“We were doing somethings all along, but we weren’t in Korea.” That was Uknow Yunho’s reaction to the comeback after 1 year and 8 month of break as TVXQ with new title song ‘Catch Me’. It was unusually long break for an idol group, and there were a lot of things that happened before and after that. However, they were not only calm but were relaxed, and there answers were simple and firm. TVXQ! who are comfortable enough now to say that “we could go down all of sudden, but that’s ok”. What do they have in their mind when going up the stage. The story we shared with TVXQ, who think about now, and more so about the future.
Q. You’re already 9 years into the business.
Uknow Yunho: I think we lived about 4 years just really busy, and we went through a transition period, and we fought like so freaking much. So that’s why I wrote like that in the ‘Thanks to’. “While we fought, cried, and smiled through the 10 years, we became like this.” To be honest, a man saying things like I like you eye to eye to a man. That doesn’t really work out well. (To Changmin) Can you do that? I can’t. (laughs) I get really embarrssed expressing myself, and I think we’re a relationship where words are not necessarily required. If he’s not around, I just kind of feel like I’m missing something.
“Wanted to make it feel like 2 solos on 1 stage”
Q. Since it’s a comeback after 1 year and 8 months, you pretty much had a 2 year long break in that 10 years.
Uknow Yunho: I didn’t think time would fly by so fast. As we had so much of a break, we wanted to return when we had more confidence in the song. As we tried to show a different side, I think it took us rather long. Just the fact that we’re doing Korean activities makes me happy. Doing a lot of international activities makes me lonely… (laughs) there is pressure, but it makes me rather excited.
Q. You planned the Seoul Concert for the 1st sage of World Tour < TVXQ! LIVE WORLD TOUR ‘Catch Me’ > in November. That must feel interesting
Uknow Yunho: I really wanted to be on a solo stage in Korea. It was something that I really really wanted, and it seems like I have my own little resentment for not standing there for about 3 years. (laughs) I wish it would be a lot of fun and a comfortable concert. If it was “AHHH! We gotta show them something. See we’re so awesome!” kind of a concert before, I want concerts to be just something we all enjoy now. Of course it does have to be awesome (laughs)
Q. It seems like you want to approach in a more softer sense, but the sound of the title song is still strong.
Uknow Yunho: Yes. It is still strong The sound is intense, but if you listen to it, the melody’s easy. Dubstep is currently in right now, and we tried with the idea of “putting melody into the dubstep and singing”. It was harder than we thought to be honest. Anyways, the overall sound is strong, but there are parts in the melody such as the chorus where we tried to take it very easy.
Q. Is there a reason why you wanted to go easy?
Max Changmin: With the song ‘Wae’, we put forth a strong image. So if we do a similar song, we thought that we could just be considered to ‘do just those strong things’. We could solidify a unique image for TVXQ, but we could also be confined to it. We thought a lot in the direction of listening as easily as possible. The overall concept of the album is a story about the inner side of a human. We tried very hard to deliver it simply without being too obvious.
Q. But TVXQ has a strong image of intense SMP like the ‘Rising Sun’.
Uknow Yunho: We know that SMP-like stuff, which are represented by intense sound are considered ‘TVXQ-like’. We’re not saying that we won’t do those. We will continue to do them. However, we’re seeking change within it. Music that we can do because we are a duo, Performance we can show because we are a duo. That’s what we’re trying to materialize. To be more specific, like two solos on one stage. Showing Changmin’s charms at one point, and then showing my charms. We’re seeking lots of changes that we can make because we’re a duo.
“Choreography that details the lyric. Have to act a lot”
Q. Since you’ve been constantly releasing album for nearly 10 years, you probably have unusual attachment to each album.
Uknow Yunho: That’s why we participated a lot in the producing of the album this time. To be honest, all there was before was the company staffs getting together and deciding, but starting with this album our participation has increased. They asked a lot of our opinions, and we made each track of the album with lots of thoughts. Sometimes they asked “isn’t this better than this” in terms of the beat of the song, and asked in other times “I think we could add the piano in here. How does that sound like?” Since we made the album together like that, our first goal became making something new for ourselves.
