INTERVIEW: IMYOO

THE BASICS:

Name: imyoo
DOB:
February 4
Contact information:
I can be contacted at the soompi forums, my username is words.like
Online aliases: imyoo
Forums most frequented:
(past/present) KMH, Funky Fanfics, the WA
Completed fics: Unnoticed
Current fics: —

Additional information:

fancracked: Hello Imyoo. Nice to meet you. Can you tell us a bit about yourself? ^^

imyoo: Hi! My nickname back in KMH days was imyoo. I’m 27 years old and originally from the LA area. I started getting into kpop in high school, in 1999. A good friend of mine had taped (taped.. like on a VHS tape.. yes really) some stuff she saw on channel 18, which in the LA area was the channel that broadcasted mostly Asian-themed programming and it was fun, poppy, stuff and we just all liked it. And a couple of our Korean friends would rent videos and it kinda snowballed from there, we just started listening to more singers and whatnot.

I started taking Korean language lessons because it was interesting and I ended up doing a study abroad program to Korea the summer between 10th and 11th grade so going abroad that young was a really great experience that I think definitely changed me for the better.

fancracked: Wow… studying abroad and everything… it sounds like a fic :P Did studying abroad change your experience as a fan in any way?

imyoo: It definitely changed things for me because it made it real. My good friend Gina was in Korea the same time I was and we were fortunate enough to go to a couple music show tapings. To actually see these kpop stars you liked so much was something I knew I was lucky to be experiencing. I think it definitely made it more personal because I was experiencing real life there, not just reading about it or studying it in class. I stayed with a host family while there and am still very good friends with my host sisters, and feel very fortunate to have made those connections there as well.

fancracked: This is kind of off track but I think in general every fan girl wishes she could see her idols live even if she’s oceans away.

imyoo: Yeah, absolutely.

fancracked: Could you tell us a bit about your experience going to see the shows?

imyoo: Sure, it was pretty crazy. My friend Gina had family there so she had been there the summer before I believe, so she knew all the places to line up, where to get tickets, etc. if not for her I wouldn’t have had those experiences hahaha. The first show we went to we ended up getting there super early and Gina found some guard at the gate and was like, “This is my American friend’s last day in Korea! She wants to see Shinhwa so bad!” even though it wasn’t my last day hahaha So the guard let us in and we watched dress rehearsals, and then met a couple of groups, and then watched the show afterwards.

fancracked: LOL LOL OMG I’M SO JEALOUS!! [excuse the fangirliness!!!] So was Shinhwa your favorite gasoo group?

imyoo: Well HOT was my gateway into kpop hahah so they always had a special place in my heart for sure but I liked more of Shinhwa’s stuff as a whole… I liked 1TYM as well, for their fun, hip hop style thing they had going on.  YG as a whole I liked mostly. And then aside from SES and Finkl (sometimes), there weren’t many female groups out there I was a big fan of. I liked SES a lot more cause I really thought those 3 could sing like no other! And then I loved Boa, but she was a bit later, right when I was kinda getting out of the whole scene.

fancracked: I’m backtracking to 1tym for a second but a friend and I recently had a conversation about how we missed YG vs SM fics ^^;

imyoo: Yeah I think in fics it’s very easy to peg YG as the “bad guys.” They just made it so easy haha They have the whole “bad boy” thing working for them.

fancracked: Did you have a favorite member within YG family/SM Town? ^^

imyoo: hahah I would say my allegiance was with SM if I had to pick, and my favorite guys were Hyesung and Tony. But I liked the way Shinhwa bounced off of each other. I think all their personalities were funny together when they’d do those variety show things that were so popular. It was hilarious to watch them.

fancracked: On the topic of international fandom… Why do you think kpop’s had the power to transcend language and culture?

imyoo: haha man that’s a very good question. You know, I’m not sure. For me, it was because it was the one that was most easily accessed. I had access to Korean classes, I had Korean friends that got me into that stuff. That’s why jpop or really any other community happened for me and I think it just spread like wildfire. I don’t know about the jpop or other pop communities, but I also know they (kpop gasoos) were having those big concerts here in the US, even back then and that’s a huge part.

fancracked: Could you tell us a bit about what fan boards/sites you frequented? ^^

imyoo: Well KMH for sure. It started out because if I can remember it might’ve been the only fic board out there at the time. I don’t know how accurate that statement is hahaha but I remember thinking that was it. There might’ve been something over at Z and D Korean America, but I don’t know if they had boards. If they did, I didn’t visit them. And KMH got updated so frequently so there was always something going on. I didn’t post much anywhere else

fancracked: When I looked through KMH I wasn’t sure if it was a fic site or a mix of a kpop and kpop fanfiction site ^^;; Was it a mix of the two?

