"It's a song that you can enjoy." The members of 2PM kept saying about their title track "HANDS UP" from their second full-length album of the same name which was released after an eight month break. Since their debut song "10 Out of 10" in 2008, 2PM had put on heavy and dark performances for songs "Again&Again," "Heartbeat" and "Without U" but it seems as though they finally found a song that one can really have fun with. Junho said, "It feels as though we are starting from the beginning since many people tell us it gives off a similar vibe to '10 Out of 10.'" Their latest album brings up past images of themselves from three years ago and the members of 2PM spoke to reporters during a press conference for the new release.
10: The song "10 Out of 10" gives off the vibe of a boy who just learned about women, while "HANDS UP" seems like it is about a young man who knows how to party. It seems as though it is related to the growth of 2PM as a group. Do you think you guys have grown up compared to then and now?
Taecyeon: I find it important that singers sing in accordance to their age. I felt that when we first began promoting "10 Out of 10," we matched the song since we were in our twenties and were extremely interested in women. Now, since we are in our mid-twenties (laugh) of course we are still young but if feels like we are ripened youths. "HANDS UP" will go well with those who are the same age as us since they go to clubs. As a team, we still lack in some areas and we work together to fill in those gaps because our teamwork has developed through the big and small things we've been through.
10: How will the new album appeal to the audience compared to your past records?
Taecyeon: The key point for this album is to have a 'good time.' We heard many things from the public and our fans of how they were fed up with our past albums since we kept singing songs about sadness, breaking up and waiting. So, that's how we came to tell Park Jin-young that we didn't want to sing about sad love songs anymore. We feel that this album shows off our style the best. I think I like how the new song allowed us to bring out our personalities.
10: The music video for "HANDS UP" shows the members having fun instead of how in the past there was emphasis on charisma or the group's performance. Originally, 2PM is known mostly for being 'animalistic.' Are you trying to change that?
Wooyoung: We wanted to do music that we can enjoy. People will probably think that 2PM 'can party' while others will think that 2PM 'goes all out' when they see our performance for "HANDS UP." Our fans have created the image of us being 'animalistic' though we don't want to position ourselves in being solely like that. But that doesn't mean we will break away from that energy. We want to do our best while fully maintaining that balance.
Junho: We want to show how well 'animalistic' idols can party. (laugh)
Taecyeon: It's an honor to be called 'animalistic' but at the same time it is a burden too. It might seem as though we are stuck because we are continuously working on showing a more powerful concept and performance. In that sense, that is why we decided on doing club music.
10: So does that mean you frequently go clubbing? (laugh)
Taecyeon: It's been two years since I have gone clubbing.
Wooyoung: I would like to but I don't have the time.
Junho: It's more fun just talking and hanging out with the other members of my group.
10: Junsu and Junho, you both composed songs "Give it to me" and "HOT" for the new album. Did you direct the other members in recording the songs since you wrote it?
Junsu: I couldn't tell when I was working individually with singers Kan Mi-youn and Lim Jeong-hee in February for the songs that I wrote for them but I found it extremely difficult in tuning the song and tone for the six of us. It was difficult but fun since the members did a good job.
Junho: I thought a lot to myself on how to direct the other members since I know their personalities so well. I was pleased because they were able to do a good job in expressing the different parts. I thought to myself that I am learning after I composed my song because I was able to understand in detail how other composers and Park Jin-young work. I felt that the members were actually leading me since I am still a beginner when it comes to directing. Hopefully next time I get to do it with charisma. (laugh)
10: How were the other members like when Junsu and Junho were directing?
Wooyoung: It was new and I was cautious since I could tell that Junho had a lot of concerns. Park Jin-young is able to show his anger when we work with him but it seemed as though Junho was being anxious. Of course, it might be because he was being avaricious in perfecting the song. Honestly, we tried not to step on each other's toes and we followed what Junho wanted so he can work comfortably. It goes the same for when we worked with Junsu.
10: Do the rest of you have any plans to compose or write songs?
Wooyoung: I'm practicing by listening to all kinds of music even though I may be a bit short. I try to point out the drum and melody cords when I listen to jazz music.
Chansung: As for me, Wooyoung bought me a keyboard thinking that I was interested in composing.
Junho: Taecyeon has the enthusiasm (for composing) since he was in charge of writing the rap of KBS' drama "Dream High." Since our debut up until just recently, we didn't play a big role in making the album but it now seems as though the members are showing more interest in taking part in creating an album. I feel like that with time we will be able to release a great album.
Nichkhun: I didn't do much. (laugh) I was busy and wasn't able to do anything else.
10: Junsu, How did you feel after finish recording the first episode of KBS' "Monumental Song 2" (translated title)?