Q. The lyric for ‘I Swear’ was written by Changmin. How did that work.
Max Changmin: ‘I Swear’ was written with the fans in mind. I didn’t get to say words like “Thank you, I love you” a lot. As far as I know there are a lot of friends who seek my affection… I wrote it with a repenting feel thinking of those friends. (laughs) I am always thankful, but I just don’t say if often because I don’t think it’ll carry honesty in it if I say it too often. I try to do it very seldom in the right time and right place. (laughs)
Q. You must’ve put in some opinions about tracklist or the mixing process.
Uknow Yunho: Yes. In terms of the tracklist, the A&R team pre-selection with all the songs we get first, but we discussed a lot with all the songs we got. As well, things like controlling the highs and the lows of the vocal… we didn’t really talk about these things before. As we started participating in the song production, we started expressing our thoughts on mixing as well. We tried to put in more care and listen to it more for each and every song of the album. Personally, I like the song ‘How are you’. It feels like Maronie, a 90s group. There are some harmonies from the ‘Cocktail Love’ as well, and an overall things that touch the 90s sentiment. It was a song that I actively said it’s really good and it should definitely be in our album.
Q. Why did you want to touch the 90s setiment.
Uknow Yunho: I liked the Noise hyung-nims who were active in the 90s, and I liked Maronie and Satellites…a lot (laughs). Ah, I really liked them. As well, TVXQ! will meet its 10th year next year, and I get the feeling that the trend from back when we debuted is coming back recently. I think that ‘trends come back every 10 years’ is really true. The music industry focused on the 80s for a while, then electronic sound was in, and there were even songs with 80s feel to an electronic sound. Of course it doesn’t mean that we’re going to do ‘Hug’ now. (laughs) I just think that a softer and comfortable melody like then could do well.
Q. It seems like you put in a lot of care into the music video performance. It won’t be easy reenacting it live on stage again.
Uknow Yunho: It’s hard. (laughs) It feels like my life expectancy is decreasing. It was pretty much a ‘turn-over-new-leaf’ for ‘Wae (KYHD)’ as well and… (laughs)
Max Changmin: When I got the song first, I didn’t think like that. But when the choreographer produced the choreography and showed it to us, I thought ‘I don’t want to sing this song live’… but when the time comes, I end up doing it. I have to. (laughs)
Q. The organization of the choreography is very intricate.
Uknow Yunho: A choreographer called Tony Test made it, and he really gave it a story. At first, he came after seeing the <Avengers> so he was going to create a choreography with just the ‘Hulk’ character. Tony made 4 different choreography with this one song, and the current version has the good parts from those 4 versions. For us, we didn’t really get a choice and we just learned it all. But ‘Catch Me’ is about a man who seem like he’s sending a lover away but not really, despite the strong beat, so it seems like he changed the choreography to vary in overall as it went on because there were parts that were inconsistent with the sound and the lyrics. The super gentle guy at first gets more intense and roars, and then he comes back to the starting point. As well, the part in the beginning where Changmin and I are standing is actually one body. When Changmin is singing I’m Changmin’s inner self and performing. When I’m singing, Changmin’s my inner self. The visible emotions are demonstrated by the back dancers. We organized the choreography to detail the lyric as closely as possible, so if you see it with the lyrics, it’ll come at you a little differently.
“It seems like we’re in love/hate relationship”
Q. You said that you “fought a whole lot” at first. Are there conflicts when you’re trying to figure everything out?
Uknow Yunho: Well for ‘Wae’ it was the first time for the two of us to do promotional activities… so there were frequent times when we had different opinions. We talked about it few times on TV, but it seems like we’re in a love/hate relationship. Kind of like Love and War…? (laughs) Well first of all both of us are greedy. As such, we put in a lot of effort into our work, but even after we finish something the expectation level changes depending on the day’s emotional state or feelings. So in such situations we have differing opinions. In order for it to be a little smoother, it seems like we need to set some sort of rules first. So we practice a lot. And when there are differing opinions like this, the whole act of mediating, practicing, and perfecting it is us challenging our own limitations. The fact that we’re realizing a thing by another through such process is meaningful in my opinion.
