During the interview, JAKE mentioned each and every one of the members. Even when he talked about how it feels to be an adult, practice time, and taking hongsam and vitamins. When it was pointed out to him that he thinks about the other members a lot, he had this to say: “I never met someone who I could give my 100% to before.”
You’re 18 now. How does it feel to be an adult?
JAKE: I was really looking forward to becoming an adult and thought I would feel different, but now that I finally am, nothing really changed. But sometimes there’s certain things I think I shouldn’t do now because I’m an adult. Anyway, I think I should look after the younger members since they’re still kids.
I imagine you take good care of them.
JAKE: They’re apart from their parents—same as me. But I think I’d be having a hard time if I was their age. Especially NI-KI—he’s three years younger than me and living away from home, so I try to look after him. And JUNGWON’s so cute and kind, I just want to take care of him. And there were a lot of older guys who helped me out when I lived in Australia. I think everyone needs at least one person in their life like that and I want to be someone they can look up to and trust.
You talked about your older brother on V LIVE during SUNOO’s Curiosity Research Center.
JAKE: My brother’s personality is completely opposite to mine in every way. I might be different now, but back then I was distant and never talked, while my brother was the opposite and talked all the time. In a weird way it helped us to get along well. I didn’t know at the time, but he did things for me that most older siblings don’t do for their younger siblings. We always played together, played soccer every day together, and he helped me study. I never fought much with my brother, but if we did it was because I was being moody and throwing a tantrum in front of my mom, and then my brother would scold me. At the time I couldn’t figure out why he was upset for something I said to our mom, but now I get it—my brother’s a good person and was telling me not to talk to our mom that way.
I heard you met your family recently and that your mother even collected coffee cup sleeves with your face on them.
JAKE: When fans held celebrations for my birthday at some cafes, my parents went with my younger cousins and got them all. (laughs)
Was that your first time seeing your family since your debut?
JAKE: No, but I don’t get to see them very often, so when I do I tell them every day how good it is to see them. I text them almost every day. My cousins are too young to know much about idols, but every time I see them they ask me to sing and dance for them, so I sing a little.
You debuted, won four best new artist awards, and now you have a second album, too. How do you feel?
JAKE: Actually, when we did our debut album, everything was a first, so everything felt new and I sort of felt unsure about everything. But now that we’ve done performances, had the fan meeting concert, and won some awards, it feels more like we’re idols now than it did then.
I heard that was real fire in the frying pan you were holding in the HYPE concept photo.
JAKE: I wasn’t supposed to hold it originally, but the photographer handed it to me spontaneously so I took it. It was all right at first but the fire got really big the longer I held onto it. (laughs)
There’s also the DOWN version, with the smashed car and broken glass. How did you feel shooting that?
JAKE: When we filmed that scene, I positioned myself like I was falling down, but they warned me to be careful of all the broken glass. We usually just shoot one pose at a time, but that shoot was hard because we had to move so much. We would play basketball for real, then they would tell us to stop, so we stopped and they took the picture, and so on. It was a lot of fun.
On ENHYPEN&Hi, you said you were extremely determined about this comeback. So, is there anything special you want us to pay attention to?
JAKE: To be honest, when we made our debut album, I questioned myself a lot. But this time we’ve already done it once, so I thought I knew what I’m doing and could pay close attention to each individual part. The coaches teach us how to sing and dance, so I focused a lot more of my own energy on figuring out the right gestures and facial expressions.
You can see that effort reflected in the ending narration for “Intro: The Invitation” and “Outro: The Wormhole.”
JAKE: There’s this incredibly powerful beat at that part that keeps going and then suddenly stops, then my voice is the only thing you hear. I tried to make it sound like I was actually whispering to someone, pulling them toward me and luring them in.
You did the narration on “Intro: The Invitation” with HEESEUNG.
JAKE: I knew that HEESEUNG recorded it too, but we don’t know whose narration will be used until we hear the full version. I’m really glad I go t to do it with HEESEUNG. I talk with HEESEUNG in English a lot. He’s way better at it than I thought. If there’s ever a word he doesn’t know, he asks me how to pronounce it and I do my best to teach him, too. There are some words that I pronounce with a thick Australian accent, and when HEESEUNG was talking to the audience on stage he had the same pronunciation. It caught me off guard but I loved it.
How did you feel when you first got the choreography for “Drunk-Dazed”?
JAKE: I kept thinking, “Wow, the choreography’s so cool. If we nail it, it’ll be really cool.” But then after learning it all start to finish it occurred to me how hard it is, how there isn’t a single second to rest, and how hard it would be to do live. (laughs)
I’m really impressed by your gestures in “Drunk-Dazed” during the parts, “The world’s drunk in a swirling glass,” and, “My reflection in the mirror is unfamiliar.” What were you hoping to say with those gestures?
JAKE: We’re still new with this , really, and we have an image as being the young ones. My hope is that image will change for people a little, that they’ll feel we have a different charm and more mature emotions and ideas. (laughs)
Are you hoping to give off that kind of image reversal with this performance? (laughs)
JAKE: I have a sort of cute image, right? You’ll quickly forget about that—this is an intense, cool performance with a lot of charisma. I think I have to have self-confidence to make a connection with the viewer, so I want to look like I’m always ready but still relaxed. It’s hard because I don’t have a lot of experience on the stage, but I think it’s important to see it this way right from the beginning so that I can be even better later.
You have to sing high notes for “Drunk-Dazed” and sing emotionally at parts. You haven’t had a lot of time, but do you think your vocals improved in any way?
