NOTHING TO HIDE
With the completion of the Seoul concert, it’s only 3 days before the World Tour starts again. The BamBam we met then was filled with life and joy. Laughing a lot, he said, ‘I am just BamBam.’
BamBam entered the studio dressed coolly in a black Saint Laurent jacket; I told him I enjoyed their concert and he laughed wholeheartedly. “How was it?”, “Did you enjoy yourself?”, “Which day did you go to?”, “Did we look okay?”. We could feel the good vibes from him whom was the first to shoot out his questions. BamBam feels like this year would be his best year yet. He said he’s thankful for everything but it feels like the driving force behind his best year yet is the man himself.
You brought your cat along?
I brought him to the vet for a vaccination and I came straight here afterward. I’m revealing him for the first time today. His name is Pudding. The other kids are called Latte and Cupcake. Cupcake is a female.
They’re all names of desserts. Do you like desserts?
I don’t know. I just named them as what came to mind. I haven’t revealed Cupcake yet. Whenever I head home, the kids go ‘meow meow’ and come running – that is a huge source of healing for me.
Cats are quite the indifferent creatures aren’t they? Even as they are indifferent, you are at home a lot?
I guess since I started raising them since they were babies, they really have a lot of aegyo. My cats like people. On my off days, I watch movies with the three cats and fall asleep together. I meet my friends at home too. We grill meat and eat. My 97-line friends have gathered at my place before and I cooked Tom Yum Goong for them then.
[Eyes On You] Seoul concert ended the day before yesterday. Did you rest a little?
I rested yesterday; since I really rested, I don’t feel tired at all. Yesterday night we recorded the Thai song that we are planning to sing at the Thailand concerts.
BamBam is known as ‘spoiler king’? How did that nickname come about?
I wasn’t going to spoil anything but there are many times when I accidentally say it out. (laughs) Compared to the other members, there are also many instances when I just say it upfront.
What kind of significance does this concert have for GOT7?
During our first concert, we were just nervous. It was also when we were lacking a lot in stage experiences. This time round, even though we’re not ‘super good’, I think we will be able to show a more developed side to us compared to the first concert. Our skills, our teamwork, they’ve all become more solid.
You did a unit stage with Jinyoung right? The response was really hot.
Did you see the chairs we used for the unit stage? I had to really beg the production team in order to use that chair. I kept saying that the fans’ reaction would 100% be good so I kept asking. At first they said it would be difficult but in the end it worked out. For ‘quality’. I once did a broadcast without makeup and dressed like a student like Jinyoung hyung, and Jinyoung too once dressed like ‘BamBam’. With thick makeup and flashy outfits. We settled for a middle ground this time round. It’s the middle ground for both me and Jinyoung hyung.
There were 3 units in total. How did the units get chosen?
We confirmed Jinyoung hyung and I as a unit first. We wanted to show something new at the concert so if I had done it with JB hyung, it would be the usual strong/forceful image of 2 persons. If I had done it with Yugyeom, the maknae image is obvious, and if I had done it with Jackson hyung, it would have been a rap team. So it was good to team up with Jinyoung hyung, and even the members said that they couldn’t imagine what kind of feel it would be. Jinyoung hyung told me, “I’m leaving this to you. You think about it, work on something (the song) and come back to me,” so this song came about. Jinyoung hyung was super flustered at the start but I kept persuading him.
Those are presents that you can only witness at the concerts. What kind of unit would you like to try in the future?
I want to do it with Youngjae hyung. This is something you can’t imagine either, right? Youngjae hyung is someone who doesn’t rap and only sings ballad but like how I made Jinyoung hyung change, I think I can change (Youngjae hyung) too. If Youngjae hyung teams up with me, we can’t do ballads so we have to do something else. Since it’s ‘King’ now, maybe next time it’ll be ‘God’?
What if Youngjae says he won’t do it?
He won’t be able to say he won’t do it. I can just do to him what I did to Jinyoung hyung this time round. (laughs) Jinyoung hyung too was only awkward at the start but on the last night of the concert, he said, ‘I think I found my path.’ If I explain to Youngjae hyung what kind of concept it is and how we would be performing, he won’t say he won’t do it. I have confidence.
BamBam whom was all bright at the first (night of) concert cried at the last (night of) concert? JB too. The words BamBam said to the fans became a topic of conversation.
JB hyung cries often. I think he’s cried about 5 times? He kept crying so I couldn’t understand what he said but I think he said something like how nice it is having people to listen to the songs that you painstakingly made. We are like that too but JB hyung is someone who really likes music which is why he makes music so there’s a huge sense of happiness when you have listeners. I cried for the first time after my debut at the concert. I don’t know. What kind of emotions, I can’t express myself. I don’t know very well but what’s for sure is that I cried because I like/am happy, not because I am unhappy/dislike things. I wanted to tell the fans that I hope they are as happy as us. But I don’t know what their reactions are. To check out their reaction, I have to watch myself (cry) but I’m embarrassed so I can’t bring myself to watch it.
Did the members input a lot of ideas for this concert?
We put out a lot. The opening intro song was our idea too. Also the shower thing, the unit stages, the T-shirt that we wore for the encore stages, we also participated in the design of those. It was also us who suggested to have a renewal of the ahgabong to include Bluetooth (technology), and we can see really well from the stage.
What did you do after the concert?
I just slept without any thoughts. I was tired from going straight for three days. I wanted to clean up my room a little and drink some beer but after giving the cats their food and washing up, I went to sleep straight away.
