How did you feel when you first listened to “Three Words”? I thought it was a song that everyone could relate too. It had a ballad feel to it, and it wasn’t like a typical hook song, so the members liked it.
How did you try to express the rap part as the main rapper? I wanted it to be rough, like I’m expressing my true feelings that I couldn’t say out loud until now, for the first time. I never had that opportunity, you know. I put all my vehement emotion into the rap during our first recording. But some said it’s too strong, so the released version is the calmer one. I tried to convey my feelings without glossing over it.
The remake album was released this week. Weren’t you worried about the reaction from the people who are used to the originals? Memories play a big part, especially in music. Of course it is a little awkward. It’s not like we remade songs that were less know, we remade our most famous ones. We had to carefully fill in Jiyong’s parts with other members, so our old fans who have been listening to the original albums would probably be disappointed not to hear Jiyong’s voice. But, there probably are some fans who would find it refreshing. You can think of this album as like the meeting ground of the old fans and the new fans. Until our new album comes out next year, this album will serve as a connector.
Did you notice the members’ improvements? Sunghoon definitely changed the most. I could tell he has practiced his vocals a lot. I can sing just like before if anyone asks, because I hadn’t really practiced singing after the disbandment- I only focused on rap. But Sunghoon changed a lot. Jaeduck and Jaejin also got better. Jaejin surprisingly has perfect pitch. He can sing the exact note very well. Suwon got weirder (laughs). Suwon once had a vocal cord nodules, and since then, he has been extra watchful of singing out of tune.
Some lyrics have changed after the remake. Are the dances changed too? We’ve left our signature dance moves alone, and some, we simply haven’t had the have time to fix the dance. I’ve hummed the new “Couple” so many times that I don’t remember the old version anymore. “Com’ Back” changed quiet a lot, so we memorized the song through the dance.
How are you preparing for the performance of the new song? We’re considering doing a dance that’s a bit looser than our “knife-like” dance. We want a dance that has our color to it, but still cool enough so that the hoobaes will see us and think it’s cool. YG’s Jaewook is in charge of the dance, and Hyunsuk is checking up on it.
How did you feel when fans started appearing at the airport again when <Infinite Challenge> was airing? I thought it wasn’t for me. I thought there was some other celebrity coming, so I looked behind, but nobody was there. And they were all taking pictures of me. They weren’t even saying anything. If you’re a fan, you would say “Welcome back” or something, right? But they just silently took pictures, so I thought they were reporters. Since then, I’ve been wearing a mask around. I’m scared of being photographed.
Scared of cameras?
I’m really bad with photo-shoots. I can do well in front of video cameras, but not the pictures. Sometimes, I find pictures taken by my fans, and I just can’t even look at them. So I wear a mask. I would look good in anything in their eyes, anyways. But when there are other people around, like at the airport, and they say things like “you’re handsome”, I want to hide.
You have said that it feels like the fans have “forgiven” you. Did you feel burdened as the leader about the disbandment?
There had been a lot of talks about how the reunion isn’t happening because of me, and I always knew the fans had some resentments because of that. But I can’t go on TV and say “It’s not because of me!,” you know. It’s not something worth making excuses, anyways. I thought one day, there will be a chance, and it came through <Infinite Challenge>, like a miracle.
Did you really think the fans weren’t going to come to the guerrilla concert? Our fans are no longer students and they all have jobs, so I questioned if they could come at that time. And we didn’t get any chance to promote. The staffs kept saying they’ll come, but I was still doubtful. I felt so thankful to the people who came. I wrote that letter to the fans because I wanted to tell them how I felt. I’m bad at expressing through talking; I can’t even tell my parents “I love you”. So I wrote instead.
What’s your current goal as a Sechskies member?
Idols can be in a spotlight all the sudden, but I know it’s hard to maintain such attention. Sometimes, I feel the pressure of being an idol at this age. One thing I have learned through doing variety shows is to accept myself changing as time goes by. But now that I’m an idol again, I need to take care of myself. So sometimes I think, “We should’ve reunited earlier”.
