Friday, November 5, 2010

[INTERVIEW] Jay Park Interview With 'Vogue Girl Korea'


VOGUE GIRL (Denoted from here on V.G.) Did you cut your hair again? The fans were vexed, telling you not to cut it.
JAY: That’s why I left the middle part alone and had sides shaved, although truthfully I wanted to shave everything. I couldn’t because I thought the fans would hate it.

V.G.: There’s word that you always cut your hair before a performance?
J: Not quite. I don’t like it when my hair sticks out when I wear hats, and since I wear a lot of hats during performances, that’s how my thought process goes.

V.G.: Yesterday you performed at [Seoul Soul Festival]. You got to collaborate with Musiq Soulchild.
JAY: It was fun. When would an opportunity for me to sing together with Musiq SoulChild come again? But it was a bit disappointing. We sang “Love” together. I only learned that we would sing together the day before. We didn’t have time to rehearse with each other, as we only met the day before. We only got to greet each other very shortly, some 30 seconds?

V.G.: Before you performed, you wrote that you were nervous on Twitter?
JAY: Honestly, for this performance there was not one thing that was set in stone so it was very nervewrecking. Before I got on the stage, I didn’t know if there would be band or if there would be MR, we didn’t even do a sound check, and it was a live program without a rehearsal. On top of that, Musiq Soulchild’s manager learned much later that I was to perform together with Musiq Soulchild, so 10 minutes before we started we got an OK. I felt sorry to the fans since I had the feeling I could not show a perfect stage to them. But Musiq Soulchild is really kind. After the performance I wrote to his Twitter that I was disappointed (in not doing better), and I got a reply immediately. Today was good and it was enjoyable, and though I was disappointed, if the fans liked it then that was that, and if a chance comes, it would be nice for us to work together.

V.G.: Your new song “Speechless” was performed in public for the first time.
JAY: I was surprised that the fans already knew the whole song. Is it because they already downloaded the song? What’s more amazing is that the lyrics are in English, but everybody followed along well. “Bestie” had a good response too.

V.G.: You wrote the “Bestie” lyrics yourself. Isn’t it hard writing lyrics in Korean?
JAY: It was hard but very fun. I thought I wrote these lyrics in a clever manner. So after I wrote it, I was extremely proud, but somebody said it seemed stupid.

V.G.: Which part is your favorite?
JAY: People talk about this part the most, “If I put you in water it becomes honey water.” That is something you probably never heard in Korean song lyrics before.

V.G.: In reality are you the type to tell your girlfriend sweet words without hesitation?
JAY: Not at all. Even before I wasn’t like that. No matter how much one loves his girlfriend, how many people would say in front of her, “You are my honey water”? Well, I probably have to experience it. But the lyrics are not relevant to my style, it’s just a song.

V.G.: It seems that you would be a little silent in conversing with your girlfriend.
JAY: At first I don’t express much until I’m sure the other person likes me, then I start to express more. If it’s my girlfriend, I would express more, but even then I wouldn’t be able to say something as corny as “honey water.”

V.G.: Recently are you doing activities with your bboying group AOM? You faced so much, your mind for friends seems to have gotten much deeper.
JAY: Mm. I have had deep feelings for my friends since long ago. Once I like someone, the part of me that treasures them is special. When I see my friends I think, “my person, my side.”

V.G.: It’s not easy to meet those kinds of people.
JAY: That is why I’m not close with many people. I’d prefer maintaining a deep relationship with a few people.

V.G.: What’s a day like in Seattle?
JAY: I wake up in the morning, eat, and work out, same as before. Monday, Tuesday, Fridays I go to places to practice dance, on Thursdays I do acrobatics, and on Saturdays, when there is a bboying competition, I go out or battle among teams. When I’m not practicing, I go out to eat hamburgers or sushi or go to one of the member’s houses to play games. I don’t really go to clubs.

V.G.: It sounds very wholesome. Like how high schoolers would spend time?
JAY: Ah? Is that so? But isn't that how other people spend time playing?

