– If we were to ask you to rate your promotional activities for the 10th album?
“We were very troubled over what kind of songs to sing for our comeback after such a long hiatus. We decided on going the trendy way and pitting ourselves against the idols. That’s why we chose ‘Venus’ (as our title track). We thought we wanted to shed the feel of Shinhwa from before and try out a more casual round of promotions. Through ‘Shinhwa Broadcast’, we’re able to show our natural selves in variety which we haven’t been able to show before, and also show our more personal sides. Judging from what we see now, I think we have been successful. If we say that Shinhwa had been more focused on showing off the individual members in the past, we are now showing the harmony that has been achieved through our experience.” (Eric)
“This has been a round of activities with even more trust among the members. Even though individual activities are tough, we find time to take care of one another and gave it our all for Shinhwa activities. This was possible because of the trust among the six of us, and we found strength from Shinhwa Changjo. We found confidence because the members are all very competitive.” (Andy)
– You’re now having activities under the name of Shinhwa Company, which was established with investments from the members. What’s different now?
“Honestly, when we were under a management company, we moved like robots according to our schedule, and we threw tantrums when our bodies were worn out. But with the Shinhwa members being part of the company, of course we have a much greater sense of responsibility when it comes to our work. Every member carries out his role faithfully. Junjin leads the variety part with ‘Shinhwa Broadcast’, Hyesungie leads the performances with his vocals. While Dongwannie works on his acting projects, he often cheers everyone on by shouting ‘Shinhwa is the best when we have six’. Maknae Andy has achieved success as a producer, and has grown in many ways. In particular, Eric has done the best job with his role as team leader.” (Minwoo)
– How is Eric as a CEO?
“He’s an objective and level-headed CEO. In fact Eric and Minwoo are the most passionate when it comes to Shinhwa activities, and they put in the most effort. There was even once when the three of us were supposed to hang out to play but the two of them spent 6 hours just listening to music, and I got angry and went back home. Minwoo and Eric had an argument due to their conflicting views on music, but in the midst of that they achieved objective resolutions. I hope he continues to be a level-headed CEO next year too.” (Dongwan)
– Your proudest moment during Shinhwa activities?
“Although before we released our album, we were labeled as the longest-running idols, and the oldest idols, we didn’t want to give the impression that we’re idols who are stuck in the past. We didn’t want people to listen to Shinhwa songs by themselves as they think about the past memories; instead we felt that we want to be a group that makes music that’s relevant in the present. But seeing our fans who have already become mothers attending our concert with their kids in tow, we get goosebumps. It’s something that we couldn’t have imagined when we made our debut in 1998. The members are really awesome and they look great.” (Eric)
-The secret to your longevity?
“The six of us often argue. It’s important how we resolve that. Until we resolve our problems among ourselves, we don’t get out.” (Minwoo)
“Actually idol groups can also be unsustainable. LSM Entertainment’s Lee Sang Min apparently has a 20-year contract but to be able to go on as long as Shinhwa did without signing a long-term contract, realistically speaking it seems impossible. Haha. We’re really amazing. We’ve had our share of conflicts but we’ve never ever talked about disbanding before. The members are kind and soft-hearted. At the crucial moment, we’d think about our cause, our honor, our affection and loyalty.” (Eric)
– Your upcoming plans?
“The big picture is to release a Shinhwa album every year. Hyesung will be releasing a solo album, Dongwan will be involved in acting, Andy will be introducing a new 7-member group. Minwoo will be working hard in his role as Shinhwa’s producer while preparing for his individual activities. Junjin continues to bring laughter to viewers as an entertainer through ‘Shinhwa Broadcast’. If we say that this round of activities is to tell everyone that we’re still in existence with our comeback, then perhaps the next round of activities is when we will have to really give it a good shot and pit ourselves against other singers. We’re confident that we’ll show you an even better side of ourselves.” (Eric)
Credits: Joongang Daily + Absolut Shinhwa