Q: This magazine photo shoot is one long after the last one in India. So, how do you feel?
A: Very interesting, very moving.
Q: What have you been doing?
A: Preparing for my album. A lot of memories surfaced during the process of song composing. It was especially so as I wrote 80% of the lyrics while I recalled what happened at that time. I have been quite sentimental these days.
(His tears dropped during the photo shoot. The photographer, Mok Na Jung, said it was the first time she cried following the tears of the person being photographed.)
Q: So just now…
A: Yes, a bit overwhelmed / emotional.
Q: The magazine will be published before launching your album.
A: It’s a Rock Album. I have clearly stated that I wanted rock, so the outcome should be that people either love it or hate it. However, there is so much variety in this album, European style music, Canadian or American rock, my signature rock, or rock songs typical in Korea. It is an album with several music genres. Those who have participated in this album come from a variety of backgrounds as well, from my senior Yoon Do Hyun, Yong Jun Hyung from Beast and Ha Dong Kyun singing the chorus. The songs are very different and I work with different music professionals. I think this album should be receiving lots of love, especially from those who love rock music.
Q: It is not only the power of rock singers. You have also considered the preferences of the Korean people.
A: ‘Love’ is the message embedded in this album. One can see the different stages of an affectionate relationship all included in the album, when one feels nervous and his or her heart tempted as love blooms to when they have to part or leave someone as love ends. Performances that encompass all these feelings and emotions will be put in my live concert.
Q: Rock is difficult for me to understand. From when and why you choose to do rock music?
A: JYJ sing pop music. Our group does pop music. That’s why for my solo, I’d like to do something different, something that I really like and that I am good at. At the end, I decided on rock music, which I have had an interest from long time ago. For my first album (Y), I didn’t want it to be disliked by people that love traditional rock music. I went for a stronger taste and fortunately, rock musicians liked it. So this time I have received several songs from them. I want to make songs that are strong but well received by the public.
Q: You have done a lot of live performances. We’d like to see you singing on TV as well.
A: I of course would love to be appear everywhere. This is what we want and what we are working towards but the situation….
Q: Aren’t there any changes lately?
A: The result/verdict of the lawsuit actually, but…
Q: Well, I like your acting. I am especially mesmerized by your performance in the Japan TV drama.
A: Acting is interesting and you can watch it for a long time. Professional actors may not like my performance but I am not to the stage or level of focusing my career on acting yet. My current state is that I want to be an actor. I find acting interesting and this is the stage when I feel the charm of beginning to act. I’d like to try if I have the chance to do small-scale stage show. I’ve now started to want to work harder on acting.
Q: I do feel your sincerity. Up to now, the characters you have played are not those plain handsome men. The characters are those who are very cautious or a bit useless. I’m surprised that you took on the challenge of an historical drama.
A: The best thing is something you’re good at. Yet, compared to doing it well right away, what I need first should be exposure to different types (of drama). I believe that taking on different types of characters now will feed into the path of becoming a true actor in 10 or 20 years’ time.
Q: You are the first generation Kpop, who founded Kpop.
A: Should be NRG… (T/N: Another boy band link).
Q: I heard that there is a temple built especially for you in Thailand. How do you feel about that?
A: People who like me as a singer are different from those who like me as an actor. There are also those who like me as me. I feel grateful for receiving a lot of expectations and supports.
Q: I’m surprised to see you so thin. Have you always been so thin?
A: Actually, I’d like to grow some fat. I’m not sure whether it is the age thing. Ah, sorry to have mentioned age. I had muscles when I was young and so my body shaped up better when I worked out. It is not that easy lately. But looking at it positively, rather than having excessive body weight, I’m lucky to be thin.
Q: (He is definitely looking at my belly.) I envy more of your figure than of your fans.
A: That’s stress to me.
Q: You said it’s rock music?
A: Yes, That’s why I have to be slim. (T/N: I think he’s trying to say that rock singers must be/are thin)
Q: You are coming to your late twenties. Have you been saving on your money?
A: I have been doing a little investment, some small businesses, including the bag brand (Moldir), the cafe and the Izakaya (Japanese style bar) with Yuchun.
Q: Izakaya? Where?
A: At the intersection of HakDong.
Q: (Isn’t that near where I live?) Where, where?
A: Intersection of HakDong. It’s in the allew of Bennigans, called Bum’s Story.
Q: (My office is in the building next to Bum’s Story. It’s true.) The last character of my name is ‘bum’ so when I go to drink there, I say that’s my home.
A: If the only purpose of investment is earning money, I don’t think that I can insist on doing these businesses. My goal for now is to be more professionalized. I can do better if all these businesses can last and gain profit. I do these businesses seriously since I’ve started on these. Doesn’t everyone agree?
Q: You dress well.
A: Because there is GD at the top. (T/N: He’s trying to say that GD who is a top star dresses well, so he has to dress well too)
Q: A unique, signature style? Like this.