Did you have any hardship in your 20 years of being a celebrity?
Why wouldn’t I. I try not to do variety shows in which my personality gets judged. For programs like that, people don’t think of them as shows- they think of what they see on TV as the real me. I learned a lot about what it means to be on TV by doing various prgrams. When I get hurt, I think of all the good things my fans have said to me, and I try to forget it by drinking with people around me.
You have done a lot of variety shows, but weren’t the ones you did with your members more special?
They were all really fun. Especially <Running Man>, because it was the first time filming outside in a long time. If we get a chance, I want to do a traveling show with the members. We went to Busan together for <Season’s Greeting>, and it was a lot of fun.
You were the one who forgot the most dance moves in <Weekly Idol>.
I’ve done them for so long, but I couldn’t remember like it was my first time doing it! It’s not like I didn’t do it just to not do it. I really wanted to do well. Jaejin kept saying stuff to me, but he made even more mistakes than me. I was more confused because of Jaejin.
2017 is the 20th anniversary. Are you preparing anything?
I don’t know when exactly, but I want to hold a 20th anniversary concert with a new album.
[Kang Sung Hoon]
The MV filmed in Japan was released. Do you feel better about MVs now?* (Jekki has previously said that they never had a proper MV under DSP)
No. I feel like we didn’t really work it, and our faces were all very stoic.. The scene with the female model was especially awkward. I have some regrets. I want to do better for the new song.
Did you change your style of singing for “Three Words”?
Before, I used to put accents on every single words I sang. But now, I sing more comfortably. I sang it in a few different ways that Tablo and Future Bounce wanted.
How was recording remakes of your old songs?
It was very nerve-racking. I used to be so stressed out whenever I had to go record songs, because I was scared of how I was going to be scolded that day. But now, going into the booth is so fun. The atmosphere is so good, and every staff members respect our opinions. I can’t help but be happy.
What is your favorite remake song?
I like the new “Yeonjeong” and “Come to Me Baby”.
Do you have any personal favorite that’s not in the remake album?
I really like “Say”. I also like “White Night”, and we’re singing that one at our end of the year concert.
How much progress has been made on the new song that will come out in 2017?
The song is so good that I’ve questioned if it’s okay for us to sing it. I’m curious how it’s going to turn out, but also scared. I think generally, they end up sounding nice after recording, though.
You’ve written your own songs like “The Present She Left Me” and “Promise”. Do you still write your own songs?
“The Present She Left Me” turned out okay all thanks to Kim Hyung Suk hyung who rearranged it. Now, there are so many famous songwriters in YG, so I’m not even going to try. But I do have one or two songs for which I’ve thought about the lyrics.
For idol groups, performance is just as important as a song itself. How are you preparing for the performance of the new song? I realized it while doing <Inkigayo> stages. Jekki shouldn’t dance anymore. I think it’s now time for us to sing some trendy songs. At this age, we shouldn’t dance even if we can.
Which variety show did you enjoy shooting the most? I had the most fun being on <Radio Star>. It’s weird that every time I go there, I suddenly remember a lot more things. What’s good about the show is that they can make even the mistakes seem funny.
I think honesty on talk shows has become jekki’s another charm. We’re at that age where it’s more charming to be natural, like to talk nonsense or cross our arms. I just trust the editing staff, and say things comfortably, as long as they’re too much.
You guys still get asked a lot about your past activities. Don’t you want to talk about your current activities?
Even I see that it’s funnier to talk about the past. That’s what the public is most curious about. In a year from now on, there will be more things to talk about, and people won’t ask us about the past as much. I just answer comfortably thinking ‘when else would I talk about this?’ But sometimes, even the members remember things differently. But still, we don’t really try to look for who’s right. I can’t look at our old stuff because they’re too cringe-worthy.
