[ Live a life as if you live to complete all the things you intend to do]
He is born with a pretty face, he is ranked top 3 in South Korea’s most influential programme, he is the cutest husband in an onscreen marriage, he is the ultimate fairy-witch in an outdoor reality show. In addition, he participated in an acting role, something which he had never challenged before. When asked for his identity, he gave his usual answer. He replied: “I am a rocker.” As he gained more experience in the entertainment world, the acknowledgment he received soared even higher.
Compared to other events, his experience in SSK4 is more meaningful as regardless any location or the amount of time passed, Jung Joon Young kept his enthusiasm intact. Although he stands at the core in the entertainment industry, bystanders’ opinions hardly concern him. Rather than dwelling on what has changed him over the years, it will be more meaningful if we talked about the unchanged within the change in him.
‘Today’s Love’ recently started screening in theatres. Didn’t you say that you will not try out acting?
JJY: I still feel that acting is really tiring to date, nothing much has changed actually. I am actually quite easily influenced by people. I decided to do it after getting persuaded by the director. He told me not to have any pressure and that Hyo Bong’s character was written based on my personality, hence I was told that acting in my usual self will do. Honestly I will find it difficult to act if I received a role of out my own personal character. All the actors in this drama had some experience in the field so they started analysing their character once they received the script. However that will not work for me hence I acted freely in my style right from the start. I received feedback as I moved along and changed accordingly but it was still difficult.
What’s the most difficult part?
JJY: Of course memorising script is the toughest! It’s too difficult. I mentioned from the start that I had problems memorising the script and asked if there was a teleprompter. However as expected, there was none. My character initially had Busan dialect because it would make my role seemingly cuter and I was weak to start off with. It will make me look tougher if I spoke in dialect but I gave up immediately after trying it once. I’m still far from having that specific feeling and situation.
Will you still continue acting after this?
JJY: I’m not sure personally but it seems like my company will prepare me for another follow up film. The reaction in my company was really good. It seemed like people in the company treated me especially well as they said that ‘Today’s Love’ was able to be so popular because of my acting. I think they are already in the midst of preparation for my next film. However I’m not so sure myself. I’m an easily swayed person by nature so I’ll probably act again if someone comes to me. However I’m afraid of bringing people trouble if I were to do something which I’m no professional in continuously.
What about the possibility of you doing well?
JJY: There is a possibility of me doing well if I have the passion for it however I’m still unsure if I have that specific passion. Professional actors will be able to judge other actors’ acting skills while watching the movie but I’m only interested in the storyline and its twists. Furthermore, I would not even watch a movie if it does not have much plot twists. I have watched all of those recommended by the Internet. In fact I only watched those which I like.
What if you were offered a role in a film with plot twists similar to ‘The Usual Suspects’?
JJY: Of course I’ll film it. I will put my reputation and life at stake to do it. I’ll go have a tattoo if the film needs it. Also, I’ll definitely want to try a role in those cool gangster-like films if I had the opportunity to do so. If I were to attain a role like Jo In Sung in OCN ‘A Dirty Carnival’ or Jo Dong Hyuk’s role in OCN ‘Bad Guys’, I’ll certainly go for acting classes and train my body.
It seems as if passion plays a big part in your attitude towards work.
JJY: I’ll do it diligently if I have the passion for it but there were also times where I just did my work for the sake of doing it. I gained an interest towards tennis recently. Only after preparing my tennis shoes, did I find out that the court was too frozen to play in. My tennis instructor was also involved in a traffic issue and so I grew lazy over time which eventually lead to me giving up on playing. However I’ll still go in the future since I’ve already invest money in it.
Then what are some things you are really interested in these days?
JJY: I’m busy with the preparation for my new album these days. I’m preparing it everyday but it isn’t easy to have an album with the consistency I desire. Good lyrics are needed to produce a good album but I’m not all that good at writing lyrics. My language is poor and my vocabulary is insufficient, especially for descriptive expressions which are exceptionally important. I’m weak at these stuff to start off with so I’ll present the big picture of the song before letting the lyricist write the lyrics, matching the style of music.
In your previous album ‘Teenager’, it seems as if the album’s consistency is lacking, such that all the songs give off a different vibe of its own.
JJY: Actually all the songs are similar in the aspect of their structure. Listening to it instrumentally, the guitar chords form a simple melody, as they start off with E major and end off with either C or D major. However, styles of each song starts changing after the edited lyrics were added in.
Recently you posted a new guitar on your blog. Does this guitar correlates with your upcoming album?
JJY: I always have a liking towards Gibson guitars but the style of my upcoming album does not really suit the feeling given off by Gibson guitars. This album is fused with some British Rock style. In fact it was a style which I didn’t like in the past as it didn’t seem like a flavourful genre, and that it just gives off the feeling of a guy fashionista. However the album’s style wasn’t intentionally made to be British Rock, the genre merely surfaced as music composition went along. Hence I bought a new guitar, in which I already bought 2 for myself previously. As for the rest of the guitars which I used after debuting were either presents or sponsored and I bought one personally this time. It takes quite a bit of effort to play this new guitar but the sound it produces is very charming.
