MAGAZINE – PEOPLE INTERVIEW | Say you love me, Junggigo | Date: 2012.12.07 16:14
Say you love me, Junggigo
From Cubic to Junggigo, from Infinite Flow to BoA. I met Junggigo, who’s been a singer for 10 years.
I think this is the first time you’re being interviewed by Musinsa. Let’s start the interview with your self-introduction.
Nice to meet you. I am the singer Junggigo. That’s sufficient, right?
Yes. You introduced yourself as Junggigo but you were actually active under the name “Cubic” before.
The musician I liked when I was small was Utada Hikaru. She released her first album in the US under the name “Cubic C,” so I once used the name “Cubic K” to communicate with friends on social sites. That’s why I kept using that name but I honestly didn’t know I’d be making music this long. I didn’t think a lot about a name.
What was the reason you changed to your real name?
Because of therestrictions the name “Cubic” portraits. If someone sings sad songs under the name “Cubic,” I don’t think that creates an appropriate atmosphere. I think it brought a limit to the subtle, glittering feelings of my music. If I use my real name, no matter what kind of music I’m doing it would be under my own identity, so I thought it was right to change it.
Have you dreamed of becoming a singer since childhood?
I liked singing but I’ve never thought that I had to become a singer no matter what. As the reactions to my first incidental recording were explosive, I kept making music. Infinite Flow’s “Respect U” was my beginning [in music].
You’ve been active in a duet called “Seoul Star.”
“Seoul Star” was formed quite impulsively while I was eating at a restaurant in a neighborhood in Hongdae with “Gaknageune” (now Jazzy Ivy). Originally I was just featuring in his album but after continuous talks we thought it would be good if we just made an album together. That’s how that work came about really incidentally.
I remember that you’ve featured in lots of hip hop music since then.
It’s just that I started off in the hip hop genre. So I was singing but there weren’t any other singers around me, nearly nothing but rappers. I think that was because of my start [in the hip hop scene]. Since I’ve worked with “Infinite Flow” in 2002, I even worked on two songs within one month nearly every year. I don’t think that was because I was good at singing but because there wasn’t anyone but me in the national hip hop scene who sang at that time.
So you went through all that time and finally your first single “Byebyebye2 was released in 2008.
I think it was around 2007 when I suddenly had ambitions towards a solo career. I felt that I had to have solo songs. So since then I think I spent about nearly one year only searching for songs. I think that was especially hard because I only had friends who did hip hop. On top of that, I had to imprint the singer “Junggigo” on the public with those songs, so I was quite careful when choosing them. During that time, I came across “Byebyebye.”
You released many single albums after “Byebyebye,” is there a song you like the most?
“Blind.” It’s a song I like a lot. After releasing “Nowarnocry” in winter 2009, I concentrated on the “ZIBAP CARNIVAL” event1)Literally “Carnival in Front of the House,” live music by an indie band in a café in Hongdae and nearly couldn’t work on my music at all. “Blind” was released after that, after nearly two years. I have lots of good memories in connection to “Blind.” I did lots of work at dawn and the melody I recorded while walking home at around 4-5 a.m. became “Blind.” It’s not about earning lots of money with it, I just have lots of good memories of “Blind.” Thanks to that song I even received an unexpected great award.
Since you mentioned “ZIBAP CARNIVAL,” I know that you’re personally involved into the making of your album jackets.
I have lots of ambitions. So I participate in making my album jackets or videos and in the editing of my music videos. Just like “ZIBAP CARNIVAL,” music doesn’t end with just making music. “Blind” was the first song which I made while having the album jacket and the video in mind from the beginning. I decided that delivering my thoughts entirely through music only is impossible. I remember that I gave a friend with who I worked very detailed instructions on non-music matters because of that: the angle of the face, the font, the mood and the color sensation, all those little things. I think the more detailed I explain them, the faster the result I want will come out. That’s why I am someone who participates in as much as possible. Even now I don’t think music is all there is to music. I’m greedy to make clothes too, there’s really a lot I want to do. That’s also why I’m preparing some things at the moment.
You seem to be quite particular about the work on your songs too. How do you normally work?
Normally, when I ask my songwriter friends for a song, I first tell them my thoughts at the moment as well as what kind of song I want to make because of those thoughts. Then the composer shows me a first draft of the song, for example only with drums and piano, on which I then lay the melody and lyrics. Afterwards, I modify it again with the composer. At that point, like I’ve said before, I give them quite detailed instructions. As I don’t have a lot of knowledge about music, I tend to work while saying lots of things like “How should the bass be here?” or “Should it be left out here?” “Blind” was made of such a song, which was then totally changed by leaving out a flute sound. The rhythm as well, everything was changed. There’s a producer called “Soulfish” and he realized my thoughts well. I gave him a lot of instructions by talking, honestly you can say he did all of it. He gave me a better song than I had thought. Communication is really important.
What do you usually do when you’re not working on music?
Since I was a child, I’ve liked playing video games but recently I don’t play anymore. If I start playing once, I get deeply absorbed in them so I try not to start. Thinking about it, I like being as good as alone so I watch films and drink at home. On weekends I meet friends and also go to parties of DJs I like. I quite like drinking alcohol but I only drink with friends I really like, because I am a bit shy around strangers. When I’m not working I think I keep having fun that way.
If you enjoy alcohol that much, how did you go on a diet? It even made the news.
Before my EP “Pathfinder” was released this summer, I spent every day like this: I got up at 10 a.m., ran one hour on an empty stomach and after eating a rough lunch of chicken breasts I kept working on lyrics until the evening. Then I ate some bananas and worked out again, then went to sleep. Being asleep was painful so I really slept right away. Because while toning my body I couldn’t drink alcohol and nearly couldn’t see my friends at all. I am actually quite fast at making melodies but working on lyrics takes me a long time. That’s why I think I kept working out and working on lyrics nearly every day. It was really hard. The skin on my knees was even coming off. I think I lost nearly ten kilos in two weeks. But after my activities ended and I was so-called “off season,” I just sparingly care for my body and drink a lot of alcohol again.
