-Official question for our interview. How much do you guys drink?
Jaejin: 3 bottles of soju. With beer, I can drink upto a box.
Jiwon: I can walk with two legs after I drink 3 bottles of soju. After that though, I don’t remember much.
Suwon: I can drink about a bottle and a half of soju. I can drink more when I mix- I really like so-mac* (*a mix of soju and beer)
Jaeduck: I like beer. You know how they have special deals like “10,000 won for four cans” at convenience stores? Those are great.
Sunghoon: I think I’m the weakest. I can go up to one bottle of soju.
-Do you guys drink with one another often?
Jiwon: not really since we each have our own schedules. But when we do, we drink a lot.
-Any special drinking habit?
Jiwon: I say the same thing over and over again. It makes people around me tired.
Sunghoon: none of the members are particularly annoying. We don’t drink until we’re that drunk.
-This is your first comeback in 16 years.
Jiwon: I have as much passion as younger idols- or even more- but it’s sad that my body isn’t up to that level. There are some parts of the old choreographs that I can no longer do. That bothered me a little bit, but everything else was fine. I’m satisfied.
Jaeduck: Because we have less physical strength, we focus for less amount of time. Now, we have to learn quickly and intensively.
Jaejin: I don’t even know if I’m doing something wrong when I’m on stage. It’s all because we can’t focus as much as we used to.
Sunghoon: I wonder if it’s okay to call ourselves “idols”. When I see idols at salons, I notice they have fierce makeups. Compared to them, I feel like we’re not idols.
Jiwon: We’re more like maheun-dol* (*maheun: 40 in korean age)
-The new song “Three Words” won first place in charts. Did you expect that?
Jiwon: I didn’t expect it, but I did hope. But I was still skeptical about being 1st because so many big guns are out right now. I prayed “please let it be in top 5″ and I was so happy to see that it was in #1.
-The track was released at midnight. Did you check the chart hourly?
Jiwon: I was on the charts until 4AM when I finally went to sleep. I didn’t know, but these days, there’s even a chart called 5 minutes chart. I was going crazy because it shows a live graph. You know, I’ve never bought any stocks, but looking at those graphs, I could understand why people get addicted. Also, I could see how the fans were streaming with those five minute charts.
Jaeduck: Jiwon showed me the graph and that’s how I found out.
Jaejin: I became a zombie at certain point because I kept staring at the chart.
-There’s a new term called “hitting the roof”* (*when the number of downloads / streaming hits the maximum on the graph)
Jiwon: Ah, even that term, I found out about it not too long ago. I’ve released a lot of digital tracks before, but of course I don’t know since they’ve never been around the “roof”. I’ve discovered a lot of new things because of the recent release.
-How did you react when you first listened to “Three Words”?
Jaeduck: Didn’t we all cheer? We all liked it.
Jiwon: Of course we liked it. There was a preview at the concert, and 10 thousand people were all listening without making a single noise. I thought that was impressive. Not a single person made any sound. I was really nervous because I didn’t know what they were thinking. Were they quiet because they liked it, or because they didn’t like it?
Sunghoon: I thought they didn’t like it because there was no reaction from the fans. I like the song. It’s trendy, but not too trendy; it has some old school vibe but doesn’t overdo it.
-How was working with Tablo?
Jaeduck: He’s emotionally sensitive. I saw him crying. He also makes a great atmosphere for recording. He gives a lot of compliments. He kept comparing us to some good vocalists and saying that we are like them- when we know we’re not on that level. He encouraged us a lot.
Jiwon: He gave so many compliments that I felt like he was just messing with us. I was like “Is this really a compliment?” It must mean we should keep working hard.
Sunghoon: In the 90s, we were scolded a lot during recording sessions. Therefore, we lost confidence and we couldn’t be at 100% when we were recording. This time, it was nice to have people complimenting and encouraging one another.
-The concert ended with success.
