Sunggyu's interview with Billboard Korea
Sunggyu, the leader of ‘Trend-dols’ Infinite starts his intensive work at dawn. Even on the day of the interview, he had to change is schedule several times. In the end, the interview was set at 3PM and could start only after sundown. Sunggyu looked obviously exhausted but he kept on saying “I’m ok” while smiling. He joked saying that when they first debuted “It was our wish to be tired because we have a lot of schedules” remembering for a moment about Infinite’s old image.
This year, Sunggyu had great results personally. He got to debut not as Infinite’s leader but as a solo singer. Through the title track ‘60 Seconds’ with modern rock beats, he could show his rocker spirit as much as he wanted. Sunggyu said “It feels like I’m showing myself only now”. Aside from ‘60 Seconds’ in this album, there are a lot of various songs. Including ‘41 Days’, the song he personally wrote, there’s the acoustic version of ‘Only Tears’ that garnered interest during Infinite’s concert, ‘Shine’ that is a gift from Nell’s Kim Jongwan, etc, by showing music with various colors, he tried to transform. As if he was leaving on a trip to find his other self, the name of the album is also ‘Another Me’.
When asked about the solo singer’s title song, Sunggyu commented “It was a work where I could enjoy my freedom”. “I felt more freedom than when I’m working as Infinite. When I was promoting in Infinite, I also tried to show a new image but this challenge was different than before. Should I say it was freedom through rock? It was a refreshing challenge.”
As soon as we asked him to choose the best song of this album, he chose ‘41 Days’. Sunggyu said “It’s the song where I tried writing lyrics for the first time and the melody matches me well. It’s the best song to me”.
Sunggyu is the first Infinite member to go solo. When we asked him which member was the most envious, he chose his roommate, Woohyun. “I think that Woohyun who’s in chage of the vocals in the team is envious. Since he’s my roommate we talk often but I’m coming home late because of the solo activities these days, so I think it’s even more like that” and after saying that while laughing, he counted on his fingers “Since he’s my roommate since before we debuted, he’s also a friend-like dongsaeng (T/N: Friend as in friend with the same age). He’s a roommate worth 100 points who supports me no matter what I do”.
These days, collaborations are the trend in the K-Pop industry. We also asked to Sunggyu if there was a singer he wanted to sing with. “I always wanted to sing with Nell seniors but since they gave me a song as a gift I was really happy. Next time, if I get the opportunity, I want to collaborate with the band Pia.”
Infinite has the nickname of ‘Trend-dols’. But it’s not a group that got popular as soon as they debuted. In 2010, they released their debut album ‘First Invasion’ but they didn’t get significant results. They released another single but the reactions weren’t really good. When promoting for their second mini-album ‘Evolution’ with the title song ‘BTD’, they set their color as ‘Choreography-dols’, their single ‘Nothing’s Over’ exploded and they quickly rose as Idols we have to focus on. With the song ‘Be Mine’ they settled as top idols, and Infinite were very active. Their song ‘The Chaser’ even got 1st place in this year’s K-Pop chart selected by the American Billboard. As the leader who must’ve been more frustrated than anyone else, it can only be a result to be proud of for Sunggyu.
“When we first debuted I was very frustrated. Then we had the song ‘BTD’ and I thought ‘That’s it’. I thought it would do really well. But it didn’t get as known as I thought it would. The greed slowly disappeared and we released the single ‘Nothing’s Over’ without any expectations and it did well so I got hope. Truthfully, a group like Infinite sings a lot of songs that are melody centered so it could look old. Luckily, there were a lot of good songs this year, the concert, the dance, the styling, etc everything matched us well.”
They got popular but the rumors also grew. “Infinite lost their original goal” “After getting popular they have no manners” a lot of rumors like these spread around them. “It’s true that we got busier than when we debuted. The feeling we had before, thinking ‘We have to work hard’, didn’t disappear but after getting popular, there were a few rumors saying so. The 7 of us lived together for 3 years and we still talk to each other a lot. We do our best to be polite toward juniors, seniors, everyone. But when I hear that we lost our original goal, it makes me very upset. There’s no way I can explain it to each one of them, right? I’m actually the type to be very shy so when I wait by myself in the waiting room with many groups, I get shy and I can’t greet them well. But I think that people could misunderstand it as me being arrogant. I have to do my best to change more actively, of course (laughs).”
While we were at it, we asked. Does the leader of an idol group have a girlfried? “I’m an adult as well, I want to have a girlfriend (laughs). But rather than that, I want to give a house to my parents living in Jeonju. I said I was going to sing, I didn’t go to the university at 20 and went to Seoul thoughtlessly, so it made them very upset. My wish is to buy a house where my parents can live comfortably.”
Sunggyu said 2012 was an unforgettable year. He said it was because he released a solo album and held Infinite solo concerts in Korea and Japan. He said while smiling that he was happy he could improve as Infinite’s leader and as the solo singer Kim Sunggyu. From now on, which singer will he want to develop?
“‘As a singer, what do I have to become?’ ‘Where do I have to get 1st place?’ I don’t have special nor definite goals like these. I just want to become a singer who will be active steadily and for a long time. I want to let a lot of people listen to my voice through songs.”
source: billboard + trans by emilie @ infiniteupdates
This was a really interesting read imo. And I do wish 'Before The Dawn' had been their breakout track as well.