It’s been a year and eight months. Most definitely not a short time. During that time the two seasoned even more. Their music, and their choreography. Both differed in class. It’s not easy this time either. Peculiar style of music that combines orchestra and dubstep into electronic sound. Highly complicated dance where arms are combined with the dancers and they are held in the air. It can’t be any more difficult.
‘Original K-wave’ TVXQ has returned. They released the new album ‘Catch Me’ on September 26th and started their Korean promotion. They’ve only released the music video. However, the improved states of Yunho and Changmin was undeniably evident. Extraordinary music and unparalleled choreography. The fans are already expecting the live stage.
“We got popular as soon as we debuted. Their were a lot of love from overseas such as Japan as well. It’s something that we’re very thankful of. So we didn’t want to be the same. There’s lots of hubaes, and there area also lots of fans who’re holding expectations on us. We wanted to show a changed look. So we gave it a try. Not as strong as the previous song ‘Wae’ but different… that’s the weapon of TVXQ”.
Two men who are never easy. Before the Thanksgivings break started, we met in La Casa hotel of Shinsa-dong and talked about the new album. Wanting to pave TVXQ’s own way instead of choosing the easy way. We could tell exactly why they are still at the top of the top.
◆ “Easy Success? It’s a fruit after failure”
They debuted in 2004. Then they became star-celebrities in one hop. In other words, they woke up to be stars. Success that came very suddenly. They were so busy everyday they couldn’t even catch a breath. It was tiring and there were frustrations. Popularity was thought granted as well. However, that was only momentarily. As they promoted overseas, they tasted failure. They started again from the very bottom. And they stood as ‘korean wave’ like that.
“We got popular as soon as we debuted in Korea. Then after exactly a year we started Japanese promotion. To be honest, we were off-guard, thinking we’d start with some popularity from the beginning. But oh no. The first debut single really, ‘completely’ failed. There wasn’t enough budget so we switched between same set of clothes for two months… we started fresh as rookies. I think we gained popularity after 3~4 years.” (Changmin)
Since then, ‘TVXQ’ became the number one K-pop star. They were the first male group to be on top of both Korea and Japan. However, another ordeal was upon them. It was when they were on the very top. They had to endure long hiatus against their will. Instead of the previous look, they had to re-organize the team as a duo and promote as such. Sudden change. It was not easy. The time of frustration and tears that were shed. It was painful beyond imagination.
“To be honest, we did take it for granted because we got popular wherever we went. The sheer fact that we are popular was physically tiring and there were moments when we were annoyed. However, we think we changed a lot after going through the long hiatus. We felt that it was so precious to have our stage be supported and be loved. We are just so thankful, and we want to show better looks of us because of that” (Yunho, Changmin)
◆ “Korean activities are the root of TVXQ. That’s why it’s ‘Catch Me’”
Looking back, it wasn’t so smooth. The thoughts about activities changed a lot as such, as well. Specifically, it was time to realize the importance and value of Korean activities.
“Even if we are successful overseas, I thought that the roots shouldn’t be shaken in the end. I had the thought of starting again from the Korean stages. The big goal is to show TVXQ!’s unique charm. But if we go too difficult, there is a dangerous possibility of just staying in our own league. Trying different things, while finding ways to communicate. It was important to find the compromise in between.” (Yunho)
That’s how they found the new album’s title song ‘Catch Me’. Catch Me is a new dance song which combines dubstep (slow sound combined with broken up rhythms), melody line, orchestra and electronic sounds. A track that’s keeping the challenges of TVXQ, but not losing the mass media appeal. It’s a difficult song, but they tried to play it easy.
“Title song, ‘Catch Me’ has an intense feel. When other people are dancing with dubstep, we played it through music. But in order to neutralize that intense feel we added strings (orchestra) to the sound. Being lyrical in a strong song. Keeping the unique colour of TVXQ, but adding the lyrical strings to make it not so difficult for the audience” (Yunho, Changmin)
They put the most attention on the performance. For this time, they worked with Tony Testa, famous for being the choreographer for late Michael Jackson. Choreography that’s nearly a circus continues one after the other. Instead of a ‘point dance’ which can be easily followed they created a unique style of dance where a story is told. It’s a high level of technicality, by showing large movements like dragons by connecting arms with the dancers, or being held up in the air.
“You can just consider this choreography as a mirror. The plot is that Changmin and I are one. I represent the inner side of a person, and Changmin represents the outer side. For something like the dragon dance, we combine the arms with the dancers and move. If we don’t work together, everything falls. Cooperation is really the key. We put in so much effort that Testa even post-poned the schedule for Justin Bieber to create this choreography” (Yunho)
◆ “Go easy? TVXQ! is still hungry”
It’s pretty much acrobatics at this point. The song. The choreography. Nothing is easy. It took them a year and eight months to comeback because the preparation time was long. If you consider the fast cycle of music industry, it’s way too long. However, TVXQ was firm. Rather than going easy, continuously seeking change and going TVXQ!’s path is their ultimate goal and the reason of their challenge.
“We had wanted to comeback faster than this. But TVXQ!’s weapon is change, and we wanted to comeback with a different look. I guess that why it took a little longer. I think TVXQ is a group that can’t easily be solved even if we say let’s take it easy. Of course there’s a lot of pressure as there’s a high expectation. But a changed look. Being able to show TVXQ!’s unique charm seems to be the most important thing.” (Changmin)
TVXQ doesn’t go easy. Subsequently, future musical goal is also ‘change’. The predictions of the members Yunho and Changmin is that it will be an unpredictable group. It’s also a homework for them to pull up the stage level to their title of original k-pop idol.
“We think it means different if you say something’s great and if you say that a distinct feel has been set. If you only continue that one feel just because something’s great it’s always all the same. Maybe the next album will have an even stronger music and dance, or it could be the complete opposite. A group that does it again fresh every single time. That’s the key of TVXQ!. In the end, shouldn’t we challenge with the quality of music and performance?” (Yunho, Changmin)
Translation by Fuzzybunny
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