Ginger Interview Part 1 – Yunho & Changmin
Finally, their smiles have returned to us. After many months, the day has finally come. When they stepped into the set, the stiff expressions on their faces were relatively noticeable, but seeing the staff members, smiles appeared on their faces… “It’s been a long time.” Patting familiar faces on the shoulders, Yunho and Changmin went around hugging everyone. This year, they each came to Japan for their individual schedules, and although their shadows on the stage has not completely faded yet, it has already been a year and a half since they left behind their “TVXQ” schedules. They then started reminiscing about this period of time…
Changmin: “In the past, I was always the youngest. But recently, there have been many staff members who are even younger than me. When I’m doing my individual activities, the staff become busy with me too. I hope that I can take on and return this great responsibility. In TVXQ, I also need to share the burden of what Yunho used to undertake alone.”
Yunho: “Recently, Changmin is becoming more and more like a leader, and sometimes acts like a bigger brother better than me. Changmin has grown up into a man now, so it is level between us, and I agree with what Changmin suggests. This way, we are able to create a unique atmosphere that solely belongs to the two of us. It is definitely worth anticipating.”
So, in a sense, Changmin’s young image is gone?
Changmin: “Age-wise, Yunho has more experiences than I do. As an artist, it is impossible to complete all your activities in two or three years, so as time goes by, you naturally mature and grow up. That is why I need to work my hardest to take this opportunity and focus all my efforts into what I’m doing.”
Under the current situations, what area do you want to pursue further?
Changmin: “Whether it’s singing or acting, I want to express the love a 22 year old man feels. I want to show a level of maturity, but then again I’d probably have to rely on my imagination. The love I receive now, the feelings I had when I was in relationships in the past… I need to express them out; now, and in the future.”
So you’re in love right now? (laughs)
Changmin: “Aaahhhhhh it’s so regrettable that the winter is so cold that it pierces through to my bones” (laughs).
Changmin: “Really. This Christmas, Yunho has his musical, so I need to work my best too.”
Do the two of you live together?
Yunho: “Yes, we’re together everyday like brothers. Before, we shared a room, but now we each have our own. When we rest, we go out and eat together, play video games with the staff, watch DVD’s, watch sports events, and even jokingly quarrel about things.”
So there’s no romance in the air at all?
Yunho: “There really isn’t! But I still really want to get married, so there’s bound to be times when we have relationships. If I do, I will definitely proclaim it out loud. This year was a turning point, but the following months will require a lot more hard work and effort. To TVXQ, and to myself alike, it will be a very important time period. Next year, I hope that the individual activities we do will also sublimate. This time one year ago, there were many feelings of distraught and loneliness. The reason is none other, and my feelings and thoughts are only known and understood by me. I believe Changmin has that same feeling too. I promised myself this; ‘From now on I need to start working hard to return the love and support everyone has given us.'”
Changmin: “Our smiles right now are not natural, but rather forced as an alternative to our real feelings. When we don’t have the motivation to work, we can’t get anything done. Many new emotions arose, but we could only look forward. Our dreams of the past are the same compared to our dreams now, so as TVXQ, we want to create products that will be carried on forever throughout generations. This is a similar ambition that Yunho and I have.”
Yunho: “We need to climb mountains but also descend them. Once we reach the pinnacle of one mountain, we realize there are even higher ones to mount. For that reason, we need to go down to the bottom and climb up to the top again. That day, when the two of us stood on the SM TOWN stage, we found the mountain that we needed to climb. Even if it’s one step by one step, we need to steadily move towards the future.”
Overcoming the stormy sea together, there are still many hindrances to triumph over. Yunho and Changmin, 2011, the rebirth of the new “TVXQ”.
Ginger Interview Part 2 – Yunho & Changmin
How was this year for you?
Yunho: “This year, I think it can be considered as a turning point. Through my musical, television drama, and other individual activities, I was able to experience a variety of different experiences. I look back and look at what I used to be like in the past. Most importantly, this year allowed me to mature and grow up into an adult. What’s changed the most is that no matter what I face, I must have a mindset that ‘it must go this way.’ Although it gets to the point where I can’t joke around for fun, I’m working hard right now, which is why I think I can look at matters through an objective point of view.”
Ever since your debut, your extremely busy schedules allowed you to focus on the music that you love. When you were forced to leave that lifestyle, what was going through your mind?
Yunho: “Honestly, the main character I played in the Korean drama ‘Heading To The Ground’ has always supported me and helped me get through the toughest period. If it were just me, I would’ve given up. Overcoming so many harsh trials and maturing along the process, the main character Bong Gun started becoming the teacher of my life. His courage has given me an immense amount of strength, so it isn’t an exaggeration to say that I am working hard because of him. Also, in the musical, I was able to sing, so my that definition, it can also be counted as a ray of hope.”
