[Trans] 161215 Jun. K in Yahoo! News interview

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Joined: 12:35 PM - Mar 25, 2011

2:29 PM - Nov 15, 2017 #1

Freely and passionately - Rare talent felt from "musician" Jun. K (from 2PM)’s latest work

”Musician” Jun. K doesn’t need the words ”idol” or ”K-POP.” His latest work makes us feel that way.

The music that comes from the spouting talent pierces everyone's hearts. K-pop group 2PM’s lead vocalist Jun. K’s 3rd solo album ”NO SHADOW”(released on Dec14) is a deep and mellow work, far beyond the idol frame, and the charm of an R&B artist is in the air. The catchphrase ‘idol’ and ”K-POP” is obstructive to Jun. K. It's a pity that his good music isn't heard because of that prejudice. By all means, I want you to feel his music without any prejudice. I asked him about his ”NO SHADOW” mini album which thoroughly shows his talent as a melody maker and sound maker.

Interviewer: You have already made your debut in Japan, but you released a long-awaited 1st mini album in Korea this year. How was the response as solo artist Jun. K instead of as 2PM?

Jun. K: To be honest, it was a rough road making the album’s title song, ”THINK ABOUT YOU”. There were many opinions “It’s not the type of song that is popularly well-received.” when I made the song and had our staff listen to it, I tried to offer other songs. But I still had a strong desire to express my own individuality and it was decided that I would release an album called ”Mr. NO♡”. It’s my first time releasing my solo work in Korea, and I was happy that people around me and other artists told me, ‘It’s a good album’.

Interviewer: ”NO SHADOW” has a strong feeling as a whole compared to your last work, "Love Letter", and you said, “Without thinking about popularity this time, I made the music that I wanted to make,” even at your live concert.

Jun. K: Various genres of music are mixed in the first mini album "LOVE &HATE”, the theme of the second "Love Letter" is winter. The theme of this album is ‘freedom of expression’. There is a song that has a part that [makes you think], "Is this a rap or singing?," in just a casual way. I was particular about what I tried to freely express.

Interviewer: Even though the sound is becoming stronger, I’m drawn to its strict arrangement. As expected Jun. K-san is a melody maker, so there is always a part that's catchy and there's a hook in the bridge, chorus, and phrase of the instruments. The contents of the mini album ”NO SHADOW” and ”Mr. NO♡” which was released in Korea are different, and it seems you maybe thought that you'd like to express it in Japanese, but were you conscious of Japanese fans’ preferences?

Jun. K: I'm not too mindful of Japan just because it's released in Japan. To make songs, I write lyrics in Korean by myself first, a Japanese songwriter translates it and turns it into lyrics. When I write a subtle nuance in Korean, I'll use a word because I want to say it in that way, but I'm very concerned about matters like if that word sounds the best when it is translated into Japanese, or I wonder if the syllables are correct. So I edited it many times. I was born and raised in Korea, but even so I have trouble selecting Korean words when I do subtle expressions. Moreover my Japanese skills are far from perfect, so it was very hard to adopt the nuances that I try to express in Japanese. I don't think I'll know if those subtle expressions are right or not until I actually live in Japan.

Interviewer: The lyrics of ”LOST BOY” are mostly in Japanese. You’re particular about the word ‘houhou(way/method)’ which you wrote, and pronounced it ‘michi(way/path)’. Among the work you’ve done so far, the percentage of Japanese words in that song is the highest, isn’t it?

Jun. K: That’s right, that content was also difficult (laughs). I appreciate the songwriter for expressing subtle nuances well and setting Japanese lyrics to it. It became deep, expressing the situation of standing at a crossroad from a child's point of view. I projected the suffering that I've faced until now. I tried to write about how there were actually many meaningless things that at first glance, when I entered the world, I thought were exciting.

Based on r&b/jazz/hip-hop music, sticking to the chorus, fusing the latest sound with the outstanding "seasoning", making it painful and catchy, and bringing it to many people.

Based on R&B, soul and jazz/hip-hop music such as R Kelly and D’angelo that he was influenced by, he mixes up the latest sounds and beats well, firmly adheres it to the chorus, and continues to make music satisfying to fans of both the genre and ‘normal’ fans of music not of that genre.

Interviewer: I’d like to hear what you are particular about in each song, but you already explained ”LOST BOY”. So, first of all, let’s begin with the title song ”NO SHADOW” which has a melodious bridge.

Jun. K: It means "there is no shadow” literally, and the shadows were compared to the woman I loved. It portrays how shadows are created because there is a source of light, something that I thought would always be next to me, then all of a sudden disappeared one day. Regarding the sound, I was conscious of the sound of R&B from the late 1990s to the early 2000s. For the song, as I said, I dared to remove the boundaries between song and rap.

Interviewer: It’s suitable for embellishing the first song, and at the same time, it makes us feel excited about how it'll develop. As for the 2nd sweet song ”MARY POPPINS”, please tell us about ”MARY POPPINS”.

Jun. K: It’s my favorite fairy tale, one that my mother used to read me when I was a child, which makes me feel like a child again. It’s a good memory from my childhood. I included the emotions I embraced at that time in the song. The sound was finished using neo soul.

Interviewer: How about the 3rd song, the medium tempo “PHONE CALL”?

Jun. K: This song was made while being conscious of “Trap" (a genre of HIPHOP, characterized by a highly addictive beat) and I paid careful attention to the composition of the hi-hat of the drums. As for the lyrics, I wrote about an egotistic and bad man, so I must have been like that (laughs). I tried writing about a selfish man contacting his ex-girlfriend again, saying ‘Don’t get hurt” without thinking of her feelings.

