Monday, August 9, 2010

[INTERVIEW] Park Jae Beom

Singer Park Jae-beom poses during a photo session of a press conference ahead of performing at the "Summer Week&T" music festival held at the Naksan Beach in Gangwon Province of South Korea on August 7, 2010. 

We met with Park Jae-beom. This seems to be the only way to describe his press conference held at Naksan Beach in the Gangwon Province of South Korea on August 7, where he was appearing in public officially for the second time.

The 23-year-old singer was also just hours away from giving his first stage performance since going solo, taking to the stage of the two-day "Summer Week&T" festival with his act right before Korea's king of hip-hop Drunken Tiger and two before American hip-hop star Lupe Fiasco. 

There has been and continues to be much controversy and rumor surrounding his departure from popular boy band 2PM late last year, especially surrounding his sudden expulsion from the band forced on Park by agency JYP Entertainment -- they said it was over a "huge personal wrongdoing" which was enough to null their original plans to forgive the singer for posting remarks such as "I hate Korea" on his MySpace account before his debut.

But Park is back in the Korean entertainment scene and already pursuing a variety of endeavors. He has signed with major talenthouse SidusHQ, is filming Hollywood b-boy film "Hype Nation," and released his solo debut single "Count On Me." He is said to be in talks for a drama and musical as well. 

Below are excerpts from the press conference where Park talked about his comeback performance, music, dancing and acting.
10: Why did you decide to make give your comeback performance at a hip-hop festival and not through a concert or television?
Park Jae-beom: Lupe Fiasco will be performing today. And so will Tiger JK. I wanted to stand on the same stage as them. But I'm worried because I've been coughing for about a month. I can't cough when I'm not even going to be dancing... I've been to the hospital too and they said it might be because of the smog on set of the movie. They told me to just drink lots of water and take medicine. (laugh) But it isn't getting any better.

10: This is your first time taking to the stage solo. How will the performance be different from when you were in a group?
Park: I don't dance at all while singing this time. I thought it would be weird if I dance while singing "Count On Me." And there's a song called "Bestie" that I wrote the lyrics for and my friend composed. I'll be singing that too. And I thought I shouldn't not dance at all so I'll do a bit of b-boying with my friends.

10: You resumed your activities after announcing "Count On Me" which is a rearranged version of B.o.B's "Nothin' On You." Did you have any expectations or feel pressure about this?
Park: I actually wasn't expecting anything at all. And there was no pressure. I posted up "Nothin' On You" on YouTube, right? A lot of people enjoyed watching it so Warner Asia contacted me, asking if I wanted to do it and I of course said I would because I like B.o.B. I'm thankful that my fans like it so much.

10: Didn't you have a hard time while in the U.S.?
Park: I was upset that people around me were having a hard time rather than me having had a hard time. I was going to be okay because an opportunity you lose can always come back but I had a hard time because people around me were having such a hard time. And I had never been thinking of a particular point in which I'd come back [to Korea]. I think I've been going along with the flow. "Hype Nation" asked me if I wanted to do a movie and I felt that it would be good to do it with my b-boy team AOM which is why I came.

10: But then you signed with an agency in Korea and resumed your activities? What prompted you to make such a decision?
Park: I actually think things don't work out if the only reason you want to pursue something is to see success. I am so grateful of my fans. That's why in whatever way it is, I want to influence them in a good way. I don't think I would've wanted to come back if it wasn't for my fans and I'm going to try to repay them in every way possible while I'm pursuing my career. My fans had said they want to see me back on stage more than anything.

10: In that sense, weren't you worried about your fans boycotting your former agency?
Park: I'm very upset about that. I don't want anyone to like me to the extent that they'll hate someone else. I wish everyone would get along -- I don't like people who hate other people without reason and say bad things about them. I wish my fans would calm down a bit (laugh) and that everyone would get along. It really makes me upset when I see fans fighting each other because it's due to me. I think life is too short to live feeling ill emotions. That's why I want to think of everything in a positive light and I tell myself that even if something bad happens, it'll work out in the end and become better after time passes. I want to show these thoughts of mine to many more people.

