I have to admit- the guys from Kspazzing are a pair that I personally have wanted to meet for quite a while now! A duo of Kpop fans from London, they have their own Youtube channel dedicated to reacting to the latest music videos from South Korea in the most hilarious of ways- most of the time the same way I would react too! We caught up in a cafe in Central London to have a chat about what they do along with a LOT of Fangasming along the way!
First things first, best to introduce yourselves! Who are the faces behind Kspazzing?
Sabrina: Hi, I’m Sabrina from Kspazzing; its nice to meet you!
Raph: Hi I’m Raph… well, it’s actually Raphael but I find that’s too long sometimes so just Raph is fine!
So how did you get into doing Youtube Reaction videos? Were you influenced by anyone in particular?
Raph: It initially started with me- I was on Youtube first and also a kpop fan first (almost five years now); always watch anything to do with Kpop on youtube. I would always bombard Sabrina with videos to watch but she wouldn’t necessarily be interested at the start. A few months later I stumbled across some well known youtubers who did reaction videos like freshlyFLIPPED, and 2MinJinkJongKey.
Sabrina: I went to his house randomly one day, and we watched “Jo Kwon – I’m Da One“, and he asked if I had heard of reaction videos and if I wanted to do one. So I thought, “Why not? Lets do it!” It was a random idea, and we just expanded from there.
Did you see yourselves being where you are with popularity after just a year and a half?
Both: Nooo! [laughs]
Sabrina: I still get excited when i see someone has left a nice comment. The feeling when 10 people subscribed to us I was like, “Oh My Gosh, There are 10 people who actually want to watch us?!”
Raph: When I look back at that first video I think “Did people REALLY want to watch that?” Even up to this day we still dont believe how far we have come, we are just like every other Kpop fan out there!
There are other Youtube famous K-pop reactors in the USA, but you two are the key pair solely representing the UK how does this feel? Particularly when it sometimes seems like the UK gets ignored when it comes to K-pop?
Sabrina: It’s like, when you think of K-pop communities in general, France possibly has the biggest K-pop community within Europe. But its true because people don’t think about coming to the UK. I just hope through our channel they can see there are actually a lot of UK fans!
Is there a particular video where, after doing it, you realised this was starting to become a big thing?
Raph: Psy‘s “Gangnam Style” was one of the most requested, and that was about a couple of months before it became a worldwide viral sensation. I just remember getting comments demanding us to react to it, though we had heard of Psy we didn’t really know much about him. And after he posted our video on his Me2Day account we were just like, “Wow!”
Sabrina: We received so many comments after that… we didn’t think it would be THAT big of a video! I mean, it has over 1 million views now! [it is currently their most viewed video on their channel] Also when we did the K-Will reaction video as well- there was so many views that happened months after we published it. We found out Korean TV had shown the video and people had found out about us that way.
How did Daebak Domination Start? Tell us a bit about that!
Sabrina: The beginning of last year, JRE contacted us and asked if we wanted to do a collaboration. The other members had already spoken to each other in the past because they were all based in the US so at first it was to do a special collab video with a few people.
Raph: We just started talking and then the Daebak Domination started happening a few months later- it was to be a place where the different Youtubers got together to create a new type of interaction with the fans. At the moment we’re still the only guys from the UK- everyone else is from the US or Canada.
So what was the song that got you into K-pop in the first place?
Sabrina: For me it was down to a friend of mine, and she only really listened to BigBang and 2NE1. I remember watching K Superstar 2 and I was watching Lee Hi‘s performance thinking, “What is this? How are there people in other parts of the world who can sing like this that I don’t know about?” My fiend then showed me Taeyang’s “I Need a Girl”. I remember when first saw G-Dragon I thought, “Who is this girl sitting on the sofa?” [laughs] but from then I became intrigued. However, the tune that really through me into the chasm of the K-Pop fandom was “Fantastic Baby”!
Raph: Like I mentioned earlier, for me it started a while back but I think the one song that really did it for me was BoA’s “Eat You Up” which was her English speaking single. I was really into my dancing back then so when I heard it I thought it was a great tune with an amazing routine. So I decided to find out more about her and then it lead to me finding links on Youtube and then I got into Girls Generation. The rest is history!
So far this year, has there been a release that you have thought “This Is The One”?
Raph: Oh no… no, I cant answer this! [both begin to laugh and flail] I cant say it! I am just like… [sighs]
Sabrina: 3 letters… BTS! These boys are just ruining my life. Boy in Luv is just… There hasn’t been a group that has done this to me since B.A.P but now BTS have done something to me. Every song I’ve heard of theirs is just amazing!
