2PM Aera Mook K-Pop Boys Plus Magazine Interview

They're called "beastly idols", but they're actually more like adorable "baby beasts"?

---When you were young, what kind of child were you?
TAEC: I was an active child when I went to elementary school in Korea, but I became docile after I moved to America, because I couldn't communicate. I worked really hard to pick up English, and I returned to being active again when I was able to use the language freely. I joined the soccer club in fall, the track and field club in winter and spring; every season, I belonged to a different club...... even the chess club and the mathematics club.
JUNSU: As expected of you. I was really shy, and whenever my best friend played with his other friends, I'd sulk, thinking, "Why is he playing with them and not with me?" Petty, wasn't I? (laughs)
JUNHO: I was undoubtedly the captain of our play unit. Cellphones didn't exist at the time, so I went around my friends' houses after school to give out orders like, "Gather at the plaza, 'cause we're playing soccer~" I learned lots of things, too. Soccer, baseball, swimming, cooking, programming...... I wasn't happy until I tried everything I was interested in. But my personality changed after I grew 16cm in the second year of middle school.
TAEC: I grew 20cm in my second year, too! I thought I had grown taller because of the change in food after moving to America, but I guess not~
JUNHO: Your knees hurt at that time, didn't they? I was 146cm in the sixth year of elementary school, but because of my growth spurt to 172cm in the second year of middle school, I couldn't play sports at one point. That's when I watched dance clips in the classroom, wrote fantasy novels, made websites, created games, programmed computers....... I become an indoor person. After entering high school, I was awakened by dancing and returned to my active self.
KHUN: I was in the badminton club, so I practised everyday in preparation for tournaments. My father always told me, with pursed lips, not to waste my time, so I also learned piano, art and English since the age of 9...... I was so busy, I don't have many memories of hanging out with friends. My father was really strict. He wouldn't let me watch much TV on weekdays. The only shows I was allowed to watch were those on the National Geographic channel and news programmes.
CHAN: That's really strict. I was totally given free reign (laughs). I basically played a lot! And I was a bit of a weird kid. For example, for hide-and-seek, I'd go off on my own to hide in some weird place that no one else would ever find, and then grin to myself (laughs). If it's snowing, I'd go sledding on a hill nearby and throw snowballs. I often went to arcades by bike, too. From the time I was in kindergarten until I became a student, I moved about 3 times, so, as a child, I might have considered playtime as a part of making friends. Now that I think about it, I think my life was much busier back then.

---Did your studies go well?
CHAN: Frankly, I didn't put much focus on my studies, so even when my test scores were bad, I didn't care at all. I didn't know if studying to enter a good university was really that great, and my parents didn't tell me to study, either. What? They gave up on me? (laughs) I listened to music in class. I slid the cord through the sleeves of my blazer and listened to music with one elbow raised. Wholesome students, don't copy what I did. This was in the past.
KHUN: I totally didn't study either when I was in an all-boys class, but the moment I was changed to a co-ed class, I studied tons! I was the only boy in a class with 6 girls, so I had more reason to study.
JUNHO: That stimulates a man's pride, doesn't it? I was quite studious when I was in middle school. Rather, I'm the type to concentrate on my studies a month before an exam. My friends and I worked together to guess the exam questions. Our predictions were spot-on!
JUNSU: For me, joining a university prep school opened up a new path in my life. In Korea, report cards were an important factor for entering a good university. But the people around me were really smart, so I couldn't get good scores even when I tried my best. That's when I decided that studying wasn't the right path for me, so I went on to join JYP Entertainment at the age of 17 (Korean age. All ages henceforth will be in Korean age.) That was in October, 2004.

It'd be a lie to say that they don't see each other as rivals.