A: I don’t have a particular style. I wear everything, from tracksuits, to T-shirts and jeans. There are also times when I dress wildly.
Q: I think actors and rock singers need to be fashionable.
A: I think that rock’s fashion is the singer’s soul. Even if rock singers don’t wash their hair, wear shorts, or slippers, they send out unique vibes. You can sense the vibes from seniors like Kim Da Hae or Yoon Do Hyun, who just put on sunglasses without doing anything else. This can’t be done with ‘fashion’ only.
Q: So what is the essence of rock music? Should it be rebellion, as understood by the general public?
A: If we say ballads are feelings poured into set melodies, rock songs are songs that you don’t care if the singers lose their voice or are not in tune. This feels good. This is freedom. Your pressure is released especially when you belt out the high notes. This can’t be expressed fully by language. Happiness, sorrow, shout and scream, you finally feel freed when you let off steam through letting go of your emotions and feelings in rock music.
Q: Let’s talk about the theme of this album, love. Family first.
A: I feel sorry towards my family. I know they are the supporting strength for whatever I do. But I can’t seem to pay them back. Rather than success, what they expect is a phone call, a text message, showing up, little things like these. But I can’t fulfill their needs.
Q: The opposite sex, women, marriage.
A: My ideal type has been changing following what I am after. Depending on what brings me stress, and what makes me feel happy, what I need from them changes as well. I had certain standards in the past but not now. My frame of mind has changed with my surroundings. Age also doesn’t matter now.
Q: Can you overcome letting go (of a relationship)?
A: It’s different with different mind frames. It is considerably painful to let someone go in serious relationships or relationships that face difficulties to become a couple. It would be easier to leave for less serious relationships.
Q: You have tattoos of Park Yuchun and Kim Junsu’s names along your spine bones.
A: They have a lot of meaning. I have to live with these tattoos on my body for the rest of my life.
Q: When did you have these tattoos?
A: At the birth of JYJ. We are friends who have and who are realizing the same dreams, who suffered from the greatest pains and changes since youth. So there’s no regret. When I become an old man and when my grandchildren ask me what the tattoos are, I’d never feel shy about sharing the stories behind. Memories forgotten can be recalled through these tattoos and can be told to my children. I feel happy and satisfied.
Q: What do you do with your members?
A: It is the world when we three are together. Nothing else matters. Their sole existence becomes my strength. Without them, I could die. Isn’t that what friends are for? How often you meet with your friends a year is not important. It’s the same with Hyun Joong, Kim Hyun Joong. We only see each other once or twice each year but if you ask who my closest friends are, he’s among the top three. Recently, I just received a text message from Junsu asking me, ‘Hyung, what have you been doing lately?’ I felt really good after receiving the message, so glad that I even wanted to print the screen and uploaded the pic on my SNS.
Q: You three members have done well not only in your group activities but also solo activities. From this perspective, you feel grateful of being in this group.
A: If I am not doing any solo activities and Yuchun is doing his solo activities, we will split a small amount of his earnings. Even though we have been doing this for long time, we have never been discontented. Money is not our goal. It’s also not that I can earn money without working. My friend is working so hard to help me. Will I fall behind? It gives me the motivation to work even harder. I can’t be lazy. As we grow as a group JYJ, we build a good relationship whereby we receive strength and motivation from one another.
Q: I’ve heard you talking about the love towards your family, opposite sex, friends and team mates. What about the love towards yourself? Is that strong?
A: I do, It’s especially strong when I feel pain. Of course I feel really painful myself. But my pains mainly come from my worries that I will make the people around painful.
Q: You debuted in 2004 and this year, it’s already ten years from then. So what does the last decade want to say to the future ten years?
A: I feel that age becomes meaningless. What I do at the age of 30, how I spend the next year, or set any deadlines or so doesn’t mean much anymore. I like who I am now, really. Why haven’t I realized this earlier? I almost feel regretful. Have fun or work to my heart’s content. With the passage of time, I have realized that I am happy when I am able to express myself, and to put my ego away from time to time. Before, I cried behind the curtains and I always suppressed my feelings. There were people who gave me those looks. The feeling of being free really helps me a lot.
Q: So does that mean you have been happy for the past ten years?
A: Of course. It’s just that as I look back, I could have been happier. It’s a pity why I only realize it now.
Q: Anything else you want to say?
A: Please do include the following in this interview. When it comes to our fans, me and JYJ, I think of the bond between us that we can never let go of. We are different from other entertainers. For us, because of the bond, we seem to receive love for a longer time and we seem to gain more strength and will to work harder. I hope that the fans will not grow tired, and let go of the bond between us, even if we have grown and changed…
Source: Esquire Magazine
Translated by: Mandragore and Shermin of JYJ3
Shared by: JYJ3
Translated by: Mandragore and Shermin of JYJ3
Shared by: JYJ3