Updated: Jun 3
Nov 12th on Naver NOW
0:00 - 6:06
<Opening song: 'Writing You'>
"Every second he was on stage, his explosive presence was felt."
This is a sentence from an article about today's guest and when I read it, it stopped me in my tracks. Among those listening - and there are so many today - who know our guest, no one will object to that sentence.
"Musicians we trust (믿고 듣는다)" or "Performers we trust (믿고 본다)" are now hackneyed phrases but when used for this person, they become fact. He's back with a red hot album. A musician we trust in, XIA - I'd like to welcome Junsu-nim.
6:07 - 8:18
JS: Hello, this is Kim Junsu.
ZT: Wooo~ *clapping*
ZT: Ahh.. Hyung-nim, nice to meet you.
JS: I'm so happy to meet you
ZT: When we met just now, I couldn't look him in the eye and say hello *giggle* Thank you so much. Thank you so much for coming on my show.
JS: I'm the one who's grateful to you.
ZT: What made you come to a place like this?
JS: *Laughing* Thank you for bringing me on. I'm a fan of your music and alway wanted to meet you, so I'm killing two birds with a stone.
ZT: Thank you. Thank you for bringing coffee, too. A lot of people are disappointed that today's show isn't visual radio.. Our show hasn't been on that long, we've only done 35 shows so far but today we have, hands down, the most comments we've ever received.
JS: Oh, really?
ZT: There are so many that I can't even read.
JS: Thank you *laugh*
ZT: Welcome to the show everyone. I'm so honored. When the producers sent me a list of potential guests to choose from, you were the first one I picked and I wasn't even sure it would be possible. I really wanted to meet you.
JS: Ah, thank you.
ZT: I heard this isn't your first time on Naver NOW
JS: No, this is my 3rd time. I went on Heize's Diary and, just yesterday, I did Monsta X Minhyuk's Vogueship show. Today is my 3rd time.
ZT: I also heard you like traditional radio shows. Were the other ones all visual radio?
JS: Yes! I think today's the first time for audio radio.
ZT: To give you an idea of what our show is like, think of the radio shows of the 80s and 90s.
JS: I like that
ZT: Take yourself back to a time when a camera wasn't broadcasting everything in real time, and I think you'll be able to enjoy the show.
[Nickname 1: Talk Fairy]
8:19 - 12:49
ZT: So.. one of the nicknames your fans gave you is "talk fairy"?
JS: *laughs shyly*
ZT: I just found out today. If you go on Youtube and type in "Xia Junsu Concerts are Funnier than Most [Variety Shows]", you'll find out why. [To Junsu] You must already know about this though.
JS: I think it's limited to concerts. Because at concerts, it's just me and my fans... I actually had no idea I'd be the type to
entertain people that way.. But when I'm with my fans.. My fans are also really funny..
ZT: You're comfortable with each other
JS: ..so it happens naturally. Only at concerts. I don't think I'd be funny on a show like this.. *laughs*
ZT: It's not the right vibe here, huh
JS: With fans, I can talk more freely and even share my innermost feelings
ZT: I'm so curious to see what your concerts are like! But live performances are hard to come by these days..
ZT: You must miss it
JS: Uh.. Luckily, the musicals I've been doing ran until August.. I was fortunate. After that, I was supposed to begin my pop solo activities but.. Yeah, it's sad because concerts have disappeared, although online concerts are beginning to take their place. But live concerts where audience and artist can interact directly are still the best.. for both the artist and the audience. So I'm a bit sad about that. The feeling of actually being there with them is beyond words.
ZT: I've personally never been to a musical so it's hard to imagine what they're like
JS: You should go see one
ZT: I really want to. I'll book a ticket next time.
JS: I'll invite you! Please come see one.
ZT: Thank you. I should explain what the name of my show 'SAP' means. It's derived from the word 'sapjil(삽질)' * literal meaning: shoveling / used as slang to mean 'wilding'
JS: Doesn't sapjil mean to do something foolish?
ZT: It does. But we also grow from the foolish things we do
JS: Ah! That's true
ZT: My show is about sharing stories of 'sapjil' [the wild and foolish things we do in life], what we learn from them and how we move on. Here, we're all about being earnest. Earlier, I warned Junsu that we don't play a lot of music and talk a lot.
JS: I love to talk.