JAKE: You can listen to your voice very closely when you’re recording, right? So I paid attention to the little details while recording and figured out on my own which parts were lacking and which parts I should emphasize. Since the song has a lot of high notes, and the vocals are high-pitched in general, I first thought I needed to practice singing high notes. I also thought that if I couldn’t control my voice in the parts where it’s needed the most, the song wouldn’t turn out well, so I asked HEESEUNG and the producers for tips and learned more about how to hit the higher notes.
How did you improve your range?
JAKE: To improve my range, I would try singing one of the notes at random and then see whether I could hit it or not. First I find the note, get the hang of what I need to do with my body to reach it, then try to sing it better and more comfortably.
You do the opening to “FEVER.”
JAKE: I think I shouldn’t get too worked up about the stage performance, but I was really serious about that part and wanted to get it just right. (laughs)
“Not for Sale” is different from your previous songs. What kind of image did you have in mind for this song?
JAKE: If you compare it with the other two songs, “Not for Sale” is definitely a lighter song and feels a bit like “10 Months,” but it’s more mature and thoughtful. I really wanted to show that kind of difference. I think it’s cool and a sign of being a professional when you can take on a different song, even though it’s completely different, and change your expressions to the polar opposite.
That makes me think of your last interview when you said you were trying to find your own style. Your goal for April was to become cool. What do you think it means to be cool?
JAKE: I haven’t tried to specifically define “cool” yet. I think knowing that what’s cool is always changing, and the process of looking for it, is the important part.
Do you enjoy performing more now?
JAKE: I don’t think there’s such thing as a perfect, 100% satisfying performance, actually. If you think you have to put on a perfect performance, you’ll never be satisfied, and you’ll always feel a bit disappointed about it. So although I do want to perform to the best of my abilities, after looking at the big picture, I think it’s more important to enjoy performing. When we were on stage, the atmosphere we created and the dance moves, facial expressions, communicating with ENGENE—these are all things that are only possible during a performance, so it’s better just to enjoy those things.
On V LIVE you said it’s important to have little goals or make a promise to yourself if you want to raise your self-esteem. Do you tend to give yourself small goals or make promises to yourself often?
JAKE: The promise I was talking about there was really insignificant. “I have to get up in 10 seconds”—if you can keep these little promises, you can improve your self-esteem. When I’m tired and decide I’m going to sit down for just 10 seconds and then get back up, I always do it, and at the end of the day when I go home I won’t let myself sit down on the sofa until I’m finished getting ready for bed. I made a promise to myself because I already know if I sit down I won’t want to get up again, so I wash up and get ready for bed as soon as I get home.
I guess you made a promise with yourself to take your vitamins, too. Are you keeping on top of that?
JAKE: I take vitamin D and C, and calcium for my bones every day. It was a little annoying, but my dad made me take my vitamins everyday . And never missed a day of giving me ginseng. Now it’s a habit for me: I have ginseng every night before bed, then take vitamins in the morning.
You said in a “-note” that you wanted to give ginseng and vitamins to the other members, right? You seem to think about the others a lot.
JAKE: I take my relationships with people seriously and I think it’s impossible to do this kind of hard work alone. It’s because I have the other members that I can keep going. And because I know how much I appreciate and need them, I want to be good to them always and treat them well. Because I never met someone who could give me 100% before.
Each of you must be different from one another in many ways. How were you able to grow closer with one another? You even said on ENHYPEN&Hi and V LIVE that you have a totally different personality from JAY or SUNOO.
JAKE: We were all raised in different environments and even different countries, so it’s inevitable that we think differently and have different values. But the more different we are, the more interesting the relationships are and the more we can learn from each other. JAY and SUNOO are my opposites, but that’s exactly why we can be so close.
By contrast, you’ve said that you had a lot of disagreements with SUNGHOON because of how similar you are.
JAKE: Because our personalities are only a little bit different, our actions might be slightly different, but our intentions and feelings are similar. I feel seriously worried when he seems like he can’t express his feelings or what he wants. And I try my best to speak up for him. Also, I’ve had to say goodbye to a lot of people my whole life, so I don’t open up that easily, so even if my friends do something I don’t like I usually just let it go. But what’s special about ENHYPEN is that we’re close enough now to tell each other the things that make us sad.
You finally met ENGENE for the first time at the fan meeting concert.
JAKE: I was really nervous when we first saw them—“Wow, is this really happening? They’re really here!”— but the energy that I sensed in them and the way they encouraged me on stage was a whole new experience. So I tried to sort of slowly master how to channel that energy. I really hope this pandemic is over soon so we can make some noise with ENGENE and get excited with them.
How did you prepare for the show?
JAKE: I think that, as long as I have this job, everything I do should be for ENGENE. There’s no concerts without the fans. That’s something I think about a lot. Bang Si-Hyuk, our producer, always says, “Without fans, there are no artists. Fans should always come first. They’re the most important part.” And I couldn’t agree more. I really believe whether I’m posting a little something on Twitter, uploading a picture, or practicing, it’s all for ENGENE.
That reminds me of what you said in your interview with ELLE magazine: “I love ENGENE.” What does ENGENE mean to you?
JAKE: Without ENHYPEN, there is no ENGENE; without ENGENE, there’s no ENHYPEN, either. I think we are truly connected that way and all I ever feel is thankful. Trust me—I’ve never had a connection like this with anyone in my entire life. That makes it special and meaningful, but I do feel some level of positive pressure from having to perform for ENGENE. You have to feel some pressure so you can be strict with yourself. So you can give a more thoughtful, more perfect performance.
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