For those who missed out on the broadcast – you can watch it HERE
The article is pretty much a partial transcript from the press conference – enjoy! ^_^
(taken from 10asia)
“But it finally happened.” People say this all the time when something, which seemed fairly impossible, happened for real. Countless number of idols come and go every year but surviving in the show business is never easy. Shinhwa, who made their debut back in the last century, managed to continue their activities even after 14 years since their first appearance to the public on March 24, 1998. This year, on March 5, the group gathered for a press conference to promote their 14th anniversary concert scheduled on March 24. Shinhwa practiced the phrase trademarked by themselves, “We are Shinhwa, who Jun Jin (a member of the group’s name, also meaning ‘moves forward’ in Korean) like a Hye-sung (another member’s name meaning ‘comet.’)” However, like always, the six members got it wrong even after a long rehearsal but the light and playful atmosphere in the room proved that Shinhwa is still the same Shinhwa we knew back in the 90’s even when the members are way over their thirties.
How does it feel celebrating your 14th year anniversary of debut?
Eric: We first want to thank Lee Soo-man, the C.E.O of SM Entertainment, for seeing something in the six of us and putting us together under the name Shinhwa. We thank Park Kwon-young, the C.E.O of Good Entertainment, who helped us find our place after signing with the firm. We also thank our fans who believed in us, cried with us and laughed with us during the last 14 years, the rest of Shinhwa members as well as the staffs in Shinhwa Company who will be working with us for a long time. Our 14th anniversary is not the end but it is just the start. We hope to fulfill our singing activities for a long time at the center of this business and we want to become a model for other rookie idol groups. It takes time to build a masterpiece. That is why we want to show everyone that when something is old it doesn’t make it shabby, proving the sophistication and tradition in our group.
Shinhwa: (claps) We are Shinhwa!
You guys are making your comeback in four years with your tenth full-length album, while singles or mini-albums are the trend.
Lee Minwoo: We have released a number of singles, mini-albums and studio albums during our 14 years of career and we have released so many songs to date that we can’t even remember all of them. But, we felt that if Shinhwa was going to unveil their tenth record, it should a full-length album. The tenth album is solely for those that have waited for our new record and we just want our fans to be satisfied with what they listen to. Though we are physically tired, each member put in a lot of effort in recording the songs and we have high expectations on performing them on stage. We hope that it will be a great present.
You must have experienced some difficulties while preparing and recording the songs.
Jun Jin: Instead of feeling tired, I am just really excited and happy about returning to stage after such a long time. Other members and I get together constantly to have meetings even about small details and we gather everyone’s ideas and opinions before making our decisions on something. But if I have to pinpoint some of our difficulties…it is probably Eric. Eric wrote and directed a few songs he wrote himself and he pushed us hard and nearly killed us in the recording studio. The good part about it was that our skills improved. I’m kind of embarrassed to say it myself but I feel that I improved in various aspects because I do both singing and rapping.
Can you give us an example of the skills that improved?
Jun Jin: I would sing you a song right now but it wouldn’t be fair to unveil a song before the album gets released. How about if I hum it?
Eric: We have released a number of albums before but never kept the deadline. We used to push back release dates from two weeks, in minimum, to two months but this time it was different. We all worked really hard and even pulled off all-nighters. We didn’t slack off and participated a lot in the process which is why we were able to release the album on time. Honestly, I whipped other members when they’re not trying hard…(laugh) Now, should we listen to Jun Jin sing?
From all the members, who’s vocal skills improved the most?
Jun Jin: It is Jun Jin.
Minwoo: All the members did a great job including Jun Jin (laugh). I’m sure a lot of people are wondering what genre of songs that our album will have. It’s composed of songs in different styles that allows wider audience to enjoy, while it still holds Shinhwa’s color. It is worth waiting for the release since we prepared new choreographies that fit our songs in a new genre.
Eric: Our title track was bought from abroad and Minwoo led the team in this one by making the lyrics and choreography, and directing the whole process. This will be our first to try an electronica song so we were worried how it would go along with our image and style. But I am happy with the outcome. Just like our old style, we have a number of ballad songs and dance tunes aside from our new genre and the listener will feel the past, present and future altogether through our tenth full-length album.
In just 40 minutes, you guys were able to sell out all 20,000 tickets to the concert that is to kick off on March 24.
Shin Hyesung: We were extremely thrilled about that. Our 14th anniversary concert has a different meaning compared to other shows that we have done before. We made a promise with our fans during our 10th anniversary concert back in 2008 that all six of us will perform on stage once we are all done our mandatory military duties. This year’s concert is our way of showing our fans that we kept the promise.
Jun Jin: A good tongue is a good weapon and we wanted to keep our promise…
Eric: Jun Jin, would you like to sing for us?
It has been 14 years since you made your debut and time has passed. What do you think is your secret to still being able to work together even after all members signing with different agencies?
Kim Dongwan: The decisive factor is Jun Jin. Jun Jin, how about singing a song for us?
Jun Jin: It has been real tough in maintaining Shinhwa for 14 years and we ask for everyone’s continuous support.
Dongwan: We don’t have any secrets. We were just lucky. We have fought a lot in the past and unlike the other groups that disband the teams because of the conflicts and members’ individual activities, I feel that those moments created a bond between all the members. And not avoiding what we had at every moment helped us to survive till today. We didn’t insist on pursuing solo careers when working as a group, or thought that we have to juggle our solo careers and working as Shinhwa at the same time.
You have mentioned about fighting in the past, so were there any moments that solidified the team’s bond while preparing for this album? (laugh)
Dongwan: I remember that Eric clenched his fists whenever he was directing in the studio. (laugh) I thought about hitting Eric and running away.