imyoo: Yeah, that’s the thing too, it was so messy and simple. If I remember right, they had different boards. I think KMH was an actual site at one point even though it was pretty much just the forum for us hahaha but then Soompi came around and that was pretty much it for other kpop/k-culture sites.

fancracked: I remember Solid07 and AsianFanatics and Winglin as some of the bigger kpop sites or fic sites that were still around when I came about ^^;

imyoo: Yeah, Solid07 for sure. And Z and D Korean America. Z and D was a site that if I remember, did a TON of scanning and had photos up from magazines and stuff so that was a great place to see photos and videos. I don’t know if that was “big” but it was definitely where I got photos.

fancracked: It’s funny because over time the international kpop fandom landscape’s changed and fluctuated in ways that you wouldn’t always expect.

imyoo: Yeah, man totally. Well technology changing has made such a difference in that for sure.

fancracked: I remember learning a lot about the gasoos I was interested in (especially 1tym) through personal websites and things like that as opposed to just learning through forums.

imyoo: Yeah, definitely.This was like, before blogs and website and file sharing became so simple.

fancracked: Then for a time it felt like only Soompi was around but now that there are sites like tumblr and new fan sites. I feel like maybe the international kpop fandom landscape is evolving again ^^;

imyoo: Yeah, definitely. … I mean if we wanted to put stuff out there, we had to learn the codes and make our OWN sites. We had those junk geocities sites and angelfire stuff with ads all over the place hahah but we were doing it on our own

fancracked: Did you have one of your own? ^^

imyoo: I helped a friend with a s#arp forum for awhile, but that was the extent (I forgot to mention that I also really loved s#arp hahahah)

fancracked: You know although my cousin was into s#arp for a time I was never super into s#arp >_< and then I was working on my fic library for my blog when I realized some of the gasoos featured in some fics were from s#arp O: (or so I think~ Some of their names make it hard to tell whether or not characters were NG or not ^^v). I’m wondering if there were a lot of Sharp fics at some point when they were around

imyoo: haha yeah? I really liked them. They had such a unique sound, at the beginning. Rappers and singers together, they had the bad boy image guys, the singer girls, the rapper girl, it was cool. It changed a LOT after 2 of them left and their style got completely different. I still liked them but I definitely liked them during 1st album better, which I think is not a common opinion hahaha

fancracked: Now I regret not getting into them (Shinhwa was just too overpowering!) >_< but returning to my earlier question ^^; Did you ever read any fics featuring s#arp?

imyoo: No, I didn’t. They weren’t too popular back then. And by the time 2nd album was coming around I was starting to edge out of kpop.

fancracked: Before we leave the topic of forums/sites, can you tell us a bit more about the KMH fic community? ^^

imyoo: Ah, KMH was so much fun! It was just a fun place. I mean it started as a fic place but I ended up making some great friends there—some that I’m still in contact with today.

fancracked: How nice~~ I think that’s the secret we all find out after spending time in kpop/fic communities… If you spend your time in whatever community you’re a part of you can meet some people who can become a part of your life in one way or another–people you would have possibly never met due to distance/etc. As cheesy (or creepy lol) as it may sound to some. ^^;;;

imyoo: Yeah absolutely. “The internet” I mean in terms of social networking, meeting people, hadn’t been around that long at that point and it was still very new. The world was REALLY expanding at that point from our own respective little hometown bubbles to meet people all over the US, and all over the world. facebook didn’t exist, myspace, friendster, all this stuff didn’t exist so meeting people outside of your high school or your little social circle was new and exciting and that’s what I think made KMH special to a lot of us, it was a new community and it was a new social circle where we had things in common. It was a fun time in my life, for sure.

fancracked: Could you tell us some of your favorite fics/fic writers? ^^

imyoo: oh man!! hahah hmmmm … I read back some of your interviews and Jieun talked about Sky Blue, and I remember that being a great one. It was definitely talked about because the author was anonymous. And to make such a wave being an anonymous author, I think that spoke to the quality of it. We were all pretty young back then too, so to have a fic with that quality, those topics, etc. it was very memorable.

fancracked: Did you ever follow one writer from fic to fic during your active fic days? ^^

imyoo: Hmm, I just tended to follow my friends’ fics because I enjoyed their writing. Not just because they were my friends haha I really loved Jieun’s stories, Sooji’s, Gina’s… I felt Jieun was the best writer out there then, she just had a way with words I don’t think anyone else did.