V.G.: What can you tell us about your preferences? It’s already well-known that you like the Simpsons.
JAY: Yes, I really like the Simpsons. I don’t watch the recent ones, but I do like the older episodes better. When it comes to comics, I like past DC comics or Marvel comics, and I like hero movies such as X-men or Spiderman.

V.G.: Makes me think of the Spiderman socks.
JAY: Haha, well that’s because there weren't any socks to wear…

V.G.: You like cereal too. And you ate it in a pot making ujuk ujuk (munching) sounds.
JAY: There were two-three bowls, but then at the time the other kids used them all. After I put it in a pot I thought it would be funny taking a video of me eating from a pot, and that I would be able to use it, so I took the video. Later when I made the video, I was able to use it so it made me proud.

V.G.: It seems that you sleep quite late ate night, so what are you doing at that time?
JAY: When I go to sleep early it’s around 12 or 1 a.m. When I sleep late, I sleep around 3-4 a.m. I’m on the computer, I watch sitcoms, watch YouTube. I especially watch a lot of YouTube. The person I featured with before, the Korean rapper Dumbfoundead I found through YouTube’s “Grind Time,” which is a famous clip of rap battles, and that’s how I got to know him. I find YouTube more interesting than TV, because I can easily find what I want to watch.

V.G.: Even now you talk with your fans through YouTube.
JAY: There is no other entertainer from our country who has done such a thing. That a person would sing a song in his house and record a video of himself playing around, so I was worried fans would go “what is this?” But they liked it, so it was a relief. Even now, if there are things I want to talk to the fans or there is news, I can do so through YouTube, so that’s great.

V.G.: Speaking of which, there is nothing that compares to “Nothin’ on You” which took place in a Seattle house’s bathroom. But why the bathroom?
JAY: The light was just right, and most importantly the sound reverberated, so it seems like I’m singing very well.

V.G.: How did you feel when filming? Your expression looked a bit nervous.
JAY: It wasn’t so. I just sang comfortably like how I would sing in the house. I thought if I uploaded this, that fans might like it. But I didn’t know that many people would view it.

V.G.: In one day, 1.5 million saw it.
JAY: It was really wondrous. At max, I thought 10 thousand or 20 thousand people would view it, so it was surprising to find out there were that many people who knew me.

V.G.: What did you think when you saw the viewcount? I feel that you may have liked it, and felt sorry, and had mixed feelings.
JAY: I did think that, but since the fans enjoyed it so much, I wanted to do more in the future. I was energized.

V.G.: Your fans’ age ranges from teens to 50s? And depending on the age they call themselves halmaemi (grandmother) or josangshin (ancestor) fans.
JAY: Haha, I did see that word. A four-year old Caucasian girl uploaded a YouTube video saying, “Jaebeom oppa, come to my birthday party.” At every fanmeeting, there are a lot of mom fans who come. Most of them have sons who are around my age.

V.G.: When was the time when your fans’ support was most appreciated?
JAY: It’s not just one moment but every time. When I was in the U.S., everyday I got letters or presents, and online they sent support messages, and on Thanksgiving or Christmas, they sent rice cakes. The fans not only took care of me but my parents, AOM friends, my pet Peatry, so I was very grateful.

V.G.: That time was a situation when it was hard to do anything [for you] in return.
JAY: That’s why I put up the YouTube video. At that time, that was the best I could do. Now I’m glad I could do something for my fans. And that is why we had the fan meets, and two weeks ago, to show that I want to thank the fans, I got a tattoo of JWalkerz on my nape. My fanclub “Jay Effect” members are called JWalkers.

V.G.: Aren’t there times your fans can be scary?
JAY: Hm, I wasn't scared. But occasionally, I do think, “I’m a human being too.”

V.G.: When they continuously take pictures right up in your face?
JAY: I’m used to that so that’s okay. If the fans want it, even if it is uncomfortable, I have to let them. But occasionally they come into my dorm to hide and watch, or there are fans who film during that time, and those times it’s a bit scary. (To the recorder) I would ask for some self-control there please. Haha.

