JYJ: 'We Are Still Idol Group'
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The idol group JYJ (Kim Kim Jae-joong, Park Yoo-chun, and Kim Jun-soo), who recently released their special album entitled "In Heaven" with their own songs, expressed their feelings about releasing their new album, saying, "We used to color sketches that were drawn by others, but now we are trying to draw those sketches by ourselves for creativity. As we try to contain what we would like to deliver in our songs, we seem to come much closer to music itself".
"In Heaven" includes songs that were originally included in their music essay entitled "Their Rooms" that was released last January, and those songs that were unveiled during their world concert tour. They had released the worldwide album "The Beginning" in English, but they could not release songs in Korean so far because many music distribution companies in Korea were opposed to releasing their songs because JYJ had been undergoing a legal dispute with their former agency, SM Entertainment. Right after the release of their album was decided after many troubles and difficulties, the order volume immediately reached 300,000 copies, which means that many of their fans have been waiting for their album. The members of JYJ came to a cafe located in Jeongdong for an interview, and they all said, "We could not release our songs regardless of our desire, and we came to realize how important and valuable it is to release our songs not for just making money, but for letting people listen to our songs. We do not know how long we can hold activities as musicians, but we want to present good songs to people as long as possible".
"JYJ tries to become singer-songwriters by making 80 percent of their own songs in an album" = JYJ had created their own songs from the time when they held activities as the members of Dong Bang Shin Ki, but it is their first time releasing an album with 80 percent of their own songs. It means that they have become the first idol group which creates their own songs. Jun Soo said, "This album contains our experiences of the past two years including the world concert tour after we left our former agency. We have a strong attachment to our album because we made it, and I think that we are facing a turning point with this album. There are some excellent and lacking aspects about our album, but the interesting thing was that there was no boundaries and limitations for us. We had many different trials when we were recording the album, and the recording itself was very exciting. For example, we arranged the song entitled "Boy"s Letter' five or six times over a month". The title song of the album entitled "In Heaven" and songs such as "I.D.S", "Pierrot", and "Nine" were written and composed by Kim Kim Jae-joong, and songs such as "Mission" and "Falling Leaves", and the song "Get Out" were made by Kim Jun-soo and Kim Kim Jae-joong and Park Yoo-chun, respectively. Their album includes various genres from R&B ballads to pop dance, and from the analog sound of the 1990s to the electronic sound of the 2000s. Jae Joong's husky voice, Yoo Chun's attractive low voice, and Jun Soo's vibrato formed a perfect harmony. The members explained, "We are all different when it comes to the music genre that we pursue, but we have tried to create harmony among us and we finally completed JYJ's own music. We could achieve this because we trust each other, and we could finally find out the true excitement of music". Jae Joong added, "I have written songs according to different moods of different days, and I could create different genre music. We recently built a recording room in Samsungdong and a practicing room in Yeoksamdong, and I recently felt like writing songs without taking a break". But the members reportedly do not want to make all of their songs because they are singers before they are music composers. Jun Soo explained, "Our goal is to present good songs rather than to make an album with our own songs. We will present different music, and we think that it is totally up to us whether we can be acknowledged or not. We only hope that we can have as many opportunities as possible to present our music. We will wait for those opportunities with good songs".
"There are many difficulties, but we could grow up" = JYJ is confronting many difficulties. They can hardly appear on music programs, and what is worse, their two songs "Pierrot" and "Mission" were banned from KBS as KBS concluded that those two songs included some lyrics that seemed to try to criticize their former agency. Jae Joong said, "MBC and SBS decided that all of our songs meet the censorship criteria after asking us the intention of writing the lyrics of the songs, but KBS did not even ask us anything before they sent us notice that they had decided to ban our songs. We feel very sorry that KBS voluntarily misinterpreted the lyrisc of the song 'Pierrot' saying 'P.S.M', which originally means 'performance success museum', as 'President Soo Man' instead". In addition, JYJ's schedule to appear on the special program for wishing Jeju Island's inclusion to the "New 7 Wonders" had been canceled, and they also expressed regret about the obstacles to their appearances on TV. Yoo Chun said, "Every singer might want to appear on TV to present their songs. But we will try to showcase our songs anyway through holding performances". They emphasized that they could achieve something and develop themselves as the members of JYJ in the midst of those difficulties. Jae Joong presented his new potential as an actor with his appearance in the drama "Protect the Boss" and Yoo Chun successfully secured his position as an actor with his appearances in the dramas "Sungkyunkwan Scandal" and "Miss Ripley". In addition, Jun Soo has become a musical star. Jae Joong said, "We have challenged ourselves with various trials, and we underwent some of those trials regardless of our own intentions and some for our development, and we could become a singer, performance producer, actor, and musical actor while going through those incidents. But the biggest achievement is our resolute mind. We tended not to overcome any small difficulties in the past, but now we seem to have become adults with broad minds". Jun Soo and Yoo Chun also said, "We felt pressure when we had to experience new challenges before, but now we have resolute mindsets that do not easily stagger at any occasion. We think that it is good thing for us. We will try our best now until the moment when we recall our past with smiles and say 'We have grown up'. These days, we do not worry too much and we do not have frowns often, but we laugh more often".
◇ "We will be a recognized singing group in Europe" = JYJ will try a new challenge again in Europe next month. They will hold concerts for the first time among Korean singers at Palau Saint Jordi in Barcelona, Spain on October 29 and Tempodrom in Berlin, Germany on November 6. Jae Joong and Yoo Chun said, "We have been asked to hold concerts in Europe, and we heard that we have many fans, particularly in Spain. We are greatly anticipating our concert, and we hope that many Spanish fans will sing along to our songs". Jun Soo added, "We could gain confidence from our world concert tour because we could see that many fans in Asian countries and America actually sang along with us. K-pop songs are hits in Europe these days, and we want to be recognized for our own music that we are good at rather than presenting trendy music in Europe". Even though they have a conflict with their Japanese agency, Avex, they also have a huge desire to hold activities in Japan where many of their fans have been waiting for them. Yoo Chun said, "Japan has a good performance system, so standing on the stage itself is very exciting in Japan. We want to hold activities in Japan by releasing a single album, having a national concert tour, and appearing on TV".
◇ "We are still Dong Bang Shin Ki, the idol group" = They still seemed to feel heartbroken about Dong Bang Shin Ki. Asked whether they thought that they had become independent from Dong Bang Shin Ki, they vehemently denied it. Jae Joong said, "Even though we are called two different names -- Dong Bang Shin Ki and JYJ -- we regard ourselves as the members of Dong Bang Shin Ki, and this is why we named our group JYJ, using the first initials of our names. We are holding activities as JYJ, which is a part of Dong Bang Shin Ki. We have never thought about being independent from Dong Bang Shin Ki, and we do not like the expression 'former members of Dong Bang Shin Ki'".
It has already been eight years since they debuted, and there are many junior idol groups, but they said that they still regarded themselves as an idol group. Jun Soo emphasized it by saying, "We are guaranteed to try many different things because we are an idol group. Some are trying to escape the image of an idol group because people tend to have a prejudice that idol groups have a lack of talent in music, but we want to show a whole new image of idol groups by showing that idols can have excellent music ability".