This job isn’t easy, so how do you sustain your passion towards it?
JJY: This job isn’t given to me by the others, but was in fact something which I wanted to embark on by myself from the start. I have said this in past interviews. Having watched Nirvana performed in MTV, Kurt Cobain said: “ Fuck you all, this is the last song of the evening” right before their final song, I felt that this sentence was really cool. I didn’t have much interest in music at that point in time but I especially liked the expressions of Marilyn Monroe and Kurt Cobain when they cussed. I formed a 2-men band, named Diving Into The Ground back then even though I did not have much knowledge of music. I didn’t know how to perform. I was the bassist while my friend was the guitarist. I did not know any chords but initially we decorated the guitar and used screws to beautify our instruments to make it look cooler. I saw this really cool bassist who knee-slides on the ground and so I copied him as well. It seems like a pretence but I started music because of such opportunities.
It seems as if such pretence is a must-have for rockers these days.
JJY: The stuff I did in the past was gangster-like. In the past, I thought that rebelling meant swinging and throwing things around, but now I feel that rebelling is me rebutting against things I do not wish to do. For example, I really could not stand people asking me for help in exchange for my decision in things, but ended up breaking promises in the end, in which I had experienced this before. Wasn’t there a famous saying that goes “ We avoid crap not because it is scary but because we dislike it being troublesome”? I will step over it without hesitation.
Do you have any things you wish to rebel currently?
JJY: Of course I do, there are too many things which I need to do, yet I lack time to concentrate on music. Sometimes I’ll have a random thought: What exactly am I busy for? Friends who used to play music with me asked me what I am doing. Now it just seems as if I am an entertainer.
Can the life of an entertainer and rocker run along parallel lines?
JJY: I don’t think it can ever be parallel. Being an entertainer can only be an entertainer. If one song grows popular, it is an all-in situation for a rocker. The popularity I mentioned is not about the ranking of the song on music charts but the satisfaction instilled in myself and the reaction I received during public performances. It will be really awesome if there is one song which can allow audience to interact with me and feel blissful at the same time.
Even so, there are some takeaways as an entertainer right?
JJY: Of course I earned money. However I didn’t have much interest in money right from the start. I’m used to living with insufficient money and I don’t have much aspects which I would spend my money on nowadays. The fame received as an entertainer doesn’t hold a definite meaning, and come to think about it, the number of times I stood on the stage seems few. Although I do perform on stage a lot during promotions, it becomes a problem when I end promotions, partly because I am a soloist I guess. Of course in terms of variety, I find that participating in 2 Days 1 Night [KBS Happy Sunday] is interesting and often have this sense of satisfaction. I have a more bubbly personality so I do not think that reality shows are that hard for me. However just as I had mentioned previously, I still earn to develop in the area of music.
On the other hand, what are some difficulties in the life of an entertainer?
JJY: Times when I want to do certain stuff yet I’m unable to? For example, even though smoking in public is discouraged, people still close one eye at times isn’t it. However if I were the one smoking in public, I will end up in big trouble if people witnessed it! This is all Instagram’s fault!! One tag and all the pictures are out. Thankfully this didn’t happen when I was popular in Twitter and Facebook. However Instagram is viral from the start so I should be more careful. Don’t the other entertainers feel this way as well? If more of such social networks were to be introduced in the future, our lives will probably change as well.
Even so, you seem to be exposing your personal life through your blog.
JJY: Honestly speaking, isn’t that considered as boasting? I am someone of this level. Initially I only posted food which seems appetizing for everyone but as I post along, pictures of my fried rice started going up as well, same for the scenery I captured during 2D1N filming, and hence the scale was built up slowly. However I retreated quite a bit these days, no matter how hard I try, my topic can never surpass one picture from Lee Hyo ri noona. I saw that one line of her blog can make it to the news, hence I was faced with adversity. I don’t have enough time as well and I don’t have the thought of intentionally doing something before posting it up on the blog. Not long ago I was thinking if I should post a cuisine I was making at that time up on my blog but in the end I didn’t because I failed. I didn’t want to have a record of failure, because I am perfect (smiles)
If blogging is not meaningful, is there nothing else that catches your eye besides music?
JJY: Certainly it’s still gaming? I play crazily, such that I feel the need in completing all the levels in games. I have completed all the levels in Tera, Aion and Archeage. I only play overnight when I start on a new game, especially after I finish composing while waiting for the next song to be ready for composition. In this way, gaming and music run parallel, these 2 things are the most interesting to me nowadays.
It seems as if you live to complete the interesting things in your life?
JJY: No choice. If I don’t want to live my life completing things I don’t wish to do, I’ll complete them with the perception them being interesting. I have been living like these all along and will continue to do so.
Are there any things you will never do?
JJY: Entrepreneurship. It feels like this is something I will never do as I grow older. At times when I feel like drinking, I have thoughts of setting up a bureau wine house but the thoughts of premium and so on and so forth all include entrepreneurship, it feels so much easier if I just drink at home.
If entrepreneurship is out of the question for you, will you become an office worker or continue being an entertainer to become a rocker?
JJY: No matter what, I will want to do music.
Translated by JJYxDDORAI