JAEHYUN: “We might be there when you open the door one day.”
BOYNEXTDOOR debut interview
JAEHYUN personally greeted the entire staff as soon as he arrived at the studio, danced while ad-libbing to the song that was playing, and wandered around stuck in a ladder that was meant to be used as a prop. JAEHYUN’s “infectious happy energy” that he talked about might not only be reserved for the stage.
The teddy bear keychain on JAEHYUN’s bag in front of “JAEHYUN’s DOOR”
JAEHYUN: I have a habit of putting keychains on my bags and pants, so I added one to my illustration, too. It’s a teddy bear keychain that I’m sporting a lot at the moment. I always tell our youngest member WOONHAK that he’s like a teddy bear, so whenever I have it on, I say, “I have WOONHAK on my bag!”. (laughs)
What happened with the puppy in the “But I Like You” music video
JAEHYUN: When we shot the music video for “But I Like You” I had these scenes with a puppy. It would run off if it smelled food even while he was shooting with me, and I would just go to the puppy and finish shooting, instead of bringing it back. The puppy was so cute - it nearly licked all the makeup off of my face. I never actually had a pet, and I was even scared of dogs when I was little. I briefly lived with my aunt when I was in elementary school, and she had a dog. It would come and sit by me when I got sick, and I loved dogs from then on.
WHO! JAEHYUN playing soccer in the trailer, and the blokecore look
JAEHYUN: I love soccer, and I like to think I’m pretty good at it. (laughs) When I was really young I was a mid-fielder who dreamed of becoming a professional soccer player, and of course, I had so much fun watching the World Cup. To me, the World Cup wasn’t just a one-off soccer event because blokecore fashion started to trend right after. When I dressed like that before, people would stare, thinking I’m a rapper, but now that the look is on trend, I wear whatever I like.
It's all in the details when it comes to fashion
JAEHYUN: I want to dress in a style that our fans like, and I want to show them different sides of me, too, so I haven’t really decided on a signature style yet. I especially pay attention to the details like the brand, patterns, accessories, hair, color, and style. I am inspired by Pharrell Williams and Tyler, the Creator, not just for their music but also their sense of style as well. I really like Tyler, the Creator’s tie, shirt, and cardigan look that he caps off with a trooper hat to keep it hip, or Pharrell Williams’ shorts, so I try to emulate them often.
Emotional expression in dance
JAEHYUN: The members always talk about how the performance that the dancers come up with is amazing, without question, but we have to know if it's a good fit for us as a group for us to put on a great performance. The chorus to “One and Only” changed about 10 times, and to “Serenade” about 5 times so we re-shot the choreography demo video every time the songs were tweaked. Getting the emotions right is just as important to us as getting the choreography right when we’re practicing, so we go through that in detail. We practiced the “Serenade” choreo while thinking of the music video to “But I Like You.” In it we talk about who we like, and ask each other how things are going with them, but we later realize at a party that we liked the same girl. We jostle to tell her how each of us feel first and even stop each other. The guys pull me back, and I fling backwards saying, “I love you.” My chest swells and I get butterflies in my stomach every time I go over that part - I can really feel the excitement and confusion of confessing my love. I want our fans to be like “They look so happy on stage. I think I’m happy just watching them,” so instead of saving up my energy for the long haul, I muster up my strength even more even when I’m tired, and get myself to finish the song, giving it 100%.
My father’s “Serenade”
JAEHYUN: When I heard my parents’ story, I wanted to write it into lyrics and that’s “Serenade.” My dad stood outside my mom’s window every night, telling her that he loved her, so the whole neighborhood ended up knowing what my mom’s name was. (Laughs) The original lyrics in the guide track was “yoo-hoo” as in, really serenading someone, but I thought the lyrics would be too plain if we started to sing again, so I went with “ㅠㅜ (yoo-oo)” instead. But “ㅠㅜ” means that someone's sad and annoyed so I wrote the lyrics in the point of view of the neighbors who are begging to get some sleep.