Jaeduck: As the screen opened and we entered the stage, I could see all the yellow lights. I got goosebumps. At that point, I felt like we and the fans were somewhere off in another place. I still get chills thinking about it. I believe singers go on stage to feel this.
-Does that moment linger for long?
Jaeduck: I still get emotional thinking about it. It makes me want to be on stage again.
-Was there anything at the concert that you felt was unsatisfying?
Jiwon: I went back to the stage after the concert and looked at the seats, and they were taking them apart. It was a place where we and few thousands of fans were together for two days. I didn’t want to see it being taken down.
Jaejin: Seeing them disappearing in front of my eyes made me sad.
-It must’ve been hard physically.
Jaejin: “Reckless love”, “Com’ Back”, “Pomsaeng Pomsa” all have a lot of moves where we have to squat and jump. It was so hard that I saw someone I shouldn’t see in front of my eyes a couple of times. I thought my knees were going to dislocate.
-You guy must feel sorry to the fans (who’ve waited for so long).
Jiwon: They’re the fans that have waited for 16 years, so they don’t whine or grill us. So I feel even more sorry. I feel like the bond between us has become stronger because we have so much trust. Instead of telling us what to do, they say “They’ll do the best and decide for themselves”.
-I heard Yang Hyun Suk checked on even the concert stages.
Jiwon: Hyung is a Tsundere. He doesn’t show, but he cares a lot. We’re his juniors, you know. No one else in YG except for 1TYM and JINUSEAN was active when Hyunsuk-hyung was active. So he tries to take care of us. He even edited the music video himself.
-Did you ever get scolded while working?
Jiwon: He did say “Do I still have to check these things” once, but that’s all because he cares. Suwon and Jaeduck’s solo stages were saved by him. He saw the first version, said we should change it- and the second version was way better.
Sunghoon: It’s more like an advice really. I’d be happy to be scolded by him because I respected him as my idol even before debuting as Sechskies.
-You have a lot of respect for YG.
Jiwon: Jaeduck and Jaejin as dancers always picked Hyunsuk-hyung as the most respectable sunbae even before debut. We sang a lot of his songs on music shows. Even in our autobiography that we wrote back in the day, it says “I want to be like Yang Hyun Suk”.
Sunghoon: I was a big fan who followed his schedules in real life. I got hit by the guards.
-And he is Jaejin’s family.
Jaejin: We set boundaries when we’re working, though. We’re a family, but it’s different when we’re working.
Jiwon: I thought we would have some benefits because of Jaejin, but he has no power whatsoever. He gets scolded even more. (Laughs)
-”Infinite Challenge” played a big role in the reunion.
Jiwon: We owe so much to “Infinite Challenge”. I’m so thankful that I want to be on it every week, but they’re not contacting me. I’ll go whenever they need me.
Suwon: They should just call us without thinking about paying us or anything.
Jaejin: Last time we were on it, we talked about us only, but I want them to make us suffer more. I want to be on it every week.
Sunghoon: To be honest, even before “Infinite Challenge”, we were planning a concert and were continuously talking about the reunion.
Jiwon: Suwon wanted it to happen more than anyone else, but I opposed it every time. I wanted to be really careful about it. Then, an opportunity came with “Infinite Challenge”.
-Why did you oppose?
Jiwon: I wanted it to be legit. It’s been 16 years- we couldn’t be nonchalant about it. But the scale was way too big to handle by ourselves. I was scared that it won’t go anywhere, and that it won’t be as successful even if we do have a concert.
-Weren’t you guys disappointed by the spoilers?
Jaeduck: It was a little sad, but the initial cancellation added more story to it. It was more dramatic, you know. I tried to think positively.
-How was performing in front of kindergarten kids?
Jaejin: Little kids must’ve thought we were comedians too, since they do know ‘Infinite Challenge’. They cheered for us.
Jiwon: I was actually happy that that wasn’t our guerrilla concert. They didn’t know us at all. Even in the real performance, I thought we would be embarrassed if not a lot of people come.
