May 16 XIA Junsu’s Interview at Press Conference for Tarantallegra

** It’s a bit late and long translation, but I thought this kind of the members’ talks about their music should be known more than short news. 🙂


Junsu KIM: I was so glad because I can do as much as I want from the first stage of album production

Original Link:

It’s something that most of us could not expect. There were balld songs but    not titled, and performances even became stronger. <Tarantallegra>, the first solo album of JYJ Junsu KIM, eliminates some people’s prejudice (that he is just a great vocalist) at once. Junsu put his name as many as on 8 songs among 12 songs and expanded genre to R&B, Electronica and others.

Therefore this album shall be a certificate to show how hard he has grown up for 8 years. “All my worries were gone when I heard that ‘There is something extraordinary in you as a singer with 8-year of career’ said Junsu Kim, he was very shy as if it was his first debut, saying “I don’t have much to say further about singing because everyone gives so good reviews about it”.

Q) You have a solo album in 8 years since your debut and it must feel different.

Junsu: It was a kind of pressure because I had to make a whole album with my voice only. On the other hand, the good thing was that I could express concepts and genres as much as I liked. I did have a single album <XIAH> in Japan, but it was difficult to have everything I wanted in it because it only had 3 tracks. This time, I tried to show a wide range of musical styles like hip-hop, typical ballds, R&B soul and other things as the album as 12 tracks.

Q) Are there any reasons to release the album?

Junsu: I was thinking of doing dramas, but thought that I might cause troubles to the two members [Jaejoong/Yuchun] who is doing fantastic job (laugh) because it is something that I have never done. I thought musicals are different to dramas because they have music in pieces.

Worrying was the first thing I did while I was talking about dramas with the staff at the agency[C-JeS]. So I decided to have an album as I thought it’d better to do something I can to the best. Actually the CEO [of C-JeS] once had suggested a solo album, but it was me who declined. I thought I would prefer not to do it if I have an album for nothing as I am not able to be on TV, but I became to think ‘I might can do it’ as I got some confidence during our tours in other countries.

Q) What was the reason that you decided to use the name ‘XIAH’[XIA] that you haven’t officially used for some time?

Junsu: It is our choice whether to use Xiah, Hero, Micky or not. Yuchun doesn’t like the name ‘Micky’ but I like the name Xiah[or XIA]. I am Junsu as a member of JYJ, but I thought the word ‘XIA’ had everything that can show various sides of my identity as a solo. The reason that I have used my own name so far was that the name XIA could be ambiguous for musicals. I never have excluded this name or thought much about it. I am Xia, so it is natural to use XIA.

Q) Your title song ‘TARANTALLEGRA’ is a kind of unfamiliar feeling from the name of the title.

Junsu: It is still difficult for me to pronounce. (laugh) From the moment that I wrote this song, the first thing on my mind was that ‘Let’s do something really myself for the title song and ignore previously existed sounds no matter what’. It wouldn’t have been issues if I had been a new singer, but as a singer with 8-years of career, I thought it could be poison to do music that everyone is used to about me. So I added string arrangement on a dance song and tried to give something different feeling by properly using timpani and synthesizers meets the current trend. My brother Zuno did lyrics of the song, and one day he called me and said “Have you heard of the word TARANTALLEGRA? It’s the magic that make you dance fast”. On that moment, I thought ‘This is it!’ and asked him to write words for the song. I say this song is finally completed when you see the song, fashion, make up and music videos.

Q) It has the meaning of making you dance fast, but the album has a lot of dance music with some heavy feeling.

Junsu: I tried to make the mood such as dance of the natives of Africa. This is why I only put some exclamation like ‘HA!’ or ‘HO!’ after all instruments faded away at the end of the song. The reason you felt this song ‘heavy’ is that it probably remind you a spell of a wizard because it does not tell people ‘Let’s dance’ directly. It’s like a song with some kinds of force saying ‘Even if you don’t want to dance, you will dance when you hear this song’. I thought that the song should certainly have some heavy feeling in order to empathise this message. Also my role ‘Tod[death]’ in the musical <Elisabeth> inspired me as well. It may be the extension of the image of the role.

