Not long ago, Yunho and Changmin announced the restart of their promotions as Tohoshinki. Having been inactive for over a year, this can be seen as a warm up for their official return. The duo gave us an insight into their hearts during their first photoshoot in Japan. It is due to the timing that they are now able to speak of such issues and it is because of the present situation that these thoughts have come to mind.Their rebirth begins here.
Q: How was this year as a whole?
YH: It’s been quite a turbulent year. Through the musical, the drama and individual activities, I’ve gained a lot of new experiences and I’ve come to look back on the past. The most important thing is that I’ve really matured, it’s a significant point in my life where I’ve really grown up. The biggest change is that, regardless of the situation, I always think to myself ‘I have to do this’. Sometimes I barely get the chance for a laugh, yet despite being so focused on my work lately, I’ve found that it’s given me the opportunity to stop and take in the things around me from a more objective standpoint.
Q: Your schedules have always been fully packed from the time of your debut and you’ve always been so focused on your music career. How did you feel when you were forced to leave this behind?
YH: In truth, it was my role in the drama ‘Heading to the Ground’ that gave me the moral support I needed during the most difficult times. If it’d been me during those times, I’d have given up, but having lived as Cha Bong Gun and endured the challenges he was faced with, his character was almost like my mentor. His courage gave me strength and I don’t think I’d be exaggerating even if I were to say that he was the reason I worked so hard. Also, I was able to sing because of my role in the musical, so that was like a ray of hope for me.
CM: During the first half of the year, I worked extremely hard on my television drama, just like Yunho. It gave me a lot of time to reflect on myself and so I really gained a lot. TVXQ was basically my entire life from the day of our debut so there was a lot that I didn’t put into consideration before. Now that I’ve had the opportunity to venture out as an individual, I’ve lived the year with the thought that I must do my very best as an artist on a scale of 1 to 10.
Q: Yunho took part in a musical, did Changmin also get the chance to sing?
CM: I’ve been attending singing classes and I’ve been to the karaoke with members of staff. To be perfectly honest, I have a lot of insecurities and worries. There are so many things that I want to do, but the truth is that they are completely unattainable in reality. I’m always under so much pressure, to the point where I feel like I have no way of controlling the anger and frustration in me, and it’s not because I’ve made a mistake or anything, but more due to forces that I know I have no way of fighting. It’s the fact that there are things that just cannot be solved. Even though the same things might remain stuck in my head from the moment I wake up, it seems as though I simply have no way of countering it, and it’s been the same way from the beginning, so I’ve literally just exploded in the past. Throughout this time, I’ve had the chance to change this trait of mine. I’ll probably still be like this in 20 years’ time, even now, I’m far from perfect (laughs).
Q: How did you feel standing on stage as a duo?
YH: From the moment we made the decision to stand on stage as TVXQ, a name we’d set aside for so long, there was a lot of inner turmoil. To be honest, it was that first time we stepped on stage in Seoul and were received by the deafening cheers, when I was finally hit by the realization that there were people waiting for us. ‘The only way I can truly live is by being on stage’ that thought rushed through me then and once I’d grasped its meaning, I found that I was able to stand proud.
CM: Ecstatic, and I really enjoy it. As the day drew closer, I felt the panic creeping up on me and I downed an entire cup of coffee without realizing it one day. That was the first time I had been so nervous since the moment of birth. When the staff asked ‘Will you be okay with just the two of you?’ I couldn’t understand what came over me, but I suddenly felt the internal conflict within me in full force. I still remember very clearly the moment when Yunho and I exchanged glances and the two of us shouted ‘Go!’ together.
YH: We encouraged each other while we were backstage. We said ‘We have to show the world what TVXQ is made of. This is TVXQ, we have to let them see that we’re not the same as the others. We’re unique!’
Q: I heard that there was real chaos at the show and your segment had to be moved forward in the performance rundown (at SMTown) because the fans got so anxious about the two of you.
YH: The power and the support (the fans) was amazing and it was because of them that we gave it our all. That is the beauty of being a singer: even when we’re gone, the name TVXQ will forever remain. We are TVXQ. I’ve held onto that belief since (SMTown). That day meant so much to us on many different levels and that is why we will never give up.
CM: Even as we were rehearsing, we kept saying to ourselves that it would be okay, even if some people had already lost faith in us, but as soon as I got on stage, I told myself ‘it’s okay, just let yourself go’. Of course, for the sake of our future endeavors, there’s still a lot to do.
Q: You’ve matured so much, can we expect you to offer something new in the days to come?
YH: Yeah! Be it singing or dancing, Changmin will take from me what is uniquely mine and I will do the same. We’ll learn from one another and keep progressing.