ZT: I hope the listeners will understand the tone of the show is a bit serious. I can compare it to conducting a magazine interview..
JS: That's right!
ZT: .. we just happen to be simultaneously airing the interview, too.
JS: Got it. The only difference is that it's been broadcasted live.
ZT: Right. So please enjoy. I want to ask.. what's the most recent 'sapjil' you've begun? Let's start with a light topic. Do you have any new hobbies?
JS: I've been pretty much a homebody since 2 years ago but these days, things being as they are, I'm a bigger homebody than I ever was. Except for when I'm working, I'm always at home.
ZT: But you like being at home?
JS: Well.. it's half forced, half willingly. The world has made me this way, hahaha. But I don't dislike being at home. It's just that, on really sunny days, I wish I could go out. Otherwise, I try to stay at home
ZT: There's not much one can do at home though
JS: Right, right. I mean, for a month or two I had a lot of stuff to do and kept productive but as it drags on.. yeah, I need to seek out activities.
ZT: Like 'Cast Away'. Have you seen the movie, where he's stranded on an island..
JS: I don't think I have
ZT: You'll totally relate if you see it
JS: Oh really? Is it similar to the situation these days?
ZT: Yes, he names a volleyball and makes it his friend.
[Nickname 2: Plant Keeper]
12:50 - 15:04
ZT: Anyway, you must have at least one hobby
JS: I just.. go for walks. I take walks.
ZT: That, you can do.
JS: I can't go far but I walk around my home. I've come to like taking walks. Going anywhere else right now is tricky and I wouldn't even know where to go. I just walk endlessly then come back home.
ZT: Your fans are calling you "the plant keeper" in the comments
JS: Ah, haha
ZT: Do you grow plants?
JS: Yes, I have cacti at home. I like tropical plants, too..
JS: .. I have them at home, too.
ZT: I'd love to see them. Do you have a favorite plant?
JS: Ahhh, I don't know the name of the plant though..
ZT: Which one of them is your best friend?
JS: I have a bunch of little ones on my window sill - little cacti plants displayed in a row. Fortunately all of them are healthy and growing nicely.
ZT: So you like cacti..
JS: Yes, I like plants that remind me of exotic places like the desert or.. ones that look like they don't grow in Korea. Tropical plants, cacti..
ZT: The fans seem to know the name. They're calling it "Pipi"?
JS: .. Ahhh, Pappi! Yes, I named one of them Pappi.
JS: There's this plant.. I don't know what it's called but one of the cacti plants started growing an arm. First a leaf sprouted then another sprouted from there.. there are now 6, all linked together. It was about to topple over to the right, so I put a wood support under it.
ZT: I think you may need to change the pot.
JS: I wondered if I had to cut it off but I just couldn't.. so I put a lever under it and now the arm is growing skywards.
ZT: That is a special little friend you have there.
JS: I know. It's strange how it only sprouts on one side.
ZT: Why does it grow so fast?
JS: I don't know.
ZT: We'll continue the plant talk again some time *laugh*
JS: Yes, yes *laugh*
[Album talk & YT comments]
15:05 - 23:02
ZT: I'm sure you have incredible sapjil stories about your 2nd mini album 'Pit a Pat', too.
JS: Uh, yes.. haha.. sapjil..
ZT: I want to talk about your album now. The word sapjil doesn't really have a positive nuance, does it?
JS: Yes.. how about use 'challenges' intead?
ZT: But on our show, we don't use sapjil with negative connotations.
JS: It seems so.
ZT: We use it as a positive word. Let's get started then. The response to the teaser has been very hot. I have here a few comments from the teaser video. Why don't you take a look and read out the ones that strike you.
JS: Me? uh...
ZT: Take your time. We're not a fast-paced show.
JS: "I got so excited watching our Junsu's teaser, I punched the wall in my 1-room apt. and turned it into a studio. " Haha, this one's funny. (T/N it's funny in Korean.. T - T)
ZT: How do they come up with these lines?
JS: Right? They're so smart.
ZT: The 1-room became a studio.
JS: I guess so because there are no walls anymore.
ZT: Incredible. Any other ones?
JS: "The lyrics and melody are very catchy. His voice has permanently lodged itself in my brain hihi."
