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[TRANS] EXO'luXion Photobook Interview - What the members said about KAI

Xiumin: Kai is performance centre. In performances, it is not an exaggeration to say that Kai is the one-top of EXO. His body line is great so he fits clothing well. He is a cold handsome man with a cool image. Even when men look at him, they will think he is a cool guy. Above all else, Kai is very adamant in his own world. He always treats the stages seriously, and always supervises the performances. [t/n: 원톱/one-top is the Korean term used in soccer to talk about the solo striker position; for example, the 4-3-2-1 formation]

Suho: Although he pretends to not be like it, he always cares for other people with the greatest care. But he also has aegyo. So he is very charming. Above all else, the time when Kai is the most charming, is obviously when he dances. He dances while including all sincerity. These days when I look at Kai, he does not only enjoy dancing but is crazy in it. I am jealous of Kai’s ability to be immersed in something to the extent of going crazy [in it].

Lay: When we talk about “Kai”, it is “dance”. When Kai stands in the centre, EXO stages raise more and more.

Baekhyun: Kai was born a dancer. When I look at Kai dancing, I unconsciously clap my hands. There are a lot of times when I look at Kai and follow his dancing.

Chen: Kai tends to think deeply. Our age gap is not big, he is a dongsaeng, but there are a lot of times when he thinks deeper than me. Especially the consideration he has for other people is huge. He regards [other people] meticulously. He is a really considerate kid.

Chanyeol: Kai too, compared to his age, is mature [t/n: Chanyeol talks about D.O being mature before this]. He also worries a lot about the team. Also he has a lot of desire about the stage so during concert practice too, if the performance is something that could be done in five times, he will be the member who make it into more than ten times.

D.O: Kai is called a cold guy, but if you know him he is very delicate inside. But the charisma he shows on stage is the best. Kai is a member who sincerely cherishes and deeply thinks about EXO and other members. Therefore, more than anyone the concern he has for the performance is deeper.

Sehun: No one can match Kai hyung’s concentration. His ability to concentrate on stage is amazing, and when he is immersed in one thing, he will be in it until he masters it. He is a man whom you can trust whatever task you entrust him with.​

​Translated by choconini.

[TRANS] KAI - EXO'luXion Photobook Interview

Q: Do you tend to get nervous before standing on stage?

Jongin: When I was younger I really tended to get nervous. Should I call it perfectionism? I really can’t show a performance which is not to my liking to other people. That is why I do not really prefer freestyle [dance]. I am not satisfied with expressing myself through impromptu freestyle. I feel awkward to show other people the things that are not my 100%. During trainee days, I remember that I always got really nervous before evaluation time that I trembled all over my body. Other than this, there are also other times when I felt really nervous. I was trembling during debut showcase and standing on the debut stage. I also trembled on the first Dream Concert, the first time going up on stage for concert. On the first day of our first solo concert, it is not only me but the other members were also nervous. In the waiting room we shouted, took deep breaths, anyway it was chaotic. But then right before we went up on stage, there was a short moment of silence and after that we all smiled. And we started dancing. At some point, we started enjoying the tension before going up on stage. Should I call it thrill? Tension is something that starts from pressure but it includes the feeling of expectancy from standing on the stage to show [performance] for the first time. There is also a thrill of my own image. When the audience see the performance that I myself is satisfied with, what kind of feeling will they have? I enjoy thinking things like that.

Q: Who is the member that you talk with the most in the waiting room?
Jongin: Suho hyung. I tend to talk to Suho hyung about the performance with Suho hyung a lot before the concert. But honestly before going up on stage, rather than talking with other members, there are more times when I check my body condition.

Q: EXO members unanimously praise your performance talent. To be able to feel your sexiness through the various sides of your performance is very impressive. What kind of man do you think as sexy man?
Jongin: I think a man who is covered with sexiness even without taking off [his clothes] is the real sexy man. A man who gives a sexy aura instead of flaunting “I am sexy”.

Q: What do you do when you want to look sexy?
Jongin: When I want to look sexy on stage or when I sing songs with sexy mood, I put emphasis and dance. Or sway my pelvis very hard. Hahaha.

Q: What kind of artist do you want the audience to think of you as, when you stand on the stage?
Jongin: There are a lot of times that I think vaguely about what kind of artist I want to be, but I have never put words into it. Hm, if I have to explain and put it into words, it’s a deep artist. I think it can be expressed as “I want to be an artist that is like a deep ocean whose end is unknown”.