Minwoo: Once, Dongwan seemed pretty upset after the recording. He even asked me if I could direct him myself because Eric was putting pressure on him too much. Everyone has a different way of directing and cheering people up so they can do a better job. I also try to relay the emotions to the person by singing the song myself.
Dongwan: Minwoo is blowing his own horn. (laugh)
Minwoo: To be honest, Eric’s style of directing is the right way. All that matters is to see how much effort one put in to get the best results and that itself is a fight with oneself.
Dongwan: I will ask Minwoo to direct me the next time.
Many idol groups say that Shinhwa is their role model. What kind of group does Shinhwa want to be and what kind of music would you like to pursue if you are still together even after ten to twenty years from now?
Jun Jin: Thank you for such a great question and Dongwan will answer it.
Dongwan: We can’t say that we will sustain the group ten or twenty years more without any proper reason or preparation. But I think we will stop if the audience wants us to. We don’t want to continue our activities if it is going to cause a loss. (laugh) We will continue with our activities if it makes us happy as well as our staffs. We don’t exactly have a role model but we want to become someone else’s role model.
Eric: We worked real hard to benchmark with Japanese group SMAP when Shinhwa was still with SM Entertainment and it worked. We were also the first idol group in Korea to have their members begin individual activities and we found some success through that. It feels like we are Korea and the world’s only idol group that has stayed together for 14 years with its original members. SMAP had changed one of their members once. It is important to follow the current trends but what is more important is to have the listener to recognize the group Shinhwa from our music.
What if you were given a chance to switch members?
Eric: I was thinking about Dongwan!
Jun Jin: I think Dongwan can be the manager.
Dongwan: And I will be paid the same…
Hyesung: Our press conference is being broadcasted globally. (faces cameras) We are joking.
Eric: (faces Dongwan) I love you.
Andy, you are the producer of the idol group Teen Top. Do you have any advice for other singers that choose Shinhwa as their role models?
Andy: I feel that the most important thing is the communication between members and trust. Many male idols fight but they get over it after talking about it. I’m sure they will last long like Shinhwa if they talk, understand and trust one another.
Are there any current groups out there that has the similar impression to Shinhwa?
Eric: All the members really like Big Bang. I’m not just saying this but whenever I see Teen Top it feels like I am seeing our past. We looked really clumsy and was faced with a lot of difficulties when we first started out and they went through. Teen Top went through the same troubles and became No. 1. Seeing their clumsiness after winning first place was just…(laugh)
Jun Jin: The members of Girls’ Generation were in elementary school when we were with SM Entertainment. Jessica and Hyoyeon wrote us letters back in the day and it makes me real proud and happy to see them turn into ladies and do so well.
Minwoo: I am a fan of Girls’ Generation and 2NE1 and I can remember that Hyoyeon danced really well when she was younger. I thought that she could be the next BoA and it is great that she is known for her dance skills in Girls’ Generation. I know that there are many girl groups right now but I lost interest after T-ara. I know the name of the groups but I can’t remember the name of the each member. (laugh)
Jun Jin: There is a girl group named Stellar and this guy who appeared in their music really stood out (referring to himself). I thought to myself wow how can someone act like that? Stellar’s songs are really great and I think in two years…
Eric: Two years?
Jun Jin: Ah, what I mean is that after a year they will become one of the best girl groups.
Eric: I hope you aren’t just saying that. (laugh) Jun Jin was the male lead in Stellar’s music video for their song “U.F.O” and he said that he was nervous and it was difficult because he hasn’t acted in a long time. And after seeing the video, it turns out that all he had to do was to stay still because he played a robot.
Jun Jin: It was really cold during the shoot.
The current music scene is a lot different from four years ago when Shinhwa was active. Does the group have some kind of secret weapon to dominate music scene?
Minwoo: We aren’t here to compete with the idols. The main concerns we had while making the album was which track should be the title song so we could appeal to the public. We don’t have a secret weapon per se though it would have to be that the audience will say that performance is what Shinhwa is about. We are just the same as who we were in the past. Though we have a hard time catching our breath due to lack of sleeping, we are still the same.
Eric: The difference is that many of our juniors and the idols are really good to the extent that we admire many of them. And we thought about ways to show something different by comparing ourselves to them. I honestly want to show our development during the last 14 years to the singers that grew up watching us. And I can say that our conditions are pretty good from practicing.
Dongwan: Ah, our secret weapon is Minwoo.
(All members become quiet)
Jun Jin: I apologize!
Dongwan: You can tell that Minwoo is our secret weapon after watching our performance. I will just be hiding behind him. (laugh)
How is the shoot for jTBC’s “Shinhwa Broadcast” coming along?
Jun Jin: We always wanted to have a show with our name on it and we had our first shoot last weekend. I had to hold back my tears after seeing how hard the members were practicing. And the audience will see a different side of each member like their cheerfulness and charm.
Any final words?
Andy: We will work even harder since we are making our comeback after a long time. We hope to resume our activities with the mindset of a rookie and that the audience will get the same impression as they did when we released our first album.
Dongwan: We ask for a lot of support since Shinhwa is officially starting their activities after a long time. Help us!
Jun Jin: A masterpiece is not made in a day…I apologize. (laugh) We will work happily and cheerfully and hope to work real hard that people will remember that we are Shinhwa.
Minwoo: I am really happy even though it’s been a while since we last stood in front of an audience and I feel a bit awkward to see all these cameras flashing at us. I want Shinhwa to be a group that rewrites history. We want to show our best and we hope that will be set in history.