the bold decision to try something new.

BoMi: I saw sides of ChoRong while promoting this song that I had never seen before. She really likes to have a fully formed concept like this. Like, If you’re going to do it, do it right, BoMi!

ChoRong: Sometimes when we work as a whole group, we have no choice but to find middle ground since we all have different opinions, but I guess there’s things I have a strong preference for.

While it must have been fun trying something new, you probably felt a strong sense of responsibility, too. Did you feel pressured at all?
BoMi: I feel like we replaced “I feel pressured” with “Let’s have fun.” We said, “Let’s just have fun! Let’s just have fun!” so many times. Maybe it’s because inside we were thinking, Ah, I’m so nervous—I feel so pressured. We’re both nervous and impatient people on the inside. And I also think I felt even more pressure because I didn’t want Copycat to be the first and last album we did.

ChoRong: I was able to work as hard as I did specifically because I felt that pressure. It’s the first album to come from an Apink subunit and the fans have always shown a lot of love for CHOBOM. I wanted to make something I could be proud of.
Each of you is taking on new challenges of your own as well. BoMi, you’re in Wonder Ticket: Resurrection of the Guardian Tree, which is your first time performing in a musical, correct?
BoMi: And, wow—musicals are really challenging. I felt like the hardest part was having to express the emotions while looking at the audience. You have to say “I love you” while looking out past the stage, not at the other actor. And it’s also important that your body always faces the audience. Everything about the experience was brand new to me.

And ChoRong, you were on the audio drama of I Want To Do It, Even if It Hurts.
ChoRong: That was a whole new experience. You’re acting with just a microphone in front of you, so you’re all alone trying to express emotions while all you hear is a voice through your headset, similar to what BoMi found difficult. You’re not having an actual conversation, so I kept sounding like I was reading. It was hard to vocalize things properly. It was especially hard to imagine sitting down, standing up, falling down, and express those, including the breathing sounds. I was in the recording studio concentrating and using my voice continuously for several hours, which was physically and mentally exhausting. But still, it was really fun! I’d do it again if I had the opportunity.

Have you ever had any trouble taking on new challenges?
BoMi: Seven or eight years after I debuted, I started to worry a lot—like, what should I do in the future, and what would happen if I had to go on my own? But now I try to focus on the present and go with the flow, and keep things fun and be grateful. I want to try everything there is to try!

ChoRong: There was a time where I would be filled with worry, even before I started something. I talked down to myself a lot, too, telling myself I wasn’t cut out to be famous and that I would screw things up even if I was given a chance. But I’m more mentally relaxed now, and I try to enjoy whatever I’m doing once I get there. Now that I’m trying to keep things fun, the things I work on are turning out better. I want to try a lot of things and keep it fun.

What is it that makes you want to keep trying new things?
BoMi: It’s the other members. No matter what I’m doing, I’m never just thinking about myself as a single person. I think I would feel intimidated without Apink attached to my name. Even when I’m doing something solo, if I feel nervous about it, I talk to them in our group chat.

ChoRong: She sends a ton of messages before anyone can respond. (laughs)

BoMi: When I’m doing solo stuff, I think about the other members a lot. If I’m doing a musical without them, I send a message like, “Wow, this is so fun!” And if I’m in a TV drama, I tell them, “This drama’s so fun!” But doing our songs on stage is still the best. In other words, Apink is the most fun! (laughs)

ChoRong: Apink is what keeps me going, too. I’m really driven to do better even on my own because of them. I think our group can only do more once we do more as individuals, too. The other members are already doing really well on their own, so I want to work hard the way they do.
  • ChoRong’s earrings by VINTAGE HOLLYWOOD, boots by bymina.
The theme of this album is “framily”—friends who are like family. The two of you, and all the members of Apink, are framily. Does PANDA feel like a framily now, too?
ChoRong: Isn’t “framily” the perfect word to describe us? (laughs) I spent my 20s as a member of Apink, and every moment of it was spent with PANDA. Lots of PANDA write letters saying they spent their teens and 20s with Apink and together with all the members.

BoMi: There were no fans there to do the fan chants when we were promoting “Dumhdurum” and “Dilemma.” The past two years, I really wanted to hear PANDA’s voices. Maybe it’s because it had been so long, but PANDA seemed a little awkward at first. But they cheered so much that by the end their eyes were bloodshot and their voices were hoarse. This promotional period was so fun thanks to that and I’ll never forget it.

BoMi, you volunteered to help rescue dogs on the YouTube channel Bbom Bbom Bbom with Bbosong, the channel’s fandom, right?
BoMi: I was so grateful for that. Hundreds and hundreds of people signed up for that, actually, but it would’ve been out of control if that many people showed up, so I only did it with seven of them. But it was really hard work and made me regret only having seven people with me. It was so hard that I had to wash my face, and my neck, and even my back there. (laughs) Still, I was really proud that so many people who weren’t familiar with the world of rescue dogs before were able to experience so much because of that.

I understand that Apink has done volunteer work now and then with PANDA before, too.
BoMi: I think PANDA is the one who makes it what it is. Sometimes they register donations or do other good deeds under our names. I’m so thankful when they do that that I think we should be doing it with them.

ChoRong: I wanted to do volunteer work on my birthday before, but I also feel sort of sorry in a way. You should volunteer because you want to, so it just feels a little inappropriate to ask people to do it. Anyway, it’s still good to volunteer together, so I tried asking them carefully and PANDA were more than happy to show up. I think seeing PANDA do that really taught us something, too.

You and your fans really influence one another a lot.
BoMi: They’re such a big influence in my life. When we hold fan signing events, the question I ask PANDA most is, “Why do you like me?” There’s times when I lose self-esteem and can’t find a way to love myself. When that happens, I can read just one fan letter and I can feel how they love me unconditionally. I end up learning to love myself again, all thanks to PANDA.

ChoRong: I think I’m living a blessed life to receive so much love like this. It’s not about popularity—it’s real love. The first time I ever read their letters, I was fascinated and curious how they could love me that much, but I was very grateful. Like, millions of different thoughts filled my head. But the thought that will stay with me forever is how incredibly grateful I am. It makes me determined to live life as an upstanding person.

You’ve been a framily with the other members and with your fans for over 11 years now. What does the future that you’re making together look like?
ChoRong: Musical trends and people’s tastes change a lot as time passes, but if we try to blatantly follow trends, we could lose what makes us so special. People may ask a lot of us, but I hope we don’t throw away everything that made us who we are. I’m proud of what we have made, and nobody else could have made it that way. We can still try new things while staying true to ourselves.

BoMi: I think Apink has an image of being a friendly group. But even with that friendliness, I hope we can try finding new sides to ourselves. Looking back now, I was really shy and nervous in my 20s so I didn’t try many things, but I really regret that now. That’s why I want to try everything I can now in my 30s. That’s how I want to try living my life for now.

ChoRong: I think I’ve lived a good life so far as a member of Apink, but I’m still not sure what I’m good at or what I could be doing better as Park ChoRong, the person. So I’m going to keep looking for different sides of myself from now on by trying new things in different areas. I want to get to know myself better.
Article. Song Hooryeong
Interview. Song Hooryeong
Visual Director. Jeon Yurim
Project Management. Song Hooryeong
Photography. Jang Dukhwa / Assist. Kim Eunji, Yoon Mingi, Kim Minjeong
Hair. Kim Kyul / Assist. Sung Chanhee (PRANCE)
Makeup. Kim Hyojung (SOONSOO)
Stylist. Hong Hary / Assist. Park Jookyung (Punksnotdead)
CHOBOM’s playlist