Any other music genre or musician you like?
Talking about genres, black music? I think that fits me the best. There are too many artists I like so I can’t choose one favorite. I think all musicians who steadily keep doing their own music are good. I am quite influenced by them too. But I don’t think I have one role model. They are all different people and their music is different too. I think I am not influenced by just one [musician] but I am influenced a bit from here and a bit from there. Ah, Pharrell is good, he’s the best. I think his music and his movement of making clothes are really all good.
What do you think about Jinbo who has had an interview with Musinsa too recently?
He’s cool. He’s very cool and he keeps stubbornly doing fresh music that cannot be found in our country and he does it well. So he is always a good role model for musicians. I also like him and I’m always listening to his music, I think he is one of the few cool Korean artists that you can brag with in other countries.
So including Jinbo, any vocalist you’d like to work with?
Zion.T. He is a close friend of mine and we call eath other often but our musical colors are different so I definitely want to work with him once when we have the chance. Among those who have similar musical colors, it would be J. I absolutely want to work with J.
I know you have a lot of interest in fashion too. What kind of style do you like?
Just a natural style, I think? I like simple things. First of all I search for something that matches me. Because if I wear something that looked cool on someone else it doesn’t mean that it will look cool on me too. While searching for something that matches me I think I came to like a comfortable and natural style. Standing out is good too but I think it’s good if the bass is natural first and then emphasis is added.
Then, what kind of women do you like?
I know that exactly. Ha ha ha. Someone who laughs a lot and prettily and is wise. Not clever. A wise person who knows how to step forward when it is needed and stands by when it is not. And someone who is nice. Because I am bad? I like someone who can bear that. That way we will match well, right?
Have you worked on a song that reflects such a type of woman? Or do you plan to work on one?
There is one but other people wouldn’t know if they listen to it. The things she talked about with me are hidden in the lyrics. It might be nothing to other people but if she listens to it she can understand them, that’s the kind of lyrics I’ve worked on before. Hmm and there might also be such a song among the ones I will release around the end of the year.
A new single?
Not a single but a mixtape. I plan to release it for free.
The expectations of fans towards an official release of the song “Say You Love Me” which you sing at every concert is immense.
I am currently thinking about that song. I like the song anyway so I plan to properly record it. But I don’t know when that will happen yet. Including a full-length album, a single and a jazz album I am currently preparing quite a lot. If I release it, I think it will probably be part of the “My Favorite Cut” series that has first been released last year in winter. I don’t know when it will be but I will do it.
By the way, you have held quite a lot of concerts. Just recently you were at GMF [Grand Mint Festival] too. Do you realize your popularity?
I slowly feel it. It’s been ten years since I’ve had my début but the only thing that I think can be called an activity was after I released “Blind,” so compared to that time of over one year, I think a lot of people are recognizing me. Of course the fans that have been waiting since long ago are the base, which is the reason I am being active like this.
I heard you’re also appearing on television sometimes?
It’s not that I don’t have any greed for television programs but I try not to be greedy for useless things. I have no ambitions towards pop music ranking programs. If it’s a program that shows me wholly, I would like to appear in it but I don’t have any greed for it. Either I appear in them or not.
It’s soon the end of the year now. Do you have anything planned?
I think I will sleep. Ha ha ha. Besides that, probably concerts? I have about three concerts in December. I don’t think about Christmas, really. On the 31st I will go to church and attend a New Year’s Eve service, which is our family’s tradition. I have to be together with my parents in church that day for the next year to pass smoothly. That is why I’ve never went to countdown parties or anything similar. I am curious but I never went. Because the one coming year is more important to me. Ha ha.
How was the year 2012 for you?
I think to some extent it went the way I had planned. I didn’t release an album in the first half of the year. Last year in September, “Blind” came out and in the three months after that three singles. This year my schedule wasn’t that tight, since January there was no album until my EP was released in August. I think my concerts were really sold out in the meantime. I focused on showing the band with which I worked together at various places from channels like “Naver Onstage” and “GMF” to the “Rainbow Festival.” My spectrum of activities has broadened. Thinking about it now, it worked well just like I had intended. In the second half of the year I released my mini album and left is one mixtape. If I just finish that well, I think I can say that this one year has passed well. Ah, the New Year’s Eve service really is my last mission.
Supposing you finished that important New Year’s Eve service well, what will happen in 2013?
My first huge task next year is my first full-length album. I actually wanted to work on it late this year but somehow it got pushed back a bit. Just like the first single, the first full-length album has a great meaning. So I don’t want to rush its release and I am working on it calmly. Besides that, I don’t have any big plans yet.
Musinsa will support you. Let’s finish the interview with a message to the fans who have made you what you are now.
I am always saying this but thank you, really. I am not just saying this. There are fans who really have been waiting ten years and there are most probably fans who have gotten to know me last year too as well as fans who will become fans after reading this interview, so I think thanks to all these fans I am making music like this right now. So I am always thankful and I will do my best to not make those fans regret [being my fans] and not embarrass them, in that meaning please keep believing in me and supporting me.
Related links: Junggigo’s blog
Editor: Yoo Dongwon | Pictures: Lee Jaehyuk | Video: FFF Studio | Location: Moodaeryook
—[ SOURCE | MUSINSA ]
Translator Notes [ + ]
|1.||↑||Literally “Carnival in Front of the House,” live music by an indie band in a café in Hongdae|