Junsu: After receiving our assignments, we only have one week to arrange the song, come up with a performance for it as well as practice. It was extremely difficult. Still, I thought about how I loved music before I became a member of 2PM and that I like how I am able to show a different side to who I am. I'm actually learning how to change old songs to fit the music style of today.
10: Nichkhun, do you have plans to continue starring in MBC's "We Got Married?"
Nichkhun: I don't have any plans of stepping down from the show and I will work on my married life. I am able to see Victoria in the waiting room since f(x) resumed their activities and I am happy and look forward to it because we get to greet each other at the broadcasting companies.
10: Do you have any thoughts on pursuing an acting career?
Nichkhun: I would like to. I get many offers from Thailand for movie parts but I don't think I will get the chance because I am very busy this year. I think I will get a shot next year.
10: What was the most memorable stage performance that you have seen during your break?
Junho: We are really into watching MBC's "I Am a Singer." (laugh) We try to re-watch the episodes as much as possible.
Chansung: We waited a really long time just to watch a senior singer's performance when we were in Japan since the Internet wasn't that great. We watched a portion of it and kept waiting five minutes for the rest to load.
Junho: The screen would freeze after we watched parts of it and we had to resume taking our pictures when we tried to see it again. We even waited a whole day just to watch one performance.
10: SBS E!TV's "2PM SHOW" with your group's name is scheduled to go on air. What kind of image do you hope to show your fans?
Taecyeon: It feels right to just show our natural selves. We were able to receive the audience's support through other reality shows and recently we weren't able to show that. It is still a bit chaotic since it's just the beginning of the "2PM SHOW" but we are slowly finding our direction and I feel that we will be able to show our individual charm through the different episodes.
10: I hear that you will be promoting the new album for a month. What are your plans after that?
Taecyeon: We will resume our activities in Japan the week after we finish promoting the album. Then we will continue with activities overseas till the end of the year.
10: Your group officially made your debut in Japan. Do you have a distinctive strategic plan in capturing the hearts of fans in Japan?
Taecyeon: I wouldn't say its a strategy but the fans in Japan found us to be refreshing and different because in Japan they don't have the concept of 'animalistic' idols. I like to think that is what makes us different from other artists. We didn't show much of our animalistic mannerisms because our first single in Japan was "TAKE OFF." In order to get the crowd's response, we have to first show our friendly sides and slowly reveal our animalistic image.
10: Do you have plans on expanding your activities to other countries aside from Japan?
Junho: We plan on focusing on our activities in Japan this year. We would like to go elsewhere if we get the opportunity and time to. We can go to Thailand since Nickhun is there. I want to go to Europe because of the recent Hallyu boom and also South America. (laugh) We don't have any plans yet but don't you think we will get a call if we are appealing to the audience?
Chansung: I'm going to slick back my hair if we get to go to South America. (laugh)
Wooyoung: I think we have to get the approval of fans in Asia before going to South America.
Taecyeon: I feel that SM Entertainment broke away from Asia and made the first step into Europe. Just because the SM artists have succeeded outside of Asia doesn't mean that we are exceptions.
10: Recently, the time span of songs staying at the No. 1 spot has become shorter. How do you feel about this reality?
Junho: We have to work hard in meeting the needs of the audience by listening to different music because we can't stop change from happening. I also thought about how being No. 1 doesn't feel like being No. 1 anymore because the rankings can change overnight.
Chansung: It's sad that the time span focusing on good songs and artists is decreasing. It feels like the value of good songs is slowly fading.
10: It's been almost three years since your debut. Where do you see yourselves positioned amongst the other Hallyu stars and in the Korean music industry?
Junho: Our position? The only thought that comes to mind is that we still have to work very hard. (laugh) I can feel the things that we lack in when we are performing and we monitor each other and talk about it.
Junsu: I don't think that we are in the position to rank ourselves.
Taecyeon: In idol terms, it feels like a long time since our debut. (laugh) Instead of thinking that this is it for us, it feels like a stage of change. In terms of a human being, we will probably be in the puberty stage. We are currently in search of our ego.
Junho: The senior singers tell us that the third year for an idol star is crucial and I personally feel it. I worry about whether if I will stay an idol singer or become avaricious and create music that I want the public to hear. We will probably hit rock bottom if we show off. Maybe 2PM will show a sophisticated side as time goes by. Our position...Lost? We are currently in the worrying phrase.
Wooyoung: That's also the concept of the latest album.
Taecyeon: Let's just say lost and carefree. (laugh)
Reporter : Hwang Hyo-jin
Editor : Lucia Hong luciahong@, Jang Kyung-Jin three@
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