Interview: Meet the Fans Bringing TEEN TOP to LA
Every year there are more and more K-pop concerts happening around the world – but what if your faves haven’t been giving your country the love it deserves? A group of loyal TEEN TOP fans decided that if the group wasn’t going to plan a US concert in 2015 then they would plan it for them. They formed a small group and became “Team Angel” – named after TEEN TOP’s fanclub.
After months of hard work, the team received the go-ahead from TEEN TOP’s agency and they launched TEEN TOP’s My Dear Angels in LA. With tickets on sale now, we wanted to showcase the team that made the event possible and share their story.
Has your fave group (coughB2STcough) been curiously absent from your country? Check out Team Angel’s story and get inspired to try your hand at show planning:
Please introduce yourselves!
Robin: My name is Robin! I’m from the great state of Texas.
Mimi: I’m Mimi from New York. I’m 21 and am currently a college senior.
Nao: Hello!! We’re Team Angel and they call me Nao.
Kristen: My name is Kristen and I’m from Mississippi.
Bea T: I’m Bea T from San Francisco
How did you get into K-pop?
Mimi: My friend showed me a couple K-Pop music videos and I’ve been hooked ever since.
Nao: DBSK. I just found them on the internet one day in 2006 and thought, “Wow, so cool.”
Kristen: I don’t recall exactly how I got into K-pop in general, I just know it was a mixture of hearing it on pro-gamer streams and browsing Youtube. I do remember though, one of the first K-pop songs I’d ever heard was TVXQ’s “Mirotic.”
Bea T: It was definitely the work of my beloved cousin. She got into a K-Pop fandom about a year before I did, then dragged me along with her.
What’s your Teen Top story?
Robin: There was never a question as to why it would be Teen Top. The major thing that our staff has in common is that we all share a passion for the group because of their shining personalities and infectious music! To my knowledge, there hasn’t been a group to do a USA fanmeet, so we wanted to help Teen Top achieve that, which also benefits the fans because it’s such a unique and engaging experience between the artist and the attendees. Personally, it’s a way for me to say “thanks” to a group and a fandom that have made me smile so much
Mimi: Why not Teen Top would honestly give you a shorter answer. The first time I was introduced to Teen Top was when a news site published an article about Teen Top’s up and coming debut. The members are all around my age so I thought it was amazing and admirable that they were debuting so young. I knew I had to give them a shot. I ended up meeting a fellow Teen Top fan and started a forum for them. Ever since then, I’ve done fan projects for them and have a created a fansite especially for L.Joe. I want to say it took me only 2 minutes to fall in love with them because that’s how long it took me to read that article. I’ve followed them for almost 5 years now and every moment has been precious and valuable to me.
Nao: Teen Top is just really great. They’re amazing live and are always so warm and humble, really just cool guys. There’s really no other group like them and each of their individual personalities are shown through just one stage.
Kristen: I could write an epic novel on why Teen Top so I’ll start with my story. I’d discovered them sometime before their debut in 2010, perusing some forum and becoming interested in spite of what little information was available. They were such cute young kids, but I felt a bit weird at the time trying to get into a group whose average age was 16.3 at debut, so I tried not to become too involved. You see how well that turned out. When ‘Clap’ came out I couldn’t pick any one member to stan, though C.a.p, Niel and L.Joe were the members I was initially drawn to. ‘Supa Luv’ was game over though. My bias has been tied between the same two members since that era: C.a.p and Niel. As for why Teen Top? I made the mistake of watching some of the first shows they had done: Making the Artist Season 1 & 2 and Secret Island. Something about them just captures you and once you give them a chance, it becomes impossible to ignore them. They are sincere and hard working, they adore their fandom and are utterly enthralling on stage. Their dynamic as a group and individually has evolved so much over the years that I look forward to seeing what they’ll be like in another 5 or 10. The amount of love I have for this group is ridiculous.
Bea T: This is supposed to be the easiest question, but apparently it’s the hardest one to answer. Everything about Teen Top really draws me in: their strong live stages, the catchy songs, the fun personalities — they’re definitely a group of young men with great talents.
How did you all meet each other?
Robin: We all met through working on fan projects for Teen Top previously. The power of the Angel fandom is really amazing. We all consistently worked on artist support projects, helping grow the fandom, so we grew a pretty tight bond from that even though we’re all so far apart. Actually, there’s still one staff member that I have yet to meet and I’m really excited about finally seeing her in person–Mimi!!
Mimi: Through a fan project for KCON.
Nao: I met them through the Angel fandom.
Kristen: We met through working on various projects together, but I believe our first proper meeting was at KCON 2013 at our Teen Top booth.
Bea T: All of us have started working together way before we finally met each other in person. I met Robin and Kristen at KCON 2013 — we helped out at the Teen Top fanbooth and saw so many amazing Angels those 2 days. I met Mimi in New York for Teen Top’s High Kick concert — we organized some fan projects for their US tour. Lastly, I met Nao last year at KCON 2014. It never ceases to amaze me how Teen Top can help me meet and make friends with so many great fans from all over the country — and even from around the world!
When did you decide you were really going to pursue this?
Robin: I don’t think it was ever an empty dream. I think there was drive from the first time that it was pitched to me, before we even put Team Angel together. Just the idea was motivation to follow through.
Kristen: The moment I was asked to be involved.
Bea T: We have actually joked around about it for a while. The desire was there.. and when we saw an opportunity, we took it. For it to be happening in reality is still something I’m trying to digest fully, haha.
What was the process like to put this show together?
Nao: It was really crazy. Just hearing that they said yes was just mind blowing.
Bea T: It took us a couple of weeks to do our research and make sure that our game plan is rock solid. After careful deliberation, we came up with a decent proposal and approached the agency. Waiting for the agency’s response was probably the most unsettling period. We knew there was a possibility the idea wouldn’t go anywhere since we are indeed just a group of fans. To our surprise, the agency was open to the whole idea! Of course, with the green light given, we began to have more things to plan and execute. Tasks were shared, details were discussed — it’s truly an on-going process that will continue until the event is over. The response and excitement from fans all across the country for this event really has helped us move forward. We are glad to have the support from everyone! Our main goal is to provide the best experience for all parties involved: Teen Top, the agency, and fans. We invite everyone to come join us on Saturday, April 11, for a fun, memorable fan meeting with Teen Top at My Dear Angels in LA!
How challenging was it for all of you to live across the country but plan an LA-centered event?
Robin: Honestly, it’s really not bad at all, even though none of us live in Los Angeles. We are in constant contact through messenger and we have a group drive that we collectively update, so we’re always in the know at all times. Sometimes I forget that we’re all so far away.
Nao: Ha, well, I travel a lot because I live in Hawaii and the K-pop recognition here hasn’t really blown up yet. The time zones are a bit hard for me, but I just keep my phone on me at all times.
Kristen: The thing about us is we have no problem traveling to the ends of the earth for something we love or are passionate about. Planning it for LA was based on the results yielded by previous projects and research, so it just made sense.
Bea T: If there is anything I learned from being in the K-Pop fandom, it’s that distance really doesn’t matter! There are so many ways to get things done and organized even when you’re not neighbors with each other or a local in a certain area..
What advice do you have for other fanclubs who might be inspired by your story to try to plan other K-pop concerts in their country?
Mimi: If you have a team of really dedicated fans and you’re not afraid of a challenge, just go for it.
Nao: Ideas are all fun and exciting but please, understand the risks you’re taking. Plan things and think it through before executing anything.
Bea T: Anything is possible if you put enough work into it. It’s not going to be easy, but it’s exciting and fulfilling. Good luck!