---Junsu-san was the first to become a trainee, right?
JUNSU: The order was me, Taecyeon, Nichkhun, Chansung, Junho, Wooyoung. I become obsessed with music since my third year of middle school, so I performed in small contests and such. We have orientation the minute we enter high school, don't we? I sang R. Kelly's "I believe I can fly" for my orientation. Everyone told me I was really good. I even received 10,000 won from a teacher. (laughs) Using that money to buy ddeokbokki was my memory of the first time I earned money from singing. Because of that, I aimed to be a singer.
TAEC: I spent 2 years as a trainee since I was 21 years old.
WOO: I've always wanted to be a singer since my second year of middle school, but my parents and teachers thoroughly opposed the idea. I was allowed to do some dancing under the condition that I kept my grades up. When I was in high school, I studied in school until 11pm, then I practised dancing until 2am ~ 3am. Dancing and studying are the only memories I have of high school. I chose JYP, because I was moved by Rain-sempai's documentary programme. (T/N: "Sempai" means "senior".)
KHUN: I was scouted in America, and I met up with JYP staff at Starbucks. Then they suddenly told me to sing and dance. In a coffee shop, you know! I just figured I ought to do something, whatever the result, so I haphazardly did a song and dance. All the people passing by kept staring at me. They were probably shocked at how bad I was. (laughs) That was 2005. When I was 18 years old. After that I got a call from JYP, was officially employed as a trainee, and arrived in Korea in April, 2006. Despite being a shy person since I was young, I sing and dance in front of large crowds now. People can really do anything as long as they try.
CHAN: When I was 16 years old, I entered JYP with the hopes of becoming an actor. Even trainees for acting have to take singing and dancing lessons. While taking the singing lessons, I thought, "It looks fun to be a singer. I think I'd like to live as a singer," so I switched to the singer course.

---I didn't think you'd want to be an actor.
CHAN: I especially aspired to be a broadway actor. Even now I still go to Daehakro to watch stageplays and musicals. Stageplays and musicals are produced with the audience in mind, aren't they? That was what attracted me to them.
JUNHO: When I was a high school student, I was in the drama club, but my interest shifted to singing and dancing in my third year, so I joined the audition programme "Super Star Survival" when I was 17 years old. I had always been a fan of J.Y.Park-san, so I wanted to try for JYP from the very start. J.Y.Park-san is a genius who always creates music that no one ever expects, right? I was attracted by that.

---Speaking of JYP, am I correct to say that it's an agency that gathers extremely talented people?
JUNHO: In Korea, just becoming a JYP trainee is a great honour. More than that, there's the appeal of working with lots of talented friends.
JUNSU: It's important for the idol training system to be organized. I think we're very fortunate to be able to focus on our practices in such a system.
KHUN: I like that it has a warm vibe too, just like a family.
TAEC: JYP doesn't have a strict social hierarchy where seniors who first entered the agency are at the top or anything like that. We can practise together harmoniously and improve our skills in a relaxed atmosphere.

---Do trainees see each other as rivals?
JUNHO: It wasn't so much rivalry, as the feeling like, "If that guy can do it, I should be able to do it too." We improve by criticising each other, so we're more like "comrades" than rivals.
WOO: I think we'd be lying if we said that we didn't see each other as rivals. But, because all of us spent our days in the same space together, we were more apt to sympathize with each other.
KHUN: To be honest, I saw Taecyeon as my rival. We were the same age and we took the same lessons. He was my number one competitor and my best friend.
JUNSU: So Nichkhun's best friend isn't me~? Ahahaha.

---Taecyeon-san and Wooyoung-san play high school characters who hope to become singers in the drama "Dream High". Were your actual days spent as a trainee of any help?
TAEC: The drama placed more emphasis on the characters' expression of emotions than the training process, so we didn't have to apply our experience to the roles at all.
WOO: Drama and reality are completely different things. The lonely battles faced by trainees aren't featured at all.
JUNHO: First of all, romance wasn't even on our minds when we were trainees. It's not that it wasn't allowed, so much as everyone was so focused on practices that we didn't have time for that sort of thing. Moreover, it's a world where success depends solely on talent, so all that dramatic stuff about sacrificing oneself to protect a friend never happened in real life before.
CHAN: The real thing isn't that cool.
(All the 2PM members nod their heads)

---What kind of lifestyle did you have, specifically?
JUNSU: For me, when I was a high school student, I'd go to the agency right after school to train until 10pm ~ 11pm. The time schedule, which tells us what classes we have from 9pm to 11pm, is pasted on the wall. Just like in school.
KHUN: Everyone else, besides students, entered the agency to start practice at 8am ~ 9am.
JUNHO: Our lessons focused on singing and dancing, and we took acrobatic classes with 2AM, too.
TAEC: I took Chinese lessons as well. And some acting classes.
KHUN: I had to take all that plus Korean lessons (cries). My head hurt.....
JUNSU: I took classes on rap, too. Nothing on acting.