V.G.: After moving to a new management, has there been a wider breadth in activity and more freedom?
JAY: Yes. I especially like that I can choose what I want to do. Singing, dancing, fashion, hairstyle, and even schedule is completely under my control. If I want to make a song with someone or dance with someone, I can meet him or her freely. Even if that person is not famous, if I like that person’s talent, I would want to collaborate with them. I like being able to make up the stage together, like Dok2 or The Quiett hyung.

V.G.: You also worked with the Brave Brothers.
JAY: The Brave Brothers…well, that’s…

V.G.: Is that a different implication?
JAY: Yes, that is different.

V.G.: Are there other people you would like to work with?
JAY: The Supreme Team. Their rap is so good and their songs are totally fun. When I hear their songs it’s an automatic “put your hands up.” It’s not that they’re trying to look cool through music but they are a team that lends their bodies to the rhythm and sing like crazy. I like that kind of energy.

V.G.: What about acting? In Hype Nation you were able to work with your AOM friends, so it must have been nice.
JAY: I've acted only a few times but it’s fun, and if an opportunity comes, I would like to go for it. When we were filming Hype Nation, that was when I came back to Korea after 9 months. I was happy just with having come back after so long, but in addition, I came with my friends to shoot a movie so I was very happy.

V.G.: Your AOM friends should be grateful to you, since due to you they were able to have activities in Korea.
JAY: They are thankful, but nowadays since I treat them so well, I think they are taking it for granted.

V.G.: Did they lose their manners a little?
JAY: Yes, I think so. I’m wondering if I should pretend to dismiss them. (Laughter)

V.G.: They might not have known in the US but they must have realized ‘my friend was a famous person”?
JAY: When I was in Seattle, there were only 2-3 people who recognized me in a week, so they didn’t know. But when they saw the viewcount on my first YouTube video, they must have had a real breakthrough realization. Even I was surprised, so imagine how surprised they were. I was even more surprised when I saw about 2 thousand fans came to the airport when I came back to Korea. Since then, it’s all become natural. Now when I go overseas, whether it’s Singapore or Philippines I think, “There will be fans.” That’s a little lacking in sense, no? Haha. Actually, I don’t know what I’m famous for, there are others who I see more as stars than me.

V.G.: It seems like you’re bottling up something inside?
JAY: Maybe a little complaint? Haha, I’m just kidding.

V.G.: How did you feel when you saw your fans at the airport?
JAY: Looking at fan sites I did anticipate fans coming, but I did not know it would be to that extent. I was very thankful. The fans always surprise me. But back then I dressed like a bum. If I had known, I think that I probably would have dressed better.

V.G.: There are a lot of fans who talk about airport fashion, They notice how many times you wore certain pants, and how many times you wore certain hats, like finding hidden pictures.
JAY: I don’t really concern myself with that kind of stuff. Even now when I want to dress nicely I do, and when I want to dress comfortably, I do so.

V.G.: Like today? (He’s wearing white socks and black sandals of an unknown brand. No, it’s more like “slippers.”)
JAY: Yes, as freely as I want to.

V.G.: Recently the places where we can hear your songs is through performances or festivals. Do you have any regrets about not being on official programs?
JAY: Not particularly. If there is a gig I go out; if not, I don’t. As long as I can communicate with my fans, that is good enough. Wherever I go, fans will come find me, so I am content.

V.G.: Are there hardships going from having been with many people to performing solo?
JAY: It’s not that easy to dance and sing simultaneously the whole time. But I like that I have more time to appeal with my style.

V.G.: To fans, the recent trend must be “Rediscovering Jay Park.” When I listened to “Nothin’ on You,” I did think “did Jay’s voice always match ballads so well?” But before, you didn’t sing long enough for us to feel your voice.
JAY: At that time I received many compliments such as, “were you always good at singing?” I thought I didn’t sing that well, but it seemed good judging by the reception. From now on I’m not just going to do just hip hop. rap, dance, R&B, or ballads…I want to do everything.

