Kim Jaejoong has the names of the other two JYJ members tattooed on his spine. They may actually be the wings that set him free.
This is your first photoshoot for a magazine spread in a while since India. How was it?
It was fun. And moving.
What have you been doing?
I’ve been preparing my album. Working on new music brought up some old memories. I wrote about 80% of the lyrics of the album, and I was reminded of those memories while writing the lyrics. I seem to be very sentimental these days.
(He cried during the photoshoot. Photographer Mok Na Jung stated that this was the first time a photoshoot model’s tears brought her to tears herself.) So back there….
Yes. It was because I suddenly got a little emotional.
I think the magazine will be released right before your album.
It’s a rock album. Before, I wanted to express the rock genre as best as I could, so I sang a lot of music that only rock-manias might like. This time, I’ve diversified my music a lot. There’s some Euro-pop, and Canadian and American rock, rock music that I can call my own and Korean rock that you hear a lot in the Korean music industry… It’s an album that combines all of these music styles together. It’ll also feature a wide range of musicians as well. From Yoon Do Hyun to B2ST’s Yong Jun Hyung, and Ha Dong Gyun. I think a lot of people are going to like the album because it’ll feature a lot of genres and lots of collaborations with other singers. People who like rock music will especially like it.
It seems as though you not only focused on your capacity as a rocker, but the Korean sentiment as well.
I incorporated the message of love into my entire album. From the heart-pounding and trembling emotions that arise in the beginning stages of a relationship to the feelings of letting someone go or breaking up with them. All the feelings you experience from beginning to end in a relationship are included in the upcoming album. I think I’m going to incorporate a lot of these emotions into my performances during my concerts as well.
Rock is a difficult genre. I know nothing about it. When and how did you get into rock music?
JYJ sing pop music. Though we sing pop music as a group, I wanted to differentiate myself a little during my solo activities. And I wanted to do something that I really liked and wanted to do. My train of thought ended there and I was reminded of rock music, a genre that I’ve loved since I was a little kid. For my first album, I didn’t want to be hated by the people who love traditional rock music. I told myself that if I was going to do this, I should go all the way, and luckily, it was received well by rock musicians. That’s why I was able to receive so many tracks to put in the new album. I wanted to create music that had a definitive sound, but also had a melody that the general public would enjoy.
You’ve held lots of concerts. If only we could see you singing on TV as well.
Of course, we really want to show ourselves on TV as much as we can. We’re trying as best as we can. But the situation we face is a bit…
Haven’t things changed these days?
Well, there was the verdict of our lawsuit and all, but…
Anyway, I really enjoy your acting. I fell in love with your work in <Sunao Ni Narenakute>.
I enjoy acting, and I’m looking at my career in the long-run. Those who started off their careers in the acting industry may not see me in a favorable light when I say this, but I’m not really willing to put everything on the line for my acting career. Right now, I’m at the stage where I just want to be an actor because it’s fun and I’ve discovered the charm of acting although I’ve only just begun. I’d like to try acting in a small-scale play, if I ever get the chance to. I want to be more serious about my work.
Your sincerity can definitely be felt already. The characters you’ve played till now weren’t really that cool. They were either timid or a little weird. It was surprising to see you trying out a historical role as well.
The best thing is something you’re good at. But before that, I think what’s important is to experience a lot of things rather than doing well right off the bat. I believe that experiencing a wide range of characters now will be the foundation of becoming a great actor ten to twenty years from now.
You’re the first generation and original Hallyu stars of Korea.
No, that’s NRG…
… I heard that there’s a temple in Thailand dedicated to you… How do you feel about that?
The people who like me as a singer and the people who like me as an actor are a little different. And within those groups are people who like me for who I am as Kim Jaejoong. The fact that so many people place their expectations and support in me is all I need, and I feel grateful to have it.
By the way, I was so surprised when I saw you today. Have you always been this skinny?
I’ve been trying to put on some weight, but maybe it’s because I’ve gotten older? ‘Oh, I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to bring up your age.’ When I was younger, I was quite muscular so whenever I worked out, results would show up immediately. But it’s not easy to do that anymore. If I were to think of it positively, I’d say that I’m glad to be skinny instead of gaining weight and getting pudgy.
(I’m sure he was looking at my belly) I’m jealous. You have a better body than your fans.
It’s a source of stress for me.
You’re in your late twenties now. Are you frugal about spending money?
I’ve got some things going on here and there, shall I call them investments? I have my bag brand, and my coffee shop and my izakaya with Yoochun.
It’s located around the Hakdong intersection.
(Isn’t that near my house?) Where’s that?
If you go into the alley where Bennigans is at the Hakdong intersection, it’s called Bum’s story.
(My old job was located in the building right next to Bum’s story. It’s true) My name ends in ‘Bum’. So whenever I used to have a drink there, I’d call the place my home.
But I don’t think I’d last if I had rushed into my investments with the sole purpose of making money. Nowadays, my goal is to focus more on specialization. I must have investments that last and make money if I want to move on to greater things. Doesn’t everyone feel the need to do something right if they’re going to start something at all?
You have a great sense of fashion.
Since G.D. came around.
