Kim Hyun Joong has a very complete and interesting open hearted interview in BILLBOARD Japan.
He tells us a lot about his dreams and even about his children! Yes, the furry ones with four legs who will be the subject of a video clip at the next release of the sequel of the album “MY SUN” scheduled for November.
<Interview> Kim Hyun Joong’s latest song “Song for a dreamer” written with the main character in mind / Talking about future activities
(Interview: Yukari Sakamoto / Photos: Yuma Totsuka)
Kim Hyun Joong came to Japan for the first time in a while as part of his world tour. Many fans who have been waiting for his return for a long time came to the live performance held on September 3rd and 4th at Pacifico Yokohama, Kanagawa, and delivered love that did not change even in the corona disaster. It seems that he was also shaken by the appearance of the fans.
On the day after the live performance, which ended in great success, he talked about his impressions of the live performance, his latest single “Song for a dreamer”, and his thoughts on the future now that it has become easier to carry out activities in Japan than before due to the relaxation of measures at the border. I heard the story. The interview progressed in a very calm atmosphere, such as the humming that could be heard from the make-up room while waiting for the interview, and the manner in which he answered carefully and politely.
――On the first day of the [22/23 KIM HYUN JOONG WORLD TOUR＜The end of a dream＞in Japan], which was your first visit to Japan in two and a half years, you could see Hyunjoon crying. You must have had an idea.
Kim Hyun Joong : My feelings of missing my fans overflowed to the surface… I think everyone who came to the venue felt the same way. But if the first day was a time to confirm the feelings we missed each other, I feel that the second day changed to a hopeful atmosphere of moving forward together.
――What is the meaning of the tour title [The end of a dream]?
Kim Hyun Joong : It’s been two and a half years since the coronavirus started, and I’ve been thinking, “What is my dream?” Since she was a child, she wanted to be a singer, so I can say that she has fulfilled her dream now, but it is not the end of her dream. I feel that this is also the starting line for my next dream.
――It’s wonderful to be able to make your childhood dreams come true. What is your dream now as an adult?
Kim Hyun Joong : When you become a professional singer, music and business become inseparable. It becomes difficult to create and deliver music with the pure feeling of childhood. However, after acknowledging that, I’m still thinking about how I can truly love music and deliver it to people. That’s why I made a song about wanting to go back to my childhood with “Childlike (담벼락)” from the Korean album “MY SUN” released in August.
–Have you found a solution?
Kim Hyun Joong : The conclusion I came to within myself is to create a place where I can properly convey my music from the heart, and when such a place is created, I want to enjoy it with everyone.
――It’s been a long time since I’ve seen you live, but the music you express has changed a lot from before you enlisted (2015). In the past, he was the star of Kim Hyun Joong’s live performance, but now he feels like Kim Hyun Joong is the vocalist of the band.
Kim Hyun Joong : At that time (before I enlisted), I was still searching for the music I wanted to do, but after going through the corona disaster, I realized that the music I wanted to do was in a band. That’s why I practiced guitar during the self-restraint period, and now I feel like I’ve finally reached the path I wanted to take.
――How did the Gemini band you work with get formed?
Kim Hyun Joong : The reason was Seohyun, the bass player who is currently the band master.
――When you started your solo activities in Japan, you toured with the band that Seohyun is in.
Kim Hyun Joong : That’s right. Because of that connection, when I said I wanted to form a band with people of my generation, they gathered the members. Thanks to her, I was able to meet such wonderful friends during a really difficult time. I think this is a relationship created by the heavens. The members of the band are a team, so we have spent a long time creating a heart-to-heart communication. Of course, I will continue to act, but when it comes to music, I would be happy if you could recognize me as Kim Hyun Joong = the band.
――Hyunjun is currently planning a series called “MUSIC IN KOREA” on his official YouTube channel where he sings unplugged versions of his songs with his band in front of the beautiful nature of Korea. I think the teamwork as a band had solidified.
Kim Hyun Joong : Well, by doing “MUSIC IN KOREA”, we were able to train ourselves as a band, and I think our musical direction was solidified. Just like the live title [The end of a dream], I think that turning dreams into reality is the real pleasure of doing music.
――I would also like to hear about your new song “Song for a dreamer” in Japan. I heard that this song was written as an insert song for the action movie “Violence Action” starring Kanna Hashimoto.
Kim Hyun Joong : There was a request from the movie side, “I want you to make it with the image of friendship and youth.” So, I thought, “What is Kanna Hashimoto’s youth?” Even though she started when she was a child and has been active in the entertainment industry for a long time, she is still 23 years old. It’s nice for her to live her life as a star, but I think she’ll have scars someday and feel loneliness and solitude. As a senior in life, I want them to overcome them, and I made this song with the desire to support the youth of the main character and Kanna-san.
――It’s a song that you can write because you’ve been a star since your teens.
Kim Hyun Joong : “Song for a dreamer” is an image of a ship heading toward a dream. Rather than going steadily, let yourself go with the flow and go slowly. It contains the desire to move forward toward your dreams.
