Shinhwa, like the long-running idols they are, make history with each and every move, and become the first. All the idol groups pick Shinhwa as their role models. Eric’s worry over “I’m very concerned over what I should use as my motivation for work in future”, Dongwan’s hope that “I hope the path we have walked on will be helpful someday,” when you look at all those, you can feel Shinhwa’s burden over having to write a legend and their sense of responsibility over what they have written. Even so, Shinhwa says, “Our relationship with our fans has evolved. If we work with sincerity, through our full albums, then wouldn’t an unexpected new image appear? No one knows that,” and hint at yet another legend. Shinhwa writing legends, it is possible because it is these 6 men.
Q. You’re a long-running group. Are there any good and bad or tiring points that arise from time passing? Shin Hyesung: The good thing is just that in itself. When we debuted at 19, 20 years old, we didn’t think “Let’s become long-running idols in Korea.” We have worked hard and consistently had promotions, and people giving us recognition naturally, that in itself is really nice. Growing old is bad. Haha. Kim Dongwan: There aren’t many friends. Everyone used to be around the same age when we were in the dressing room but now, the age gap is so great…it can go up to a 17, 18 year difference so it’s boring. There isn’t anyone to talk to apart from PDs or writers. Haha. Junjin: I have concerns. I’d like to talk more funnily or say something good when I go on TV, but I wonder if people won’t like it if I say what I’ve said before. Because I pick the funniest stories to tell so I end up saying the same things I’ve said before. Although it might appeal to people who don’t know, when I think about the fans, I wonder if they aren’t sick of it. I also worry in terms of musically or our dressing. The good thing is, when looking at it as a person, now, gradually, I start to put myself down, even if it isn’t completely 100%. I can be honest, because I’m at that level. Lee Minwoo: The good thing about being able to continue for long is being able to continue for long. When I was young, I thought it was cool when people said “I’m envious of your good friendship.” Even during difficult times, Andy would give a hug and walk together, and that’s really quite nice. I don’t feel there’s anything really bad. Personally, I’m curious when we’ll be able to get married. Everyone’s talking about it now..haha. Kim Dongwan: I think all of us won’t be able to get married. Lee Minwoo: That seems like a downside of being absorbed in work only. Eric: If you ask if I’d want to go back to my early twenties, I definitely don’t want to. Although we tried to find things to laugh about despite our tight and heavily-packed schedule, we would complete 20 schedules a day, running at full speed ahead without any rest but to do that now, I won’t be able to. What I hoped for and wanted then was to be working happily while receiving the love of the public even after 17 years and that has come true. I’m thankful that it has come true because we have worked hard, up till now. And I think that’s the good point that comes about as time passes. If I had to talk about a bad point, in the past, my goal was clear and simple because I was young. Now, when my goals have been reached, I’m very concerned over what I should use as motivation for work in future. In the past, I picked my optimism as my strength, I won’t think much even if something bad happened. But as time passes, there are more and more useless worries. I worry in advance over useless worries, and perhaps it is because I’ve grown older, I don’t sleep much at night, those are the bad points.
Q. There are a lot of idol groups that see Shinhwa as their role models. Kim Dongwan: I feel a sense of responsibility. It’s not possible that we won’t cause trouble our whole life. You can’t say that we are the right answer. Although I can’t say to do like we’ve done, I hope that someday the path we’ve walked will be useful. When I don’t know what style to sing a certain song, there are times I would think, “How would Shin Seunghoon do it?”, “How would Kim Gunmo do it?” and find answers. We too want to be that kind of guideline. Be it as a group or as a soloist, when you’re trying to look for a way to go on for a long time, I hope we can be of some help, however little. Whether it is how to live life as a person or as an idol. Even though we each move forward in life on our own, I would like to be of a little help to our juniors. Recently, most of the groups that disband happens so because of the agency’s system. There is no choice. After disbandment, they’re lost but there isn’t a need to think “I guess this is the end of my life”, “I guess I’m not cut out to be a celebrity.” As long as you yourself don’t give up on your own life, no one knows what will happen. I hope they can overcome it well. I hope they don’t give up too easily.