RIWOO is “studying love”
JAEHYUN: I thought that I should change the plot after my part. I asked myself what I would say as a young person, and thought that it would be more charming if someone innocent would say it. I thought RIWOO was perfect for the part, and wrote “Studying love,” “Think of me as a fool,” and “Don’t laugh at me I’m serious now you see.” When he sings and dances, he really takes his time and gets into the nitty-gritty like he’s studying. I teased him once and said, “RIWOO, I bet you’d handle everything like you're studying it.” That’s where “Studying love” comes from. I thought that it would be the cutest if RIWOO sang it. (laughs)
BOYNEXTDOOR in my youth
JAEHYUN: There was no other candidate for our team name - we went with the first one that came up. I thought that it was a fresh, brilliant take on our team’s direction as soon as I heard it. We're approachable we can empathize with you, and it feels like you could casually run into us anywhere, like “the boys next door,” but in fact we’re a group that’s one of a kind. We're like the lyrics in our song “One and Only” that goes, “We're not like everyone else but can be anyone.” BOYNEXTDOOR isn’t the image of youth that you are familiar with. We want to place more importance on showing how beautiful and dreamy our youth is. When we grow older, I hope that our fans would think, “BOYNEXTDOOR was there with me in my youth.”
JAEHYUN: I was working on my music without even coming out of my studio, when someone from KOZ Entertainment contacted me, saying that they wanted to listen to some of my music, and that they wanted me to audition. I sang and rapped two each of my originals, sang “idontwannabeyouanymore” by Billie Eilish, and performed the dances for “Come Through” by H.E.R. (Ft. Chris Brown), and “Womp Womp” by Valee for my audition. There actually were a lot of companies that wanted me to sign on with them at the time. (Laughs) But what the producer said to me at the audition had a huge impact on me. I was confident that I would be in an environment I could make progress in, and that I would be able to infinitely grow. That’s why I chose KOZ Entertainment. Usually, they simply tell you if you’re in or not after the audition, but at KOZ, the producer told me, “I’m not sure if you’ll be able to debut or not, but you can learn a lot here.” He then gave me some pointers on my rap and singing, and ideas on how I could improve. I decided that I would debut if my debut team was confirmed in two months, and if not, I’d do what I wanted to do, so I worked really hard, and I got the incredible opportunity to debut.
Trainee and Student
JAEHYUN: If you completely separate your life as a trainee and life as a regular student, you’ll never be able to cope with both. But I thought that my time spent at school, and as a part of the student council affected my music in a profound way, so I tried my best to experience everything I could as a student. I was always the student president from elementary school onwards. In high school I was in the economics and business management club, and entered all the writing competitions because I loved writing poetry. It’s not that I couldn’t make music if I didn’t go to school, but I wanted to feel everything I could as a kid so that I’d be able to tap into those memories. I thought that if I didn’t have those experiences, then I’d have a hard time talking about everyday things and writing lyrics that people could resonate with. I think that you can draw inspiration from anything, and that you should try to be inspired by everything. I’m looking for things to write into lyrics even now, while I’m doing this interview or when I'm having an ordinary conversation, or when I'm thinking about the past. My parents would call me an old soul because I'd always say, “this is something I can only experience now.” (laughs)
JAEHYUN’s life in school as depicted in the “Amazon” video
JAEHYUN: Actually, when that video went public, I worried about how that video might impact my career, despite my serious dedication to my music and performance, or that people might think that I was funnier than I really am. (laughs) I know I put my best foot forward, whether for studying, working for the student council, or working as a trainee. The dance I did in that film, I did as a member of the student council, because I’ve always been the student president or vice president. I think it’s a result of me trying my best, though I probably tried way too hard. (laughs)
How “ENFP” JAEHYUN bonds with the members
JAEHYUN: It took less than a week to bond with the members. They mostly approached me first, and I approached the more introverted guys like TAESAN and RIWOO. TAESAN writes songs like me, so we each shared what we wrote the first day of coming into work, and I knew we would be really good friends/music writing buddies. RIWOO likes dancing like me. He’s an amazing dancer, so we bonded over dance practice. LEEHAN’s MBTI is an E who’s close to an I. He’s a really thoughtful person, and we both like the choreographer Youngbeen Joo, so we bonded over practicing his choreographies. SUNGHO can make friends with anybody, and he came to me first. He calls everything cute, so naturally, we became fast friends. WOONHAK is the adorable happy-go-lucky youngest member of the group. He loved it when I played him a piece I wrote. So, we hung out together and grew super close from the very first day. We’re also both ENFPs, and I just get in a really good mood when he's around.
