The lads of Taiwanese boyband Lollipop@F are not afraid to speak their mind about why Mandopop groups are losing ground even in their own backyard.
"Don't be shy about asking us such questions. We're really open," the chatty A-Wei interjects at one point during the 30-minute interview.
They were in town to promote their new EP Big Shot and attend the Singapore Entertainment Awards' Celebration Party last month.
There is not a silent moment as the four talkative members, Owodog, 31, and Fabien, William and A-Wei, all 28, take turns to chime in while sitting snugly on a sofa at the Equarius Hotel at Resorts World Sentosa.
They throw up reasons for the current state of affairs for groups like them, ranging from the shrinking Mandopop industry to fierce competition from South Korean acts.
The straight-talking Fabien puts it bluntly: "The music industry is not doing well. Everyone knows that it's hard for a record label to make money nowadays.
"When a recording company wants to groom an artist, it needs to invest a lot of money. Grooming a group with, say, four members requires four times the amount required to groom a solo artist."
Finding a financial backer to produce their EP Big Shot was a great challenge for the quartet. The group last released an album, Dance, three years ago.
Lollipop@F made headlines last year when an alleged contractual dispute with their then-record label Gold Typhoon emerged. Taiwanese media reported that the members were spotted in a cafe venting their frustrations about financial constraints due to lack of work opportunities.
However, there was no sign of such resentment during the interview. Despite the two-year break when Lollipop@F had no album releases, the members said they were kept busy with solo activities such as acting and hosting.
William said: "We had no problems supporting ourselves. But we did feel lost because there was no definite plan to release an album." The group left Gold Typhoon last July.
The four members have started anew by signing to Hong Kong celebrity Eric Tsang's management company A Entertainment. A press conference was held in March to announce their joining the new agency and EP release. They released their new EP in April, under Taiwanese record label Seed Music.