Updated: Nov 9, 2020
Has it been 4 years now? You're making a comeback with the mini album <Pit a Pat>. It seems this album took a particularly long time.
It should have come out earlier but there were musicals I didn't want to miss out on. The album got pushed back while I was adjusting the timing. I am very sorry to the fans.
The album drops in 2 weeks. How do you feel right now?
I don't think it's just nerves or excitement I feel before the album is revealed. I'm hoping not only fans but more people will like it because I've worked hard on it.
When I looked up 'Pit A Pat,' the dictionary definition says it describes the beating
of the heart. What kind of message did you want to convey personally?
It could be a lover or a friend, or even fans that make your heart pitter patter. In life, you encounter relationships that you can't give up on; that are irreplaceable. These relationships are not limited to love. With the song, I wanted to convey my wish to grab hold of the diverse emotions that spring from various relationships and to take them forward, step by step.
What's your favorite track on the album? Which one's the Junsu Pick?
What can I say, I like tracks 2, 3, 4 (laughs). Not long ago, I asked fans via VLive chat whether they wanted a dance song or a ballad and over 80% wanted a dance song. So the decision to make 'Pit A Pat,' a dance song, the title track was based on that but if I were to have chosen a ballad as the title track, it would have been '너를 쓴다 / Write you.' That's how great I think the song is and it's a perfectly seasonal, autumnal song. The 2nd track, '요즘 / These Days,' is the trendiest track on the album. I recommend it because it's an uplifting song that we need in times like these when the world feels topsy turvy. Please also listen to the 4th track, 'When It Snows,' in winter.
Your personal development must be reflected in the music, too. What would you say is different from your previous albums?
I tried to be more chill than before. Like the aesthetics of empty space, I thought it could be nicer sometimes to leave a little space rather than fill things to the brim. I tried to maintain the right balance while focusing on comfort. Everyone including me are going through tough times with Covid19. I wanted this album to cheer them on.
Did you have any particular concerns while working on the album?
I don't ignore trends but I also don't want to blindly follow them - this is an issue I had with every album. The music I'm good at and the music I should do are two different matters. Especially when it comes to dance music (laughs). The same problem emerged this time and I tried to make the choice that ran right down the middle. The balance I struck is the song 'Pit A Pat.' It's hopeful with light energy and, with how things are nowadays, I wanted to give people this kind of energy.
When you're at a crossroads between what you want and what the public wants, which choice do you tend to go for?
I think I went for what I wanted. If I had been as active in broadcast media as other artists, I would have followed the crowd but because I exclusively met fans through music videos or concert performances, I wanted to create a world of my own under the name XIA. When I work on an album, I visualize the concert stage or music video style before I think about the album tracks. You could say I write music to fit that vision.
If you were to review your own album, what would you say? Are you satisfied?
I think I can say I'm proud that the album's filled with 4 great songs. If there's one thing I'm sad about it's that, while I usually have more than 10 tracks on my albums, I wasn't able to this time. To be honest, I wasn't in a situation to make an album. But I wanted to give a gift to fans who have waited for so long. In that sense, I think this album is satisfactory.
What would you like to hear from people who will listen to 'Pit A Pat' on Nov.10th?
I hope to hear them say it's new and different from what I've done previously. That's what I want to hear the most about this album and I would take it as the highest compliment.
What makes Kim Junsu's heart go 'Pit A Pat' these days?
Mmm.. If you exclude the album, it's hard to say.. (laughs) When work is over and I'm heading home, my heart definitely goes pitter patter. Hahaha. My heart flutters the most when I'm heading home or I'm in the car on my way home.
It's almost that time. Are you headed home after this interview?
Ah, no. Unfortunately, I have one more work thing. It would be perfect if this was the last thing.. That's a bit of a bummer (laughs).
Your upcoming online concert should certainly make you go 'Pit A Pat'
I'm as worried as I'm excited. It's not an exaggeration to say fan interaction is one of the strengths of my concerts and what makes them special, so I'm already worried how I'll make things work this time when normal interaction is impossible.
When I look at you, I can feel your incredible passion as a pop artist as well as as a musical theatre actor. What is the source of your passion?
I know this is a cliché answer, but it's my fans. I believe all stars exist because of their fans but even more so with me because, since I don't have much opportunity to promote myself, it's the fans that enable me to release an album or do a musical. I've made it here thanks to my fans.
Throughout your life, what has been the one thing that has helped you pick yourself up again when you fell?
There have been moments like that, whether it was a misunderstanding or a mistake; through my own fault or through external circumstances. And each time I would think to myself, 'You have not done anything to be ashamed of or ever harbored ill intentions.' I would be the first to quit if I felt I had something to be ashamed of in my life. But I don't, and as long as that's the case, I would like to continue working.
If there's one rule you have stuck by since your debut, what would it be?
I try my best to give a performance I am satisfied with, regardless of the size of the event.
As much as my performances are my pride, I don't want to be ashamed of them so I try not to forget this. It's a promise to myself.
And if there's something you've let go, what would that be?
Ambition. I used to have specific ambitions like being no.1 on music charts or getting awards but I've let go of a lot of that. I now know I should be thankful just being able to live each day like this, so I only have vague goals like staying healthy and hoping the present will continue for as long as it does.
People tend to want more, the more they work at their dream jobs. Has there been anything you've grown to want recently?
At first, I was heartbroken over the fact that I couldn't be on TV but with time, I became defensive and tried to trick myself into thinking it was my choice not to make broadcast appearances. That has changed recently. Whatever show it was, people liked it when I made an appearance so I'd like to do as much more TV as possible.
Are there any other challenges that you'd like to take up, the way you jumped into musicals from being a singer?
I would like to perform in different countries. I think it would be nice if I could do a musical in another country, whether it's a production I've done before or something new, and perform with local actors in the local language.
How do you spend your time in the days of Covid when everyone's pretty much housebound?
I've become the greatest homebody. I don't think I've ever stayed at home this much. I don't even know what to do when I go out now (laughs). I used to cafe-hop around 2, 3, 4 up to 5 cafes. Now, I find myself itching to go home after just 2 hours. Not that it's not depressing to only stay home but there's nothing else to do. I watch TV or play games. If I really feel like going out, I ride my bike along Han river.
This kind of social isolation affords one time to focus on oneself and think about those around one. Is there a value that's become more important to you recently?
I've come to rethink what constitutes happiness. I know if I say this, there will be people who go 'Stop acting like you're the only one who's ever served in the military,' but my period of enlistment was meaningful to me in many ways. I used to think happiness was being able to buy the things I wanted but this changed in the military. I learned how precious a Choco Pie [chocolate cake snack] was as well as being able to eat it when I wanted. I came to know how freeing it was to escape a regimented lifestyle, such as waking up and sleeping at given hours, and how that feeling was happiness. Happiness isn't far away. It doesn't have to be grand to be real.
What has been a recent happy moment for you?
When I'm on my way home, without much having happened that day, without any accidents or troubles. Staying home is itself happiness (laughs).
If you could have one special power right now, what would that be?
I want to be able to see the future. In the past, I didn't want to because I thought it would spoil the fun but these days I'm a little curious.
What does the future you dream of look like? Have you thought about it?
I want to give performances I'm not ashamed of and do the music I like. 10 years on, I don't want to have become someone who chases money or is forced to do things he doesn't want to.
What kind of BGM do you think would accompany that future?
I think something like my song 'Yesterday' would be a good choice. Like the hopeful lyrics of that song, I want to grow old with ease. It's okay if nothing special happens, I'd like to
keep a peaceful state of mind as I balance things out. That would be the utmost happiness to me.