Q. Although Andy and Eric has had experience, don’t the other members want to groom junior singers too? Junjin: I do. Lee Minwoo: Andy often asks me, “Hyung, I really think you can do well but why aren’t you doing it?” I still want to build up on more experience. It isn’t that I want to do more of my own music, I’d like to show it after I have learnt more, and have more weapons in my arsenal. Now is the time to prepare for the future. It seems like a turning point will come soon but it’s hard to say when that time will be. I do have thoughts, hopes and goals. Kim Dongwan: I think our desires to promote is still greater. Lee Minwoo: Because my affection for Shinhwa is much greater, my greatest wish is to create a group like Shinhwa.
Q. Your concert on the 21st and 22nd of March is upcoming. You’re keeping your promise to hold a concert annually. Kim Dongwan: We want to keep the promise of an annual concert with the 6 of us. Because we said that, last year when we did it with 5 of us, there were many who were disappointed. Asking what’s the point if it isn’t 6. As it is an annual concert, we’ll work hard so that we can do well as 6. We have to make a good album and meet the fans frequently. Andy played a big part in us being able to keep our promise this year. Andy worked up a lot of courage, and missed the stage. Although he had worries about the public’s acceptance, Andy came out with the thought that he should pull himself together. Andy still has fears now. Although we don’t hope for understanding, I hope there will be no more misunderstandings. Andy: I feel very apologetic. Be it personally or as a celebrity, I made a very big mistake so it is an honour to be able to promote with the members and I’m happy. On the other hand, I’m very sorry. Even though preparing for the 12th album was a difficult process, I thought I should give my all and show a good side of me. Kim Dongwan: As this is a difficult time, there will be people who won’t be able to forgive him. Although I’m very sorry towards those people, Andy is working hard to gain understanding through promotions so if you look upon him nicely, he will cutely transform into one who is hardworking.
Q. Although you are a group that has promoted continuously, recently, contents that are targeted at the fans of past popular singers are being made continuously. ”Reply 1997” and “ToToGa” are even popular, what do you think if a content on Shinhwa was made? Kim Dongwan: Personally I think it’s a great relief that a drama that turns us into a topic of the past wasn’t made. If that happened, it feels like we’ll be trapped in the past. I really liked “Reply 1997”. But I was surprised because 1997 is just a year before our debut year, 1998. I don’t like being trapped in the past. Very young kids think of us as idols who have debuted at a late age. I like being remembered that way.
Q. What would you like to show in future? Shin Hyesung: I think it’ll be fine if we continue to do things like how we do it now. I think we’ll feel burdened if we thought “We have to hit our 20th year.” Eric often says this, that it isn’t good if we release an album and push ahead with excessive broadcast schedules etc. I hope that we can work while enjoying, while laughing. If we consistently work like how we do now, I think our 20th year will come very quickly. I think it’ll be quite emotional when that time comes. Eric: Because we’ve promoted for a long time, you get to see what is different, and what you didn’t feel then. The members’ individual fans often follow that member’s characteristics, and the fans who like Shinhwa, have each become talented people in various industries as they grow old with us. Perhaps because they are like Shinhwa, they don’t like to lose so they work hard, and so I feel satisfied and also think it’s awesome. Our relationship with our fans isn’t one dimensional, the fans work hard so that we would stand out, look good. Shinhwa Changjos were the first to start the rice donation culture, and have done many good things like Shinhwa forest etc, these are all things done so that we will look good. It is totally unexpected. Our relationship with the fans has evolved. We will work hard to do our utmost best. With a dance title track, we will promote with our original intentions and the best consistency. If we do it sincerely with a full album, wouldn’t a new and unexpected imagery appear? No one knows.
I suggest anyone who wants to see Eric running through the woods to download the Insurgent Shatter Reality app. It’s honestly amazing. It gives you an exclusive look of the chase scene through the Amity woods. (Also eric is heavy breathing so who wouldn’t want to hear that?)