Marie Claire 2014 August
The day before the interview, the news reported that first 20,000 seats of JYJ comeback concert (on Aug 09) were sold out in 20 minutes. It is so amazing thing that today’s story might not sound so great. However, to someone, this may be the most envious story more than anything. This is the story about the friendship of the friends who became each other’s place to return.
We lose many friends in our life. Without any fights, it is quite common to grow apart from a friend shared happiness and sadness while believing you would never drift apart with your friend. Regardless of a reason – you may have different thoughts, too busy to live your everyday life or find someone more important -, normally it’s too late when you find out such friend’s absence.
On the day of shooting with JYJ, the new album was still under the finishing work, Jaejoong was shooting his drama and Yuchun was travelling dometic/abroad for promotion for his film. It wasn’t so different to Junsu too as he was practicing for his new musical. We had planned their photoshoot few months ago but we barely managed just before cancellation of whole plan due to their busy schedules. The three members looked really tired when they stepped into the studio. During the photoshoot, we sat face-to-face.
The interview started with the story about the new album and continued to their friendship that no words can describe, relationship that they would return in the end and their loving people. The interview suddenly got very deep and I became one of the people who wish their relationship would last long without any fights, and be friends again even after any conflict – just like a long friendship does.
Q) It’s been 3 years since the group’s last album. Meanwhile you three have done a lot of individual activities. The experience might’ve effected on you as a matured human being. Can you describe how you put those improvement into the new album?
JUNSU: The genres are quite various, but we kept the album relaxed compared with the last one.
I don’t mean we didn’t care less – it’s a kind of meaning that we’ve been matured. For example, we chose a dance song which has a deep feelings rather than strong beats. It’s a true that we three have different tastes, but we also know what proper music is for JYJ well. We received about 80 songs from domestic and abroad. We selected 5 songs per each member, and 3 songs of the five were exactly same after we choosing them separately. It’s more like we selected the music we should do, rather than a song which is good or bad. I guess all three of us thought the same about it.
Q) What does it take to be ‘JYJ’s music for three of you’?
YUCHUN: Good music, and something that Junsu and Jaejoong’s voice can be harmonised well together.
JAEJOONG: We didn’t think of trend or genre this time. We didn’t think about any other things and only tried to find something we have in common. There is a song with strong instrumental arrangement, a cappella-like song, R&B and POP. We selected the songs that we all three liked.
Q) It’s surprising that you can find a common for ‘good music’ while you three have a different aspects in many ways.
YUCHUN: I think we have similar feeling when we get rid of our personal tastes a bit and think of the team. It’s something we just know because we’ve been together for a long time. There is no certain reason, but we just naturally know which is suitable on the members or how it’d sound when we sing together. It’s possible after we’ve spent a lot of time together.
Q) For the last 3 years, you’ve separately worked in different fields, not as a group. Do you feel anything changed after those time?
JAEJOONG: Well we all should have.. right?
YUCHUN: I have none.
JAEJOONG: Why? why not? (with laugh) Me and Junsu had no pressure that we had to sing because we worked on solo albums as well. I was curious what Yuchun would feel because he did acting only. Junsu did musicals so I expected him to show some musical-like-side, like I expected myself to put something ‘rock’ because I did rock albums. So I was wondering what we would have in common when we started recording the album, but it was just JYJ’s feeling. We were also surprised by that too.
JUNSU: It’s different feeling when I sing as JYJ and musical actor. Jaejoong also have similar thing. As for Yuchun, I couldn’t remember when I saw him singing recently so thought he would be a bit different. Then we went to a Karaoke together on his birthday party, and he was singing really great! It looked like.. he had more emotion like sadness. I guess maybe it’s because he did acting.
I was worried too. We did individual works a lot so I was worried whether we could work as a group, but it was ‘only’ 3 years.
YUCHUN: I thought we were doing [as a group] for whole 10 years together. (laugh)
JUNSU: Yes, 10 years in total.
JAEJOONG: Now it’s 11th year. It could be even longer when we consider our time before debut.
Q) Anyway it’s a long time. There are many words to describe friendship. What type of friend is JYJ to each other?
YUCHUN: I think there is no specified word to describe us. In the past, I thought we were friends or sometimes family or something. But now it seems meaningless to me. I mean it’s just meaningless to describe us as a word now.
JUNSU: There is something that we get closer and become a bigger tower to rely on when we go through difficult things rather than good things.
Q) Individual activities of the three members are successful so it seems that it’s going to be a lager part of you. Will you still have activities as JYJ then? What music will JYJ do in the future? Not about just genre.
YUCHUN: We prepared the new album with less thoughts. It doesn’t mean we didn’t work hard. It feels like ‘Let’s do something together this time, shall we?’. You know, not like ‘let’s do this concept!’, ‘Oh no we need to do other things’ or ‘we need to do something new’, it just naturally came out.