Q: What do you think are the EXO members’ strength?
Jongin: Baekhyun hyung is really fun. I think there are people who feel that Baehyun hyung looks childish because he always says funny things, makes people laugh and is a cheerful person. But hyung’s greed and passion in music are tremendous. He always worries about EXO and the performances. Before he became EXO, he had never learned dance at all and only done singing, but right now the side of him pulling his weight and dancing well is amazing. It would not be possible without Baekhyun hyung’s passion. D.O hyung really sings well. From the EXO [members], I like D.O hyung’s vocal the best. He deliver emotions but I think he was born with it. I think singers, dancers, people who draw, are the type of occupations that express emotions and hyung is really outstanding in that part. I want to take after that part [from him]. Xiumin hyung is kind, cute and simple and honest. It is really cool to see his attitude in doing his best in everything. I also like that he listens to the younger [members] attentively. Hyung really has a lot of strengths in every side of him that it is hard to pick and say, “This strength of Xiumin hyung is the best.” He is a good person. Suho hyung, more than anyone else, thinks of EXO a lot. He thinks about EXO endlessly, and share his thoughts to me endlessly. Sometimes it seems like he thinks about EXO too severely. I really like his acting and on stage the side of him being devoted is amazing. He has a strong sense of responsibility because he is the leader. Chen hyung is really kind. Should I say he is simple? I really like that strength of Chen hyung. I acknowledge that hyung is good in singing and dancing but if I have to choose one thing that I want to take after from Chen hyung is kind heart. Honestly in daily lives, I tend to get misunderstood a lot. Because my skin is tanned, expression is dark and I have dark circles. So there are people who misunderstand me as a cold person and I receive a lot of stress. To the extent that I practice smiling. But Chen hyung always smiles and is very kind, that he gives the people who see him a good feeling. I really want to take after that side of him. The thing that I want to take after from Chanyeol hyung is his greed in composition. I always get jealous of hyung’s ability when he makes a song and play it for us. Someday I hope I can learn how to compose from Chanyeol hyung and make music myself. I am also learning it by myself but it is hard. Sehun is loyal. He always thinks of the members and his loyalty is strong. I think it is a really big asset. Because as much as Sehun keeps his loyalty in his daily lives, it will all come back to him. I always feel thankful towards Lay hyung. I am thankful that he runs the schedules in China himself and still puts effort to do EXO team activities together too, but I am thankful of his presence. The fact of him being with us is something to be thankful for. Not only the side of him doing both singer and actor activities side by side, but also his passion in music is outstanding. I also want to take after of that passion from Lay hyung. Honestly for me I cannot really do things well unless it is something I like or am interested in.

Q: Tell us your thoughts after completing EXO PLANET #2 The EXO’luXion.
Jongin: If we want to say 44 shows are long, they are long, if we want to say they are short, they are short. EXO PLANET #2 The EXO’luXion has finished but honestly I want to do this performance format longer. Because I want to do it better every time. But only if I brush that feeling, I can prepare for the next performance. I think that the regretful feeling that I feel while doing EXO PLANET #2 The EXO’luXion may be nourishment when I get ready for the next stage. I want to show a better performance to the fans, a performance that I myself do not regret and am satisfied with. That is my dream.

Q: In “Baby, Don’t Cry” stage, there was a spotlight stage for you and Sehun, right? You showed off cool dance and water dance. Is there any part where you would like to add more of your idea?
Jongin: I really like composing performance but when the director, Jaewon hyung, suggested the water performance, I really thought it was a cool idea. I considered it a perfect choreography to the extent where there was not any need to think about “it will be good to add something more here”. I simply thought that I had to complete that performance with my style.

Q: What was “my style” that you talk about?
Jongin: I do not put effort to simply just dance well. A “cool” feeling is important but more than that I think delivering the emotion felt in a song is the most important thing. We feel a certain emotion when we listen to the song lyrics with a lot of people. It will be good if I can express the emotion through my dance and the audience can feel more of my emotion while looking at my performance.

Q: Do you mean that you want to make a stage which the audience can “feel” instead of “see”?
Jongin: Yes. I want to make a stage that is shared with the audience, and a stage that is more open. I mean [a stage] that will leave the audience’s interpretation and feeling open. When I express a sad emotion, it is possible for the audience to feel a happy feeling. It is because even if we see the same thing, the emotion one feels is different. Things like this can be some sort of fun when looking at my stage too, can’t it?

