06/08 [trans] Exclusive Interview 3 : Double S 301 “Thank you members who made a difficult decision”
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Debut as a member of SS501 in 2005, they are already 12 years in the industry before they knew it. Now when they go to broadcast stations, there are more juniors than seniors, the broadcasting staff who they grew close with are now holding a higher position than before. The times that the members are together are also that long. Is it because of the trust and mindlessness that makes them being able to stay with each other for such a long time?
Division of roles came naturally having to be in activities together for a long time, they had a lot of discussions without Triple S. Heo YoungSaeng who is known as “Idea Bank” among the members is mainly giving positive suggestions, Kim HyungJun is positively “objecting” them. Kim KyuJong takes up the center role of mediating between them.
“Our characters are all different. KyuJong and I are very different, my values and polite thinking is quite similar with YoungSaeng hyung. The way we talk is also different, but our thinking are similar. But there are many differences in our thinking between KyuJong and I.” (Kim HyungJun)
“KyuJong is right in the middle. HyungJun’s style is he talks a lot about very practical things. I talk more of slightly more future-orientated things.” (Heo YoungSaeng)
“Hyung’s character is that he will change (decision) slightly according to his feelings, HyungJun is just speaking of the present reality, and tell us this is not feasible. HyungJun used to say “No, this is right”, but nowadays HyungJun listens to us a lot. As we continue to talk with each other, we are steered to a direction, I think that is great.” (Kim KyuJong)
“It’s quite different even when we read books. YoungSaeng hyung reads a lot of books on mind wellness, and books with good phrases or famous sayings. HyungJun reads a lot of those books like how to become rich, how to succeed in your twenties. For me? I only read poems. Because I don’t like reading long passages…(laughs)” (Kim KyuJong)
Even when the members don’t have any schedules, or have any special occasions, they will contact each other every day through group chats. It is a place where they talk privately about how they wish to see their fans. Through the chat space, they are literally “like lovers” contacting each other from the moment they open their eyes till they sleep.
“I will send a message once I wake up. I will reply immediately when HyungJun message, YoungSaeng’s message will come slowly.” (Kim KyuJong)
“We really contacted each other for nothing (important). When I work up, there are about 70 unread messages. I went in to read, there are about 20 messages in the company’s group chat, the group chat for 3 of us has about 30~40 messages. There are emoticons, and HyungJun’s style of sending message is that he will send short sentences. “Let’s meet later” he will send as “Let’s meet”, “later” separately. Thus there are many notifications.” (Heo YoungSaeng)
“I will send in the middle of the night too. It has become an everyday life to be contacting each other.” (Kim HyungJun)
“I thought I had an incoming call. Because the vibration was continuous (laughs)” (Heo YoungSaeng)
Hearing this, I wondered all of a sudden. Will they miss the times when they stay together in a dorm now that they are working together? Heo YoungSaeng’s reply is “Not at all”. Kim HyungJun said “Why do I feel that I want (to stay together in a dorm)?”, expressing his sadness.
Currently there are members who are living on his own and members who are living with family. The situation has changed greatly now that they are in their thirties as compared to when they are in their early twenties. It might be difficult to live together with each other again as a matter of fact. Even so, they mentioned “it would be fun to live together again”, showing the fond memories they had, and able to talk about the hard days with a smile.
“I think it will be even more fun if we live together now. We can sleep together if we end late, I guess it will be fun like that…One of the bad memories from back then was that the dorm will become a mess if the manager comes. He’s not good in cleaning up, and uses our things. If it is now, we would have talked about it, but back then we were still young so…” (Kim KyuJong)
“We had a regular program called “Thank you for waking me up” last time, I guess it was difficult to borrow a dorm every week. At that time KyuJong and I were living together because we came from other cities, due to the filming of that program they gave us a bigger place and that became our dorm. It was great for both of us, but for the members who are from Seoul, it was slightly forced upon them. Then I had a throat surgery and needed to rest so if we are still living in a dorm I couldn’t have rested well. Thus I rented a studio apartment urgently and moved out to rest for about a month, it was more comfortable that way.” (Heo YoungSaeng)
“It was fun during our living in Japan. HyungJun and I shared one room, the two hyungs shared one and JungMin had a room to himself. Because HyunJoong hyung and I like to drink soju, so we shared a room initially, and YoungSaeng hyung shared with HyungJun, JungMin sleeps alone. JungMin also had a room to himself during the time we live in Seoul too. He likes to live alone.” (Kim KyuJong)
“Because HyunJoong hyung and I likes to drink, we will get scolded by JungMin if we come home late after drinking. That’s why we thought “Well then why don’t we drink in the dorm?”, but after awhile of drinking we got scolded again…(laughs)” (Kim KyuJong)
Knowing each other for more than 11 years since at a tender age of late teens~early twenties. There are lots of ups and downs, and experiences many tough times. Their affection for their members are noticeable. I asked what is Double S 301’s strength, KyuJong replied after some considerations “Good person? From what I see, we are really nice to people around us. It may be a negative point but I think it is a strength in the long run.” Heo YoungSaeng said “I don’t think there are any other groups that are so kind and like a fool” showing his endless affection for the members.
