Everything, everywhere is full of passion. It’s cheerful. Friendly. This is YEONJUN’s world.
You brought a book of poetry for the gift exchange you held with the other members for your holiday Weverse Live.
YEONJUN: I’m not a heavy reader but I got inspired after seeing some nice quotes and poems on social media. And I thought it would be nice to show them to those who are having a hard time around me. I think I’m good at using wordplay in my lyrics but not so much at incorporating my emotions, so I thought poetry books might help.
The lyrics you wrote for the track “Farewell, Neverland” off the latest album are sentimental.
YEONJUN: And yet it wasn’t particularly difficult. I always watch a lot of movies and have a good imagination. My MBTI has N, after all. (laughs) I’ve had a rich imagination ever since I was young so I used to imagine myself as a movie character and act like one. I wrote the lyrics to “Farewell, Neverland” by picturing myself as one of the boys who wants to play with Peter Pan. They don’t want to grow up but they have no choice but to leave Neverland if they’re going to keep developing and moving forward. I wrote it from the perspective of resisting Peter Pan’s temptation.
Conversely, the lead single “Sugar Rush Ride” and the song “Devil by the Window” explore what temptation and giving into it looks like. I’d say you tried recording with some new vocal styles that you never used before.
YEONJUN: You know, if you’re tempting someone you don’t just say, (dryly) “Come here.” You have to say it in a sly and sexy voice. (laughs) So I went over the top for some parts, abandoning my normal self and getting into the role of the devil, then for other parts I really exaggerated my vocals and tried to make the expressions as strong as possible.
I imagine spending so much time together during the world tour must have made it a major turning point for the group, too.
YEONJUN: We definitely had more of a chance to talk. Things have always been good between us, but we got even better at being open with each other than before. I think it can actually be harder to be open with someone the more time you spend together and the closer you are. I tried to be more open, too, and we all tried really hard on the things we felt were important or necessary. That’s how we got better.
In an interview with GQ last year, you said, “We have to try harder so we can be extremely good.” That seems to be your default attitude toward both the other members and toward MOA.
YEONJUN: I think you can always do better, no matter how good you already are. I know I have my weaknesses but I can always do better despite that. I think, if you have your thoughts set on some specific standard, you’re done for. And I’m always YEONJUN from TOMORROW X TOGETHER before just YEONJUN. I couldn’t have done any of the things it took to get me to where I am today on my own. The label helped and because I have the other members and MOA with me, we can all shine brighter.
Is that why you’re always showing the people around you how grateful you are? You shared the heartfelt messages you wrote to the staff you work with on Weverse and you even got snacks for hosts Jjoonijjoon and the rest of SBS’s Inkigayo staff.
YEONJUN: I think it’s really important to be grateful. I really hate when I take things for granted. I think I’ll fail as both a person and as an artist the moment I start taking others for granted. We’re going to get more and more the more we grow, and I never want to forget that I can’t take those things for granted. I think I need to be a person first and an artist second.
Personally, the lyrics to “Tinnitus (Wanna be a rock)” made me think of the movie Everything Everywhere All at Once. If you could pick one version of yourself from the multiverse, like in the movie, which YEONJUN would you choose?
YEONJUN: Me? I’m just … I’m happy the way things are now. (laughs) I hope I would be a happy YEONJUN. If it’s good, it’s good. (laughs) I want the YEONJUN who lives in a world where everyone’s happy and worry-free.
I wonder if that happy YEONJUN is doing the same work that you do.
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