14 years since their debut, the pioneer idols who pride themselves on their unwavering teamwork. We did an interview with Shinhwa, who’s back after 4 years with their new album ‘The Return’, for which they’ve received much love. We talked about their thoughts about the conclusion of their album promotional activities, and their efforts on jTBC’s ‘Shinhwa Broadcast’. Having become tougher after such a long time, Shinhwa does not have an unapproachable or overpowering presence. They prefer to be as open and candid like they always have been, which makes them come across as dignified. But they’re also still as playful as young boys. Shinhwa switches effortlessly between earnestness and cheerfulness, and we have a comfortable and pleasant interview with them.
An Open and Honest Interview with Shinhwa
Q: You concluded your promotions with a first-place win on M Countdown, congratulations. The album that Shinhwa won first place for, contains 2 title tracks – ‘Hurts’ and ‘Venus’. What kind of songs are they?
Minwoo: The title tracks ‘Venus’ and ‘Hurts’ are 2 songs that all six of us really like. Because they are songs that you will like more and more as you continue listening to them. The more you listen to these two songs, you’ll feel that they are the best songs. Eric wrote the lyrics for ‘Hurts’, while I wrote the lyrics for ‘Venus’, which was a song written by producer-songwriter Andrew Jackson who has worked with Britney Spears and Leona Lewis. The 6 members have made the greatest contributions to the process of turning this foreign song into a song befitting of Shinhwa’s style.
Q: Minwoo-sshi was seen crying in the 14th concert footage from not too long ago. I heard that Minwoo-sshi has been through a lot of hardship during album preparations.
Minwoo: When my nerves were on edge, honestly speaking only my parents were there for me when I threw tantrums. My mum suffered a lot, because the tantrums came in surges. I’m thankful, and also sorry. I wanted to express my gratitude, but instead the sensitive feelings overcame me so the tears came gushing out.
Q: Minwoo-sshi was involved in the whole production process of the album, and the members also participated in the production. Since everyone is pursuing different music styles, how do you come to an agreement during the production process?
Dongwan: It’s important to reach a consensus, and it’s also important to consult one another. But the ship must have a captain, and after the captain has been picked out, we need to trust and follow his lead. When the members and I had anything we didn’t like, we brought it up and worked things out, but when it came to situations where things weren’t so clear, we fully trusted and followed Minwoo and Eric’s lead. Thanks to that, we achieved results that we were satisfied with. Actually Minwoo became really sensitive during the production of the album. He isn’t a sensitive person to start with, and looking at his nerves going on edge, not saying anything at all at the tail end of the production process, how many things he must have had on his mind at that time. In any case, fortunately the results were good and our activities are all proceeding smoothly.
Minwoo: I hope Dongwan can be the captain of the ship next time.
Dongwan: I don’t think I can do it. Haha.
Eric: You said we reached a consensus, so the consensus was…
Hyesung: I think the consensus was in finding music that’s suitable for Shinhwa. Since our individual music styles can be different.
Minwoo: Actually this time we didn’t restrict ourselves to a single genre. There are a variety of genres combined within these 11 tracks. There are some that show off the members’ individual styles, like how ballads are mainly for Hyesung.
Q: Did Hyesung-sshi write the lyrics for the ballads?
Dongwan: Actually Hyesung wrote the lyrics for ‘Venus’, but his set of lyrics was rejected because it was too sleazy.
Eric: Rather to say it was rejected…
Andy: It was too sleazy so we couldn’t use it (haha)
Dongwan: We wanted to use it but it was too..
Minwoo: The original guide lyrics were on the sleazy side. But we used it as a motto…
Hyesung: Even so, I’m a member too so rather than to call it ‘rejected’…
Eric: How about disregarded..
Hyesung: That’s even more serious..
Dongwan: Let’s just say it was thrown out.. (everyone laughs)
Q: Now that you’ve concluded the promotions for this album, will you be more ambitious when preparing for the next album?
Hyesung: From this album onwards, we won’t be too focused on a specific genre anymore. Like what we’ve done up til now, we’ll prepare for albums that contain a variety of genres. On this basis, Eric and Minwoo will help to work hard on that.
Minwoo: Because when it comes to Shinhwa we cannot omit the element of performance, so I think we’ll continue to push out dance-style tracks, with the element of performance as a basis, for the time being.
To be continued in Part 2