Interview with Amy Lucas Knight (aka Kniga004)

Amy Lucas Knight (Kniga004)-M01“I was like, ‘Wow, they’re so pretty, I love it,’” said Amy of her reaction when she first viewed a music video of the K-pop girl group Girls’ Generation. “I liked the dancing a lot,” she said. The initial viewing started an obsession with K-pop that eventually turned to uploading dance covers. 

More commonly known as Kniga004, Amy Lucas Knight loves dancing and K-pop, and has been showcasing that by uploading dance covers on YouTube. She first uploaded back in 2010 and has since clocked up over a million views, with channel subscribers rising. She has also collaborated with her younger sister Anya, performing the occasional J-pop cover on Anya’s channel.

This May will see Amy performing at the MCM London Comic Con for the first time with her group Milae3 (consisting of herself, her sister Anya and NitsuGatcha). I had a chat with Amy about how she got into dancing and K-pop, the reactions and comments to her videos, and why she won’t dance on grass.

Shalimar: For anyone that doesn’t know anything about you, how would you describe yourself?

Amy: I’m a dancer who’s completely obsessed with K-pop and it’s basically my life. I decided one day I would start showcasing my obsession through dancing, because I’ve always been a dancer. So I just make covers of lots of dances.

Shalimar: Is there any significance behind the name Kniga004?

Amy: When I was in primary school they gave us e-mail addresses and my e-mail address was just kniga004@. When I made my YouTube username some years later I just put that because I was uninventive and boring! I didn’t think to make a new account when I started making videos for some reason. I just kept with it.

Shalimar: How did the love for K-pop start?

Amy: I have an older sister and she used to be quite obsessed with Japanese culture. She showed me a couple of things that she was into, but I wasn’t really into it myself. What I did used to watch was Para Para J-pop dances, and one day I was watching one of these videos and on the sidebar I saw the thumbnail of SNSD (Girls’ Generation) Gee. So I clicked on it because I was bored, it was just a random click for no reason! I thought it was really catchy and cool. So I started with that, then I got obsessed with SNSD, found other groups, then it all just went (makes sound of explosion) and exploded everywhere.

Shalimar: What was it that got you into dancing?

Amy: I’ve always been a dancer since when I was young. I used to watch musicals. My mum has a past of singing; she was a singing teacher. So I used to watch musicals, I liked the dancing. When I was very young I used to dance in my primary school. Yeah, I just always liked dancing really.

Shalimar: What made you think ‘Right, I’m going to upload this’?

Amy: I think it was just after being into K-pop for a while, being a dancer and watching other people doing it, I kind of thought, “Why shouldn’t I?” Because I had all these dances that I liked to learn, so I thought I might as well do something with it. I did my very first [cover] and it was like a mixture of lots of different K-pop choruses and I thought, “Mash them together.”

Amy Lucas Knight (kniga004)screenshot1(2)Shalimar: What has the response been like from friends and family?

Amy: Pretty good! My mum is extremely supportive. She’s my number one fan (laughs). My dad and step-mum, they know I do it, but they don’t really watch my videos, they don’t know exactly what it is. They just know that I like this thing called K-pop and I do something on YouTube with it. But they still support me. I only really tell my very close friends about it. They’re cool with it. They don’t get the whole K-pop thing, but I think they’re pretty cool with it. I don’t think I’ve had any negative reactions from friends.

Shalimar: Which of your videos would you say you’re the most proud of?

Amy: Ooh (pauses). Oh, man, I’ve done so many. I’m kind of a perfectionist, so I can’t pick one.

Shalimar: Because you say you’re a perfectionist, when you look back at them, do you tend to spot mistakes, areas where you can improve?

Amy: Yeah, I don’t really watch them back that often because it makes me cringe a bit (laughs). But when I do, I’m not that critical, I just kind of think, “Oh… I could have done better.” You know, if I did it now I would have done better now. But I was younger so I just think, “Oh okay, I’ll do better next time instead because it’s already been done now.” There are a few [covers] that I would single out and say that I’m satisfied with them when I watch them back, but I don’t know if I could pick out one in particular as my ultimate favourite. I can’t honestly remember [them all]!

Shalimar: The comments you receive on YouTube are generally positive, but you do get the odd few negative ones.

