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2AM Interview with 10Asia Part 1

Jo Kwon is the "It boy"!” This is how Jo Kwon described himself during the "Radio Star" segment on MBC variety show "Golden Fishery". That is very true. Jo Kwon and his group 2AM are the "It boys" of the moment. Their new single instantly shot to No. 1 on digital sound source chart and they are all over the television.

But come to think of it, they were quite a strange bunch. In 2008, they debuted with a charismatic image yet presented themselves as idols who are starting from rock bottom, singing that "the only thing to give you is this song." And rather than becoming talk of the town right away, they looked like a group of hard-working singers.

Two years later, they have finally started to establish an identity. They are one of the most sought-after guests on variety shows and their most recent single "I Can't Let You Go" topped online sound source charts immediately after its release. 10Asia talked to the group who is steadily rising to top.

10: Your single "I Can't Let You Go" topped singles charts as soon as it was released.

Jo Kwon (Jo)
: I couldn't believe it. The highest our song ever ranked was No. 3 on a chart with "This Song." But "I Can't Let You Go" topped all real-time charts within an hour of its release. And it was the first time I had seen the members of my group look so happy. Chang-min's face was all red when he came home and how he smiled!

10: Topping a chart as soon as a song is released also proves how popular you are. Do you realize how popular you are?
Jo: I do a bit now. Since even the elderly recognize me. It had been my goal to show the real me and be loved by people by appearing on variety shows so I'm happy nowadays because I think its gradually coming true.
Seulong: We all like going on variety shows so we've enjoyed appearing on them but it's been hard too. Kwon in particular had such a tightly-packed schedule that he had to get IV shots in between too. But I think we've gotten to see such good results because we tried hard.
Changmin: And in the meantime, we also kept talking about working on an album. That we want to make a comeback.

10: It must've not been easy taking care of your vocal cords.

It's actually difficult. Since I have to keep talking when I'm shooting MBC make-believe reality show "We are Married." too. But it's all about self-management. I go to the hospital if I'm in the least bit worn out and drink lots of water. I don't want the rest of my group to suffer because of me. Whatever situation I may be in, I want to do the best job I can at singing.

10: I think your feelings toward each other must have changed during the past year because of the different schedules you had.

There were times when we wouldn't see each other for days. But I think we grow closer during rough times. We worry more for the other person.
Jo: Jinwoon kept text messaging me while I was shooting SBS variety show "Family Outing." He sent it right when I was feeling tired saying, "How is it? Careful you don't catch a cold." I felt so thankful to him. Some people ask if other members of my group don't envy me since I sometimes have the busiest schedule but we don't have any qualms about it. We'd been trainees together for a long time, going through hard times together, so we are good at understanding and being considerate toward each other.

10: What did you think of "I Can't Let You Go" when you first heard it? It seemed like producer Bang Si-hyuk put a lot of though into it -- so that it could be received well by the public.

We too immediately said the song was going to be a hit.
Seulong: I felt a bit awkward singing it in the beginning because it wasn't the JYP style I had become used to but I started realizing how great it is while recording it.

10: It was impressive how your harmony in the hook of the song was emphasized, different from your previous songs. It expresses your voices better as a group.

Jo: I think harmony is important in appealing who we are. Since we are singers and part of a group. We hadn't harmonized for the recorded version of "This Song" but we did when we performed the song live.

10: Jo Kwon, you lead the harmony. Is there anything you keep in mind in particular when you sing?

Jo: I think emotions are crucial to harmony. The listener will be moved when we put our hearts into the song rather than being too technical about it. I'm the main vocal for the hook but when every member concentrates on the lyrics and pours his heart into his singing, we can make the melody sound like it is sung on a single note rather than several.
Seulong: "I Can't Let You Go" is a song which shows that we are indeed a group. I hope people will feel and think that we are a group, not a 2AM which pursued their individual activities upon hearing how we harmonize.

10: What did Bang Si-hyuk ask for when you recorded the song?