---Can you choose which classes to take?
JUNSU: The company considered the business strategy for each and every person and chose the lessons for us.

---Nichkhun-san, coming from Thailand, were you shocked by the severely rigorous training?
KHUN: Yes. I've come to an intense place, was what I thought.

---Is there a trainee system in Thailand?
KHUN: Hmmm~ (he ponders on the question for a moment), even if there was one, I don't think they're trained as hard as the trainees in Korea. Thailand's music industry is similar to Japan's, where idols hone their talents after debuting. There aren't many singers who dance in the first place..... in Thailand, there's a lot of band music, so it's common for artistes to debut by building up experience as an indies band.

---What's the greatest hardship you faced as a trainee?
JUNSU: The "End-Of-Month Evaulation Test"! We have to show the results of our singing and dancing at the end of each month, and after the test, J.Y.Park-san will call us to give his evaluation and advice. That was really scary.....
KHUN: I had Chinese and Korean tests too, so I really had a hard time!

How did the term "Beastly Idols" come about?

---I have the impression that all of you are very level-headed, but did you also have to learn about the ethics of being a singer?
CHAN: There weren't any lessons in particular, but whenever we speak to J.Y.Park-san, I think we naturally learn how to feel about music, as well as how singers should act.

---Who do you think was the most amazing member in your trainee days?
CHAN: Junsu-kun! He always raised his hand first for the end-of-month evaulations, he's good at singing, and besides that, he also stood out because he was stylish with a cool hairstyle. When he treated me kindly at our first meeting, I already thought he was a cool guy.
TAEC: I choose Junsu-kun too. I still remember this vividly, but it was the day I had to take my first end-of-month evaluation test since I became a trainee. As I watched Junsu-kun sing "Flower", I wondered if it was okay for me to practise with such a great person.
JUNSU: (happily) You guys~~~~~~♪ Thank you!
JUNHO: My first impression would be that Junsu-kun had a charismatic aura. Taecyeon-kun sort of had the feel of a brotherly senior? Chansung's silent demeanor gave me a cool image, while Wooyoung seemed kind of aloof. Chansung was actually just spacing out, though. (laughs) Wooyoung's kinder and more stoic than he looks.
WOO: Taecyeon-kun left the most impression on me. As you can see, he's very tall, so that alone made him stand out. On my first day as a trainee, when I looked up at Taecyeon-kun and said, "Let's work hard together," he said, "Sure," with this smile. All the tension I had in me uncoiled in that instant.
TAEC: Yep, yep, I have that in me, don't I. (laughs)

---When I talk to you, I don't feel any testosterone-filled jimseung (beastliness); instead, you give off the feel of mischievous boys in their early twenties. In the first place, where did the term "jimseung-dol (beastly idol)" come from?
JUNHO: We were first dubbed that because we appeared on a variety show called "Idol Army" and acted like wild animals. It actually meant to refer to us as "those uncontrollable guys", "wild children", the people who move here and there freely on their own. Then our performance of "I Hate You", which closely resembled the robust power of carnivorous animals, established the image of toughness in the term "jimseung-dol", which still continues up to today.

---How do you feel about being called "jimseung-dols"?
KHUN: To put it simply, we're happy to be called as such. We're also proud that the word "jimseung-dol" was created for 2PM. But we're actually more like adorable "jimseung babies" than tough beasts, I think~?

---You became members of 2PM after going through the reality TV show, "Hot Blood", but did you ever imagine you would debut with such a line-up?
JUNSU: Not at all! We had our training camp with 2PM and 2AM mixed together, so we had no idea who we'd end up with. There was the possibility of everyone joining up to form one single group, too.
KHUN: I had imagined being in the same group with Taecyeon. Because Junho took lessons with a different class, I didn't know him until the shooting for "Hot Blood", so I was surprised to have him in the same group.

---So it was possible for you to have joined 2AM and focused on singing ballads.
JUNHO: That's right. Honestly, either 2AM or 2PM would have been great. Just because their focus is on ballads doesn't mean they won't have the chance to perform dances at all; in fact, they're singing songs like "I Did You Wrong" which have a strong element of dance in them. I think the other members feel the same way, too.