ZT: That was simple yet positive. (reads next comment v. animatedly) "Ah! I can't even count how many times I've rewatched the teaser! Is he human or fairy?! If the teaser's this good, how great will the full MV be, my heart is about to burst! I'm on my way to the gym right to boost my cardiovascular system!'
JS: Zion.T-nim.. Were you acting just now? (laugh)
ZT: I tried to give it the [rapper] Outsider feel. There are lot of long comments but personally I liked the 1-room one.
JS: It was witty.
ZT: I have so many things I want to ask about your process when you work on an album. To get satisfactory results, don't you have to be incredibly thorough and hands-on throughout the entire process?
JS: Yes, yes.
ZT: How did you proceed this time?
JS: On this album, I only produced the last track, 'When It Snows.' Before I decided on 'Pit A Pat' or even whether I'd do a dance song or a ballad as the title track, I had received 30 songs in advance. They're sent in anonymously, without the songwriter's name..
ZT: Like a blind test?
JS: Yes, I listen and select songs blindly. That's my usual process and it was the same this time. After I had a selection of good songs, I focused on the problem of whether to make a dance song or a ballad the title track. I wanted to go with a ballad, especially considering the seasonal timing, but then again the album had been a long time coming. After 2 years in the military, I had spent another 2 years doing musicals, so it was a total of 4 years since my last album. To come out with a ballad after the long wait seemed a bit lacking; my fans also really like my dance songs and I wanted to quench their thirst. Once I decided on a dance song, 'Pit A Pat' felt like the best one because it was bright and energetic, a song that could cheer people up in these times.
ZT: You've kindly explained your selection process in detail and I'm sure the fans found it heartwarming.
JS: [Laughs shyly] Yes.. I hope so.
ZT: The fact that you catered to their needs, when you could've been like 'I want to do a ballad!'
JS: The truth is, that's how I proceeded until now. To a certain extent, it's important to keep in mind what the fans want. But as an artist, one must not always follow that. Of course, this doesn't mean not to follow them as a rule but you have to be firm about what you believe in. In fact, 'Pit A Pat' was the balance I found between what I want and what I thought the fans wanted; it was the result of compromise. I had also wanted to try a song like 'Pit A Pat.'
ZT: If you had gone with a ballad title, which one would it have been?
JS: I think all 4 songs are well-made enough to qualify as title tracks.
ZT: Yes, I think you said this is the beginning.
JS: I thought track no. 2, 'Days', would go well with spring. 'Pit A Pat' felt good for summer because it's energetic. 'Writing You' was fall and the last track 'When It Snows' was winter. I wanted to capture the sense of all seasons. Right now it's closer to fall, so I would have gone with 'Writing You.' If it was spring, it would have been 'Days.'
ZT: There are so many people who love Junsu sunbae-nim's ballads.
JS: Are there? (laugh)
ZT: There are so many. And they way you included different kinds of ballads in the album shows how meticulous you are.
JS: Thank you.
ZT: Everyone is saying thank you [in the comments]. Can you tell us a little about the song 'Writing You'?
JS: Well.. as the lyrics say, it's about looking back on the past and how the tears you cry spell out the person you're missing. In a way, it's the most typical.. the most Kim Junsu style of ballads, if I may say so myself. At the same time, there is a certain restraint and poise to it.
ZT: You self-deprecatingly said 'typical' but these intense emotional ballads are becoming rarer these days.
JS: Nowadays, songs with those extreme high notes or vocal gymnastics are not so much in fashion as ones that are easy to sing and listen to. I like this kind of music, too, and actually you're at the top of that game right now. I am also influenced by your music.
ZT: Thank you.
JS: But in terms of trends, it has changed.
ZT: Which is why I welcome your ballads so much. Your music was a welcome change.
JS: Thank you.
ZT: We could talk for hours just about ballads but listening to the music made me want to go to your concert and listen to them in person.
JS: Ah.. thank you.
[ On 'When It Snows']
23:03 - 27:31
ZT: Did you write any songs on this album?
JS: The last track, 'When It Snows.' I actually wrote this when I was in the military.
ZT: *Sigh of recognition that all Korean men who have served make lol*
JS: I wrote it a year before being discharged. The thing is, the snow you see in the military..
ZT: It's really different, huh? (laugh)
JS: Have you served?
ZT: Yes, I have.
JS: Doesn't snow feel very bittersweet in the military?
JS: Not only do we have to sweep it..