Shall I call it a style of your own? Something like that.
I don’t really have a particular style that I’m set on. I wear anything and everything. From tracksuits to jeans and a t-shirt. But there are times when I like to go over-the-top and dress up.
I think it’s important to have a great sense of fashion if you’re an actor or a rocker.
I think the fashion of a rocker reflects that person’s state of mind. A person can have the aura of a rock star, even if he hasn’t washed his hair and is walking around in shorts and slippers. Like how Kim Bada or Yoon Do Hyun have this special something, even though they’ve done nothing but put a pair of sunglasses on. It’s not something that can be achieved solely by one’s sense of fashion.
What is the spirit of rock music exactly? Is it really an expression of rebellion like most people think it is?
If K-pop is a song written into a set melody, rock is music where voices cracking and singing off-key aren’t a big deal. That’s what I like about it. That’s freedom. I can’t fully express in words the feeling of letting all your stress go by hitting those high notes. Happiness, sorrow, despair. You are only free when you’re able to express all these emotions through the sound of rock music.
Let’s talk about love, the theme of your album. Family first.
I feel bad. I know that my family are a great source of strength for me because they are people who will love me, no matter what I do. But I never feel like I’m able to fully repay them for everything they give me. My family prefers the little things like an extra phone call, text message or visit, over success, but I haven’t been able to do those things often.
The opposite sex, women, marriage.
I think my ideal woman changes depending on what I’m chasing after. What I want in my partner changes depending on what stresses me out, and what makes me happy. I used to have a set standard when I was younger, but not anymore. It changes depending on where I am and how I’m feeling. I don’t really care about age gaps either.
Are you able to overcome break-ups well?
It depends on how I’m feeling at the time of the break-up. Break-ups are so much harder when it was a serious relationship or if it took a while to become a couple. Wouldn’t that mean that break-ups are easier if a relationship was more casual?
You have the names of Park Yoochun and Kim Junsu, the other members of JYJ, tattooed on your spine.
It’s a very meaningful thing for me. Tattooing something on your body means you want to keep that something with you forever.
When did you get it done?
When JYJ was formed. We were dreaming the same dreams and making them come true; they are the friends who endured the biggest pains and changes of my youth with me, so I will never regret my decision to get it done. Even if my grandson asks me about it when I’m much older, I’ll never feel embarrassed to explain it to him. Memories fade little by little as time goes by. It makes me happy to think that whenever I see the tattoo, forgotten memories will rise to the surface of my mind and I’ll be able to share those memories with my children.
What do you do when you’re with the other members?
All we need is for the three of us to be together. Nothing else really matters. Just having them near me gives me strength. If I didn’t have them, I’d probably die. When you have a good friend, it doesn’t really matter how many times you see them in a year. I see Hyun Joong – Kim Hyun Joong – once or twice a year, but if anyone asked me who my three best friends are, he’d be on the list. Junsu recently texted me and asked, ‘What are you up to these days?’ and it made me feel really happy when I read it. I wanted to take a screenshot of it and upload it on my SNS account.
You must be grateful that the three of you are all doing well in your respective fields as individuals, as well as when you’re in a team.
For example, let’s say that Yoochun is partaking in solo activities and I’m not. He would split some of the money he earned through his activities with the rest of us. It’s been a while since we started doing that, and we have no complaints about it. It’s because money isn’t our objective. I’m not saying that I don’t need to work since I get money anyway. Instead, it works as a form of motivation to make me work harder because I’ll think, ‘This guy is working so hard and helping me out, so how could I possibly not pick up the slack?’ I can’t fall into idleness, can I? Through the process of growing as JYJ, we’ve formed a healthy relationship where we become a source of strength and motivation for each other.
We’ve talked about family, the opposite sex, friends and your members. Now let’s talk about the love you may have for yourself? Do you love yourself a lot?
I do. And it gets more intense when I feel tormented. Of course, the torment itself hurts me a lot. But what pains me more is the fear that I’m hurting those around me through the pain that I feel.
It’s been 10 years since your debut in 2004. What would the last 10 years say to the next 10 years of your life?
I feel as though my age is just a number, nothing more. It’s meaningless to already be choosing what I’ll be doing when I’m thirty, or even what I’ll be doing next year. I just like who I am right now. I really do. So much that I sometimes regret why I didn’t realize this sooner. When I play, I play hard and when I work, I work hard. I’ve begun to realize that happiness comes from expressing myself like this, and letting myself go once in a while. In the past, I’d cry and keep it all locked inside of me when no one was looking, so I’d see things in a distorted perception. The freedom I feel now has helped a lot with that.
So it would be right to say that the past 10 years have been a happy time for you?
Of course. But there are times when I look back and feel disappointed at myself for not realizing sooner that I could have been even happier.
Do you have any final remarks?
I want this to definitely be included in any article written about me. There exists a thread that one must never forget when talking about our fans, JYJ and me. We feel as though we’ve received the love of our fans for a longer time than other celebrities because that thread exists, and it gives us the motivation to work harder. Please, never tire and never let go of that thread, no matter what. Even if we grow and change….
Translated & Shared by: dongbangdata.net