Cosmopolitan Interview: Time To Play


If you find one, another disappears,
If you make two sit down, another two disappears.
Ah, there’s no answer. I’ll just have to play with them.

By: Yoon Mi Cho

Editor (E): Phew.
Leeteuk (LT): Why are you sighing?

E: I’m worried. 8 members of SJ are looking at me that I feel faint. I’m a woman too. I wonder if the interview will go well today.
LT: Hehehehe

E: You’re sitting in the middle of the table, because you’re the team leader? You have the force of a boss. Are you quite strict with your members?
LT: Not at all. They’re actually strict with me. You saw when we were taking photos, what they were doing to me.

E: When we were preparing for the shoots, I asked what SJ meant to some members. The question was probably too boring that a predictable answer was given. Family, a relationship that you can’t get rid of, and etc. I think the leader will give a better answer, what do you think?
LT: Hmm.. what shall I say? What did you guys say?
Eunhyuk (EH): I said SJ is a team that Teuk is leading.
LT: Oh, that sounds good. Isn’t that the best? The team that I lead. kkk. What did the others say?
Donghae (DH): SJ is LeeTeuk and kids. Hahahaha
Yesung (YS): Hey, let’s stop messing about now. This is a serious interview!

E: Cosmo likes this kind of atmosphere anyway. So, what does serious YS think about friendship?
YS: How comes I get asked about friendship? Anyway, I think friendship is learning from LT hyung in SJ. Oh, I know, friendship is Super Junior. What do you think?
Siwon (SW): That sounds good. Super Junior is friendship. Let’s tidy it up with that. Super Junior equals Friendship!
LT: I think friendship is tears. I’ve known DH and EH for 10 years now and a long time too with the other members. We cried a lot together preparing for an uncertain future before. Friendship got built without trying to make something, by crying tears. So to us, friendship is from tears!

E: It’s quite a textbook answer, even though you’ve thought about it before giving your answer, I think? Haha. Actually Cosmo decided that we must meet SJ because you guys perfectly upgraded your level by the 3rd album “Sorry, Sorry”. What happened to SJ during this time?
LT: We thought of this as if it would be our last album, and gave everything we had for it.

E: Before the third album SJ‘s name and some individual members were well known but as a singing group, it wasn’t really a stable situation. The most well-known song was the trot “Rokkugo”. Then with “Sorry, Sorry”, SJ‘s stand in the KPOP industry was re-established. By just looking at your ‘thanks to’s, we can see your confidence, when you first heard ‘Sorry, Sorry’, did you think it’ll be this successful?
SW,Kyuhyun (KH),EH,YS,DH: Honestly, we did.
Sungmin (SM): When we got the other songs in the album, I really liked them but felt also that they lacked something too. Then finally I heard ‘Sorry, Sorry’ and most of the members said it was really good. For definite, when we were doing the dancing together, I thought, wow, this is really good, I really want to go out on stage for the audience.
Hangeng (HK): I honestly didn’t know at first. So I worked harder for it. They said it was a good song, so it had to become a good song.
LT: When I first heard ‘Sorry, Sorry’, it sounded too much of a club music. I personally prefer quite songs to songs with fast beats, so I wasn’t too familiar with this kind of song. I worried about whether we can succeed with this song, and whether the public would like this song as well. But it was an ungrounded fear. As we started recording and choreographed the dance, the confidence that started at 0 went up to 90. Before when we were making a come back, we always said in the interviews that the songs we are coming out with had all these different flamboyant points, but this time, I was confident enough to say that we’ll show them, rather than explain verbally.

