Can’t Take My Eyes Off You
Grazia July 2018
Jinyoung’s youth that is quietly, firmly building up bit by bit in a time that flows by quickly.
Yesterday was the Macau concert. How was it?
We’ve been to Macau twice but there were definitely more people yesterday than we expected so it’s very touching.
After the concert, all of you gathered in one room for a live.
I was really tired but since it’s been a while since we gave our greetings (to the fans), I gathered my strength and joined everyone. But the members still had energy after the concert… I’m just envious about that, haha.
I watched GOT7’s world tour ‘Eyes on You’ concert that began in Seoul and it was charged right from the start. Even as an artist, isn’t that a set list that is pretty high on its level of difficulty?
The dancer hyungs that we performed with have performed for many other singers’ performances but even they said that this is the first time it’s this difficult on them. Actually, it’s the same for us so we worried a lot. But we have to sit this through the end in order to have developed another stage/level (of ourselves).
Are the members’ opinion taken into account in the stage setup in the overall scheme of things?
The dancer hyung who created the performances and our 7 members all sat down from the start and made the set list together. Of course there is significance in sticking to the existing approach and ending it with stability in (performing) similar stages but the members all deliberated on what should be done in order to progress more suavely. It was a challenge for ourselves. Even if it was hard, we wanted to try it once and it was done with everyone’s consensus.
You started the show with that mindset, did it stay like that even as it went on?
Honestly if I were to say that right in the middle of my heart that there’s no regrets.. That would be a lie. Haha. But oh well, it ended up okay. Firstly, doing 3 shows in Seoul, I gained confidence thinking, ‘Ah it can be done’. Not too long ago after that, we performed for 3 days in Thailand; the last day was a little tiring but still, it could be done. The upcoming (concert) schedules are a little better.
Comparing to the tour done before this, it feels like an overall upgrade. Be it in the VCR or the stage equipment, you could feel the strength of capital (poured in).
You probably thought, ‘was there a need to go to this extent’, right? Haha. We put in a lot of effort/strength in our own ways, especially for the unit stages,
I was just about to mention – the unit stage done with BamBam on an overall truly left a deep impression.
It was quite a huge challenge for me. ‘Force/power’ doesn’t match my personality. BamBam did a lot of the overall composition and he persuaded me to do that kind of styling. It didn’t feel like I was putting on my own clothes. Actually it still feels a little like that. Haha.
Because it’s powerful. Putting it all down from the start and coming out with a ‘I’m the King’ concept should have some fun to it too. It would probably also fulfil some of the fans’ wishes.
It was the first time I wrote lyrics like that. But like how it’s mentioned now, the fans really like it so it is worthwhile.
Although it was revealed in the video during the concert, I’m curious about the real situation without the editing. How were the members decided for the units?
The combination that was confirmed first was BamBam and myself. Since we said that we’d like to show a combination that we’ve not shown yet, the combination of us two came up straight away. ‘Ah, this is it. The two of you have to be together. There’s no other way to it,” and we decided it straight away.
As you did it, was there no conflict or differences in opinion?
What was fun was, I usually take 10 hours to work on music, that’s my foundation; (to get it) ready, it takes about 2 days. But BamBam does it really easily. Our style of working on music is completely different. (He) doesn’t think of studying music and does it according to his feel and watching that, I feel like I have a lot to learn from it. Although it’s still a little funny, I am satisfied with the outcome. But I don’t think I’ll do it a second time. Haha.
True to the words ‘world tour’, you truly are visiting various places to perform. New York, Paris, Berlin, Santiago, Moscow, Buenos Aires and more. There are quite a lot of places you’ve visiting for the first time right?
It’s pretty much a first for Europe and South America. The fact that we’re visiting places we’ve not been to yet is fun in itself. We’ll be in Canada, States and South America for about 3 weeks and touring on a huge scale makes me realize how much we need the strength of the staff. For us, we only need to perform but (for them) in moving the stage sets and tuning our schedules, the process of everything is a truly huge job.
As the scale of the performances increased, you’ll probably feel that your line of sight has widened as well.
It was not to this extend for our previous tour, ‘Fly’. Because it’s bigger now, there are places we can’t see (well) but for us, they move to catch our eyes more so it makes us work even harder.
Are you still nervous when you stand on stage?
It differs from day to day. When I’m feeling confident, I’m not nervous but if my condition isn’t good on day of performance, or if there is something not prepared yet, thinking of those makes me a little nervous.
Whenever I go to a concert, right before the artists appear, the fans would all together turn on their lightstick to one color and seeing that always makes me choke up, it’s really nice. How does it feel knowing that they are all your fans?
It seems like ordinary words but I’m truly thankful. Because they give up their precious time to come and see me and the members. Especially for those in places that can’t see well and are far away, like the 3rd floor, they don’t reject those seats and in being together in the venue itself has a significance; I’m truly thankful.