Q. Were you worried that the impact that can be delivered could be reduced compared to when you were a 5 member group.
Uknow Yunho: When we were five, we had a charm of five people. When we are two, we have a charm of two. It’s a completely different story, but I can definitely tell you that we improved a lot when we became just the two of us (laughs) You can’t help it. When we were five, we could sufficiently make a system that will make up for the lack of someone. But when we are two, when someone’s desperately singing the other must dance, no buts or ifs. (laughs) There is no time to rest, at all. Especially in concerts, if you look back after preparing about 30-somewhat songs, you’ve really learned a lot and improved a lot.
Q. Are you still feeling the pressure for being just two.
Uknow Yunho: There are parts that we got fierce, trying to make up for the empty spaces, and there are parts where we got to relax more. It’s half and half. Much things could’ve happened within 1 year and 8 months. The break was long, the trend changes very fast, and we know for sure that we’ve been forgotten a lot from people’s memory. But we don’t want to force it back. As well, there probably are people who don’t like us. Because we are just two, we feel the negative sides a lot more as well. The pressure is doubled. However, we don’t want to package it to be something better. We just want you to see us as we are.
Q. The fact that it’s half fierce and half relaxation is a look of the transformed TVXQ. What is the biggest change you’re each feeling right now.
Uknow Yunho: In my personal feeling, it feels like we’re give a more grown-up feels since we became a duo. Of course, I like idols too. (laughs) As long as I’m in the age for it I want to do idol music. Although I do think that it’s all the same music regardless of whether something’s idol or not, but if you see it objectively, there’s more masculinity and I like that.
Max Changmin: It seems like we get to focus more on each person than before. It’ll be so for the audience as well, but it’s also like that on our part. The fact that we can look into each one of us in more focused light. That’s the biggest change.
Q. So what is the colour that TVXQ that is now duo want to show as singers?
Uknow Yunho: I want to be agroup that can try all genres. We like really different music styles. As we, who are so different, are together Changmin could be the main sometimes, and sometimes I could be the main, to show off various colours. I want to hear words like “chameleon-like group”.
Max Changmin: Umm. Yunho hyung’s words are correct, but I think a little differently to be honest. I think saying ‘I want to do something like this’ is a little too arrogant. I’m not opposed to the idea of becoming a ‘chameleon-like group’. (laughs) So it’s like the shear act of saying ‘this is our colour’ could be the idea that puts you into a mannerism. To be honest, we’re still going through lots of trial and error these days, and I think we will continue to experience them. I think we’re still at a stage where were discovering music that we can be good at, and finding things we can show better.
Q. The current idol market in Korea is starkly different from when TVXQ debuted. How does TVXQ want to remain in this.
Uknow Yunho: We want to remain as always new TVXQ. I think we showed the audience who’re interested in us something a little different every time, in our own way. If we sung cute songs for ‘Hug’, we tried a change in ‘Rising Sun’, and I think we got to show sexiness that was appropriate for our age for ‘Mirotic’ and for ‘Wae’ we had natural changes as a result of the changes we faced then. This album’s what follows next. It seems like we are more experienced now, and as such, we want to try something new again. It’s not easy, but we really want to be an unpredictable group. To be honest, we could go down senselessly. But even still, I want to be an unpredictable person, and I’d like it if TVXQ is like that.
Q. Any ‘dream’ the two of you have through this activity.
Max Changmin: It seems like I’m more relaxed than before, so I think it’ll be more fun than ever. As well, I hope that the audience feels ‘ah, they’re really enjoying what they do’ by seeing such things from us.
Uknow Yunho: I just want them to see us as we are. Criticisms are fine, and anything’s fine. If they can sense that we’ve tried to seek some change while doing that, nothing could be better. We worried a lot because we wanted to break our own frame as well.
Translation by Fuzzybunny
Original Article: http://news.nate.com/view/20121004n08293
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