Shinhwa's Eric (left), Kim Dong-wan (second to left), Andy (third to left), Lee Min-woo (third to right), Jun Jin (second to right) and Shin Hye-sung (right) [Shinhwa Company]
“I was doubtful about people coming to our concert here. Even when I heard that tickets to our concerts in Japan and China were sold off, I thought it was all to make us feel good (calm us down),” Jun Jin said. Putting all their glorious epithets to shame--from 14-year-old idol group to the longest living idols to the stars of the entertainment business--it was a timid confession for Jun Jin. Looking back at the past few months since returning to stage with their first album in ten years, the tenth official album "The Return," Shinhwa members often burst out in laughter and at times got too emotional to get the words out. At their last stop of Asia tour, held at the Wanshida Center in Beijing on July 7, the magazine met with more matured, but the same Shinhwa we have known.
<#10_QMARK#>Anything you have gained or lost from this year's promotional period with "THE RETURN"?
Eric: It was unintentionally spectacle (full of unexpected events). Hye-sung damaged his knee at our comeback concert and had to go through a surgery and as we were nearing the end of our promotional period, Jun Jin also had a surgery for his disk herniation. But being healthy is not something that can be figured out in a fast period of time and (I'm relieved that) it can get better through surgeries.
Jun Jin: I thought it's good that it happened. Since I've been dancing on stage for a long time, the pain in my back got worse but it got much better after the surgery. I'm hoping that I could dance better on stage than when I was 20-something. Hye-sung didn't really take care of his health when he was young but he will soon realize its importance. (laugh)
Dong-wan: Ah, we're still young! (laugh) For me, what I lost while promoting this album is my heart and mind. We had a pretty good outcome from JTBC's 'Shinhwa Broadcasting' by going crazy during the shooting. Next year, I'm going to save up more energy to use it efficiently for more dynamic activities.
"We think this activity is a nice way to mark our comeback than to call it a success."
Shinhwa's Lee Min-woo (left) and Kim Dong-wan (right) [Shinhwa Company]
<#10_QMARK#>How's it different to be under Shinhwa Company's management [Talent agency owned by Shinhwa] ?
Min-woo: In the past, we were just androids moving by the schedule. We'd chafe at things when physically tired. It'd be a lie to say that I've never thought about taking things easy because I have other five members to cover up my position. But as we spent time together more and more and each member got their own responsibility in the group, I felt a sense of responsibility myself too. So I'm expecting a lot from what we'll do next year... Gosh, I'm being too blunt right now. Say 'ho~'! (laugh)
Dong-wan: Actually, I'm the one who's most unprepaired but with most confidence (laugh). I used to say things in vain like, 'Whatever we do will be a great success.' But I think other Shinhwa members were eager to show more. We think this activity is a nice way to mark our comeback than to call it a success. Perhaps next year we'll be...
Jun Jin: Successful!
<#10_QMARK#> It seems like every one of you has high expectation for next year. Is there a special reason why?
Eric: Honestly, our return to the music scene this year was meaningful and successful in that we were meeting our fans in Korea again in four years. While this has been a chance to check that we're still alive, next year it'll be something for our long-run. That transition should be made naturally. From next year, we won't have any specialties (to receive more media spotlights) and have to compete with other artists that are much younger than us and have different characteristics. So in order to differentiate ourselves from other K-pop groups, and to make our strengths stand out, we made 'Shinhwa Broadcasting.' We've found a program that could go for a long run and met producers that we can trust. Balancing well between Shinhwa activities and
'Shinhwa Broadcasting' will give us the strength to march forward.
Eric: I'm not one hundred percent sure but it'll be pretty much similar as this year time-wise. Between small and big activities, we'll have members concurrently pursuing individual careers like acting to fill in the hiatus.
Dong-wan: Our goal is to release a new album every year. We'll come up with ideas for subsidiary events and concerts later but for now, we hope to drop a new album every year. Of course, that won't be possible if no one likes us.
Andy: Sorry about that (laugh).
※ Any copying, republication or redistribution of 10Asia's content is expressly prohibited without prior consent of 10Asia. Copyright infringement is subject to criminal and civil penalties.
<ⓒ즐거움의 공장 "10 아시아" (10.asiae.co.kr) 무단전재 배포금지>