fancracked: What were some other familiar names from back then? ^^

imyoo: hmmm…Vicki, Yoori, Caryn, Missy, Tessa, Stephiee, Jeanie…

fancracked: Could you tell us a bit more about the fic world back then? What sorts of fics were around, what sorts of ideas floated around, what sorts of gasoos were big, why people wrote fics in the first place, etc.

imyoo: Hmm… back then, Shinhwa and HOT were huge, Shinhwa definitely more though. Sechs Kies was fairly popular as well. YG was coming up…  I think there were two types of people writing back then. People who actually wanted to write and people who wrote because everyone else was. hahaha So it made for an interesting dichotomy of story selection out there. But I think as the quality writers started to taper off, those who had started writing just for fun gradually got better and then they became the quality writers who grew up and got better with time, essentially, I think. The topics covered back then were not too drastically different, save for a few fics (which is again why I think Sky Blue was so popular).

fancracked: Did you have a favorite genre to read?

imyoo: Aside from AUs, I think I enjoyed comedies more just because there was already so much drama/tragedy fics out there that comedy was almost a welcome change. And we definitely had our share of crack fics in KMH; mostly silly things just to make us laugh that I really don’t think anybody else would get if they tried reading them!

fancracked: What does the “fan” part of fanfiction mean to you?/What did it mean to KMH and the fic world in general?

imyoo: KMH was just such a small community. There were only maybe 20-30 of us, max. It made the whole experience very different. Everybody knew each other, eventually personally as well, not just online. The “fan” is the most important part, in my opinion.

The “fan” writer is the person that can make or break the “fiction.” If you start writing a story and from jump you are writing it for the wrong reasons, it’s going to be awful no matter what it’s about, who’s in it, what the title is. We didn’t have all that fancy stuff that’s out there now – banners, trailers, even simple things like being able to tell how many times your post has been viewed were not around on those boards we had back then, but fanfics were still outlets for us to express ourselves creatively, just like they are for fans now. And I hope at the core, fans remember why they’re in this fandom and why they’re drawn to writing, and that they keep doing it. Not for page views or replies or attention (which yes is nice but a lot of attention does not, by default, make you a good writer). A fan writer’s intentions are reflected in their work, I think is what I’m trying to say. This is a very long blathering answer hahaha.

fancracked: Did you ever write yourself? ^^

imyoo: I only finished one story, Unnoticed, and started another, Paper Daughter, but never finished it. I have a few more that are basically just outlines that were never even started. I eventually became much more of a reader and eventual beta more than a writer before I fell out of the scene.

I was generally drawn to more AU (alternate universe) themes in writing; stories using gasoos as characters but not necessarily in an entertainment-world setting. So, both of my stories had that setting to them. Paper Daughter was a fun journey to embark on because it was set in the early 1900’s during Japan’s annex of and occupation in Korea, and it was so interesting to research all of that history and base a story around it. While Unnoticed was an AU as well, Paper Daughter was so MUCH of an AU that I realized that I really enjoyed period pieces and stories rich with detail and the like. It really opened up lots of possibilities for character development. I really wish I had finished that now! =)

fancracked: Did you have a certain favorite muse as a writer?

imyoo: I guess since I was drawn to AUs I’d say my muse was more the environment. If the environment was intriguing, I’d start thinking up all these different storylines to base it around, and I’d run with it. But like I said… never finished any hahaha… I’m an eternal procrastinator.

fancracked: Out of curiosity… do you still keep up with any aspect of kpop or fics anymore? ^^

imyoo: No, unfortunately I haven’t for quite some time. It sounds so cliché to say the scene changed! but it did. I’m sure I changed as well, though. I went away to college and got involved in other things and didn’t keep up after that, only heard snippets of news from other people. It was different when I didn’t have that community anymore to kind of share the experiences with. So once KMH wasn’t really around anymore / I wasn’t really around KMH anymore, the scene kind of lost its appeal in a way.

fancracked: Is there anything that you hope always stay the same regardless of time?

imyoo: I hope sites like Soompi stay around because it really gives kids a place to feel a part of something, a part of a community. Like KMH was for us. Speaking as a non-Korean, I think sometimes it’s easy to feel very out of place liking kpop or even just other cultures in general. And KMH for us, and Soompi hopefully for kids these days, will make the feelings easier and make people feel at home.

fancracked: As our usual closure, is there any message you’d like to send out to anyone?

imyoo: To writers… keep writing! You get better with practice. Find someone who you respect as a writer and don’t be afraid to ask them to take a look at your stuff and offer feedback. KMH community, thanks for the memories =)

fancracked: Thanks so much for doing this interview for me. Best wishes on the future (:

imyoo: Not at all! It was a pleasure. And seriously thank you for doing this, it’s great.

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