――It’s a collaboration with Gemini Band’s guitarists Park Junhyung and Park Eunchung.
Kim Hyun Joong : We are of the same generation. We live in the same era and grew up listening to the same music, so we get along really well. Of course, we also listen to European music, but we also like Japanese music so much that we even went to the X JAPAN reunion live. Recently, the three of us have been talking about Official HIGE DAN dism (laughs).
――What Japanese songs have you personally been listening to lately?
Kim Hyun Joong : I really like GReeeeN’s “Kiseki”. The song is really good. As I get older, I’ve become more interested in music that conveys a sincere message rather than glamorous music.
――[Alexandros] and MAN WITH A MISSION participated in the music for Violence Action. I’m looking forward to the reaction of Japanese music fans.
Kim Hyun Joong : I think the fans of the participating bands are people who love music and rock just like us, so listen to “Song for a dreamer” as a form of rock. I would be happy if you could.
――You collaborated with Kotaro Oshio on the 20th anniversary album “20th Anniversary ‘My Guitar, My Life'” of Kotaro Oshio’s major debut in September.
Kim Hyun Joong : Mr. Oshio is someone I look up to. Maybe he is more famous artist in Korea than in Japan. His song “Twilight” is a song that every guitar player in Korea must practice, and is a song that every guitar player knows. If I get frustrated with “Tasogare”, it’s a barrier to stop playing the guitar. Of course, I was one of the people who practiced “Twilight”, and I practiced Oshio-san’s “Kaze no Uta” a lot during my enlistment, and I was often encouraged by the song. Mr. Oshio’s songs were my stronghold. After that, I asked him to appear at the music event [KIM HYUN JOONG meets…Vol.2] that I held in 2020, and we met for the first time.
――This time, Oshio-san’s reverse offer?
Kim Hyun Joong : Yes. Mr. Oshio called out to me! As we are celebrating our 20th anniversary this time, I present a picture I drew, even though it is an immature one, along with the vocal sound source I recorded.
――What was the production process like?
Kim Hyun Joong : Due to the corona crisis, we recorded remotely. Mr. Oshio sent me the song along with the message, “I’ll send you a demo played on the Gibson (guitar) that I wrote the first song for.” I was deeply moved when I thought that I was able to return to the feelings of those days when I played this important guitar full of memories. Mr. Oshio also misses the old days, and I was told that this song is about to be recorded at the timing of the 20th anniversary. That’s why I put all my heart into the recording.
――On the second day of [The end of a dream], Mr. Oshio came and gave us a big round of applause.
Kim Hyun Joong : I could see it from the stage. When I put him after the performance, he said, “I was moved.” Seeing someone I’ve always admired applauding my stage gave me the feeling, “Another dream has come true.”
――You are a successful otaku (laughs).
Kim Hyun Joong : Yes (laughs). In Korea, a successful otaku is called a seondeok, but recently there is a word that goes even higher than that, wandeok (completed otaku)! It’s the completion system of a successful otaku.
――I heard that for the first time (laughs). By the way, when it comes to guitars, there are stickers of your two dogs on Hyunjun’s guitar. It seems that you take your dog with you to the recording, but what kind of existence do dogs have for Hyunjun?
Kim Hyun Joong : The album “MY SUN” released in Korea will be released in August, November, and February next year, with 4 songs each. The November release will include a song called “Hello, My Daddy,” which is about our dogs. Dogs’ time flows faster than humans, so they leave for heaven earlier than us. It’s very sad, but it says, “Wait for me when you go to heaven. If we meet again, say ‘Hello, My Daddy’.”
――You are already a family.
Kim Hyun Joong : Yes. They are important to me, like my own children. So I have a picture of them on every guitar I own. I put it on my guitar with the feeling that “Even if we’re apart, we’ll always be together.”
――What was the reason for starting to keep a dog?
Kim Hyun Joong : I think it would be better if you watch the music video for “Hello, My Daddy” which will be released in November, rather than telling you in words. I think you can see how they came to me, how they spend their time together, and what kind of life they lead. In Korea, we call it a companion dog or a partner dog, and I am making this work with the hope that it will be a healing work that all people who raise dogs can sympathize with.
――Now that you are able to come to Japan, I think your activities in Japan will start again from here. What kind of activities would you like to do in the future?
Kim Hyun Joong : Personally, I’d like to stay in Japan for about two months and do surprise live performances and free live performances in all 47 prefectures… I want to interact with people who are not my fans. After traveling all over Japan, it’s a dream to come back to Tokyo and perform live with many fans. Ticket prices are high these days, aren’t they? If you do a free live, your financial burden will be a little less (laughs).
――During your visit to Japan this time, you had a surprise live performance in Yokohama.
Kim Hyun Joong : Yes. For me, a surprise live in Japan is the first step towards a new dream. I felt the response that “I can do it as a reality, not a dream.” I also have the desire to make it into a documentary film. As a documentary of a traveler, not a singer Kim Hyun Joong, but a man who pursues his dream travels around 47 prefectures. It would be great if I could convey the message that dreams are not something you see, but something you approach step by step.