What about you Changmin?
Changmin: “During the first half of the year, I put my efforts into the filming of my television drama. Like Yunho, it was also a time for me to review my own life. Once I think about it, it is a good thing. Since our debut, TVXQ was everything, but I only thought things through as one of the five members of the group. Because I had a chance to try out my own activities, I started realizing the responsibility of completing everything from beginning to end perfectly as an individual artist. This year has given me that determination.”
Yunho was able to sing in the musical. Have you gotten the chance to sing too?
Changmin: “I’m continuing with my vocal lessons, and will sometimes go to sing karaoke with staff members. But honestly, I’ll still feel anxious and worried. There was a time when I wanted to do this or do that, but I couldn’t do it according to the reality of the situation I was in, so it pressured me and I couldn’t suppress the feelings of irritation and frustration. It would’ve been better if something resulted from my own actions, but because I couldn’t object to it, I wasn’t able to fully understand what was going on. But, it has already happened, and even if I don’t comprehend it, I have no choice. Accumulating too much stress and pressure over the years may make me explode, so I was able to have the chance to change my temperament for the better. But a personality that has been the same for 20 years is hard to perfectly change.” (laughs)
How did it feel with just the two of you standing on stage?
Yunho: “When we decided to use the name of TVXQ to sing, our hearts were very confused. On the first day at Seoul, when we stood onstage, a tremendous amount of applause and cheering welcomed us, which made me deeply understand that ‘there are people who are waiting for us. I can only continue living when I stand onstage.’ These thoughts started spurting out at that moment, and I knew that I could stand up again.”
Changmin: “I was really really happy. But, when the time for us to perform came nearer, I started getting more and more nervous to the point where people around me could easily tell. Subconsciously, I started drinking coffee (laughs). This was the first time in my life that I felt so nervous. The staff must’ve been thinking, ‘are these two going to be okay?’ Compared to the external surroundings, I was mainly having an internal battle of pressure. When Yunho and I silently looked each other in the eyes, we nodded simultaneously to express ‘let’s go!’ To this day, it is still deeply engraved in my mind.”
Yunho: “We were encouraging each other backstage, saying things like ‘we need to show everyone why TVXQ is so strong!’ and ‘this is TVXQ. We want people to see our unique charm we have in contrast to the other artists.”
It has been said that there were outbursts of ‘is it still not TVXQ’s turn yet?’ that caused a commotion and made you perform earlier than arranged?
Yunho: “It really was a powerful force, so we had to do our best in return. Even after we left, TVXQ’s name didn’t fade among the chants. This incident has been kept deep in my heart. On that day, nothing could stop our footsteps, because we are TVXQ.”
Changmin: “During rehearsals, we kept on telling ourselves ‘it’s fine, we can do it!’ But honestly, I didn’t know if I really believed that myself. However, when I stood on that stage, I started truly believing that ‘it’s fine, go do it!’ Of course, there is still more work to be done in order to achieve our higher goals.”
You have been constantly improving over these years, so can we expect to see a new type of charisma from you two?
Yunho: “Yes! Whether it’s singing or dancing, Changmin will learn from the fortes that I possess, and I will also learn from his. Just like twins, we absorb things from each other that make us continually improve.”
Changmin: “Up until now, although we do spend time to go to classes and record songs, I’m not 100% satisfied with it. After deciding that the two of us would start afresh together, that feeling has become even more intense. But it isn’t necessarily a bad thing, because being able to sing is a joy in itself, and facing the feelings of starting music anew may allow me to change my personal opinions and views on certain things.”
Yunho: “The most important thing is the combination of our voices. In the past, we took on the highest and lowest vocal pitches, so would we be able to fill in the difference? It was difficult facing this, but I started focusing on my masculine voice, and Changmin started working on a finer voice. It wasn’t easy, but it came out more successful than what we imagined it to be.”
Changmin: “I’ve always thought that my voice was really compatible with Yunho’s (laughs). We still maintained the special musical qualities of TVXQ, but also presented the unique flavor of our own characteristics. I felt really relieved with the result.”
Yunho: “I think SMT’s stage can prove that. Difficulties can be overcome by not giving up. Of course, messages like ‘you can do it, we’re waiting for you’ has been encouraging us. To repay back that love from fans, we need to return to our original beginning and start anew as rookies.”
Translation credits: Supernike911@tohosomnia.net
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