[Interview] Shinhwa Shares on Being Role Models, Longevity and Pride in Dance Title Songs
Is there another group in the Korean music industry that has continuously been active for 17 years without breaking up other than Shinhwa?
Shinhwa has been dubbed the ′longest-running idol group′ for a while now. It′s hard for any other group to catch up to them. They′ve been active together for 17 years and they are still just as stable. If they stay as they are now, it seems like they can be together for the next 20, 30 years. All of Shinhwa′s activities is going down in history in Korean music.
Shinhwa is returning with its 12th official album WE. After its 11th album, The Classic on May 11, 2013, it′s a comeback in a year and nine months.
In a time when digital singles have become a regular in the music industry, Shinhwa has returned with a full-length album with ten tracks. That fact alone shows the principle of these idol veterans.
The chic style of music remains the same as it has in the past. The part to focus on is the performance. Although not yet revealed, Shinhwa says it is preparing a very powerful dance performance. The members are all in their mid-30s, but their passion is still the same was hen they debuted in 1998.
The title song Sniper is of the shuffle dance genre. The song was produced by British composer Andrew Jackson, with lyrics written by lyricist team, Jam Factory. Producing team, London Noise, also participated in the composition. As known, Andrew Jackson has previously composed Shinhwa′s This Love and Venus. This Love brought the most trophies that Shinhwa has ever earned. The lyricist team, Jam Factory, is also known for its work on EXO′s Overdose. The team has expressed the passionate love of six men who want the women they love.
The issues and ordeals have kept coming, but whenever they happened, the group became stronger. So the group has returned once again in 2015 with a completely full album. And we were able to meet Shinhwa.
- You′ve returned after over a year and a half. Please tell us how it feels to make a comeback.
Jun Jin: I didn′t think time would go by so quickly. Because of each member′s individual schedules, there was no time, but because we wanted everyone to hear good music, we worked hard on album preparations. It was difficult to prepare both the album release and a concert at the same time, but because we made a good album, I′m happy.
- What meaning does the album title WE have?
Eric: You can say it stands for Shinhwa and the fans teaming up and working hard together. That wasn′t the meaning of it actually, but because the album title is WE, our fans were working hard with us. I think we′ll receive a lot of love because of the album title.
- Lee Min Woo acted as the album producer. You must feel something different.
Lee Min Woo: This year is the year of the sheep. I was born in the year of the sheep, so I have a good feeling. Of the 10 tracks, they′re all so precious that not even one can be thrown out. Also, because each of the member′s personal colors shine, I′m even more content and satisfied. The other candidates for the title song were Ice Moon and Alright, but after I heard Andrew Jackson′s song, I changed my mind. So Sniper became the title song. I completely fell in love with the whistling at the beginning.
Kim Dong Wan: To elaborate, Lee Min Woo really gave a lot of attention to the album. To let the other members hear the songs, he pre-recorded the song and brought it. We couldn′t pay him the producing cost, and we should have paid him for the guide recording, but we didn′t give him that either (laughter).
- We heard a lot of attention was put on the performance.
Eric: Because we′ve done a lot of performances in the past, there weren′t a lot of things we could do that was new. But we were able to find something. It′s the kind of performance that will make each member′s parts grand.
- What are your resolutions for this promotional period?
Jun Jin: It′s before our promotions begin, but I think I′m receiving energy. I hope that we can complete our promotions in good health and without injuries. I plan on working hard without missing even the tiniest detail. I was wondering if junior high and high school students would know us, but they all knew. That′s all thanks to the power of broadcast. That′s how much power it has. I didn′t realize the importance of that in the past. I′m learning a lot of things.
- You′ll be holding a conert at the Olympic Park Gymnastics Stadium on March 21 and 22. Do you have anything special planned?
Shin Hye Sung: Because it′s a concert after our album has come out, there will be a lot of new performances. From our debut to our 12th album, we sang a lot of songs. We′ll be letting fans hear a very abundant amount of songs.
- Because of MBC′s Infinity Challenge ′ToToGa,′ a lot of stars from the 90s are getting spotlighted. Shinhwa also received a lot of love in the 90s.
Shin Hye Sung: As a viewer, I felt great to see our seniors come out on television. Because we′ve continuously come out on broadcast, we didn′t feel too sad about not being there with them.
Kim Dong Wan: We weren′t sad because of the fact that we didn′t become past memories yet. But ′ToToGa′ was really fun.
- You′re the longest-running idol group. It′s been 17 years since your debut. How did you feel when you debuted and how do you feel now?
Jun Jin: When we debuted, I just promoted as a singer because I liked it. But now, I feel like I know a little more now.
Kim Dong Wan: A lot of things have changed. Broadcasts have gone from analog to HD. When it was our first album, it was cassette tapes, but now it′s not even CDs, but digital songs.
Andy: Our voice tones have changed. I′m able to feel this kind of maturity that I haven′t felt before in the members. During our debut, we lived together in a dorm, but now we all live separately. Even though we live our separate lives, I′m happy that we make time for Shinhwa activities.
Eric: At the beginning of Shinhwa activities, appealing to the public was important. But now, it′s more important to take care of the people who work with us.
- Do you feel burdened as the longest-running idol group?
Andy: There′s a feeling of responsibility and burden every time. We wonder if we can show a different color or have sucess each time.
- If you ask many idol groups who their most respected senior or role model is, they answer Shinhwa. How does that feel?
Kim Dong Wan: It doesn′t feel all that great if the reason is only because we′re long-lasting. It makes it seem like if you don′t become like us, you′re going down the wrong path. Even after disbandment, there are groups that are doing fine on its own. I think each group should promote in their own ways.
Shin Hye Sung: I hope they can also see the growing maturity, and not just the longevity.
- Until when do you think you can promote as singers who dance?
Jun Jin: For as long as we can. Even when we′re married and in our 60s and 70s, if we have enough to move our hands around, I think we can still do it.
Eric: From the beginning, we′re members who joined together to become a dance group. A dance title song and a full-length album is our value and pride. I think that′s the least bit of sincerity that can be shown to our fans. So I think we should do as much as we can until we can. If we ever come out with a ballad as a our title song, that means we really don′t have any physical strength. When that times comes, you really have to refrain from talking about our stamina. I think if we hear about it then, we′ll become hurt (laughter).
Kim Dong Wan: If there are fans, we can do it until whenver. The song Memory is a song for our fans, and in the lyrics, it says, ′I can hear your voice, you wake me up from my sleep.′ The cheers of the fans wakes me up. And we also wake up the hardcore fans in their hearts.
- The members are already in their mid-30s. If someone is to start a family, who will be first?
Eric: I′ve always stated that I want to get married first out of all the members. But this year, everyone′s on a marriage ban. For now, because we prepared so hard on this album, we′re going to focus on album promotions.
- What do you think will be the most worthwhile during this promotional period?
Kim Dong Wan: To get number ones on music programs
Shin Hye Sung: The power to fill an entire concert hall.
Lee Min Woo: The fact that we′re still going, that in itself, is worthwhile.
Eric: This promotional period just needs to end well.
Photo Credit: Shincom Entertainment
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