Who was most supportive of you before the reunion? I have two really close friends, and without them, I think I wouldn’t have made it this far. I could’ve thought “Do I really have to be a singer again?” All I wanted was to be on stage together for the fans, at least once. That was all. To be honest, I wasn’t one of the members who took the initiative in trying to bring back Jekki.
Who was the most enthusiastic one? I think the one who truly wanted it was Jaeduck hyung.
Are you good at showing your emotions like you are to your fans? I’m actually pretty cold. People who have known me for long wouldn’t think I’m that amiable. If I don’t want to do something, I make it obvious. Even back then, people knew if something had gone wrong before the performance based on how I was on stage. It’s not professional, but I just can’t fake it.
Then are you blunt with your members?
I express my thoughts just the way they are in my head. If I like it, I say I like it; If I don’t, I say I don’t.
Idol culture has changed a lot too, right? What’s the most interesting change?
There are too many. Words like “세젤귀”, “입덕요정”, “ and “입덕은 가능하지만 탈덕은 없다” are cute.
When was the most touching moment after coming back? It was the Seoul Concert. We were back at Olympics Stadium after 16 years, and as the concert started, I almost cried. The first song was “Com’ Back”, which is an upbeat dance song, but it’s almost as if I was crying while I was dancing. I was reminded of the past a lot.
Any specific moment you thought of? We had a concert on that very stage in early 2000, when there was already a talk of disbandment. I think the fans knew, too. I knelt down and bawled during my solo stage “Promise”. And we were back on that stage 16 years later. It felt odd. I was happy to see all the yellow balloons again. I was too excited, which caused the toe injury.
If you can form a unit within Sechskies, who would you do it with? Don’t you think it’ll have to be with Jiwon hyung? I think we can do a song that has both melody and rap. We lived in Hawaii together.
Don’t you want to visit Hawaii again? We all have a plan of going to Hawaii together. I want to go to Nuuanu Pali, Jack in the Box, which is a burger place, find a Giovanni’s Shrimp Truck and eat shrimp with the members, and do some water sports, too.
You made “Fix it” popular. What have you “fixed” recently? A lot. My mental has become weaker, so I tell myself “fix your mental”. I’m fixed on moisture cream because it’s winter and my face gets dry, and I’m fixed on wet towel next to my bed to take care of my throat. I’m fixed on angora because it’s winter! The stylist keeps putting fur on me.
By the way, do the members still not know Jaejin’s number? I didn’t even ask. I’m not curious. (laughs)
[Kim Jae Duck]
You got a lot of new parts in the . What’s your favorite part?
I like the rap part in “Couple”. Tablo wrote the rap, and I think it’s pretty and it suits me well. There’s a part where we all draw a rainbow on stage, and that was Jiwon hyung’s idea.
Are you finally over the deprivation of MVs? To be honest, I never had that much feelings against our MVs. Old MVs have some cons, of course, since they were filmed at our office or were a mashup of other videos. But I think they turned out pretty well. This time, I tried harder because I wanted to keep showing better sides.
How was the filming? What I liked the most about it was the fact that I went to Japan with the members. It was disappointing that we didn’t really get to spend much time together except for when we were eating because of tight schedule. We had to wake up at 3~4 AM, get ready, film, and we couldn’t even stay out for long because it was cold. I wanted to watch other members awkwardly filming the couple scenes, but I couldn’t. I watched the indoors ones, but they all did well when they started shooting.
Any memorable episode? Snowflakes were as big as the \500 coins, so we watched it snowing. Jaejin, Suwon, and I finished first, so we went to Sapporo’s beer factory to get a drink. We also went to a park together, and Jaejin made chimpanzee noises there, which was really funny.
Is the team activity different from before? I think individual personalities and styles are the same as before. But everyone did get more mature. We all have a lot more responsibilities now. We did what was asked without thinking much back then, but now, we all try to participate voluntarily.
