The Celebrity Magazine; Fall 2017 Issue Chanyeol’s Interview
Question: You have a very strong image of optimism. Haven’t you ever wanted to break from that? Chanyeol: When i was younger i thought my bright and optimistic image would create certain preconceptions for the music i wanted to compose, so i wanted to break away from the image, but these days i compose without thinking about that kind of thing. Because there is bound to be someone who enjoys that kind of music too. I’m living comfortably with that thought.
Question: I’ve heard that you got in trouble from your mother when you told her you wanted to raise a mouse that got caught in a mouse trap. Do you like animals? Chanyeol: Animals are like family to me. I’ve always had animals with me since i was a child. These days i have no time to raise a pet because i’m busy, but i play with the dog at my parents’ place whenever i visit. Unfortunately i’ve developed a cat fur allergy which i didn’t have when i was younger, so i have to be careful.
Question: Your low voice is so nice to listen to. I’m curious about which songs you enjoy singing. Chanyeol: I like singing. I sing Jung Jun Il sunbae-nim’s “Hug Me” a lot. I’ve even uploaded myself singing it in my own style. There are people who are surprised when i sing because they only know me as a rapper. Before i wanted to gain recognition for my singing, but these days i don’t feel that it’s necessary to worry myself like that.
Question: Not feeling the need to worry yourself can be seen as a sign of maturity. Was there a moment that caused it? Chanyeol: My personality is rather impatient. I feel the need to do things immediately and feel anxious when i don’t. When i look at it i think the moment that helped me was all the bowling i did when i found myself with time to spare. I got impatient that i couldn’t control the bowl properly so clung to it for two months bowling until early morning, but i actually bowled better after a two month break when i went back with an easier mind. I control myself with the thought of ‘If i get it it’s good and if i don’t get it i’ll make it eventually’. Maybe it’s because personalities don’t change but i’m still impatient.
Question: Any songs that you find touching? Chanyeol: I couldn’t understand them when i was younger but these days i really love songs by Black Skirt and Lee Sora sunbaenim. I was looking up their songs and suddenly found myself overcome with emotion, almost as though something was flowing into me.
Question: I’m curious about your current playlist. Chanyeol: Amy Winehouse, Migos, Aerosmith, The Beatles, Led Zeppelin, AC/DC and more. There are also songs from the OST of the animation <Your Name>, which i watched recently.
Question: What did you like about <Your Name>? Chanyeol: I like the subtle emotions that you find in Japanese films. I think i get pulled in very easily by the hooks Shinkai Makoto sets up. Of course the visuals are beautiful, but i really enjoyed the introduction of fantasy elements in a still realistic setting. The fact that the main protagonist went through a great deal of events but couldn’t remember any of it was sad.
Question: You debuted in 2012. Do you have any aspirations for your music as an idol of 5 years? Chanyeol: EXO has always shown a new, trendy and constantly changing side of us in our own unique colours. You could see each member growing obviously for each album. I have faith in the company, so i believe that we will continue to grow in the future. I have a lot of passion for music personally too. At the moment i just want to enjoy myself with the music as it comes, without feeling as though i have to do something. It isn’t a greed from impatience, i could call it more of a greed to do better.
Question: Is there anything that influences your music?
Chanyeol: My surroundings. When i see someone who’s talented in music i want to be talented like them. I get the same desire when i meet an artist i respect or see a good performance. These days i pray alot before composing too. Praying helps me go into composing by letting me collect my thoughts and putting me in a calmer state.
Question: I’m curious about the artists you like. Chanyeol: I’m a fan of Jamie Cullum. I like his voice and the way he plays the piano. I’m also a fan of pianist Yoon Suk Chul’s works. He’s so talented to the point where i think ‘he must be the god of piano’. I learn a lot from composing with him. I listen to a variety of genres but jazz and rock are my constants.
Question: You contributed in writing the lyrics of a song in your 4th official album. Is it an autobiographical story? Chanyeol: No. ‘Sweet Lies’ is a story very far from me. I thought alot about what i would be like if i was a bad boy, but the style doesn’t really fit with me so it was a little difficult (laughs). G. Soul composed and wrote the lyrics for the frame of the song and when i first heard the melody i thought that kind of story would suit it.