Apart from the unit stage, is there any other performance that makes you think that it was a good thing to try out that particular stage?
Performing ‘Look’ on the extended stage.
I, too, really like the choreography for ‘Look’.
Right? I like it the most too out of all the choreographies for our title songs. The extended stage is a circle so we are able to truly keep the feel alive. Thankfully our overseas venues too are on the bigger end so we would be able to maintain a similar feel.
I see. Hearing that this tour would be a scale of over 220,000 audiences shocked me. Performing to over 10,000 people in your North America tour especially, isn’t that something that is a truly difficult to achieve?
Honestly I’m shocked too. When I heard, ‘You guys are capable of performing in these huge venues,’ it didn’t hit home. Seeing those venues fill up in real life too, made me feel proud but at the same time, there were also instances that for some reason it felt like it wasn’t ours (concert).
As per before, you still don’t truly feel it? If we count from your JJ Project debut, it’s been about 7 years though..
If you look at it, even if I’ve done this for a long time, I’m still like that. It’s a little difficult to explain but when I stand on stage, I feel good thinking, ‘Wah, we have these many fans,’ but at there are moments where it’s hard to believe the whole situation in itself.
If you were to look at the comments or messages left on SNS, doesn’t it hit you a little more personally?
Ah, I actually don’t use SNS that often. I guess it’s sometimes like reporting that I’m alive. I don’t really know how to use it either. It’s definitely a precious window to communicate with the fans but personally I don’t have a tendency to do that.
I guess your tendency is towards analog.
I didn’t know that at first but looking at my surroundings, it seems so. I don’t particularly like anything fancy. Being fancy isn’t just about your outfits but there are various aspects to it. I’m also not used to SNS. I guess you could also say that I can’t catch up with the current generation. Haha.
You look like you don’t want to catch up though..
I can’t catch up but I’m pretending that I don’t want to? Haha.
When you return to Korea in the midst of your tour, what do you do first?
Um, work out.
Work out in the midst of all that?
When we go overseas, we have to do it on our own. There’s a lot of difference in receiving personal training and in doing it on your own. Sometimes I meet friends too… There’s nothing special. I don’t have hobbies either.
Then how do you spend time at the countries of your overseas shows – time out of those spent on stage?
If there’s time, I take a walk around. Actually I fell into a dilemma a lot. If I head out a lot, physically and psychologically, it gets a little disorganised. I don’t have friends overseas and it seems like I don’t know how to spend the time I get alone in the midst of the show schedules. The answer that I’ve come to lately is, ‘time that is not spent on performance should be used as much as possible in visiting places in the country,’ be it on my own or with the manager hyungs or the members.
Do you put those thoughts into practice recently?
When we did our Japan tour recently, I visited places whenever we had time. Actually a huge sunbae said this in the past, “I can’t really feel the emptiness after walking down from the stage”. The fact that going overseas to perform is something that is great in itself. Of course it’s really nice even now but the emptiness grows as time passes after the performance. In order to fill that void, I try my best to take in the air of that other country or bask in the atmosphere before coming back.
Where do you usually go to? Do you bring your camera around, like you did today?
Beautiful places or quiet places? I don’t take photos well but I like taking photos so I pretty much bring my camera around.
You’ve also had an exhibition with the photos you personally took, didn’t you?
That’s right. Back then I used Nikon camera and up till now I’ve used Canon’s Autoboy but recently I’ve received a recommendation from a photographer and am using Contax T2.
All of them are film cameras. You don’t take photos digitally?
Yes. I like the process of changing the film and waiting for the photos to print. (Things) are all so fast (these days) that one doesn’t know the precious value of these moments even when going through it. Our managers do everything for us so there’s pretty much nothing for us to wait for.
What do you usually shoot?
Landscape and the members. In this tour, I’m taking photos of the members as much as possible and I’d like to create something out of those photos. Not too long ago, I bought the black and white Beatles photo book and it looks really great. Apart from the famous Abbey Road corner photo, the photos of the moments with the members are vividly alive. If I diligently take photos of these moments even if some of them are out of focus or shaky, after some time, I think that these photos will be nostalgic for the people who like us and also for our members.
But you don’t take selfies…
Ah, I don’t have confidence in those.
Why are you wasting your face like that.
People are always on my case for not taking photos well. Haha. I’ve given up now.
Ah, I’ve been curious throughout the shoot. Living with that face, what thoughts come to mind when you look at yourself in the mirror?
Haha. Normal stuff. Why is my skin this rough? Why doesn’t my hair grow? I need to work out more. Ah, I need to ask the make up artists to touch up! Well, thoughts like that.
Do you leave records/notes about yourself in memos or stuff like that?
I do it when I remember it. Or when I’m feeling frustrated. Since there are some things you can’t talk about no matter how close you are to someone.
It is said that there are instead things you can’t mention the closer you are to someone.
That’s right. So it’s hard.
Do you originally like taking walks?