CM: Up till today, we’ve put an immense amount of effort into recording and rehearsing. There is nothing in this world that will ever be 100% satisfactory, and that’s basically what we’re going to keep in mind as we restart our activities as a duo. It’s not that we’re giving ourselves excuses… we hope to improve through projecting the joy of singing, undergoing a change in our style and doing our very best.
YH: The most important thing for us is singing in harmony. All along, we’ve held the highest and lowest parts and we questioned whether or not we’d be able to adopt to the change. Sometimes we’d get anxious over that. I’m working towards making my voice sound more masculine and Changmin is learning to refine his. Of course, it’s not all that simple, but the outcome was better than we had expected.
CM: I’ve always thought that my voice went pretty well with Yunho’s (laughs), we’ll maintain the style TVXQ has always had whilst also bringing our fans something that belongs solely to the two of us! I can genuinely feel a sense of security.
YH: I think we proved that at SMTown. As long as you don’t give up, you’ll have the strength to overcome anything. Of course, messages like ‘Fighting, we’ll always wait for you’ also motivated us. In order to repay our fans, we’ve reverted back to the mindset from when we first started out, we’re going to face this like we’re rookies and it’s our debut.
Thank you for waiting for us.
CM: I used to always be the youngest one, but recently I’ve been working with people who are even younger than me. On top of that, there are now some members of staff who follow me when I’m working on my individual activities. Since I have new responsibilities, I hope to share some of Yunho’s responsibility besides simply being a member of TVXQ.
YH: Changmin has really begun to exude the aura of a leader recently… sometimes he acts more like the hyung than I do (laughs). Changmin is an adult now and we’re equal, as long as it’s his decision, I won’t have a problem with it. This means that I now have more time and there’s a new type of atmosphere between the two of us. It makes me really happy.
Q: So Changmin’s days as the maknae are over?
CM: I’m not bragging in any way. Age and experience go hand in hand and so Yunho will always be better. I don’t think 2 or 3 years is enough for an artist to really develop. It’s a continuous process and you’ll get better over time. Right now, I have to really focus and give my 100%, I think I can do that.
Q: Given the circumstances, is there any aspect where you feel you could make a breakthrough?
CM: Be it singing or acting, as a 22 year old male, I want to further express the sentiments of romantic love. Even though it sounds so mature, it’s just something I’ve had on my mind. Whether it is love I’m experiencing now or emotions from past relationships, I think what I need to do now is to fully express it, that’s something I didn’t used to do.
Q: Ah. When have you been in a relationship in the past? Are you in one now?
CM: Haha, it’s a shame. It’s been so cold this winter… I feel myself being chilled to the bone (laughs).
Q: I see that learning to dodge the question is another sign of you maturing
CM: Well, Yunho will be taking part in his musical this Christmas, I hope I’ll have something to do too.
Q: I heard that the two of you are still living together?
YH: Yeah, we’re like brothers (laughs). We used to sleep in the same room, but now we’ve separated. We’ll eat together whenever we have time and play video games that we take from the staff, or we’ll watch DVDs and sports programmes, and argue with one another.
Q: Haven’t you ever thought of dating?
YH: I don’t have that kind of luck! But I really want to get married, if I ever meet the right person, I’d definitely confess. Like I said, this year was like a turning point. Next year will mark the beginning of our activities; it’ll be an important year for myself and for TVXQ and it’ll give us the opportunity to further ourselves.
Q: Seeing as it’s a time of adjustment, is there anything you’d like to say?
YH: Rather than saying it’s been a difficult year, more than anything, it’s been lonely. There’s no real reason for it other than the simple fact that there are some things that only we ourselves would know and understand. I think Changmin feels the same. I promised myself that ‘I’ll continue to work hard from now on. In order to repay all the people who have continued to support us, we must come back.’
CM: None of the smiles you see are genuine, it’s because I have no choice; it’s the only thing I can do. I’ll bring myself to the next level and I’ll learn to spread my wings and fly. My dream has always been and will always be the same, as part of TVXQ, I hope to produce music that will go down in history. That’s how Yunho and I feel.
YH: Once you’ve climbed a mountain, you have to come down eventually, but it’s because you’ve done it once that you know you can always reach higher. It is because of our descent that we are ascending once again. That day, when the two of us stood on the stage of SMTown, we found ourselves the next peak to conquer and now we’re making our way towards it, one step at a time.
Sources/Translations: Part 1 DBSKnights, Part 2 DBSKnights
Changmin: "None of the smiles you see are genuine, it’s because I have no choice".... Ouch :(