Do you feel that there are a lot of new fans? When I read fan letters or go to filming sites, I see a few young fans. I think it’s cool. I want to tell them, “You’re sad that you’ve come to know us so late too, right? Since you’re late, please like us more, and let’s be together for a long long time”.
Do you feel the difference between 20th century fan culture and 21st century fan culture? The most obvious one is camera. Back then, there was no camera even on cellphones, but now, they bring huge cameras to take pictures of me. Not only are they good at taking pictures, but they’re also good at editing them, so sometimes I get surprised looking through my SNS. Also, back then, fans crowded around us when they saw us, but now, they don’t approach us. They just take pictures from far away. But one thing that hasn’t changed is their eyes. Regardless of age, everyone still looks like a young girl because of their innocent eyes full of excitement.
Do you read all the comments on your SNS? Yes. Fans leave comments that can encourage me and make me laugh. There are touching ones. By reading those comments, I try to fix my mistakes. I think it’s good that I can always show improvements through those feedback.
Fans call you ‘Duck-Chael’ (Jaeduck+Michael). Isn’t the angel image sometimes burdensome?
It was Michael that came after my name? (laughs). But everyone likes nice people. It’s good that people view me in that way. But did I really seem that nice? I have weaknesses too, but I guess fans see more of my strengths.
What was your favorite move when you were in charge of choreographing? It was mostly Jaejin who made the choreography, and I just helped on the side. It’s already 20 years ago, so I don’t even remember which choreographs I participated in. I think “Road fighter” was really cool, and “Pom Saeng Pom Sa” was very upbeat. But the recent choreos are more fun. The new “Com’ Back” and “Chivalry” choreos have completely different styles from before.
How did it change? Before, we almost always danced right on the beat, but nowadays, you split the beat a lot. It gets awkward sometimes because my body’s not used to it. The dance itself did get harder, but it’s also that my brain can’t follow as quickly as it could before.
What was the most exciting moment since the reunion? I think the most memorable ones are of course guerrilla concert on and our recent concert. At Yellow Note concert, they played a video of our fans singing to “Couple” and that almost made me cry.
Your style changed the most since the reunion. Do you like it? At first, it was hard to accept. It’s not easy when everything suddenly changes at once. But I just trusted the stylists, and I’ve heard that I look good in the style, which boosts me up. Depending on the style of my clothes, my attitude and facial expressions also change. I like such changes.
Have you gotten used to doing photo shoots? It’s still awkward. But there’s always an excitement at photo shoot sites. You get to meet new people at a new environment. It’s new, but it’s exciting.
I’ve heard that you filmed in Busan with the memebers. How did that go? At first, it was a bit awkwrad because I wasn’t used to such setting, but as time went on, I got to have a lot of fun. I think I would’ve had more fun if it wasn’t being filmed. I try not to be conscious of the camera, but sometimes it doesn’t work. I do think it could’ve been better without the cameras.
Do you have any plan of travelling with the members, apart from filming? We’ve talked about it, but as of right now, carrying out our schedules is the most important.
Do you have any member that you want to form an unit with? I think I’ll be able to show stronger sides with the black kies members, Jiwon hyung and Jaejin. We’ve been on stage together just as three, and I liked it. I think it’ll be fun.
[Jang Su Won]
You were the second most active member, after Eun Ji Won. It might seem like I did a lot because of the robot acting, but it’s only been 2 years since I started doing individual activities. I try to be honest and accept everyone’s opinions on variety shows, and I think people like that side.
Robot acting could’ve created a bad reputation, but it was an opportunity for you. At first, people did criticize me. Then people started laughing, and it became my charm. My personality and attitude changed a lot because of it. If I kept being criticized like I did in the beginning, I would’ve lost all my confidence, but I was lucky. If this happened in the past, I could’ve been forced to leave the industry for a while. Luckily, it became an opportunity for me.
I’ve heard that you played a big role in the reunion. As time passed, I started to miss the times we were together more. I was a Sechskies member for only 2 years and a half, but back then, it really felt like I was just having fun with hyungs and friends that I liked. I always thought that if there’s a second chance, I want to have more fun with it.