Q: But when the audience look at your performance, they think that it is “beautiful” or “sexy”.
Jongin: I like a beautiful and sexy performance as well. But beyond that, I think that emotion clearly exists. For example when I did “Baby, Don’t Cry”, it was the same choreography and movement but I could show different performance according to my emotion on that particular day. One day I expressed a hopeless story, one day a light emotion. Other day I dressed the stage with a good feeling.

Q: Did your emotion change every day when you performed “Baby, Don’t Cry” for 44 times?
Jongin: Yes, it changed every day. Because every day my mood is different. I dance based on the mood at that time, before I go up on stage. Therefore there was a day when I danced while smiling, other day I added some movements. The details were slightly different, there was also a time when I buried my head [in my hands]. I always did a little differently in those 44 performances. That is the kind of performance I seek to do.

Q: The gesture of you sweeping your head while standing up on “Baby, Don’t Cry” last part is very sexy. Did you aim for it?
Jongin: You can see it that way. I aimed to do “Baby, Don’t Cry” last movement perfectly. Haha, but for the rest I did not aim for it. My hair was long and as I did the performance I sweated so I swept my hair a lot.

Q: When you dance, it seems like you season it with ballet feelings. Do you also add ballet movements to “Baby, Don’t Cry” dance?
Jongin: I didn’t insert ballets movement intentionally. But the basis of all dance is ballet and since I was young I have done ballet so naturally in my movements [the ballet feeling] oozes.

Q: What is the most memorable stage in EXO PLANET #2 The EXO’luXion?
Jongin: “El Dorado” is the most memorable. Lyrics and LED sticks, as well as the gold outfit and other things that form “El Dorado” might be very childish if put into text. But the performance was not the least bit childish and very cool [instead]. That was the director’s [Shim Jaewon] strength. For me “El Dorado” performance shows the end of the directing. If we consider it as movies, it can be The Lord of the Rings or Spiderman. If we only think about the story, they might feel like a cartoon but they really are not childish at all, aren’t they?

Q: When do you think you commune with the audience during EXO PLANET #2 The EXO’luXion?
Jongin: Director Shim Jaewon emphasised, “Make eye contact with the audience a lot.” I also agreed with it. During the concert performance, I intended to commune with the audience while looking at them one by one. Different to broadcast performances, at concert performances while communing with the audience the energy is boiling? It’s simply feeling like “You are looking at me too right? I am also looking at you.” I think the real commune is as a singer, boiling up the audience’s energy on stage and communicate together.

Q: During this concert tour, there were times when you felt upset because of the injury. On the other hand, is there a thing that you obtained thanks to the injury?
Jongin: Yes. Before EXO PLANET #2 The EXO’luXion [dot] I injured my leg that I intuitively think “I will not be able to stand on the stage”. It was very hard after that day. Because it was a performance of EXO PLANET #2 The EXO’luXion tour finale that I had waited for, my mental pain was huge too. After EXO PLANET #2 The EXO’luXion Seoul first concert, due to small injury I think I do not have a lot of concerts that I am 100% satisfied with. So I prepared hard to perform a performance that I would be 100% satisfied with in EXO PLANET #2 The EXO’luXion [dot] but in the end I got an injury so I was very dejected. To the extent where I wanted to run away from EXO PLANET #2 The EXO’luXion [dot]. I am very sorry towards the audience and the members. When the concert started, I went up on stage and performed at my part and down after my part was done. It was very awkward and I was embarrassed. When I was up on the stage, I always faced the audience and smiled but below the stage I feel like crying. The thought like “What am I doing right now?” kept whirling in my head, and I was really jealous at the members who danced on stage. Then there were times when I went near to the audience area by lift and communicated with them, in the end I could not hold my tears. The emotions that I supressed, exploded. And at the same time, I received consolation from the audience. From that day, I thought about what kind of performance I could do while sitting on the chair, gradually I got used to the performances that I was given. The lesson that I felt from that time is for me to be satisfied and to show the audience an even better performance, “Let’s take a good care.”

Q: In an interview, you have ever said, “At the time when I do not dance, I gain a lot of things”. If you became the audience and saw EXO’s performance, what would you feel?
Jongin: There was a time when I said, “I also want to see EXO’s concert as an audience.” But because of this injury, I basically have experienced it. There were a lot of feelings that I felt when I looked at EXO stages from below the stage. After looking from outside, at which part the audience went wild, which part I felt lacking, I got to know the strengths and witnesses of EXO stages. I think in the future it will be the foundation of the performances that we will show. Referring to the things I felt, reflecting them on the next concert, I think we will be able to show a better performance and do better.​

Translated by choconini.