Q) So does it mean you’ve become more comfortable?
YUCHUN: Well it’ll be good if we have a successful results. But it doesn’t feel like we make the album to let the worlds know about our name. We just made the album because we reached same thoughts while living our life.
JAEJOONG: It’s correct. It’s not about ‘Hey there, we made something fabulous so give us your applause!’.
Q) It sounds you’ve found some relaxation. Fans are important to every musician, but they should be very much important to JYJ especially. Does it give you more pressure when you approach fans, like what music you need to make?
YUCHUN: I guess there is no such pressure like that.
JAEJOONG: We’ve done individual activities. If we’d done group activities only, I wouldn’t have thought of my next goals or steps as an individual. I wouldn’t have thought further things while having certain satisfaction[in the group]. I constantly made progress as the group, but became to have goals or questions about my next steps while I was doing my own activities because I was doing [my] albums while working as a group. Of course there is a desire to show better things, but I became more relaxed when I do group activities. It rather feels I come back to a shelter even if I’m running at the moment now.
JUNSU: I agree with him totally. For other musicians, making new album must be big pressure. But for us, it feels like doing something in a shelter, in the place that we are safer.
Q) Can you tell us about what you think of other members’ individual works?
JUNSU: I think Yuchun and Jaejoong took their certain place as an actor. There are many idol singers doing acting, but being able to take the place as the one of TOP 10 among them, is really lucky to me as well, as the same members.
JAEJOONG: I tend to talk to myself that I am unique. Even if it’s a bad side of me, I take it as my unique character positively. When I see Junsu, I sometimes imagine whether there is anyone else who has same colour like him. I don’t think so. There is a typical image of a musical actor, but Junsu is something different.
YUCHUN: Yes there is something to Junsu. Something different compared with other musical actors.
JAEJOONG: As a member of JYJ, I appreciate Yuchun for his position. He’s keeping JYJ’s balance really well. What would people think when they see the group of three members with so unique character individually? Yuchun is the one who keeps this balance in the middle.Whether he sings or acting, he has no sense of incompatibility.
YUCHUN: To be honest, I like group activity more than individual works.
Q) Any reasons for that?
YUCHUN: Because it’s fun. I’m not sure what fans think. It seems that there are some fans who are more supportive for individual activities. But sometimes, I wish they could pay more attention to group activities.
JAEJOONG: I agree.
Q) Isn’t it because all three of you are so good and successful in each field?
YUCHUN: Of course it can be.
JUNSU: When we first started, I think fans also thought that doing something for other members were natural and good thing. But since some time ago, fans happen to take sensitively about something that we can do for each other just naturally. I know there is someone who became a fan because of Jaejoong’s acting [as an actor], not as JYJ or someone who likes my musical, not JYJ. It’s same to Yuchun’s drama and I know their position. However, before think about it[stance for individual] , I hope they can consider that we are JYJ, the group.
Q) Perhaps it’s because it’s been really long to have activity as the group. When we see the ticket sales for the upcoming concert, fans’ expectation seems to be tremendous.
JAEJOONG: It’s very cautious thing to say in talking because it’s also kind of support from fans for us. I know it’s support and love toward me, but I didn’t have intention of talking about this here before our album release. I just mean I hope fans can understand our motto that we get strength in JYJ, then have individual activities from the team.
YUCHUN: I have one more thing to ask. We decide our direction for the members’ activities.Of course we discuss with the management, but most decisions are made by ourselves. However, I heard many people blaming the management.
JUNSU: I think they believe that the management makes better decisions for someone, and less care about decisions for the others.
YUCHUN: I hope they can take it like this. Sometimes we consider the management, sometimes one member is considerate of another member naturally while we’re living life. We decide something after consideration for each other and fans sometimes take it like the company made it unilaterally. Of course I know it’s just they care about their [biased] member a lot. However, we are the one who left the former management company because we wanted to make our own decision. So our top priority is that the management respects our own opinions first.
JUNSU: That’s correct. We listen to the management’s opinions too. But decisions are made by ourselves. Well there should be something successful or not successful, right? They think it’s caused by the management’s decision, but it’s not. Simply, we do what we want to do. For our own sake, I hope fans can accept that JYJ is the decision maker and we take the responsibility.
JAEJOONG: It means that we wish fans would support us for doing something we want to do.Surely we all know really well that our fans were the people who gave the greatest strength besides us, sharing pains together when we made hard decision to leave the former company.
JUNSU: I think we and our fans have had more laughter and we got a lot closer after many difficult things. So I hope our fans can just enjoy our activities, rather than concerned about or take too cautiously. And most of all, really appreciate our fans.
JAEJOONG: I feel like we and our fans have become family now.
Q) It looks like you all so strong or self-esteemed. You all three seem to have strong confidence compared with other same-age group. Don’t you think you grew up too fast?
