You enjoyed doing this photo shoot with female models, right?
Well, yeah. It was nice. I like trying out new things, so this photo shoot was fun.
Your fashion style really improved. You can often be seen attending fashion shows these days.
I’m interested in fashion, but as you can see, I usually have a casual style. Clothes are very important for people who are on stage and move around. I definitely receive the help of a stylist, but I clearly say what I like and what I don’t.
No matter what anyone says, I think “let’s go home” was the lyrics of 2014. This short sentence is full of all sorts of emotions. Your 3rd album is different from your first and your second album.
First of all, I put a lot of work into the sound for this album. The arrangement was as minimal as possible. There are a lot of repetition, there are many musicians. This is something the members of the group and music lovers were satisfied about.
You were on tour all across the country for the past three months. This was the place where we could definitely be sure of the result.
True. It’s my most memorable moment of the year. At first, it was a five-city tour. We went for an album faithful to the roots of rock’n’roll. So I think we really showed the rock band image we wanted to show because we were on tour with this kind of album. That’s why the concerts were awesome.
I could feel the energy that can’t be compared to what you show on TV. Should we say that this was “the aura of the concert musician”?
What my body got used to do as I was on stage for the past few years comes out as “a performance” now. Especially for this tour. I was able to gather all the things I’ve learned through the albums I had released so far. Even when a band concert is short, it must be 30 minutes at least and you must make an introduction. That’s why the audience is able to get into the music. That’s why some aspects of TV stages of three or four songs can be unsatisfying no matter how much you prepare them.
Since that’s we’re talking about this album, you can’t leave out the choreography of “Mine”. You’re in the music video from the beginning to the end and it’s like your soul left your body. Where do you get the energy to let go and dance like that?
It’s a cool dance in my eyes. Haha. I filmed the music video and I showed it to the other members of the group, but they didn’t say a word. They said afterwards that it was embarrassing. In “The Moon Is Full, Let’s Go”, I also swing my arms. In “A Sort of a Relationship”, the music video is just a moving hand. At first, I thought what the hell am I doing, but the reactions weren’t bad, so I think I’ll just do things like that now.
(iconic just iconic)
Is it like all the movements you’ve been showing us little by little came all together and exploded at once?
Whether it’s in my music, in a music video, I just want to show who I am in anything I do. When I drink alcohol, I don’t get drunk to the point of looking crazy like that, but I like dancing to have fun. You can say the dancing in “Mine” is an improved version. In the concerts I did in the past, I sometimes played an instrument, but I only sing now, so I run all around the stage. Dancing is in the roots of rock ‘n’ roll, so I started dancing more earnestly.
To me, Sanulrim’s “It Might Be A Late Summer” is the sexy song that represents the 80’s, I think “Mine” is the 2010’s representative.
I’m thankful if you think that way. If you want to talk about “Mine”, what comes to my mind are the lyrics “I really spent a long time looking for you” and the melody. Then there are words like “fields”, “hills”. What I’m sure of is that most of my songs seem based on my personal experience, but it’s not the case. When I didn’t have someone in my life, I thought that finding that one person was quite difficult. One sentence came out and things just flowed naturally after that and that’s how I created the song.
You have many dirty lyrics like “passing by the vast field”, “passing by the round hill”.
I like the word “sensuality”. Especially “elegant sensuality”. Saying this and using the word “dirty” are two different things. I say a few things here and there, but I think people only care to figure out if it’s dirty or not. If I can express dirty things with words that could be heard in children’s songs, isn’t it elegant sensuality? You know there are people who are just sexy without even taking sexy poses or putting on a sexy expression. I feel no sexyness about broad words.
Since you mentioned the word “sexy”, you’ve become the “how is he in bed” icon. Because it’s a tacite agreement among many women, it became even more an issue.
To be honest, there’s a clear distinction about what people like about me and what they don’t. Some people think I hit my brain, some people call me sexy, some people call me a model student. Calling me sexy is a great compliment. Especially because I’m a bit too much when I’m on stage, so you can say it’s my all.
Could you be in a relationship with someone who knows absolutely nothing about music?
Hm… I could. However, the possibility isn’t high. It doesn’t matter if she knows or not about music, but she must not have prejudices about things she doesn’t know. If she has prejudices like “musicians are this way”, then she won’t be able to care for me as my girlfriend. More than the relationship itself, I think caring for each other by seeing things from the other’s perspective is the basis of everything.
How are you when you’re in a relationship?
I try to think from her perspective. Let me tell you, what is good about being in your 30’s is that you realize what you couldn’t know when you were in your 20’s. When you’re in your 20’s, you can’t think from a woman’s perspective. That’s how I was when I was in my 20’s. You have a lot of worries and a lot of conflicts. If I’m sure that this girl is mine, I should acknowledge that she can be different from me. We should be able to think and talk about how to feel in this kind of situation. However, because she’s not my girl, I keep being worried. If the girl gets burdened because you care too much, that means you fail at caring about her the way you should. Caring for someone is very hard to do because it’s not something technical you can study, it’s about the feelings building in your heart.
Sitting here in front of you and talking to you, you seem a bit different from how you are in variety programs.
