Among the boybands in mainland China, it is rare to find one that sings its members' own original songs. It is even rarer to find a boyband whose original song has become so popular that non-fans are able to hum the theme. But Top Combine stands out as a representative of this rarity. In a time when idol singers are rushing to movies and television, the four members of Top Combine are avoiding this shortcut to fame and instead focusing wholeheartedly on their music.
Five years ago, Super Boy contestants Zhang Yuan, Ma Xueyang, Liu Zhoucheng, and Li Mao, along with Korean trainee Jin Ensheng, joined to form Top Combine. In the four years since their debut, they quickly became popular due to their pleasant-sounding songs and their eye-catching looks. However, in September of this year, Li Mao announced that he would be leaving the group, changing the five-member group to a quartet.
Reporter: This new album should hold a pretty big importance for everyone, right?
Liu Zhoucheng: These two years we've gone through a lot, but in the end we were still able to reveal this album to everyone. There is a feeling of rebirth about it. This time was the first time we tried to independently do everything from the music to the clothing to the production of the whole album, in order to completely reveal the current "Top Combine."
Reporter: Was Li Mao's departure a big blow to everyone? Did anyone try to urge him to stay?
Liu Zhoucheng: It was more of heartache. We'd been a team for so long, and we were used to having five people, so we all wished we could always continue on like this. But everyone has his own life goals and dreams, so we will still respect the other party's ideas and plans for life. We weren't too unyielding when we urged him to stay, and we still wish him well.
Reporter: Was this the biggest setback since you became a group? Are there plans to find a new member?
Liu Zhoucheng: It should be the biggest thing. After getting through this, we also thought of many problems we hadn't thought of before, so it was also a form of experience and growth. We probably won't find someone else, because if we do, then "Top Combine" will lose its meaning.
Reporter: These past years, was there conflict between the group members? What level of understanding have you reached? [Translation note: "Understanding" here is 默契 -- I've never been able to think of a good English translation for this.]
Liu Zhoucheng: Guys are more direct when they talk to each other, and when we first started, each of our edges and corners were much more obvious, so conflict was unavoidable. Now we live in a district, and these four years, our temperaments have become more complementary. Later we discovered that the four of us are more like a family now. Now we can tell from the look in each other's eyes, or just one sentence, whether someone is happy or not.
Reporter: In the years since your debut, we've had the feeling that you're all very self-disciplined, with very little negative press. Is it because you're idols that you deliberately maintain an image?
Liu Zhoucheng: Our personalities were originally not very extroverted. When we first started, sometimes we would want to go somewhere to play or sing in the evening. But after settling these few years, our mentality is more like that of an "elderly person" -- we won't want to go to very noisy places.
Reporter: Is this the biggest change since your debut?
Liu Zhoucheng: It should be. Also now we will give ourselves a sort of invisible pressure. We hope that as singers, we will be able to bear more social responsibility.
Reporter: In the group, only Xiao Wu [Jin Ensheng] has been holding another job of TV show host. Have any of the other members thought about doing movies and television?
Ma Xueyang: After the changes this year, the four of us are more resolute that we will persist with our dream of making music and make Top Combine's music reach its peak. Maybe right now people will pay more attention to movies and television, but we want to say, when faced with money and dreams, we will still pick our dreams. This is the best part of our disposition, that what we persist in doing is what we like to do.
Reporter: What is your goal in the music world? What kind of group do you want Top Combine to become?
Ma Xueyang: We want to become an unprecedented group in mainland China. Starting from this album, we will create according to our own ideas, and express our own attitudes toward life even more.
Watch their new MV in HD below:
Source (translation: kycoo)