JYJ's Kim Jaejoong Says His New Album 'WWW' Describes the 'Who, When and Why Of Love' In A KpopStarz Exclusive Interview
By Jesse Lent | November 15, 2013 06:21 PM EST
Kim Jaejoong is not an artist known for playing by the rules.
When he and his two TVXQ bandmates Park Yoochun and Kim Junsu left the group over a contract dispute with their record label SM Entertainment in 2010, it seemed unlikely any of them would ever again experience the kind of popularity they had tasted with their former band.
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Yet, above all odds, the three singers formed the trio JYJ later that same year and rose above numerous professional roadblocks to become one of the most popular and critically respected acts in K-pop today.
Jaejoong is once again taking risks on his new album "WWW," released on October 29, which sees the soft-spoken artist venturing into hard rock territory to great effect on tracks like the blistering "Butterfly."
A year since KpopStarz last spoke with Jaejoong, the 27-year-old pop star sat down with our video team during a recent solo tour of Japan to discuss the making of "WWW" and where he would like to go next in his music career.
KpopStarz: How would you describe your new album "WWW?"
Jaejoong: This album expresses the main points of a love that is just starting out, the 'who, when and why' of love. That is how I came up with the title of the album. The album features mostly rock styled music and for those that are not fans of rock, it is still pleasing to listen to. There are also many [more mellow] songs on the album and I hope everyone enjoys it.
KpopStarz: What was the experience of recording your second solo album like?
Jaejoong: The overall making of this album was very fun and enjoyable. Since there were so many feature artists for this album including Ha Dong Kyun and [BEAST's] Yong Junhyung, it was more fun to record with them than by myself. Also Yoon Do Hyun [of the South Korean rock band YB] and others gave me songs for this album. It was a new experience recording those songs.
KpopStarz: Talk about your writing process for "WWW." What did you hope to achieve with this album?
Jaejoong: Most of the songs that I've produced or written all have some sort of message in them. The melody in most of the songs has something that makes you want to listen to it over and over again. I tried to do songs that connected with the listener and that would be addictive to listen to. I also tried to keep the lyrics very straightforward. At the same time, I tried to make it so that for some lyrics, listeners would have to listen to the song again or take a look at the lyrics again in order to understand them.
KpopStarz: Where do you get your inspiration from when you are composing songs?
Jaejoong: I get a lot of inspiration from the sounds that come out of the piano. Depending on what type of melody I am playing, I am able to remember certain memories or moments that help with writing songs. If there is a piano I will play, since I do love to play.
KpopStarz: Do you play any other instruments besides piano?
Jaejoong: Besides the piano, I honestly cannot play any other instrument. I'm currently trying to learn how to play the guitar.
KpopStarz: What kinds of music do you like to listen to?
Jaejoong: I've always liked listening to J-Pop. For example, I listened to groups like [the 1990s Japanese rock band] L'Arc-en-Ciel and others. When I was younger I listened to [the 1980s Japanese heavy metal band] X Japan as well.
KpopStarz: There are several collaborations on "WWW." Are there any other artists you would like to work with?
Jaejoong: I did do collaborations with many other artists this time and I hope to be able to collaborate with a female artist next time. Singer Gummy has recently joined [the C-JeS record label roster] and I would like to collaborate with her sometime.
KpopStarz: What's the difference between performing solo and performing with your JYJ bandmates?
Jaejoong: [In JYJ], our group's vocals seem to work well in the style of pop music. As a solo artist, I try to bring out as many different styles of music that I can. Because I am doing more of a rock genre, I do more of a shouting style of music that is quite different from when JYJ performs. The difference between going solo and being in a group is that as a group we can share the responsibilities whereas as a solo artist, I am responsible for what type of music I release.
KpopStarz: What is the best way for a fan to enjoy themself at one of your concerts.
Jaejoong: The way to enjoy a concert a more is to, especially for rock themed concerts [like my solo shows], is to feel the music by jumping or nodding along to the music. It's best to just let the music take control over you. You shouldn't be embarrassed. Open your eyes and ears and don't think about what's around you. Just enjoy the concert.
KpopStarz: What is the current band dynamic in JYJ? Are you still close with Yoochun and Junsu?
Jaejoong: The members of JYJ are special to me, just like my family. We are very different on and offstage. Offstage we are loud and like to have fun, but onstage we are professional and show off a different image. There is a distinct difference between our members on and off stage.
KpopStarz: What do you have planned for the future as a solo artist or with JYJ?
Jaejoong: First, since I've released this album, my goal is for everyone to enjoy my songs and to play more shows [with the new material]. Unfortunately, JYJ will not be releasing an album this year, but we will be releasing one next year.
Watch the exclusive KpopStarz Jaejoong Interview RIGHT HERE
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