JAEHYUN, TAESAN, WOONHAK’s home rules
JAEHYUN: I’m living with TAESAN and WOONHAK, and we have a lot of rules for our home. (Laughs) SUNGHO who lives on a different floor keeps their place spotless. He cleans everyday so the place is clean 24/7. But we're not like that. We gather in our living room and play rock paper scissors to decide who has to do the cleaning. We don’t do the dishes right away either, so the person who got the most dishes dirty has to do all of it. Oh, we also can’t set more than three morning alarms. WOONHAK has to leave at 6 a.m. for school, and the rest of us can’t sleep if he sets ten alarms, so we came to an agreement. WOONHAK feels so bad every time, so I offered to pay for all his taxi rides, and told him to leave a little later, but he takes public transportation every day. Oh, but what was so cute was WOONHAK carries his student transportation card in his wallet. (laughs)
Walking by the Hangang River
JAEHYUN: I really trust and love the members so much, so I want to keep them as comfortable as possible - both at work and day-to-day. I always think about the direction our team should head towards, and ways for us to keep growing, so my head’s always swimming with ideas. So I take walks by the Hangang River. It’s time I spend for myself, and I try to empty my mind. When I come back home, and start to get all these thoughts again, WOONHAK would come knock on my door like a super cute puppy and ask if I want to eat something together. He says he doesn’t have a cute bone in his body, but his cute charm never fails to get me energized.
BOYNEXTDOOR will grow with the fans
JAEHYUN: I immerse myself, and concentrate, and get a little obsessive until I think it’s good enough. Even if I’m not that confident in something, I’ll keep at it until I become confident, and I’ll try my best to show our fans a perfect version of myself. We’re not perfect yet, we still have a long way to go, but we’ll get there. I’d like to be called “the team that grows with the fans” over “perfect” or “legendary.” Fans aren’t just people who love us, they give us energy, they choose the clothes I want to wear, and they are the source of the music and dance that I want to create. This is why my belief in BOYNEXTDOOR is rooted in our fans.
“We might be there when you open the door one day.”
JAEHYUN: I uploaded my very first Weverse post yesterday. (Interview was held May 19) I wrote things like, “stay with us!” and “keep your eye out for us!!” “Staying with us” means the world to me. We can’t always physically be together, but I’d like to stay together in spirit and in our music. The word “door” is in our team name. There are so many doors out there. It's such a common thing around us that we can’t even count how many there are in Korea, let alone the world. I’ll be really happy if people could think of us whenever they see a door. So there’s this thing that I always say: “We might be there when you open the door one day.” (laughs)
Article. Oh Minji
Interview. Oh Minji
Visual Director. Jeon Yurim
Coordinator. Song Hooryeong
Visual Creative Team. Noh Hyorin (KOZ ENTERTAINMENT)
Photography. Yoon Songyi / Assist. Kim Jaemin, Bak Heonjun
Hair. Hong Junsung, Kim Haeyeon
Makeup. Gunhee, Kim Yeji
Set Design. Choi Seoyun, Son Yehee, Kim Ayoung (da;rak)
Artist Management Team. Jang Moonsung
Artist Protocol Team. Park Geunyoung, Park Byoungho, Wang Heesun, Won Joungyeon
Copyright ⓒ Weverse Magazine. All rights reserved.
Unauthorized reproduction and distribution prohibited.
Unauthorized reproduction and distribution prohibited.
Knock, knock—BOYNEXTDOOR’s here!