Interviewer: In the 4th song “Mr. NO♡”, the jazzy arrangement in the introduction is impressive.

Jun. K: That’s the part that I was particular about and in a sense I can say that it’s a song in which I was able to express myself the most.

Interviewer: “THINK ABOUT YOU” is a dramatic song, which makes us imagine a picture of a "quiet flame”.

Jun. K: The basic lines and the flavor of the vocals are R&B, but I added a synthesizer to it, so it adopted the genre called "future". Its baseline is distinctive and the elements of EDM and house are also integrated.

Interviewer: “YOUNG FOREVER” gives off a happy feeling and the MUSIC VIDEO filmed in Los Angeles is also impressive. We can enjoy Jun. K-san’s various fashion changes too.

Jun. K: That was really hard since I took three trunks of costumes(laughs).

Interviewer: The song rings in our ears after listening to it once. Around when did you make the song?

Jun. K: I made it in March last year over 3 days, as soon as I reached Los Angeles, and filmed it together with a friend who is a video director. Also, I made this song while being conscious of R&B from the latter half of the 1990s, but I didn’t include it in “LOVE LETTER” which was released last year because the theme was winter and the feeling was different.

Interviewer: A collaboration song “50 50” with Taecyeon-san which is known to fans is also included.

Jun. K: It’s the album version this time, but it’s, so to speak, my solo version. I made the song with the assumption that I'll sing it with someone else, but I think that the HIPHOP color is deeper when I'm singing alone.

The overwhelmingly strong, fine, tender, sexy and rich voice is the one and only..

The other day, he appeared on AbemaTV “BPM~ BEST PEOPLE's MUSIC~” that EXILE THE SECOND’s Keiji Kuroki produces, and his singing voice, which is highly acclaimed by his co-stars, is his greatest weapon. It’s the one and only strong, fine and dramatic voice. Tsurube Shofukutei who sent a comment to the show acclaimed, “His charm is his sexiness and his rich voice. I came to like 2PM because of Jun. K-san’s voice.” His voice that was heard at his live concert surprised everyone and drew them into his world the moment it came out.

Interviewer: I saw your live concert at Toyosu PIT the other day, and your voice was so powerful that it could almost break a wall. It’s also sexy and unique. Do you make songs while imagining your vocal color, melody and you singing at a live concert?

Jun. K: Basically, I decide on the theme from one word when I make songs, and I sing while deeply thinking about the theme again. For example, I did the recording while thinking of my childhood cheerfully, feeling like a child again in the song called “MARY POPPINS”. In “PHONE CALL”, I’m singing under my own control as if I became the character. By doing so, the tone and the way of expressing it naturally changes for each song.

Interviewer: You said that “freedom of expression” is the theme of this work. I should say that the degree of “freedom of expression” is the greatest among all your work, and it has a wide range of expressions. In parallel with 2PM activities, you must have been very busy since last year, but when did you make it?

Jun. K: Thank you very much. I prepared for this album and made 2PM’s album while doing 2PM’s arena tour, and also prepared for my solo tour while preparing for 2PM’s Tokyo Dome concert. It was hard but it was a happy time since I was able to come face-to-face with music a lot.

Interviewer: You’re always just putting out things while doing various other things at the same time, but regarding time for input, I mean, when do you work to incorporate various things into you?

Jun. K: Usually, I get ideas from off the top of my head. For example, if a single word comes up, I derive from it and create a mind map to expand it. After writing lyrics, I immediately make note of what I got inspiration from on my smart phone, like ‘How about inserting a guitar sound in this part?’, ‘The MUSIC VIDEO is like this’, ’This kind of cover photo might be good’. As you said, I feel like since I only had time to 'output', I didn’t have time to 'input' this year. Actually, I made two more new songs while producing this album, but because of the shortage of time, I decided not to include them since I couldn’t finish it in perfect condition this time.

Interviewer: When on earth do you take a rest? When do you take in nourishment for your heart?

Jun. K: Well, let me see…(laughs). My friends around me are all related to music, some are musicians, and others just like music. When I see those people, all the things I felt and talked about during those moments are turned into music even if I just hung out with them.

Interviewer: Music is both work and a hobby for you. You look like you don’t have time to give your brain a rest completely, right?

Jun. K: Actually, I don’t know what it's like to take a rest (laughs). There are people who go travel and refresh their minds, but that doesn’t mean taking a rest for me(laughs). The concept of ‘taking a rest’ differs from person to person, but for me, it's good to watch movies. I’m sometimes stimulated by that and some ideas come to mind.

Parting for a short time after Nippon Budokan 2days in December, Seoul concert in January. “Remember the live concert when you listen to my music, and I don’t want you to forget me.”

Jun. K: That’s right. I thought about wanting to do the live concert freely, in an unconventional way this time.

Interviewer: I certainly think Jun.K-san’s everything, such as your musicality and personality, was expressed.

Jun. K: Thank you very much.

Interviewer: In January, you’re going to have your solo live concert in Seoul too. You must be motivated because it’s your home.

Jun. K: Even during live concerts in Japan, I stand on stage with the feeling that I'm giving a present to the fans that are always supporting us, but I thought that I wanted to give a present to the Korean fans who have been supporting us since our debut in the same way. When the live concert in Korea is over after the live concert in Japan is over, I will not be able to see everyone for a while, so I want them to listen to my music and remember our live concerts. Please do not forget about me even while I’m not here.

Source: Yahoo! News
Jpn > Eng translations by rikakotsu @ JunkayStreet
Translations edited by Heartfelt @ JunkayStreet