10: Why do you think your fans love you so much?
Park: Uh... (laugh) I have a lot of female fans who are older than me. I think they feel sorry for me so they like me in a maternal way. They want to console me and defend me like a mother? (laugh)

10: But over time, there will be people who support you but also people who dislike you. How do you feel about that?
Park: I don't pay attention to that. It's not like they know me personally. I try not to pay attention to people who say bad things about me and see me negatively. I think I should just work hard. And be good to people around me, good to my fans, and work hard to help everyone and influence people in a good way. I think that's all I need to do.

10: You weren't able to do what you wanted while you were in the United States. How did you cope with it?
Park Jae-beom: It was really hard. Because I caused trouble for many people and I myself was upset too. That's why I kept quiet. So I just kept practicing and working part-time at a tire shop. But b-boying again helped a lot. I liked being able to dance with other people again because I hadn't been able to b-boy while pursuing my singing career. My body had been itching for it though. I was happy because I got to b-boy even though I wasn't singing. 

10: Then what kind of music do you want to do once you resume your career"?
Park: I'm not set on a particular genre, as in hip-hop or R&B. I have yet to become as good as Kim Jo-han at singing and as good as Tiger JK at rapping yet. But I want to do both and get better at both. Plus I want to dance too so I want to be able to do all of it. Do you know Drake by any chance? Music of that style. I like Usher and Chris Brown as well. And I want to do music in which I have contributed a lot to.

10: Do you have any self-made songs ready?
Park: I don't compose songs yet but do just a little bit of writing and making melodies. I wrote 'Bestie' and my friend made the beat for it. I had to write in Korean, not English, so I'm excited to know whether it makes any sense (laugh) and what people's response will be like.

10: Has it been decided which musicians will take part in your album? Or is there a musician you want to work with or are interested in?
Park: I've been doing a lot of work regarding music these days, with DOK2, Brave Sound and Kim Johan. And I personally like Taeyang a lot so I would like to work with him too.

10: So you're now in a situation where you can do music the way you want to, right?
Park: Yes. I want to work with various musicians. And that's why it's fun. If someone that I like asks me "Do you want to do this?" I can just say "I want to." That's the way I like it done.

10: Is that how you're going to work on your album too?
Park: Yes. I think that's what I need for the music to turn out well.

10: If you work in such a way though, it means you'll have to take part in the producing too which will increase the pressure you feel. How do you feel about that?
Park: I love it. (laugh) I think this'll be much better for making better music. I'll work harder because I'll be doing music that I like and is my style. I can choose the song, the dance and even my hairstyle.

10: Do you want to pursue acting too then?
Park: I do. I want to do a lot of acting that is funny. Like sitcoms. But I think I need to practice a lot more. From working on "Hype Nation" I have seen that I haven't done as well [as I've thought] when I monitor what I've done later on. I'll think I've put on a certain expression but it doesn't turn out like that.

10: How is the filming for "Hype Nation" coming along?
Park: I think I don't dance as much as I had originally thought I would. (laugh) The only scene where I dance is during the battle and the rest is me fighting and shouting to my little sister. (laugh)

10: You were recently appointed as a publicity ambassador for the Korean Palaympic Committee. Do you want to keep taking part in social work as well?
Park: Of course. I think it's really good being able to do such things with whether it be for family, friends or fans.

10: What is your goal as a musician?
Park: I don't know. I don't have a goal. For now, my aim is to find a way to repay my fans and try to meet them a lot through good songs and good performances. I have a new production coming out so I'm hoping to find a great choreographer to show you my dancing properly. I want to go slowly, showing my fans great sides to me and express my music.

10: As a musician, do you have a role model?
Park: Michael Jackson. (laugh) To start with, because he's the best.

10: What do you want to do in the future?
Park: I have always wanted to be in a position where I can help my parents or friends. But now, I want to be in a position where I can help even more people. Like my fans or people who are having a hard time. So I hope I'll be able to touch many people's hearts. The world becomes a better place when everybody helps each other out.

10: What would you like to say to your fans?
Park: No matter what opportunity comes up from now on, it'll all be because of my fans. Not because I did well or because I'm great. I think everything was possible because of my fans. I really... I can't express it in words. How thankful I am. I promise I'll repay you.

Senior Reporter : Kang Myoung-Seok
Photographer : Chae ki-won 
Editor : Jessica Kim
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