Q) Regarding the 4th track <No Gain>, it is known that Jaejoong made and directed your vocal by himself.

Junsu: Jaejoong was really busy, but firmly insisted on directing the song himself so it was kind of frightening a little bit. (laugh) But it was natural because we direct each other when we work as JYJ together. This time, the process was easier because Jaejoong gave me proper advices and ideas.

Q) It is especially attracting my attention as many rappers like Double K, Flowsik, Bizzy and Dynamic Duo participated in the album.

Junsu: I’ve been always eager for collaboration from the past. So I asked the people who I liked, and it filled me up something that I did not see. There must be necessarily some limits in your music, and I think collaboration with other artists can break the limits. I would like to try more in the future too. Perhaps I’d be able to do some duet with other great vocalists for the next album?

Q) The process for the album mustn’t have been just enjoyable because of the pressure as the singer with 8-year of career.

Junsu: It was not ‘painful’, but I thought really a lot about everything because this is not only Junsu Kim’s first solo album but also the first solo album of a JYJ member. But I was so glad because I can do as much as I want from the first stage of album production whereas we had to follow music and concepts already made by someone. Of course there are so many things to take care such as costume, music, who I want to use as instrumentalists, who I want to do raps in certain parts. Sometimes I dashed to the stages[of musicals] while I was writing lyric of the album in my dressing room. But the thing that made me concerned the most was that I was making this album based on the assumption that I wouldn’t be able to have TV appearances. It is just depressing situation. I think I cared more to show high quality because of this. On the different point of view, we are kind of lucky because it is not completely impossible to appeal international fans these days.

Q) You showed your abs on your music video and looks more sharpen. Did you care more about your appearance because it is a solo-activity?

Junsu: Well I cared, but it was not only for the solo album. (laugh) I lost about 6kg [13 pounds] for the musical <Elisabeth>. My character ‘Death[TOD]’ should empathise something god-like  and sexy image, but it was way far from my image on that moment. I felt that I wouldn’t be able to focus on my performance if I stood on the stage with that appearance. I had treated myself too lightly on myself by thinking ‘well, isn’t the good music enough?’. And to be honest, I didn’t do a workout for the abs for my music video. I never thought of doing it because I had to express androgynous image because the concept is a wizard. I just opened my jacket to cool off while I was shooting the music video, and the director wanted to shoot with it. And I thought it was not too bad even though my body is not that muscular. (laugh) So I had to dance twice as much as because of this change.

Q) You are nominated for the Best Actor for a leading role at The Musical Awards on June 4th. This could mean that you are being recognised in the field. What do musicals mean to you?

Jusnu: I would like to do musicals along with my singer career. The most attractive thing of musicals is that I can live different life for about 2 hours and I can express the feelings and emotion of those different lives. Also musicals inspired me a lot as a singer and expand my styles. Pop songs and musical have completely different vocalization methods and music source, but I can add more knowledge, not lose my pop song style. I think there cannot be better study like this if I can keep my balance between the two.

Q) You are due to have the first solo concert at Seoul Indoor Gymnasium on 19th-20th, and Asia tour from 27th. How do you feel that you have to rule the stage without the two members?

Junsu: I’ve done many solo stages, but never done 2-hour length all by myself. It is hard to imagine how it would be like because I am not used to it, but I am doing my best to lead the concert for 2 hours and control over the audience. It is my worry to have good pacing properly, and it was really hard [to do everything alone on the stage] after practicing. (laugh) But I expect in my own way that I will be able to show real ‘XIA-tic’ performance at the concerts as I tried hard.

Translation Credit :

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 If you see the Music Video of Tarantallegra after reading his thoughtful interview,
you will be admiring it even more than now. (XD)

“This song is finally completed when you see the song, fashion, make up and music videos.”

Well done, XIA, what an excellent album you have made!

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