They had their first girlfriends in the first grade of elementary school!?

---This winter, the Woo-U (Wooyoung + IU) couple has gained popularity because of the romance between Jason (Wooyoung) and Pil Sook (IU) in the Korean drama, "Dream High".
WOO: I see Jason, who always acts gentlemanly towards everyone and goes on ahead to open doors, as a playboy. Maybe he's being courteous, but I think he goes overboard. (laughs) I don't do such things very well. I'm very focused when I like a girl. She'll be the only one I look at, and the only one I would treat in such a fashion. I'm like that with regards to everything I do. For example, there was a period as a child when I was so obsessed with my pets that I even stopped studying.

---Jason gradually begins to fall for Pil Sook's charms. Are you the type to develop a romantic relationship from an existing friendship? Or are you the type to fall in love at first sight?
WOO: In my case, I decide whether I like or hate her through our conversations.
TAEC: I'm the same as Wooyoung, I guess.
CHAN: I think I've experienced it both ways. But I might consider based on the very first impression.
JUNHO: I always fall in love at first sight. (laughs) Well it's not really love at first sight, but more like I often fall for the whole vibe of a girl as opposed to her looks. I also fall for girls whom I think has a similar mindset as me....... I have a strange radar for that sort of thing. When I think, "Ah, I think I can connect with this girl," I'm mostly right.
TAEC: Please give me that radar. (laughs) Mine is just a vicious cycle of falling for someone, getting betrayed and hurt badly, closing my heart, then opening my heart for a nice girl again, and then getting hurt yet again....... (cries).
WOO: Maybe you have a poor sense of judgment? What kind of girl are you attracted to?
TAEC: There's nothing I'm especially attracted to, but...... I like a girl who's strong, but possesses the kindness to care for me occasionally.

---A tsundere type. (T/N: "Tsundere" comes from "tsun" (angry) and "dere" (bashful). It refers to people who have a soft, gentle core inside their mean exterior.)
TAEC: ........ possibly. But, I don't want someone like Hye Mi (the heroine in "Dream High")..... 'cause Hye Mi's got a strong personality, but she doesn't show any care for me. (laughs) To be perfectly honest, I played Jin Gook while wondering, "Why I do like Hye Mi?" But I do want to empathize with my character, so I played the role by telling myself, "She may seem obnoxious on the outside, but, deep inside, she's a good girl with a warm heart. She's a charming girl."

---That's because Hye Mi is Jin Gook's first love. She must have some appeal. Since we're talking about first loves now (laughs), I'd like to hear your stories about your first love.
TAEC: I had my first love in the first grade of elementary school, after an exchange of "I like you," "I like you too," "okay let's go out".
WOO: Isn't that kinda early?
TAEC: Huh? You think so? We ate ice cream together.... stuff like that.
WOO: Mine was in my fourth grade of elementary school. We liked each other, but neither of us could say it.
KHUN: Then how could you tell you liked each other?
WOO: I wanted to hold her hands so badly, I fooled around during PE class and clung to her. At first she said stuff like, "Go away~", "Why don't you just go over there~", but when I finally took her hand, she gripped it very tightly in return.
JUNSU: ~~~~~~~~! What an innocent story!
JUNHO: I became aware of the opposite sex for the first time in elementary school. I think I was in the sixth grade. I fell for a girl who was a little chubby and much smaller than me, so I confessed to her in the park and asked if she would go out with me. Although she said OK, I became so self-aware that I couldn't talk to her after that. Then I spent the days after that writing letters in class, which I passed to her nearly every period. It went on for several months, but because we didn't talk or call each other and only communicated through letters, it fizzled out on its own.
CHAN: Everyone's so precocious. I went through my years in elementary school without thinking about girls at all...... sports was all I ever thought about. My first love was in middle school. It was with a girl who went to the same taekwondo class, so all we did was take lessons together.

---That sounds platonic. Tell the truth; you were all popular in school, weren't you?
JUNHO: A junior one year younger than me went all out to show her love when I was a third year in middle school. Calling me on the phone was a given; she'd also leave chocolates on my classroom desk and insert letters into my mailbox at home.
WOO: Weren't the basketball players pretty popular when we were kids? I think I don't have any memory of being popular because I played soccer. (laughs)
CHAN: There was a time when I received letters from 4 ~ 5 people a day, but as Wooyoung-kun theorized, I think it's because I played basketball. (he said, mumbling to himself.)