Amy: Oh yeah (laughs).

Shalimar: How do you deal with them?

Amy: I kind of don’t at first (laughs). I tell myself that for every 50 positive you only get one negative so just ignore it, completely ignore it, don’t even reply. I’m not going to lie and say, “Oh yeah, I don’t care, whatever,” because I do. Sometimes if I get a really bad comment I do get a bit sad for a while, but then after a while I just forget about it really. It’s not like it’s going to stop me. I just put it to the back of my mind and forget.

Shalimar: Are there any dancers on YouTube that you look up to?

Amy: Yeah, there are quite a few. One of them is kaotsun – she is my ultimate favourite dancer.

Shalimar: You’re one of the few that still films ‘most’ of your videos in standard definition, in full screen. I realise that the reason for this is because of the small conservatory where you film most of your dances.

Amy: Yes (laughs)!

Shalimar: Has finding an alternative to filming in widescreen / high definition crossed your mind? Or will you carry on as you are?

Amy: I’ve tried to think of ways around it where I could… other places where I could go that are bigger, so I could [film in] 720p. But there’s just nowhere else for me to dance really. I like the conservatory because it’s like a clean white space. My camera can record in HD, but [in widescreen] it cuts me off. I am moving away though in a few months to go to university. I’m hopefully going to find a place there and definitely start filming in HD.

Shalimar: Going on from that, you have done a few covers outside. Have you thought about performing at different locations?

Amy: I’ve thought about it before, but I just don’t really know where I could film. Because of the place I live, there’s not really much here. I live in the suburbs, so it would have to be somewhere random in the park, or on the road (laughs). I can’t really dance in my garden because I can’t dance on the grass; we’re not friends, we don’t get along.

Shalimar: What!? I’ll take from that that you tried dancing on grass and… well, what happened?

Amy: I just can’t balance properly. It’s way too bumpy. Obviously I wear heels in a lot of videos and it’s just not compatible!

Shalimar: I understand you will be performing at the MCM London Comic Con this May with your group Milae3. How did you end up hearing about MCM events?

Amy: Actually when I was younger and my sister was into Japanese stuff she used to go to those things. I didn’t really know what they were. Then I heard about it later on from other YouTubers saying they were going to go. But I never really considered going till I met NitsuGatcha – she was going to them. It brought it to my attention more that it would actually be a good thing to go to!

Milae3 (NitsuGatcha, Kniga004, xAnniex2810)

Shalimar: What was the motivation to perform at MCM?

Amy: I was actually planning to go to the one in October last year, but I ended up being in Spain. Very shortly after that we formed Milae3. Because we formed that, NitsuGatcha was like, “Oh, we should perform at Expo in May, because I performed there with the Otaku Owls!” And I was like (pauses), “Yeah, we should!” It was a plan from many months ago and then we planned randomly to perform. I’ve always said that I was going to go to the May one, because I have certain people who I need to meet from online.

Shalimar: Based on your experiences what’s the one piece of advice you find yourself giving the most?

Amy: Just do it really (laughs). Don’t hesitate to do it because you think you’re not good enough, or because you think you can’t. Just do it anyway because you might surprise yourself. Even if you think you’re bad you will definitely improve. Just keep practicing.

Shalimar: Since you’ve uploaded on YouTube, what would you say has changed the most for you?

Amy: I think the thing that’s changed the most is the attitudes of other people actually, not me. K-pop’s become so much more popular over the last couple of years. When I started on YouTube K-pop wasn’t well known at all really. I’ve witnessed how that’s changed. As the Hallyu Wave has happened the responses to my dances have changed as well. People have become much more open minded.

Shalimar: Do you have any final words?

Amy: Thanks for interviewing me! I guess it’s quite cliché, but I want to say thanks to everyone who does watch me, if they do watch me and they’re reading this. Thanks for the ongoing support because it’s quite nice to have people who actually care about my passion. Thank you.

 

Thank you to Amy for taking the time out for the interview. If you wish to see more of Amy’s videos then you can visit her YouTube channel. You can also visit her Facebook page. Milae3 will be performing at the MCM London Comic Con on the Fringe Festival Stage on Saturday 25 May from 12:30pm.

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