Yes. I like walking. In Seoul too, I try my best to walk to places that are near. Even when I have to leave my film (to develop), I walk by myself too.
Although like today, there are appointed staff who will take photos (of you) officially, these days there are many fan cameras too. What do you feel about sides of you being recorded bit by bit from others’ point of view? Do you look those up?
I do look them up. Ah. I’ve asked myself this question. Although this answer is a little different from the intention of this question but there’s something like that. Although one’s personality or image is definitely not made by others’ perception of you but living like that for a long time, you end up not knowing what kind of person you are. People easily say, ‘He’s that kind of person,’ and sometimes even I think, ‘I guess that’s right’ and move past it but as time passes I don’t know what I think of myself. So I deliberate over that a lot.
Did you find out the result or answer to that deliberation?
I still don’t know yet. I think I have to look into myself a little more.
Between the sides of you taken by others and what you see of yourself, which kind of personal outlook do you like?
Hm, when I’m joking around with the members? I think that is the most comfortable and natural side of me.
Even from debut, (I) could feel how GOT7 are truly close. At shoot venues, there’s always an overwhelming amount of energy.
We talk a lot among ourselves too. Our team vibe is definitely good.
Seems like the period of bickering between the members would have passed too.
That’s right. For about 3 years after debut, we truly fought a lot. We said things like ‘why did you eat this?!’ and got upset and fought over the smallest things. Haha. But now we are masters on each other’s tendencies so we don’t trigger it and just move past it.
You had an interview recently with a literary magazine.
Ah. That. I’m truly thankful about it but I’m just someone who likes to read and I’m not even someone who reads a lot so I’m not really sure (about it). I’m really not a ‘literature boy’ and I’m worried that it may look like I’m showing off about reading so I’m a little cautious. I also wonder if it’s okay for me to be featured alongside people who are involved in literature in real life. Haha.
I’m really surprised to find you mentioning many classics including ‘No Longer Human’.
You know there’s something like that. Running even when you’re not able to walk yet. I’d like to reach up there but to get there (Point B), I know I have to pass this (Point A); even if I don’t get a hold of that (Point B), I’d like to try it once.
What do you read lately?
A book called ‘Sentimental Education’. It’s a book read by an actor I like so I bought it online.
What kind of person do you think is a cool/suave person?
Um, someone who is able to smile regardless of where he is?
You need a considerable amount of endurance for that.
That’s right. Honestly, since we’re human, we’re bound to compare ourselves (with others). I want to be someone who doesn’t compare and is able to acknowledge himself on his own. Someone who is able to smile even in the hardest of moments.
Through your job, there would have been schedules that you still need to fine tune yourself to no matter how hard of a time you’re facing, I think there would be many moments similar to that. It seems like you would have kind of reached that mastery a little?
Eyy, I’m still far from that. I get angry when I’m alone. To the innocent pillow. Haha.
How do you do mind control?
I go to somewhere quiet on my own. I’m someone who truly needs time for myself. When I’m by myself in a place with no sound, my heart becomes calm.
You started off as an actor first then a singer. As an actor, where are you heading to?
I’d like to advance and build my career bit by bit whenever the opportunity allows for it. From a character that is minor but with personality. Firstly since I’ve started and it’s been good, I’d like to continue doing well.
It’s a different charm from being on stage, no? The environment of the job too differs a lot.
One has to think a lot and one also has to exchange conversations a lot – those parts match with my personality. Actually looking at the friends (people) these days, my personality seems too serious (compared to the generation). Because of this, it’s sometimes hard on me. I also think if there’s something wrong with me somewhere. But when it comes to acting, it’s all, ‘About this character, about this project, think about it and come back,’ so it’s comfortable.
It’s a job that matches well with your temperament.
I hear often on how when you’re dancing, you should ‘dance without thinking’. Out of the popular sayings by the late Michael Jackson, he’s mentioned that ‘Thinking while dancing is wrong’. When going up on stage to dance, you really shouldn’t be thinking. Like this, there are many aspects that differ. Although I still don’t know what’s right between the two.
You’re on your way to finding it now, right?
Yup. I’m still young. There are still many things I’d like to try out.
Before this year ends, without thinking too much, name the first 3 things that you’d like to do. Whatever that comes to mind, the 3 trivial things.
There are a lot of things I’d like to do so choosing is difficult. Firstly, I’d like to take photos well. And I hope I get more time to cook on my own. Although I can’t cook well.
But you do know how to cook ramen right?
Of course. I am a pro in ramen. I can do kimchi pancake and kimchi fried rice. And although it is a little disconnecting, I’d like to have my own time. With a limit that doesn’t cause inconvenience to the schedules. Ah I thought of something else. I’d like to cry my heart out when watching a movie.
Do you usually not cry easily?
No, I cry easily. I have a lot of tears. But strangely, lately when I watch sad movies too, the tears don’t come emotionally. I’d like to have a little more abundance (of tears).
There are some more small photos in the interview pages which can be seen here.