Nowadays, there’s a lot of idol groups that work together but aren’t close. I think some friends nowadays want get more attention than other members in the group. There’s no one in Sechskies that wants all the attention in variety shows, or wants to do individual activities like acting or going solo. I think that’s why we never felt like we were in a business relationship.
You were the only person that kept in contact with all the members even after the break up. I keep relationships a broad group of people I don’t really cut anyone off just because that person is different from me. Unless there was a fight or some harm done, I keep in contact.
Such quality must’ve been helpful in your business. Yes. I finally understand why adults say connection is more important than money.
Isn’t it hard to both own a business and do Sechskies activities? I’ve been thinking that recently. I can go to my restaurant once a week at most, and recently, I could only once or twice a month. If the CEO isn’t there, management gets neglected even if there’s a manager. I didn’t know things would get this big in terms of scale, so I had opened up two restaurants. I did it just in case I don’t get work, but it’s now worrisome because we’re getting more work as Sechskies.
You said in that drinking with Eun Ji Won is uncomfortable. Is he more careful after that? Not at all. That person is never careful to his dongsaengs. He’s only weak to people who are older or stronger than him. (laughs)
You’re the maknae in the team, but don’t you have desire to lead people? Now I like taking care of people and taking them to places, but when I was young, I liked being with hyungs even if it’s a little uncomfortable. But as I’ve aged, I don’t like it if it’s uncomfortable no matter where hyung takes me. I don’t mind being the one to pay if I’m eating with dongasaengs that I like.
You called a person who nags while drinking a fogey. Even people who are normally quiet tend to nag after drinking, calling themselves life sunbaes. If I keep repeating myself and nagging a lot, then I’ve become a fogey. I try not to nag or make it uncomfortable for dongsaengs. Even if I do, I only do it once.
How do you want to age? I want to age fine, instead of trying too hard to look young. I want to look my age, but still have some charm. Just looking young as a “frozen man” isn’t as important. I don’t want to dye my hair pink and pretend like I’m young, like someone.
Are you targeting a specific member? No, it was just an example, hahahaha.
Were you always blunt like this? I never showed this side on TV, but I always was in waiting rooms. When filming for a show, I had to wait until other members talk first. Sometimes, I just stood there without coming up with any answer in my head because I felt like my turn wasn’t going to come. Back then, I only sang and other members did the talking.
Weren’t you disappointed that you didn’t have as many opportunities to show your talents? No. I’m introverted and I don’t think I have that much talent. It was only recently that I started talking on variety shows, because I had a lot of things that I had to do on my own. Even when I talk on shows, I have to first think “What if I say this?” I don’t think I have talent in speaking well.
You’re good at dancing and singing, but sometimes those get covered up by the robot character. Performances that I had mistakes in on were rehearsals. But I think they just aired the rehearsal instead since it’s not a music program. The robot image does get in the way sometimes, but it’s an image that I’ve created, so I have to bear with it. It’s not easy, but I try not to be stressed about it.
There are a lot of edited videos of your past performances and recent performances. It shows that Jang Su Won is constantly improving. I don’t really watch either of them. The old ones are too bad and embarrassing. I’m not the type to monitor performances and analyze. I just try my best day to day.
In what aspect are you going to improve more? Jekki is my one and only goal right now. It’s only been half a year since we made a come back, and we only have one new song. We still have a lot of time left. I want to make better songs, and I want jekki to be more global. Wouldn’t it be possible since YG has a lot of resources? I want to focus on jekki activites without thinking about anything else.
Were you always this ambitious? Catch me on variety shows saying some nonsense, if this all fails.
[Lee Jae Jin]
Is there a reason you got rid of your SNS account? Because there’s a Sechskies official website now. I wanted the fans to all gather there instead of being spread out on various platforms. I want other members to get rid of their personal accounts too.
