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Korean K-pop group Super Junior stars Eunhyuk (left) and Kyuhyun talking to Tabloid, Gulf News in Dubai. Image Credit: Virendra Saklani/Gulf News

When one talks about the Korean/Hallyu wave, the term used to describe the meteoric rise in popularity of South Korean culture, the powerful impact of music in bridging distances is something that can’t be ignored.

Boy group Super Junior has been one of the major proponents of this, often being referred to as the Kings of the Hallyu Wave.

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Super Junior Image Credit: Supplied

The best-selling band made their debut with 12 members in 2005 under the wing of producer Lee Soo-man of SM Entertainment.

Super Junior, best know for tracks such as ‘Sorry, Sorry’, ‘Mr Simple’ and ‘It’s You’, have gone on to have a long and successful career not only in Korea, but all over the world — some of the places they’ve performed include Mexico, the US, Japan, Thailand and Argentina. In the Middle East, they’ve performed in the UAE (in Abu Dhabi and Dubai) and Saudi Arabia.

Sixteen years later, the group is down to nine members and their love for music is still going strong; in March, Super Junior released their 10th studio album called ‘The Renaissance’.

Despite the pandemic ruining plans of performances and tours, two of the members — Eunhyuk and Kyuhyun — were able to give fans a show to remember on October 15 at a Korean cultural festival held at The Pointe, Palm Jumeirah.

Ahead of their concert, Kyuhyun, 33, and Eunhyuk, 35, opened up about their journey so far, their love for their sizable Arab fanbase... and what they thought of hit series ‘Squid Game’.

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Super Junio during their performance in Dubai Image Credit: GN Archives

How does it feel to be back in Dubai?

Eunhyuk: We are very excited to see fans, especially the Arab fans because we flew all the way across the world. We have had some chances [to visit Dubai] two or three times... but every time we come it’s very exciting.

How does it feel to be performing and being on a stage after a long time since the start of the pandemic?

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Korean K-pop group Super Junior stars Eunhyuk (left) and Kyuhyun talking to Tabloid, Gulf News in Dubai. Image Credit: Virendra Saklani/Gulf News

Eunhyuk: It’s still surreal since we haven’t been able to meet our fans yet... it’s like we’re still in a dream and we really want to meet [our fans] quickly. But at the same time it’s also very sad that it was only us two that were able to come. But next time when we do have a proper show, like a Super Junior tour or something, then we will probably come back with [all the members]. So please keep sending your love and support.

People can’t travel to Korea easily yet. But when things open up, what would you recommend people see there, or eat there?

A popular Korean stir-fried rice cake - Tteokbokki Image Credit: Shutterstock

Kyuhyun: When you come to Korea I will have to recommend you tried to tteokbokki [rice cakes in spicy sauce]... but for the ones who are not really good with spicy foods and I recommend rose tteokbokki, which is spicy sauce mixed with cream sauce. It has that rose pasta base and there is tteok [rice cake] in it. So hope you can try that.

Super Junior has been making music for many years, and released a new album this year. Does it get easier to find inspiration to make music?

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Super Junior The Renaissance Image Credit: SM Entertainment

Eunhyuk: As time passes actually it doesn’t come easy; the inspiration to prepare the next album. It actually becomes [more and more] difficult because we’ve been in the industry for a while. Since we also want to try and show a lot of new performances and songs we have to put in a lot of thought — more [so] as every year passes. So I wouldn’t say it comes easy because of our career build-up.

Do you remember what it was like to debut, and what do you feel about the journey of Super Junior so far?

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Super Junior Image Credit: Supplied

Eunhyuk: Right now, since almost 16 to 17 years has passed, I really can’t exactly remember how I felt for the first debut stage [performance], but it’s clear that we [wouldn’t have been able] to picture where we are right now, especially doing all of the world tours or meeting our Arab fans. So we are very thankful and grateful for everything and it’s a very [big] honour for us to be in the position where we are right now.

If we think about how Super Junior grew and how we came up to where we are right now... we really started from nothing and then we kind of took one step ahead at a time, and that was all thanks to our global fans who gave a lot of love and support.

Super Junior has a lot of fans in the UAE and the Middle East. How does it feel to have that kind of following?

Kyuhyun: The first time we actually felt that there are a lot of fans rooting for us in the South East Asian country was when we came to the Saudi Arabia concert a couple years ago. But after that, it also kind of felt like a dream. So if there will be more opportunities where we can actually really feel the love and support that will be great. So don’t stop sending all of the love and probably we will be able to come back more often.

Because of the popularity of Korean culture, the show Netflix show ‘Squid Game’ has gone viral. Have you watched it? What did you think about it?

A still from Squid Game Image Credit: Netflix

Kyuhyun [the only one the two who has watched it]: In general, it’s very surprising and also exciting at the same time that there is a drama that all of the world is very excited for and loving at the same time. [In regards to] the Korean wave, it’s great that it expanded from not just music but also to movies and now even series like ‘Squid Game’. It’s very surreal and very exciting to us although we’re not actors. The amount of love that Korean culture is getting is really, really great and we really feel proud to be part of that. We will try our best to introduce more Korean music to the audience.

What is the future of Super Junior? Do you have any albums or new music coming up?

Eunhyuk: Because the pandemic is not really gone at the moment we still don’t have like a specific plan yet. But we’re also always being ready and also discussing continuously to be prepared for when the pandemic slows down and when we are able to do our tour again. Then we will probably be able to release a new album and really meet [fans] in person all around the world.