I was very excited before this interview with Paloalto. I felt even more this way after attending his concert on January 18th and also because I’ve been listening to his voice since I was a kid and I consider myself as a fan. The man I met in the studio was the special rapper that the high school girl in uniform dreamed of as well as the kind oppa overflowing with humanity. I thought to myself how great it would be to meet music like his again and for more people to meet him [?].
Please introduce Jun Sang Hyun and not the rapper Paloalto.
Simply put, my real name is Jun Sang Hyun. CEO of Hi-Lite Records. A man who entered his 30’s. Is it okay if I say it like this?
Your introduction sounds like a profile. It’s quite objective. I thought making an objective self-introduction would be hard for you, but looks like it’s not.
Objective profile presentation aside, I do think it’s hard to do a self-introduction or judge yourself in an objective way. I try my best to take the time to make an introspection, but it’s something hard to do indeed.
In that case, what do others think of Paloalto?
It varies. Really. Some people may say I’m nice, but the people close to me may say I’m cold-hearted. It’s hard for me to define the person I am because each judgement is different. I used to worry a lot about what people thought about me. Nowadays, I’m more worried about being comfortable with myself than what people think about me. And I mean it to the point where I don’t care about others’ displeasure because if something happens even when it’s unintentional on my part, what can I do about it since I didn’t mean it?
I’ve been listening to your music since I was in high school and here I am ready to turn 30 and I realized that you are also in your 30’s now. How do you feel about getting older?
It’s obvious that my behavior and my vision of life changed as I grew older. When I was young, I did the music I loved. I enjoyed music for itself, I didn’t care about profits. However, the world is in a dark place now and as time went by, I felt the necessity to have a sense of responsibility. It was a burden. It’s not about the numbers, I just became more comprehensive. If you can say that when I was young I freely made the music that I loved, I must have professionalism as an artist now. Besides, I also have to take responsibility for Hi-Lite Records now, so I can’t ignore numbers. (laugh)
Do you think the Paloalto in his 30’s is very different from the Paloalto in his 20’s?
I don’t know. If you can say I had the “I will do well” mindset in my 20’s, I think now I have a more concrete idea of what it is?
How did you imagine yourself when you were in you 20’s?
The one I am in my 30’s is exactly who I thought I’d be ten years ago. This is the story I tell in this album. It’s about how thankful I am for the dreams that came true and how I must go for new dreams. I couldn’t acknowledge it, but am I not who I wanted to be since I had a strong vision of my future. When you read people’s interview or their autobiographies, why do they say things like that? They say things turned out just like in their dreams. I hadn’t reached that point yet, but I did while working on this album.
I think you must have gone through a lot of turns in your life to become the one you are today.
I don’t think the turns I took in my life are like a rollercoaster. I grew up with the love of my parents and lived well-off. Of course, while making music, I was poor at some point, but the situation wasn’t extreme either. Although I was going through a hard time, this was a good memory. So, no I didn’t go through a lot of turns, but I’m pretty satisfied with my life. Everything is good memory.
You seem to be very optimistic. Have you always been this way?
I thought about this stuff a lot. I heard the word “optimistic” from people around me first. My music is also optimistic in the end, but I don’t think it is that optimistic either. I can’t completely block negative thoughts, so I do have moments when I’m negative. But I tell myself often to learn from those who aren’t this way. To be honest with you, balance is the most important thing for me. It’s like sometimes I have negative thoughts, sometimes I have positive thoughts, then my mood goes really up and it’s like “wow wow”?
You seem to have a great life. Do you have any tragic story to tell?
I don’t remember anything extremely dramatic. To be honest, I’ve gone through more various experiences than my friends who are the same age. I went through primary, middle school, high school and graduated from college. I completed my military service. I created my own company, I make money, I got married. I followed my own path, but music gave the dramatic touch to my life. I have fans, I sign autographs and communicating with them is something very special. I make my story through music with no adjustment, then meeting these peole who tell me their values or their mind changed after listening to my music is like a miracle. How dramatic would you rate that?
In that case, let’s talk about what’s really dramatic to you, what’s your definition?
Let’s see… Something suddenly came to my mind. It’s about a foreign artist. I’d talk about Kanye West who had a car accident during his music college days and he had to go through a big surgery. He made music filled with this experience. There are also Black rappers living in the ghetto and who got shot. They experienced something that isn’t easy to experience. Isn’t this dramatic? But anyone can go through some special experience. We’re all individuals and special. So isn’t what’s ordinary harder to live? To be honest, I want to lead an ordinary life. I try do it while thinking how hard it is. So I guess that’s how I came to tell this kind of stories?
It’s a bit unexpected to hear you say you want to live an ordinary life.
We live in a world where it’s easy to share your lifestyle or your thoughts through SNS. So everybody is aware of they’re special. So I want to become even more ordinary in a special way. Hm, is that right?
It seems like your music reflects a lot of your life values.
Life inspires me. When I’m in my car and see something, I often get inspired. I also get inspired by the emotions I get from my interactions with other people.
You must remember a lot of things, then… Or you write memos?
I don’t write memos because it’s something I never got used to do. I like to improvise, so when it doesn’t come to me, I just don’t work. On the contrary, when things are going great, I can just keep striving forward like I’d never stop. I think that in these moments I express all the things I unconsciously felt in my daily life.
This theme is often used in movies or drama. Like if you were to switch your life with someone else’s? You know, this kind of thing. If you were given this opportunity, how would you like it to be?
Er, I don’t want to do something like this.
So your life is what you like the best?
Exactly. My life is what I like the most. I probably wished to switch life with someone else when I was a kid, but not today. I’m satisfied as I am. Of course there are times I can be jealous of someone else.
You get jealous? When does that happen?
To be honest, it’s for trivial things… For instance when someone owns the car that I’d like to own? My skin is pale, so sometimes I get jealous of those who have a skin with a darker tone. Ah! On a feeling perspective, the people I’m jealous of the most are those who are cool. I want to learn that [=how to be cool].
Aren’t you a cool person?
I think I still need to work on being cool. That doesn’t mean I’m the type to fight for no reason or that I’m emotional. I’m average.
You seem to be a person who is special and average at the same time.
Right. I’ve celebrated my 10 year anniversary in the music world. I’m an average guy thankful to those who helped me to reach this point. I got here thanks to a driving force by living in a special and enjoyable way. I’m running Hi-Lite Records, but I’m someone who makes music in a positive way. I want to enjoy life.
What are your plans for this year to enjoy life? There must be some things on a professional level and on a personal level…
On my way here today, I thought to myself how busy I will be this year. I have plans for my artists. I think we’ll have to work together. I must work also as an artist, so I’ll be busy carrying out things on parallel… On a personal level… It’s still a secret. To speak in a comprehensive way, I think I’ll show more concern about the people around me. Ah! I plan to travel too. I have so much work that it’s still an intention for now. During our year-end party, I told my friends that I wanted to travel, but I was worried about the company. They told me to list what kind of problems would happen if I were to leave. If there were no such big problems, it wouldn’t be bad to go away for a moment. I thought it’d be a good idea. I must give it a try once.
Original article: syoff