-You couldn’t even keep your head up at the terminal.
Jiwon: Ah, that was really really hard. I couldn’t look forward so I sang looking at the sky.
Jaejin: It wasn’t that we didn’t try- I just wasn’t encouraged. I never thought we’ll go the easy way since it was ‘Infinite Challenge’, after all. I thought there would be some kind of mission, make it really hard, then give us a come back stage. But a guerrilla performance? I was really embarrassed.
Jaeduck: Wherever we were, it was cool to dance together again. It didn’t matter where we were. (Laughs)
-Were you guys happy about the main guerrilla concert?
Sunghoon: It was on a weekday in the evening, To have that number of people, I was really happy.
-Are you really like how you presented yourself in ‘Infinite Challenge’?
Jaejin: You have to be truthful on variety shows these days. I just did what I always do.
-Anything different after the broadcast?
Sunghoon: I knew the power of ‘Infinite Challenge’, but didn’t know the full extent. I was never interested in having a social media account, but the fans wanted it.
Jiwon: We thought all the fans would be 30~40 by now, but there were a lot in their 20s, actually. That means there are a lot of new fans from ‘Infinite Challenge’.
-Were you guys in contact before then?
Jiwon: Some, yes, some, no.
-Do you feel a lot different from 20 years ago?
Sunghoon: The biggest change is that back then, the “comeback / goodbye specials” were really important. After the goodbye stage of a promotion, I felt like we would never be able to come back. Nowadays, groups release albums within short terms, so goodbye stages have lost their meaning.
Jiwon: Back then, you couldn’t imagine being on a variety show by yourself. It would’ve been a Jekki special; there was no such thing as making a variety show with one member from different groups. And of course there were no units.
-But you guys had Black kies and White kies. Wasn’t that the origin?
Jiwon: We just divded our team like that- we never promoted separately. Now that I think about it, why did we have those?
-You never had much freedom even back then.
Sunghoon: I believe nowadays, there’s no privacy at all. Back then, there was no social media so after schedules, you could go around with maybe one or two people seeing you. But now, wherever you go, your location spread on social media, and people show up. I guess that helps with promotion. I just stay home nowadays.
-Let’s think back to the disbandment.
Jiwon: Even though 3.5th album and 4th album weren’t doing so bad, I felt like from there, there was only downfall. I thought it would be right to disband while we were still popular. Of course, there were some members who disagreed.
Jaejin: I couldn’t agree. We disbanded without coming to an agreement (Laughs)
Jiwon: See, it’s the problem of the majority. The majority agreed, and we disbanded.
Sunghoon: Now that I think about it, if we hadn’t disbanded then, we wouldn’t have this special come back right now.
-Aren’t you sad about Jiyong’s absence?
Jaeduck: He has expressed clearly that he has no thought, and I feel sorry to keep asking, you know? We sometimes get together and chat while we drink soju. Maybe there will be an opportunity for him to join if we do well from now on. Doors are always open, so he can join whenever he wants to. But as of right now, he has done his part by coming on ‘Infinite Challenge’.
Jiwon: We have to do well. I feel sorry to keep bringing him to spotlight when he has left the industry. If things go wrong, there will be huge consequences. We’re especially careful because Jiyong is a head of a family now. I think he understands too, without us saying much. One day, when Sechskies is doing really well, we would be able to say “Let’s do it together this time”. I would be confused too if I was Jiyong. But part of the reason why we could come back was because Jiyong let us. He gave us an opportunity by clearly stating that he is okay with us coming back as Sechskies and that he wants to see us more active.
-Do you sometimes feel the empty spot?
Sunghoon: When I’m dancing, I sometimes feel like I’m in the wrong spot. So I check, and it’s Jiyong’s spot. But it’s okay; we barely notice even when we make mistakes now.
-Do you have any song that you feel especially attached to?
