[Herald Interview] Memories, regrets bring Typhoon back after 10 years

By Hong Dam-young

Once-disbanded hip-hop trio share story behind reunion, future plans

  • Published : Feb 1, 2018 - 17:58
  • Updated : Feb 1, 2018 - 17:58

“Our time as Typhoon, it was like a raging storm that leaves as quickly as it comes. But now that we are back together, we want to last long calmly, rather than sweeping in and out like a storm,” said Solbi, a vocalist of dance hip-hop trio Typhoon during a recent interview with The Korea Herald in Seoul.

Despite its successful start, Typhoon lasted less than three years. Consisting of Solbi, Woojae and Jihwan, the co-ed trio made a major impression with its debut single “So” in 2006, coming on the heels of concepts and musical genres similar to Koyote, an iconic 1990s co-ed dance hip-hop trio.

Typhoon’s debut single swept charts, but the group disbanded in 2010 following Solbi’s departure in pursuit of a solo career. Each member embarked on a solo career, with varying degrees of success. 

Typhoon (M.A.P Crew)

And somehow after about 10 years, Solbi and Woojae were sitting in front of this reporter, happily introducing Wonsup as Typhoon’s guest vocalist to replace Jihwan, who is serving in the military.

The two original Typhoon members said it has only been a month since they met up to resume Typhoon. And they still have tons to catch up on.

“Actually, we haven’t been in touch for more than eight years. But I’ve always had regrets about the group’s breakup. I actually missed it a lot. So last year, I just called up the members to see if they were up for joining forces again, and we all saw eye to eye,” said Solbi.

The two seemed caught up with recalling forgotten memories, clarifying the reason they had fought in the past and discussing how they became estranged during the interview.

Wonsup said, “When the three of us are together, Solbi and Woojae are always so busy talking about the old days. Especially Solbi, she’s just so happy and passionate these days, chatting about our projects into the wee hours every day.”

Typhoon (M.A.P Crew)

As a first step toward starting over as a group, the regrouped Typhoon released remixed versions of “So” and “I Will Wait” last week. Rather than coming up with a new song, they chose to remaster their old hits to let fans know that the old Typhoon is back.

They also wanted to introduce themselves to new generations with their classics.

“Our debut single ‘So’ made us very popular back then, but we couldn’t fully enjoy and recognize our fame as we were so busy. I had big regrets about it. And we thought those songs could be the best tools to remind people of us, to say ‘hello’ to them once again,” Woojae said.

The recreated songs have layers of depth and an orchestral effect, while also incorporating trombone sounds by Wonsup, who plays the instrument. 

Although memories brought the members together, they agreed their past experiences were not always rosy.

“At that time, we were so young in our early 20s, and all we could do was to listen to the agency. We didn’t know how to communicate with each other and didn’t have time to unravel our tangled feelings for each other. Things were overflowing, but we didn’t have much room to contain them,” Solbi said.

“I didn’t realize at that time how meaningful and great those times were. There could have been a way to protect the group, but it’s an indisputable fact that we gave up on it ourselves. And now that we are back together, I hope not to repeat the same mistakes, and just focus on our music,” Woojae added.  

Typhoon (M.A.P Crew)

She also revealed that she had never planned to launch a solo career of her own, but was just following the agency’s plan. When she branched out solo, the media had buzzed with predictions that she had left the group because of her ambitions for bigger success.

Typhoon also plans to release new songs, make TV appearances and even hold overseas promotions this year, with stops in Europe and other Asian countries including China and Vietnam.

Solbi, who has been expanding her career as an artist as well, also shared plans to hold mini concerts by Typhoon incorporating art exhibitions at her art studio in Jangheung, Gyeonggi Province.

The members may even consider promoting Typhoon as a four-piece group when Jihwan returns from the military.

If they had the chance to go back to the past, would they go through those years as Typhoon again?

Solbi and Woojae nodded without hesitation.

“I would definitely go back to that time again, because it was an important life experience we had to go through. We can’t just do things we want,” she said.

“We have all grown up a lot since the Typhoon days. And we reunited out of our own will, and survived. I think that makes us true winners. You may expect a lot from this new Typhoon.”