V.G.: If I give you one hour so you can perform in the style that you want, then how will you do it?
JAY: I want to do all the performances that I am capable of. I’ll sing, dance, do bboying, and from then on, I would have to make better songs.

V.G.: When you first started music, isn’t it true that you wanted to eventually produce music freely as you are doing now?
JAY: That might have been the case. In an aspect, that situation might have come about too quickly. Regardless, I’m very content with my current situation. To be honest when I was young, becoming a singer wasn't my dream so I didn’t really seriously think about my future. Originally I wanted to go to places like Africa and be a person who studies animals.

V.G.: Is that why you played with the cat so well?
JAY: Yes, I really like animals.

V.G.: After going through hard times, did your thinking or personality change a bit?
JAY: I definitely became much more positive. Even if there is bad news, I think that things will go okay.

V.G.: I thought it would be the opposite, that you would not easily trust people, or that you can’t come to an immediate conclusion whatever the issue is, and the like.
JAY: I tend to mask my expressions. There hasn’t been anything in particular that has changed due to that event.

V.G.: People have trouble anticipating what will happen to you, what kind of people, and what kind of results will be made.
JAY: I am the same. I don’t know much. Whether it is the U.S. or Korea, if there is an opportunity I will grab it, but if the situation does not work out, it can’t be helped. To other people, my attitude might seem stupid. There isn’t a particular goal, and they would think that I have to work a little more seriously. Some say that I should quickly produce many more songs and release an album while there is still popularity. But I think if I force myself, things will actually not end up all that well. I want to do things gradually. When I want to, and with people I want to work with.

V.G.: Has your standard for happiness changed from before?
JAY: I’m always the same. A person who can watch over his family and friends and take responsibility. Originally that has been my life’s goal and since that has been done, I don’t hope for anything more. I just want things to flow well from here on, without any accidents.

V.G.: Your family must have worried a lot in the past but now they might have lowered it a notch.
JAY: Yes, but things turned out better than I anticipated. I tried not to make my parents worry so I lived on diligently. Now they worry a lot about my health, telling me that I should rest when I can and that I should eat well.

V.G.: Would it be uncomfortable regardless for you to bring up past events?
JAY: I’m all right. It doesn’t concern me. Nothing can be done if I am bothered by a bad event in the past. It’s a lesson I learn and try to live better. However, since my management does worry and won’t like it, I try not to talk about it.

V.G.: What worries you the most now?
JAY: I’m worried about my health. It’s hard when I get hurt while I dance or my throat hurts or I catch a cold when I need to sing. Right after the two fan meetings in Korea, I was sick with a cold for about a week. There is so much to do, it worries me when my stamina can’t follow.

V.G.: During the interview, you talked the most about being grateful to you fans.
JAY: They are always appreciated. I am thankful that, when I do something small, even when I get a pimple on my face, they take interest in everything and care about everything. I want to make my fans proud of me so I will work hard. So I want to tell them not to worry so much about me, since I’m all right. I’m an adult now. (Laughter)

V.G.: I heard you were leaving the day after tomorrow. What is your schedule like?
JAY: I’m going to work with American producers in L.A. I can’t really say what exactly.

V.G.: In the Departure Declaration Form (Note: A form filled out when you leave the country ^^), there is a line for “job.” What do you write in it?
JAY: It seems kind of funny to use a word like “singer,” so I tried not to use it. I’ve even used “student” before. Now I just write in “entertainer.”

V.G.: But you are a singer.
JAY: You have to be of a certain level, like Stevie Wonder or Brain McKnight.

V.G.: Then that could possibly change, if you have the confidence.
JAY: That could be true, say in 10 years?

V.G.: In your mind, what makes a good entertainer?
JAY: A person who can make the stage entertaining for the people looking on. This person is not just singing, but he can do various things through music. Also, someone who has a good influence on many people. I want to become that kind of person, and it’s fine if I’m not all flashy, as long as I can have fun.

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