JUNSU: We’re just children when there are only three of us. Full of jokes.
JAEJOONG: We’re professional when we work, but just ordinary after work.
YUCHUN: And the only time we can be truly ourselves like other same-age group is when we meet together. A lot relaxed.
Q) You’ve done well so far as an individual or JYJ. After the new album, it feels like you would have next step after finishing certain level. What do you think at this very moment? Any concerns, expectation or plans?
JUNSU: As we’ve been so far, we don’t look too further.
JAEJOONG: Oh, that’s exactly same to my thoughts.
JUNSU: (laugh) We think about what we must do now. We have our own individual activities, but now our priority is to finish JYJ’s album activities. Well, we’ll think about the next thing after that.
YUCHUN: I texted Jaejoong a short time ago, saying “What are you doing? Are you happy lately?”. It’s good to have more activities and have good results, but now it’s gradually becoming less part of us. I don’t know what happiness is, but I just want three of us to get on really well. Well, it’s good to have more success and money, but nowadays I think about us – if we become the people who can make each other smile by just looking at our face, It’ll be really deep relationship. Of course JYJ’s activity is so important and it’s what I want to do, but I hope we do it because we are all like-minded, so happy to be together, suddenly get an idea like ‘Oh I want to do this with all three together’ when I hear a good music during driving. I mean I hope we do it because it can give happiness to each other. Who can say what would happen to us or how great we would be? I wish we can draw our future as just happy one even if we can’t take a leading role[in dramas] or our concerts reduce to 10 times from 30 when we get forty something. It’s good if we have a big success, but it’s not a main part.
Q) Is there any last dream that you want achieve as JYJ at the end? It’s not about detailed plan.
JUNSU: For our activity, I hope we can make albums when we get old. And for our life, my dream is to go on holiday to somewhere like Hawaii with our wives and kids together.
JAEJOONG: I don’t have a ‘dream’. When I think something is a dream, it sounds a bit distance and something to achieve later. I like the word ‘goal’ because at least I try something make it happen if it’s a goal. When I say it’s a dream it feels like I can’t go further.
Q) Jaejoong, Are you happy now? Moreover, are you the person who is believe in happiness?
JAEJOONG: Nowdays I’m confused about what a standard for happiness is. People ask me like “You’re doing a lot of individual works, so JYJ members don’t meet often except you work for the group’s album right?”. Yes it’s true. It’s good to meet often because we are preparing the new album now. It was really happy when we started as three for the first time. But as time goes by, now we just understand each other whether we are together or not. We can feel each other’s presence when we are together or separated. In the past, there was something clear definition about happiness. But now there is no definition about what we should have or do. (Jaejoong Talking to Yuchun): I got dazed when you texted me while shooting the drama because it was you who asked me about it. How many times we talk about our future or how happy we are or will be? The answer has changed every year when I get aged, and it felt strange when I heard the question.
JUNSU: We left the former company because we wanted to be truly happy. We sometimes ask ourselves if we’re going for it now, or concern about this happiness might disappear. Surely everything has its good or bad sides. If you are rich and successful, there should be something good or bad. It depends on how you think. If you think you’re unhappy because you are lack of something, then you are unhappy. Or If you are satisfied with something you have and someone else doesn’t, then you are happy. It’s harder than you think, but I guess I’d be unhappy if I chased something I don’t have. But we are closer to the answer than before at least.
YUCHUN: Happiness is not so a big deal. Even it’s most heartbreaking or difficult, it can be happiness itself at some time. I mean happiness is not just about whether I am glad or not, but just living my life can be happiness, by having difficulty but living upon it. I think that’s why our members don’t have specified goals. It doesn’t mean that they really don’t have any goals in their lives just because they don’t say clear goals now. When I texted Jaeoong, I couldn’t sleep, had too much thoughts as I was so exhausted because I was having so hard time and difficult things at that time. Then the only thought came to my head in that situation was ‘well it’s a good thing. It’s just happy as it is’. So I wondered how he thought. He was busy with his drama, album and concert but it was nothing so serious question. It was just like “hey, how are you?”. You can say it depends on how you think, but Jaeoong’s answer was just what I thought. Now there is no definition about what happiness is or not.
Q) Don’t you think you’re just happy by having such friends that you can talk this kind of things? A lot of people live without those friends.
YUCHUN: Some people around me say it would be better to have a wide range of acquaintance because I meet limited number of people. But whether I have many relationships or not, I have two guaranteed people – I’ll always have Jaejoong and Junsu, then I’m done with the words. Why would I be so feared or worried abut anything while I have these fortune[Jaejoong/Junsu]?
JUNSU: Well it’s hard to have only one in your life. (laugh)
JAEJOONG: It[our friendship] is something like a deposit. (laugh)
Translated by: https://dedicatee.wordpress.com