---You must have made a lot of girls cry, then?
KHUN: That's not true~ We're always faithful.
JUNHO: But as men, we can make girls cry even when we're faithful, right? Like the girls who keep crying without saying a word. They'd be like, "I shouldn't have to say it for you to understand, right?" ........ but I don't understand~! Men don't get it. That's why, everyone! Please tell your boyfriend exactly why you're crying, what made you sad, why you're angry and what you want from us! I'm making this request as a representative of all the men in the world!
TAEC: Men are weak to women's tears. All the men in the world will agree.
(All the 2PM members nod their heads.)
CHAN: We're really weak to a girl's tears! It's really a sin to cry! 'cause we don't stand a chance against those tears......
KHUN: I don't think I could go on if I make a girl cry~ (cries)

---Girls cry as a sign of loneliness. Maybe you haven't been meeting up with her much....
JUNHO: I'm the type that wants to give all my free time to my girlfriend, so I'd want to contact her a lot and go on many dates. Chansung is the same way, I think. It's through talking to each other that we can understand the other's feelings.
CHAN: (nodding his head vigorously)

---In Korea, it's natural to have a strong relationship where you meet your partner several times a week and talk to them over the phone more than once a day. However, in Japan, we often have a more casual type of romance.
WOO: Really!? That's impossible for me~! Don't you wonder what your partner's doing? In Korea, we get into a fight if one of us doesn't contact the other for even a day.
JUNHO: I can't do that either, but now that I think about it, the Japanese style may not be a bad idea. My view on romance has changed ever since I started working. When I was a student, I basically wanted a girl who could stay by my side all the time, but now I'd like a person I can grow up with, or a person whom I can care for, and she for me. There are some things that can only be done alone, and love isn't just all about staying by someone's side. It seems like a relationship can last longer with the Japanese style.
CHAN: But I think I'd still want to see her everyday. We don't necessarily have to do anything, but I'd feel more at ease just by being in the same space.
TAEC: I don't care whether we meet or not, or even what country she's from~! As long as she doesn't hurt me!! If she hurts me........ sob~ sob~ (and he pretends to cry).
JUNSU: Did you suffer that much? (laughs)
KHUN: I pray that Taecyeon and every one of us will have a wonderful romance!

2PM explains their songs
"2PM 1st Concert in SEOUL "DON'T STOP CAN'T STOP"
2PM's first concert DVD goes on sale on March 30, 2011. (T/N: Now April 6!) The members will personally comment on all the recorded songs!

"10 out of 10(10/10)
Our debut song, as well as a song that livens up the crowd in concerts. (Chansung)

"Without U"
A new challenge for 2PM and the first song J.Y.Park-san has ever complimented. (Chansung)

"Don't Stop Can't Stop"
With lyrics that express our feelings, I think it's a striking, moving song. (Junho)

We're very attached to this song, because it's the first one we ever received back when we were working with 2AM. (Junho)

"I Hate You"
This tough, masculine rap is the reason why 2PM became "jimseung". (Taecyeon)

"Thank You"
A strong song filled with our feelings of gratitude for the fans who always watch over us. (Taecyeon)

"Gimme The Light"
With its strong R&B vibe, it wouldn't be an exaggeration to call this 2PM's best song. (Junsu)

"Tired of Waiting"
I burst out laughing when I heard that Super Changoddai-san came up with the melody of this song while he was waiting in line at the bank. (Junsu)

"Only You"
A ballad song filled with memories of J.Y.Park-san's angry scoldings. (Nichkhun)

"What Time Is It Now?"
We often open concerts with this song. The strong beats leave quite an impression. (Nichkhun)

This song suit my vocals, so it's a commemorative piece which took me only 30 minutes to record. (Nichkhun)

There's a clear concept to the song, so I think it's the coolest. (Chansung)

"My Life 4 U"
A passionate song that calls for you to risk your life for love. I want to try this sort of romance! (Wooyoung)

"I Was Crazy About You"
A song that we performed in a sexy dance with female dancers at our 1st concert. (Wooyoung)

Source: Aera Mook K-Pop Boys Plus Magazine
Scans from Daegutang
Translated by fantaisie @ Wild2Day.org