SPUR magazine December 2011
Jumping out of Korea, CNBLUE finally made the major debut. They have already gained the popularity. The backbone of their sound is their experiences as indie band in Japan, such as performance on streets. The four members talked about their days of hardship and their passion for music.
MinHyuk: “I was learning the classical music, taking piano and flute lessons since I was little. But when I ‘met’ rock music in junior high school, my world drastically changed.”
JungShin: “What triggered me to start playing bass was when I watched the DVD of Mr. BIG that I borrowed in junior high school.”
YongHwa: “Whether when the audiences are small in number, like those who gathered to our first ever street live performance or when the 15,000 audiences gathered at Yokohama Arena, my pleasure never changes. As long as there are audiences that come to listen to our music, that is enough to make us happy.”
JongHyun: “When I was a student, I often sang L’Arc-en-Ciel’s song in karaoke bar. Mr. Children, BUMP OF CHICKEN… I often listen to Japanese music even now.”
In Korea, there are few practice studios and clubs, and even if there are, they are only in specific towns. The situation is hard for band activities. That is why most youth who want to do music become singers or dancers. Despite that situation, CNBLUE has been opening up the Korean band scene. Before their debut, they came to Japan for knight-errantry (musha shugyou) because the band culture is more popular in Japan than in Korea. Surprisingly they performed many street lives in Harajuku and at Yoyogi Park.
JongHyun: “In Japan, our poor living condition was very hard. At that time, we didn’t even have money for a haircut. All of us were long-haired (laugh).”
JungShin: “We always drink tap water, and juice was luxury item. When we bought juice, we desperately looked for vending machines that sold one for 100 yen, not for 120 yen.”
MinHyuk: “When our mothers sent kimchi to us from Korea, I was so happy and I was almost crying.”
I heard you have experiences that you distributed flyers under burning sun and sometimes guys with pompadour hair got mad at you about where to perform, and also you performed on streets with no audience. Many experiences like that.
YongHwa: “But, we were happy just to do the live performances. Those experiences support our sound and performance on stage today.”
They talked about their hard time as “usual experience that every band has,” and have walked step by step on their own feet. In that regard, it all started to gather attention as “the band that a boy acted as ShinWoo belongs” when YongHwa appeared in “You’re Beautiful”. Did it make them confused?
YongHwa: “To be honest, when we faced the situation that the audience increased rapidly only because of a one single drama, I felt lonely and wondered ‘what we had been doing by now.’ However, there is also the fact that many people started listening to our music because of that drama. Now I think it was really a good opportunity for me to have acted, from the bottom of my heart.”
Once they only had ten audiences when they performed street lives, now they have many enough audiences to fill the Yokohama Arena. As for Shibuya, where they were walking around with holding instruments at that time (pre-debut), “Recently we visited there after a long interval and we were surprised to get so much attention,” they told us with laugh.
JongHyun: “I am very pleased to be popular, but the most important thing is to keep making one sound as four. What we need is the “serious attitude toward the music” and “the bond”. We live together in one house that has also helped to deepen the bond.”
(About their room)
YongHwa has the largest room in their house as the privilege of being the oldest. But he said “my room is very small because there are a lot of equipments”.
MinHyuk lives in the cleanest room of their house, according to the members. He is clean-freak and well-organized.
JongHyun lived in Kyoto for 5 years, from 4 to 8 years old (Korean age) “But, I don’t have much memories then. What I only remember is that trams that were running.”
JungShin’s room is full of warm interiors and is also the members’ relaxing room. “I get bothered by someone sleeping in my room without asking. If I find someone sleeping in my room, I’d say “get out” soon, though (laugh).”