Suwon: Right now, it’s “Three Words” of course. All the songs are precious and we have a lot of songs, but “Three Words” is what is bringing us together right now.
-Any plans on being active on shows?
Jiwon: If we get a chance, I want to be on a reality show with all of us. We’re back, but there’s not really a program that we can go on altogether. I think a reality show with five of us is going to be fun. We’ve been doing V-app lives, and I’m planning to do them until the views reach 45 million.
Jaejin: What about going on “Flaming Youth” when we become 40?
-There’s a news of S.E.S reunion. Do you have any advice?
Jiwon: Just as we followed Hyunsuk-hyung, I want to tell them to follow President Lee Soo Man. Things tend to go well when you do what they tell you to do. Of course you can be scolded some times. But when you take the risk and follow them, things go well.
-Jaeduck lives with Tony now.
Jaeduck: He envied us but sincerely congratulated us. He even posted on his social media. Seeing him so happy, I realized that I’m living with a good person. (Laughs)
-Do you get along with your rival H.O.T.?
Jiwon: We started as rivals, but 20 years have passed. I’ve done a lot of shows with Heejun, and Jaeduck lives with Tony. We did have a few misunderstandings back then because we didn’t talk, but as years passed, I feel like we’re real friends now. Back then, we didn’t even have time to have real talks because people were so busy making us rivals. Now, we say whatever’s in our minds to each other. I go to public bath houses with Heejun. H.O.T. and Sechs Kies at a public bathhouse together.. You couldn’t imagine such thing back then.
-Do you have any plan of solo albums?
Sunghoon: We just started as Sechs kies. We need to establish the group first.
Jiwon: I did have something in progress, but I stopped working on it.
-You call yourselves “Maheun-dol”, but you guys look young.
Jiwon: Yeah, people don’t see us our age. I mean, we did keep it pretty well. We’re pretty proud of the fact that nobody had plastic surgery. I think that’s why we look more handsome than when we were younger. You know how greenbelts are untouched? Well, our faces are like that. We didn’t touch them, so they remained the same. Ah, only if we had the physical strength, I think we’ll be a match for people in their 20s…
-Fans are a little different too, right?
Jaejin: It feels a little weird when I’m singing and fans shout “I love you”. They are so young compared to us. Back then, they were all our age, but since many of them are way younger than us now, it feels weird to hear “I love you”. So I tell my fans not to say “I love you”.
Jaeduck: I feel so uncomfortable when the fans say “You’re handsome”. I’m embarrassed because I think I’m not handsome.
-You guys have international fans too.
Jiwon: It’s all thanks to YG. They have a lot of internatinoal followers. They just give it a try because we’re part of YG. How would they know us, otherwise?
-You guys are all old enough to marry now.
Sunghoon: I’m not thinking about marriage right now.
Jaejin: I’m going to get married when the contract ends. I want to go on blind dates. There are not that many opportunities to meet people. I’m a little lonely nowadays.
Jiwon: I’ll be heading to a silver town* (senior housing). I’ll be the most popular one there… What if all the members go together?
-What are your further plans?
Jiwon: I honestly don’t know. We can’t do something just because we want to, you know? I want to do performances with unique concepts. I want to do some collaborations since there are some great hoobaes at YG. Such collaborations will help different generations connect. G-Dragon or Taeyang featuring will be nice. It’s just a hope, but I definitely want to try. YG is the only company where young idols and reunited 1st generation idols can perform together.
-Last words for the fans.
Jiwon: Words are never enough to express. Thank you for protecting, thank you for waiting.
Jaeduck: Everything that’s happening now is all thanks to the fans. Unbelievable things are happening. Miracles- a series of surprises.
-Last words for the members?
Sunghoon: I want none of us to get hurt. Even getting hurt gets in the way of promoting. We have to think about our age, guys. Take care of yourselves.
Jiwon: I want to maintain this. We weren’t active for long, but we’ve spent years together. We have more things to show, and more room to grow.
——-Thank you for reading!