[… at this point, there was a lot of screaming and shouting over BTS between us three. We are very much easily distracted when it comes to these boys! Nevertheless, we managed to bring ourselves back and continue on with the interview…]
Okay… then wat about 2013? Was there any release that particularly dissapointed you?
Raph: MBLAQ– Smokey Girl, I was a huge fan of Mblaq and the teasers were amazing, but then the song came out and i was so disheartened. You thought the song was gonna get to the big build up, but then the chorus came, and it was just not there. Compared to “War” it was really bad.
Sabrina: Every SHINee comeback after “Sherlock” has been a disappointment for me. It feels they lost something. I really love them, and its good to try new things and new styles, but their newer title tracks are not for me, I mean, their albums are great and “Symptoms” (from the Everybody mini) was fantastic… it’s just their lead singles so far have been missing what they had in the early days.
With rumours of YGFamily, SMTown, SHINee possibly coming to the UK in 2014 and the recent announcement of B.A.P coming to London in April, are there any articular artists you would like to see come over?
Raph: I would like to see all of them with the added JYP Nation as well. There are a lot of JYP artists that I would love to see live.
Sabrina: I would love to see WINNER on stage, PLEASE!~ MINOOoooo. I would also like to see BTOB to come to the UK.
Now there is a trend of K-pop artist starting to watch reaction videos (GOT7, BTS, Sunmi an d BTOB have done it so far), who is the one you would love to see your videos?
Sabrina: I dont want them to see me on video, I want them to see me live! B.A.P!~
Raph: Yes, don’t let B.A.P watch our reaction video for 1008 (Angel) as I barely survived the BTS and Got7 MVs, but we lost all out shittake mushrooms watching that one!
-smirks evilly- And how would you feel if 2PM watched your reaction videos for their MVs?
Raph: Oh my days, I think I would have to change my bias! I’d have to remove myself from having a bias in 2PM… The things I said and did during that video… You don’t understand! [Raph is hiding his face at this point, myself and Sabrina are cracking up- again we get distracted and start talking about the A.D.T.O.Y MV and how it made us feel. As you can tell, we are easily distracted!]
In the 2 years you have been doing this, have you noticed a change in the UK Kpop fandom?
Raph: I remember the time when 2NE1’s “I Love You” was played on BBC Radio 1 and they literally thrashed everyone on the online poll that they had when they had to pick a best song out of a selection.
Sabrina: There have been some programs on it on TV and the fact of [ex X-Factor contestants] Union J talking about 2NE1. I do feel now that people are starting to take the K-Pop genre more seriously. I do honestly think that Gangnam Style was a turning point for it. Even Taeyang has a big part in the growth with his songs being played in H&M! I’m really glad because hopefully the companies will see this and bring their idols to the UK! I hope it continues to grow.
So, what can we expect from you guys in 2014?
Raph: Well, I think the dream would be to actually meet and speak to the idols and see how they are just in the casual sense or how they think. When it comes to our Youtube channel, its really hard to establish something that hasnt already been done. We want to do so much more but in this moment of time we cant really sacrifice our personal lives for Kspazzing.
Sabrina: We have talked about differemt things that we can do as Youtubers such as covering events, doing skits and other things but we just need the time to do so. If we were students still at uni it would be possible but now we’re adults with responsabilities! We have a dream where we want to put 100% effort into Kspazzing and one day we hopefully will but just not at this moment in time.
Finally… Do you have a message you want to say to your fans?
Raph: I would just say just keep spreading the love of K-Pop! I mean from Sabrina to other people that we know, it has helped us make connections and so many new friends; people that we can happily call “life-long friends”! And that’s the best thing about it- K-Pop has brought us so much joy in sharing these moments with other people.
Sabrina: As corny and cheesy as it sounds, it is so true! Getting into K-Pop is one of the best things that ever happened to me. We are now so close with people like the London Kpop Dance Crew, it’s just amazing! I mean you never know you could be speaking to someone and you end up talking about K-Pop and over time they become your best friend- I mean, that’s what happened to us!
At this point we realised how much time had actually transpired! So that is that! Many thanks to the team at Bobajam on Charing Cross Road in London for allowing us to have the interview on their premises (and giving us tasty Bubble Tea!) and of course to both Raph and Sabrina for taking time out out of their day to speak with me! Don’t forget to check out their Kspazzing channel on Youtube for more hilarious reactions and subscribe to be part of #TeamPressPause!