I usually speak slowly. When I sing and dance, it doesn’t show, but when I do variety programs, I look passive. I’m afraid of spitting out words carelessly and be rude to someone, so I think a lot before I speak. And I noticed it makes people say that I don’t speak a lot. When I’m on TV, I think this misunderstanding is unavoidable.
How do you feel about your new image of “book smart” [t/n: the word used is “헛똑똑이” which means that you have no real life knowledge, your only knowledge is from books] that you received after being recently on “Going To School”?
I’m actually a bit like that in real life. When I was in elementary school, my mom came to pick me up at school and it happened several times that I was so excited that I went out running without my school bag. And as expected, I also forgot taking my school bag while I was filming the show. I just forgot about things, no matter how much I needed and prepared them, I just couldn’t remember taking them with me. And I’m still like that today. It can a bit inconvenient, but I’m fine with it because the image revealed was the real me.
You lived hard more than anyone else last year. You released an album, you had DJ activities, you did variety programs, you even tried acting.
When we released the first album, no one knew who we were, we did nothing but music because we thought it wouldn’t work out if we did something else besides music. Now, people know that we make music, so we thought it’d be nice to try different things. I think this is what allowed us to take on various challenges.
Going through these experiences must have made you certain about things or the opposite, right?
I’m definitely certain that I like acting more than variety programs. Variety programs are really hard. It’s not reality and it’s not acting either, so I didn’t know how to do it. I’m getting awkward when it’s about arranging stuff, so it doesn’t really go well with my personality. Still, I had fun filming “Going To School” because I got along with the high school students.
Do you still enjoy drinking in the middle of the day?
I’ve been busy lately, so I can’t do it, but when I can, I meet Juck, Gil, Jae Hyung. We talk and share about music, so I feel at ease with them. People who like drinking know about many good restaurants. We bring each other to the restuarants we like.
Have you ever faced Sung Si Kyung who is a heavy drinker?
The rumor saying I drink a lot is very exaggerated. And it’s the same for Si Kyung-hyung. We’re scared to meet each other because we only heard these exaggerated stories about us. He told me once “we definitely need to have a drink together, but it’s hard to call you without any hesitation” because we know we could be a great damage for each other. Haha. We only meet in our imagination without actually meeting each other, so I think we make the situation blow out of proportions even more.
Drinking in the middle of the day aside, what else are you into?
Right now, I’m just doing nothing! I’ve just spent the two busiest years of my life. I thought I couldn’t live working so much. I’m hard-working because I’m lazy. I must get some free time for ideas to come to me. I can also live a leisure life, I listen to songs every day and I sing, so I don’t really listen to music when I’m at home. My goal for this year is to find songs and find the time to listen to them.
There are many sentences in your lyrics that are so good that they can be above books. If you get some time to do it, do you have plans to release a book?
I refuse almost all short manuscript requests because whatever I write takes a lot of time. To be honest, I don’t really read books. I always talk about the harmful effects of college entrance exam training. I memorized books, so just reading books is a bit awkward for me. There are many things about the things I see, the discussions I have with people. That’s why my lyrics are close to “spoken words” than “written words”. I think any writing, even song lyrics, is nice.
It’s been a year since you’ve become independent. What’s the best thing about it?
Being independent for the first time in my life. I feel there’s something beautifully adult about it. Paying a rent with the money I earned and having a space just for me in the Seoul area, this is the best thing about it.
This reminds me of what you said in an interview. You said that you didn’t expect being able to earn a living through music when you started.
I’m even more thankful because this is something I enjoy doing and it wasn’t a goal or something I had imagined. Doing what you love as a job is really fortunate. However, I realized that dissatisfaction and loneliness make their way into your heart despite everything.
Jang Kiha and The Faces’s music has two things. Novelty and truth/authenticity. It must be difficult to keep going and bringing out both of these things every time. How do you do it?
It’s true that it became a burden. We try our best not to make it a burden because music made with a feeling of pressure is burdensome to listen to. I made “Cheap Coffee” while I was in the army. I had no one waiting for me back then, so songs making itself was healing for me. I can’t be like I was back then, but I’m always trying to make music that reflects life just like I was doing music back then.
Have you cried lately?
When we did the last concert of our tour. It was in Busan and our fans created an event for us for the first time. Before the encore, I sang “Someone’s Heart” as the last song and they all held papers where it was written “Thank You, Love You”. My throat tightened, and I couldn’t sing more than two bars. When it was over, I thought “should I have endured it? should I have cried more?”. Please write that I say thank you to the fans and they should do this often. Haha.
What is the thing we should anticipate the most from you in 2015?
I want to go to a lot of concerts of my colleagues and hoobaes and I want to perform with them on stage. The band music market is quite dead. People who make band music are still here, but the fans of this music decreased. They’re used to the music shown on TV, so they’re not familiar with band music. I want to show teens and people in their 20’s that band music is fun. And I don’t want to do it just through large-scale rock festivals, I want to create ingenious performances. There’s no concrete plans for now, but I’m thinking this will be exciting.
Translation: @onesunnylady – thesunnytown.wordpress.com