Your hair is blue today. I just got it done today. To be honest, the members have been suggesting that I dye my hair blue again, in a mocking way. I think they thought that I wouldn’t do it. I had pushed it off until now, but I finally did it.
You’re the only one who did V-live regularly. I told everyone that I’ll do it every week since other members weren’t interested. I said I’ll do it whenever I go to my art studio, which I go to at least once a week. If you watch the first episode, I literally just draw. Since I can’t really read the fans’ comments while drawing, my professor at the studio chooses a couple of them to ask, and then I answer.
The way you were so focused on drawing in a sleevless shirt showing arms, was like a scene from a movie. V-app is a live broadcast and I don’t even have a script, so there isn’t really anything to do. It was just my most natural state. In the summer ones, I had to wear sleveless because I get hot really easily. I didn’t really think ‘oh since I draw with my right hand, my right biceps are going to look nice’.
Did you focus on art after the military dischargement? It hasn’t been that long since I started drawing. In 2010, I had a chance to join YG’s design team. Ten of my pieces made it into Big Bang’s album. And in 2014, when my nephews were older, the company’s director suggested that I should study art. But I really just like going to theme parks and Jeju Island with my nephews. I don’t really spend that much, anyways.
Fans told you not to marry, and you responded with “Then we’ll just cohabit”. Both are taboos in idol culture. Why does all that matter at this age? I think living together is better than getting married. I don’t have to legally change my address.
You’re good at “fan training”, like deleting your picture on SNS 10 seconds after posting it. You should be good at that stuff, even in relationships. Not really. You know how people always check up on eachother when in a relationship? I answer if the other person asks, but I never ask first. It’s not like I’m going to run to the place anyways. It was out of respect, but they thought I was uninterested in them.
Contrary to your carefree personality, you ran away when Sechskies was about to disband and hid. It was unexpected of you. I came to Seoul from Busan when I was in second year in high school. I thought when we disband, my life in Seoul ends. Everything that was right in front of my eyes was about to disappear and I didn’t even know which was going to disappear first, so I was anxious and frustrated. And it took me especially long to become close with the members. Looking back, the members were so precious to me. So I disagreed to dreaking up, but some released their solo album in less than a year, and everyone was living well. (laughs)
You released three solo albums too? I personally really don’t like those albums. I was just going to enlist after disbanding, but my mom kept saying “why don’t you release an album too?” after seeing other members doing so. I had to release it because of her.
Are you satisfied with the remake album? Things that reflect an era get old, eventually. So the remade versions are better than the old ones, of course.
You had a yellow badge on you on . I was working out when the Sewol tragedy happened. I was watching it live on TV, and I was frustrated. I clearly remember thinking “Why don’t they save the kids?” I was really heartbroken. I put the ribbon on to remember the deaths of the young students.
You’re known as the ‘4D, alien’ one, but do you have a member that you think is weirder than you? Hm. I’m not interested. I don’t really care if there is or not.
Then are you only interested in your nephews? No! I’m the most important to me. Of course, I blend in well without thinking I need to be the most noticeable, when I’m with my members.
You were in . Have you read some bad comments? Yes, I read them because I’m curious. Sometimes, I stare at them blankly. I ask myself, “Why do these people put an effort of logging in, just to comment some hateful comments, and dislike the article? Do they really hate me enough to slap me when they meet me in real life?”
I heard you researched where the fans lived and chose the intermediate area as where your birthday party was going to be hosted. Thanks to that, I found out that Daejeon is the best place for fans from all over the country to gather. I know which pubs are good, too.
Until when do you plan to do Sechskies activities? I think we would have to see how things go in 2017. I’ve asked the members, “Do you think we’ll do this until we completely lose popularity, or until someone makes a big mistake?” But since we’re old, Sechskies won’t disband again because of individual activities. I am pretty sad that I don’t have enough time to draw for my exhbition, but right now, Jekki is my everything.
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