But still you washed up before sleeping! Looking at the level of the concert, it wouldn’t be weird if you just slept in the clothes you were wearing.
I can’t sleep without showering. I also feel very uncomfortable if I head out of the house in the morning without showering. It’s been a habit since young. And I can’t share my chopsticks, spoon and straw. In the past, there was a very well-known period of severe flu in Thailand and my mom made that a habit from then on.
You headed back to your hometown for the military draw not too long ago, right? I also watched the live YouTube stream and kept updated on what happened in the venue. Apart from GOT7 fans, there were a lot of people who supported you, right? How did it feel?
I guess it’s because people were curious about picking the ball for the military. (laughs) I’m truly thankful simply for the fact that people worry and are interested. I was 1st in search rankings for the whole day and even I was so surprised.
How do the Thai fans address you? Is there a special nickname?
There are a few. There’s my Thai name (Kunpimook Bhuwakul), there’s also another one. There’s a word called ‘Ddano’, which means ‘my child’. There’s also another one which means ‘Thailand’s treasure’ and I like that one. I also have a Korean name. Bae Munbae. I guess my surname is now Bae? Haha!
There’s a famous line for BamBam which goes ‘For me, BamBam catches my eye’, right? Has it become a good memory now?
That famous line was a help for my debut. I was not even in the original lineup for the battle. It was a break for the trainees so I returned to Thailand but as soon as I landed, the company said I had to return. So I returned straight away and for 4 days I learned to dance and practice and went on TV. My luck was good. It was an opportunity that I never imagined about.
The young GOT7 members we met back then have all now become suave men. From your point of view, how is it?
We’ve all grown old. (laughs). Now our stamina can’t catch up with us. If I don’t sleep properly, my back hurts (laughs). That’s why I’m diligently taking care of my body too. When I look at the members, I think, ‘When did we become like this?’. It’s the same when I look at Yugyeom. Yugyeom was 18 when he debuted… And when I look at him now, he’s a man. When did my friend become like this? I think Yugyeom would have the same thoughts when he looks at me too.
The members all grew together. It seems like you influenced each other a lot.
I think we all learn from one another. We are the same from the times we were trainees to now. Firstly, as I spend time with the members, my Korean language proficiency increased a lot. In the past, I was a ‘baby’ and I was also a foreigner so I didn’t know how convey my words properly. I also learnt English from hanging out with Mark hyung and Jackson hyung. From each other, I also learnt how to behave towards other people. We all put in effort and work hard the same. I think that’s how we/I was able to debut as GOT7.
In every group, there’s at least 1 or 2 foreigners. As someone who has experienced this, is there anything you can give as advice?
I’m someone who doesn’t particularly have homesickness. I think that the GOT7 foreign members (BamBam, Jackson, Mark) are really good in Korean. I think speaking confidently even if you said something wrong is the best. Actually, I’m not sure myself how I learnt (Korean), haha!
Which language is comfortable for you when writing lyrics?
Korea, English, Thailand, in this order. For Korean lyrics, I work on songs a lot, I rap, I compose and I write a lot but when it comes to what kind of words I should use to make the rap cool, I’m not very sure. Lately, I’m also more comfortable when typing in Korean than Thai when I’m sending text messages.
Compared to the early days of debut, GOT7’s sound has changed. Can you explain it?
We are slowly doing the music we want to do. Since we write and compose all of the other songs on our albums. Different from when we started off, even the company acknowledge us a lot now. The people in the company, our fans and other singers too say ‘Your songs are good,” a lot. We are not the only people who write and compose, a lot of other artists do that too. I think it’s only when we write our own songs that our path can grow bigger and longer.
Are there any other aspects that you’d like to do?
I used to only write so when I tried composing, it’s fun. When I started composing, I learnt about beats, snares and BPM so I get to understand songs a little more when I’m singing. I made ‘King’ in just two days. I was influenced by ‘Black Panther’. Those who have seen the movie will know.
There are any songs in which you’d like to perform quickly because you really like the choreography?
I really wanted to do ‘Look’. It’s not typical, is it? Since we’re not just performing while facing the front, we do so while turning around. Since we also included a lot of trendy dance moves, I wanted to perform quickly. Even now I’m not sick of it no matter how many times we dance. There’s a fun that’s unique to ‘Look’ choreography. I also like ‘Hard Carry’ and ‘If You Do’. Be it the past or now, the choreographies are ‘hard’ (laughs). This doesn’t change. Only the dance moves changes, (the rest) don’t change. The consumption of energy (for these dances) are huge.
You’re a member who is strong in performances. What do you focus on when you’re dancing?
I’m like that? Really? I’m really thankful if you think of me that way. I work hard to make sure my moves are clean. I separate this move from my upcoming move. I try my best so that my moves are not bothersome to look at. But GOT7’s dance(r) is Yugyeom.
Then what is BamBam?
I’m just BamBam (laughs).
You always resolve to be a good singer. What kind of singer is a good singer?
I think it is a combination of your lifestyle, hobby, personality and how you treat people. If you have a really bad personality but do good music, I don’t know if you can be considered a good singer/musician but I don’t think you are the best singer/musician. I want to be someone who is good as a person and is good in music as well.
In two days, you’ll start the World Tour again. Are you nervous?
I really like it. I feel like this year, 2018, is a little different. We’re doing the World Tour and I’m also doing things I couldn’t do (previously). I think it’ll be the best year ever in my life.