Jo: Both him and Park Jin-hyung always emphasize that we have to sing as if we're talking to someone so that our emotions get delivered to the listener. The difference between them is that Park will point out everything about the song, to the smallest detail, while Bang will ask us to sing the song in the way we feel about it after looking at it overall. He'll then coach us until we express the emotions in the right way.
Changmin: Park is a singer-turned-producer so he'd give us vocalization lessons while recording a song. But Bang emphasizes expressing the emotions more. We kept practicing based on that and what we thought worked so I think that's why the album may seem different from our previous albums.
Seulong: I have a part where I sing as if I'm churning out the rhythm. I like grooving as I please so I think it was easier to express who I am as a singer with this song.

10: How was singing "I Can't Let You Go" for you, Jinwoon? Part of the lyrics that you sing says, "I get hurt too, even if I'm young."

Jinwoon: I sang it the way it was written. I had a first love too and everything but when I tell people, they often say "What would you know when you're so young." I really sang it the way I feel it.

10: At the SBS Music Festival last year, I saw Jinwoon patting Seulong's shoulders. It looked like you do your job as the youngest of the group.

Jinwoon: He told me to, as if I'm practicing playing the drum on his back.
Changmin: We step on him when we're at home.
Jo: He does a good job of being the youngest. (laugh)

10: In reality show "We are Married," you guys seemed to give off the vibe that you as a group would attack intruders when Jo Kwon's make-believe wife Ga-in appeared at your house.(laugh)

Jo Kwon: We do that. Do everything as a group.
Seulong: We were able to act comfortable around her when we shot that because we're friends with her. And she came to our house as Jo Kwon's wife so we tried to make it funny.

10: Jo Kwon, it seems that you're going on the dates that you usually don't get to do through "We are Married."

Jo: At least I can. There are cameras and a lot of people around when we shoot the show but I don't mind it too much. I really have fun with it.

10: Well fans usually object against idols going out but I think the response is a bit different with you and Brown Eyed Girls member Ga-in.

Jo: I'm surprised about that too. I didn't know we would receive this kind of response when we first appeared on the show. I think some people think we would actually look good as a real couple because we treat each other like friends, quite comfortably. I also think we've scored some points from fans after appearing on the show because I get to show the more masculine side to me and Ga-in is seen more as a lady who knows how to act coquettish, different from the slightly haughty look she puts on when she's performing on stage.

10: You seem to be the one who acts more coquettish though. (laugh)

I can't help it because I'm younger. (laugh)

10: What do the rest of you think?

He acts exactly the same as he usually does.
Jinwoon: It's fun watching other couples but Jo Kwon and Ga-in really look good together.
Changmin: I envy them a lot. For the fact that they can date so openly. (laugh)

10: Well it can't be all fun, especially since you're all becoming busier with your appearances on variety shows. Jo Kwon had to participate in a sports event on "We are Married" even though he caught the stomach flu. What keeps you going?

Seulong: I think the common desire to make 2AM successful.
Changmin: What we said when we first started appearing on variety shows was that one's individual popularity equals to that group's popularity. When we go on a show, we introduce ourselves by saying, "Hello, I am 2AM member whoever." And by saying this, the viewers get to hear the name of our group. That's what was important to us -- making our name known. When we first debuted, Park Jin-young used to tell us, "Wherever you are, at a small event or on TV, put yourself out there with the mindset that you'll each attract just ten fans that day." I think that helped us a lot.

10: And I think the response to "I Can't Let You Go" proves that. I think your group has entered a new phase due to your activities during the past year. What sort of team do you want to become in the future?

Seulong: First of all, we want to keep going the way we have been going so far. Show our real selves on variety shows, sing sincerely on the stage and be good at self-management and also taking care of our throats. We've gotten where we are now because we steadily built on our experience so I think we're stable now. I think that if we keep going, there will be a day we receive even more love from our fans.

Senior Reporter : Kang Myoung-Seok two@10asia.co.kr
Reporter : Choi Ji-Eun five@10asia.co.kr
Photographer : Chae ki-won ten@10asia.co.kr
Editor : Jessica Kim jesskim@asiae.co.kr, Lee Ji-Hye seven@10asia.co.kr

Source : 10Asia


She has been a fan for K-POP for quite some time and enjoys blobbing anything about K-POP and events.


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