I’m sorry for calling you to have this interview first thing in the morning. You seem to be a nocturnal person. Did you get some sleep?
I slept for an hour. I tried so hard to get some sleep and I lied in bed at 3 and I tossed and turned until 5. In the end, I tried to drink some vodka because I couldn’t sleep. Once I did everything I could, sleep came at 6:30.
How do you spend the extra hours you get?
Like the extra hours they are. I just lie down. Until I get a bedsore on my back (laugh). Really, I just roll around in my bed, then I get up and get a cup of coffee. Then I listen to music on my computer and I lie down again. To conclude, what I love the most to do at home is just lazying around. I usually move for a very short period of time. The coffee shop I go to is on the first floor of the building where I live, the gym I go to is on the first underground level of the building where I live.
So everything in your life can be done in your building!
Yes, I guess the farthest place I go to is Yeouido when I go play basketball with my friends? And even for that, someone has to give me a ride because I don’t drive either. I have my driver’s license, but I don’t have a car.
I carefully read your blog. Your writing is very neat and detailed, so we get a deep impression of your daily life. It’s like listening to a friend telling about his day in a delicate way.
I think lyrics or blog posts give a sense of someone’s personality. For singers, their voice can even give a sense of their personality. I think it’s a similar context for my posts. That’s why I don’t really like fancy words. I write on my blog just the way I feel. I think that’s why fans can read it comfortably. When I write lyrics, I try my best to write with my regular way of speaking when I can. Because these are songs I sing, I don’t want to have lyrics with words I don’t use.
You joined an agency after working on your own for 12 years, right? This decision was probably not easy to make. You’re not young. People usually go into an agency when they’re young and if their head gets a bit bigger, they start their agency.
I think the decision must have not been easy for the agency either. I mean the decision of bringing in an old musician like me (laugh).
Do you like it? You’re doing things that you had never done in the 10 years since your debut. Like thanks to your duet with Soyu, you got widely known suddenly by the public is one of those things that wouldn’t have happened if you had kept working on your own, right?
It was definitely necessary for me to make this decision for the things I wanted to do in the far future. My debut was in 2002, but I’m starting being seen on TV only now, so a lot of people call it the “the anonymous’ 10 years of sorrow”. However, I was quite happy during the past 10 years. I never felt any sorrow. I lived doing anything I wanted to do. What I felt was that there was a limit I wouldn’t overcome without going through TV if I wanted to do bigger things. That’s why I joined my current agency. It’s an agency that is able to help me to get closer to my bigger dreams. It’s a bit off topic, but I feel like I’m learning something new every day since I became a part of an agency.
Can you give us an example?
For instance, when I worked alone, it didn’t matter if the album got delayed. I thought it should be released when the level of high quality is reached. Now, the album or the recording to get quality is important, but I’m learning that the moment you release something is important. If you miss the right timing, it doesn’t matter how good the album is, it won’t shine. Before, I did everything, even the album jacket design and the font. Now, I have people I can trust to create the album cover and shoot the music video. They’re all pros at what they do. Even if I wanted to, these are things I would have never been able to learn if it weren’t for this opportunity. If you want to create bigger contents and faster, there’s a limit to what someone on his own can do.
Aren’t there moments when being on your own is comfortable?
But it’s not comfortable (laugh). I had to think about every little thing before. Making an album doesn’t end with just making songs that people will listen. For instance, if you take the case of “Blind” that I released before. When I wrote this song, I thought about the design for the album jacket, I thought about everything. The picture, covering my eyes with the font, everything was my idea and I discussed them with the designer. There’s always difference about what touches someone’s heart in a song and the music video. Anyway, when I create a song, I have a concrete vision of these things in my head. If it’s possible, I want to convey everything to the audience, be it from an aural or a visual perspective.
You seem to be a meticulous person.
I’m not like this in my daily life (laugh). Usually, I just go with the flow. However, when it’s about something I think is important, I’m absolutely not like this. The job I do is attached to my name, so I can’t just go with the flow.
You did a couple of variety programs too, and the reactions were good. You’re naturally eloquent, so it seems you have a sense for variety.
It was just fun. We laughed together and things like that are good. It was just great because I was talking with people I see on TV.
When you did the show “Smile People” with Soyu, it was really entertaining. You can also act? I was surprised to see you acting so sly.
(laugh) It was one of those things that I wondered if I could do. This is one of those things that I’m learning about. I was very embarrassed when I was thrown on the set, but that made me see what acting is and how so many people work hard for this. They said I was too nervous, so I became an inconvenience to these people who had spent a lot of time to prepare for this filming because of me. I must do my share whether I like being in this kind of situation or not. In the past, I would have never thought this way. I’m really learning now.
You seem to be very at ease. Honestly, people in their 20’s are a bit more sensitive. All of us were. It was hard to figure out how to just let go.
When I was in my 20’s, I tried everything I wanted to try, so I have no regrets and I’m able to live this way now. Celebrities usually debut when they’re young and after being in a agency, they usually go independent. I did the opposite. But what I think is good about my case is that when people join an agency when they’re young, they can’t enjoy ordinary and trivial things. I tried everything. I have this feeling of going back to the office after doing everything I wanted (laugh).
The hot issue these days is your song “Want You” you did with Beenzino, not to mention “Some”, your duet with Soyu. You have all these shining friends, what are their charms?
Soyu is beautiful and she has a great voice. She really knows how to use her voice. Beenzino is someone with outstanding talent. It’s just as simple as that. His talent gets overshadowed by keywords such as “hoon-nam” [t/n: nice/cool guy], Seoul University graduate.
Is there a singer you’d like to work with? Or is there a singer you keep an eye on these days?
Hm, Crush who lives in the same officetel as I do. Two floors below, so we go together to the underground gym of the officetel (laugh). He’s a dongsaeng I like. I see him a lot in the club too. I think we’ll work together soon.
It seems you’ll be able to make your big dreams come true as a singer. Is there something you definitely want to do this year?
No matter what, my goal for this year is to release a full album. The biggest release I have had so far is an EP, but I haven’t released a full album yet. This year, I want to take my time to get prepared and release a full album with high quality.
t/n: now I understand why he tweets at 5 or 6 in the morning (KST) and why he has no energy for anything else but his music. lol