E: Nick Bass’s choreography for “Sorry, Sorry” is known as Idol group’s dance ultimatum. It’s stylish and the shape dynamically changes, and also each members’ bits are stood out. But since there are so many members, you might have been envious of someone else’s parts?
YS: EH gets to do a solo dance, and it looks cool even from a guy’s point of view. I can’t dance very well, and I want to be able to dance, so I get envious of this. I sometimes think what it would have been like if I could dance as well as EH. Also, if I danced more rather than mucking about sometimes, I don’t know, maybe I could’ve danced as well as him?
LT: At the beginning, there’s that bit where SW lifts up his finger. We teased him saying he looked like some boss of a company, but we only teased because we were envious. hahaha.
SM: I’m envious when HK hyung at the beginning walks out with his hands in his pockets. The force of the entrance!

E: Why doesn’t KH talk? Do you not have any envious members?
KH: I’m fine.
DH: He’s got lots of lines, that’s why.
Everyone: Hahahahaha

E: I heard that you’re going to start promoting E-Tribe’s song, ‘It’s you.’ How is it different in terms of feeling compared to ‘Sorry, Sorry’ I wonder?
SM: You can say that it has that romantic code that the girls will like, compared to ‘Sorry, Sorry’.
EH: The repackage album that has this song also has a song that Ryeowook composed and SM writing the lyrics for the first time, so we anticipate it even more.
LT: We heard that with ‘Sorry, Sorry’, we’ve changed a lot, but SJ still have more to show. We’re still working hard to improve.

E: So an idol’s foundation is through endless practicing? Listening to LT and EH’s Super Junior‘s Kiss The Radio Season2, you talk quite a bit about going through a difficult time when you were practising before debut. I became curious to whether you had someone in mind that you didn’t want to be in the same team with?
LT: DBSK‘s Junsu told me a lot about EH. That he had a friend who was a good rapper and a good dancer, and on top of that, he even had the image of JangWooHyuk.. so you know, a really cool guy. So I was a bit disappointed when I met EH for the first time. Because I heard so many good things about him. Hahahaha.
SM: So you shoudn’t anticipate someone too much if that person gets praised so much!
LT: When I saw EH, I thought he’d leave in less than 3 months. If you practice for so long, you kind of know when a new person will tire out. But EH was still hanging on after 3 months. From that moment, I looked at him in a different light, and indeed he danced well, rapped well and had a lot of talent, just like Junsu said.
YS: When we practiced, we had a system of after practicing after a week, we had to show what we did and get commented on it and see what other talents people had. That’s when I first saw these lot, everyone was really good looking and unique. Then there was one that really stood out. He was in his school uniform and was sitting down really meekly, so I was like, what is he? Then I saw him dancing on stage, I was shocked because he was that good. That boy was Eunhyuk.

E: The answer to the question got the answer towards one person, I didn’t get the answer that I wanted because it was well praised. So we’ll skip this. With SJ, it seems that different members’ are more familiar to the public than the others, compared to balanced popularity with the other idol groups. Who honestly thinks that they are moderately good at all the aspects?
DH: Huh? I just heard someone say ‘me’. 2 people, maybe?
EH: That was me.
DH: We can just ignore him. He’s always like this.

E: By your expression, you seem to think you’re the best in Super Junior?

E: How about Hangeng? You’re called a miracle of 13 hundred million, and you’re popular in Korea and China. You don’t really talk if I don’t talk to you first, so please talk a bit.
HK: I feel quite comfortable in these things

E: Huh?
DH: He’s saying that he is popular. He’s quite confident anyway.
SM: We’re all quite comfortable, since we’ll have different points in terms of popularity. When we do one thing, he looks cool, when we do something else, he’s cool, so it changes in this kind of way all the time.

E: So, who’s the most popular person with the 3rd album’s promotions?
DH: Teuk hyung. He speaks really well.
SM: He’s the president of all the girls.
LT: Our managers and I think that I feel I’m right in the middle in terms of Super Junior. It’s better if the leader is not so good or not so bad, but in the middle, so I heard that we picked a good leader. I didn’t really like this position, but now I think it’s right.
YS: I think I’m lacking in some aspects, but everyone is popular to some extent. However, I think it’s better to work hard at one’s position whatever the popularity, so I try to work harder all the time.