That’s why it’s the most fun when the members are doing work together. Because when you are busy working, the complicated thoughts will be forgotten for the time being. You know more things now than when you’re younger, you have things you want to do, but things may not always go your way. In such situations where there might be set-backs, the members and their music and performance become a consolation.
So this was asked during a variety program. What does stage and music mean to Double S 301?
“Hyung has married to music. HyungJun is like he will die on stage if he were to die.” (Kim KyuJong)
“Stage is my playground. I am going to play. Even though I used to think that I must succeed no matter what, now I just want to show ourselves with this.” (Kim HyungJun)
“It was really fun. It was very fun when we have concerts and it was fun to go up on stage. But it is more fun when we go on stage as 3 people instead of alone. I think it will definitely be fun if there are 5 of us instead of 3. Also, it is not us filling up but we are all being filled, I didn’t know that before. When I was young, I thought having fans is a natural thing that comes, but now I know that convey your sincerity through how much you prepare (performance/albums), and that is what the fans looks forward to. When we sing the songs together, when we sing ballad songs, that is the moment that we identify with each other. While the fans sing, they will cry. When this happens, it becomes our happy energy. Now when we come on, we can all be go excited, have fun, be young just like the mood of the song even though everyone has definitely aged but that’s alright. Let’s have fun, it’s that kind of feeling.” (Kim KyuJong)
“They will follow even more when we do that, if you try to watch out for something then you will be thinking a lot which I think is totally not necessary. That’s why I continue to appeal to do what we want to do from our heart and members are also accepting of it. Each of us had our own solo activities for 3~4 years at different times, so we have to share those times, and set our minds to succeed. Don’t think too much and when we go up on stage, just sing for those who are watching us.” (Kim HyungJun)
Time to say everything you want, listen to everything you want. Finally, I asked what do they want to say to their members to end off the interview. They said they have done so recently, they talked a lot about each other like what I’ve requested, three of them were hesitant but ultimately started talking, saying what they would like to tell each other, in a composed but frank manner.
“It wasn’t easy to reunite three of us, I am thankful to the members for making some difficult decisions. Like the difficult decisions made, we will have good days ahead so don’t be too impatient and I hope that it can last for a long long time. My role model is Japanese group SMAP. It will be great if we can do it till we are in our fifties, it wouldn’t be difficult if we are like-minded. What I really want to do now is to understand and give in to each other, and adjust our mindsets alike. If we aren’t on the same page then we will not be able to even start like this so don’t be too worried, and I hope that I won’t get sick/injured. If I am sick/injured then I will not be able to show what I wanted to, so I pray for health so as not to be sorry to my members. We will be using 301 as our name continuously in the future, when doing activities was 501, 501 will be 501, I hope that we have a good promotional period as 3 who are enthusiastic and affectionate for 301.” (Kim HyungJun)
“When I was young, it seems like a dream to be able to debut. Thank you for doing it with me, and I thought that would be forever. But as we did our activities, we had arguments just like other people, looking back, we are alright but seems like there will be people who will talk bad about us. But as time passes, we reached an age where we are able to control the arguments, learn from our experience, hanging on, and finally reached here, I am very thankful for that. We told each other not to misunderstand each other no matter what happens. If there is any misunderstanding, just raise it up and talk about it to one another, and if you hear anything negative, ask about it. It’s great to have such trust, and great to have desire musically when we are working. You are the most handsome when you are seriously engrossed in doing music and preparing for the performance, thank you. Allowing me to see the parts that I didn’t see myself. If the other members are with us, we would be talking about other things that the 3 of us didn’t see. That’s why it’s call a team. On Christmas 2004, YoungSaeng hyung wrote letters to us. His feeling is more delicate than I’ve expected. On the red card he wrote “To KyuJong”, I cannot forget that. I am very thankful for it. “Jjuni” bought me some snacks. I didn’t have much money when I was a trainee, those times I had to eat cup noodles everyday…” (Kim KyuJong)
“Because this is something we always talk about so there isn’t something that we certainly want to talk about. But if I have something to tell these friends, I would say, it’s quite tiring these days, for real. There are some difficulties, when we say we want to reunite as 3, the anticipation grew. But in reality, we couldn’t get the results as much as the expectations. It may become a discouragement. However you told me don’t let it discourage us and let’s work harder next time, you look great taking one step at a time and thank you. Come to think of it, in the future we would have anticipations for better results again, even though we don’t know when will it be but I think that the days for us to shine again will come.” (Heo YoungSaeng)