Question: You’ve been called a ‘face prodigy’. What do you think when you look into the mirror. Chanyeol: I admit it (laughs) I feel proud occasionally when i look in the mirror. I usually wear black clothing without accessorising very much. I started off thinking ‘I’ll be okay even though i’m wearing this’ but i stick to it now because it’s so comfortable. Comfort is the most important for going to the studio and bowling alley, home and so on. So i don’t really have much of an interest for appearances but when there’s a schedule and i look in the mirror with makeup i think ‘as expected’ (both laugh)
Question: You were wearing the so-called three-lined slippers at London, you’re even wearing them now. Chanyeol: That’s right. These are the shoes and pants i wore then. I wore them because they were comfortable but even the London people were surprised. I told them it was outerwear clothes.
Question: As an artist, there are people who don’t hesitate on stage but are shy in front of a camera. Conversely, there are people who shine both on stage and enjoy themselves as a celebrity on variety shows or dramas. Which side do you lean towards? Chanyeol: The former. There are lots of people that think i don’t talk when i go on variety shows and on top of that i’m very shy so it takes me a while to get comfortable. I still try though. I like seeing new sides of me so i always like a new challenge.
Question: I’m curious on how you feel about Seoul as someone who’s travelled all over the world. Chanyeol: Even though i don’t feel particularly different when i’m overseas, the first thought i have when i come to Seoul is ‘Oh! I’m home’. When i come to Incheon airport and take my phone off airport mode, it’s convenient that the wifi works well. I don’t go around very much overseas.
Question: Last question. What gives you inspiration these days? Chanyeol: Myself. Not because i’m particularly special but because i’m thinking a lot about myself. In the end i think all things conclude with yourself. So i find myself gaining inspiration for the types of music i really want to do.
Translation by fyeah-chanyeol (Please take out with full credits)
We learned through promo that Just Hold On was not written specifically in response to Jay’s illness, but was a song that had been written on 2016 after Louis direct-messaged Steve on Twitter.
Then the video came out yesterday. The story of the video is of two people who meet as strangers, spend time doing fun things together, become romantically involved, get fun-married, and speed through a space-time warp to different parts of the world.
I thought it was super cute. The actors were good together, there was international and racial inclusivity, and the message was upbeat.
In the meantime, I learned more about the structure of EDM songs, which is a little bit different than a typical pop song.
An EDM song has no bridge. Instead, there’s a pop drop moment when the electronics take over—in JHO, the kind of soaring-into-space sound. The distinction between sections also tends to be less pronounced– the bass of the first verse might become the focus of the chorus, for instance.
With the above in mind, I listened to the lyrics of “Just Hold On” again, asking myself these questions.
1. Why is this song a love story?
2. Why is there a contrast between the positivity of the video and the sadness/ need for reassurance in the lyrics? Does the time frame in which it was written matter?
The following is my personal opinion.
The lyrics clearly address someone, “Darling.” The video has offered one interpretation that this person is a love interest.
The singer seems to be poised between two times, the future, which he wishes he could see (via a time machine), and the past, the “chapter” that has “ended.”
It’s a time of flux and open possibility. “You can be who you were/ or who you’ll become.”
The present, or the near future– what he can see of it– is not so great. Something bad has, or is about to, happen. “If it all goes wrong/ darling, just hold on.”
At the time the song was performed, we thought Jay’s illness was the sad event referred to in the song. And it still may be. There isn’t only one interpretation to a song. But the video explicitly associates the song to romantic love, and we can’t just ignore that this love is linked to these lyrics.
It’s not over ‘til it’s all been said
It’s not over ‘til your dying breath
So what do you want them to say when you’re gone?
That you gave up or that you kept going on?
The tone of the lyrics is one of persistence through suffering– the “dying breath.” It’s not about fun or partying or dancing or gambling. It’s not about a hook-up or a casual fling.
It’s about fighting back. It’s about surviving and returning to life. The fact that there’s a marriage in the video shows that the relationship goes deeper than momentary fun. It’s about commitment, hope, mutual support.
The “pop drop” moment is the moment when the main message of the song is repeated over and over. In this case, the singer sings to the second person– the love interest, according to the video. Or it could be the love interest singing back; both make sense. “If it all goes wrong/ darling, just hold on.”
The implication is that all WILL go wrong. The lyrics anticipate disaster. And the singer says, don’t let disaster break your relationship. Be strong. Hold on.
It’s a brave, kind, reassuring message. Given the events in Louis’s personal life in the last two years, culminating in the ridiculous, terrible charade at LAX airport that resulted in his being dragged through the criminal and civil justice systems– of all the participants, he was the most innocent one who was there that day, and unbelievably, the only person arrested– I marvel at his inner strength, his moral courage, his tenacity, kindness, intelligence, and sangfroid.
I want to thank Louis and Steve for making this amazing song.
Jay, you raised such a great person. You’d be so proud.