E: In “Come to play”, Yehneung (entertainment) Yesung made everyone laugh so hard that it hurt. Today I’m a bit disappointed that you’re being serious in answering idol’s textbook style.
YS: That’s me being honest though. Other members are better looking than I am and excel in many ways. I don’t dance well, I’m the vocal but I don’t think I’m all that good at singing, and that’s why I accept that part. I accept it and think to myself to work harder. I used to be upset about that before, but now I’m done with all that worrying.

E: So which member do you wonder why they have so much popularity? Who gets more attention to what they have?
EH: Everyone has the amount of popularity in parallel with their talents. Don’t ask more now.

E: kkk, I’ll pass this as well, since it looks like you’re being careful. Let’s talk about “Intimate note” that got a bit of media attention. I got shocked that there were some members who didn’t know the others’ numbers. You were really not that close to each other? Or was it the editing? Eunhyuk and Sungmin answer please, since you were the actual people in the show.
EH: It really is how we look. Honestly, when I’m alone with Heechul hyung, I can feel the awkward atmosphere.
SM: I was also a bit awkward with Kangin hyung. But to make us sit in front of 10 or more cameras without a script, it looked even worse than it looked. Even people really close to each other would look awkward in those situations too. Anyway, when Kangin hyung and I are by ourselves, we do talk less, just because we’re different, in what we like.
YS: It’s more that they’re into different things, and they have different hobbies too.
LT: Also, just like it was broadcasted, EH did take Heechul’s t-shirt and they don’t really talk and stuff, yeah they’re all right. hahahaa

E: I’m a bit freaked out because I thought it was all editing. So are you guys closer now after the show?
LT: Well as a bystander, I don’t think they’re that close yet. But EH and HC pair and KI and SM pair don’t call each others’ names but rather call each other “Hey, intimate mate!” after the show. Few days ago, during the filming of ‘It’s you’ MV, Eunhyuk was eating by himself. I felt sorry for him, so I was going to go over to eat with him, then Heechul said, “Hey, intimate mate, let’s eat together!” and took his stuff to eat with Eunhyuk.
SM: And then they ate without a conversation. It looks awkward when you’re with them, but they said that they’re comfortable like that.
DH: KK Yeah, that’s right. They didn’t say a word as they were eating.
YS: Heechul hyung and Eunhyuk are the kind of people who don’t usually talk when they’re eating, and they don’t like others taking their food. What’s the point of being together then?!

E: So, if you took part in “Intimate Note” again, is there anyone you want to go on with?
DH: I want to be awkward with these people. So that I can actually go on the show!
SM: You don’t seem to realise this, but you’re awkward with me. Hahahahaha
SW: There’s no one from here, I don’t think.. kkk

E: Usually when I interview singers in a group, they tell me that they’ve fought really fiercely at one point. Have you ever fought that you saw blood?
EH: Fight until we saw blood?
DH: We don’t fist fight with each other.
YS: In our team, we get divided into two categories; the releasing kind and the holding in kind, so it never becomes into a big fight.
LT: I’ve known EH for 10 years now and only fought properly this one time. When we went to Thailand, they were set on teasing me. I said, let’s practice, but Eunhyuk, Shindong and Sungmin just kept on teasing and won’t listen. So I was really angry that I moved to another room, but I could still hear them behind me talking! So I just turned my head, and Eunhyuk was shining his big smile at me. I just blasted off there and grabbed him and said “What did you just say?”. That is as big as it gets.

E: That’s not really a big fight, but rather a petty one? Which members fight over small things?
SM: Donghae, Eunhyuk and Siwon.
YS: They muck about, then gets upset, they get all serious and go outside to talk about it. They’re like, “Hey, what you did then, that wasn’t really on,” “You started it,” ; “But you were quite harsh just then weren’t you?” ; “You hit me with some feeling, I could tell.” Things like that. It’s really funny just watching them.
LT: They’re the same age, that’s why. Donghae likes to talk about his worries to his friends, but Eunhyuk tends to keep himself to himself when he has worries. So Donghae gets upset when Eunhyuk doesn’t talk to him, and asks why he doesn’t say anything. Then Siwon comes along and butts in asking “What are you guys talking about?” Then Donghae plays around and say, “You stay out of it”. Then Siwon goes “Hey, what did I do to upset you?” then.. they get serious and go outside.
EH: Wow you guys know us really well?
SW: It just means that you’re the problem, man~

E: You fight like this, and hang around together all the time, and sometimes because there are so many of you, some get left behind on the streets. Isn’t it better to be by yourself?
SW: When I was filming “battle of the wits” and filming the drama, I was on my own, I wasn’t relaxed at all. We need each other.
EH: When I go on a variety show, I can’t really say much. When I go with someone else, I tend to attempt more, but when I’m by myself, I come back without doing anything.
YS: When we’re together, if we fail, other members can cover up for me, so I feel more relaxed. But that doesn’t happen when I’m by myself. Some time ago, I went to film “Yasimmanman2” by myself. I became nervous from the day before. I felt that I didn’t show off all my skills on the show, and felt that if there was another member there I would’ve shown all I’ve prepared. I think by doing things on our own makes us realise the importance of each other.
SM: I haven’t really done anything by myself, so I don’t really know.
KH: Me too. Hahaha. Even with SJ-KRY and SJ-M stuff too. It’s less fun when it’s not all 13 together.
LT: EH and I do a radio show together, and it’s our third year coming August. But honestly, I don’t know if it was only one of us, if we could’ve held on for 3 years, and feel that if one of us isn’t there, then the program wouldn’t be as fun to the listeners.

E: By that point, maybe it’s more relaxing to be with the members, rather than your own family.
SM: You can say that it’s the same thing. Being at home, or at our residence. We’re already a family.
EH: Now it really feels like one of my body parts is missing if there aren’t our members next to me. When we first gathered, it was just a team collegue relationship, but now we’ve become real brothers.
DH: I want us to have the name Super Junior until the end even when later in our life we’re in other areas in the industry. When Teuk hyung becomes a well known MC like Yoo Jae Suk, he would say, “I’m Super Junior‘s LeeTeuk.”
We don’t have to say that we belong somewhere but feel it, so we belong in Super Junior. Whatever we do, wherever we are.
SW: Wow that’s cool! But wouldn’t it be quite funny? If we say, “We’re Super Junior!” in old men’s voices.
LT: It’ll become like what Donghae said. I think SJ can go on until we’re in our 40s and 50s. The idols lifespan is short only in Korea, it’s not in Japan or China. Kimura Takuya releases his albums under the teams name and works on his own too. We, the 13 members are going to use Asia as our stage to perform. That’s our plan.

E: Finally, I wanted to talk about love, which is something that’s forbidden for the idols. But I won’t go in too deeply about it. So lightly, I’ll ask you this. Between love and friendship, which member would choose friendship without hesitating, if they had to choose one?
YS: There’s no one, right? kkk
DH: Why isn’t there? There’s me! Me!
SM: I think Donghae might actually.
YS: Definitely not Eunhyuk.
SM: Yeah that’s definitely right.
SW: That’s right, that’s so obvious.
LT: I don’t know about the people here, but Shindong, who isn’t here, I think. I asked him once, “Hey, if you had a girlfriend and the members asked you to break up with her, would you do it?”, he said, “Yeah, sure”.
So I asked why, and he said “Because the members told me to.” Shindong is quite laid back like that.
SW: But I think if members told me to break up, I would, as well.
SM: Maybe Eunhyuk will lean towards friendship if we tell him to break up?
YS: But that situation won’t ever occur anyway. kkkkk

credits: Korean Cosmo + soundscape@sj-world + Alice@sj-world

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Filed under Donghae, Eunhyuk, Hangeng, Heechul, Kangin, Kyuhyun, Leeteuk, Ryeowook, Shindong, Siwon, Sungmin, Super Junior, Xiah Junsu, Yesung

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