TAESAN: “I want somebody to remember us as part of their youth”
BOYNEXTDOOR debut interview
A boy who lucid dreamed every night now embarks on a journey to make his dreams a reality.
TAESAN: I think of myself as a dreamer. When people lay in bed, they usually get on their phones, but I put on some music and let my mind wander, then drift off to sleep. I can have lucid dreams, too. I think that’s proof that I’m a dreamer. (laughs) I can lucid dream whenever I want, but I don’t anymore because I’m so tired these days. But I still become aware that I’m dreaming in the middle of it about five times a month. One of the most vivid lucid dreams I’ve had was me traveling through space and moving an entire planet. I don’t know if this is how it works for other people too, but I found that the planet only moved if I said “I wish the planet would move from here to there.”. It wouldn’t budge if I simply go “Move, planet!”
How a dreamer reads
TAESAN: I like letting my imagination run free, so I don’t watch a lot of movies, dramas or YouTube. I mostly stick to reading novels. If you watch videos, your imagination can’t go beyond what you see, and they tend to end in an hour or two. But if you read, it takes longer to finish, so it stays with you longer. Also, I really enjoy imagining what the characters and their surroundings would look like, and in what gait they would be walking. Recently, I enjoyed reading the Inconvenient Convenience Store by Kim Ho-yeon. It’s about a homeless person who starts working at a convenience store and consoles the different people he meets and looks back on himself. It’s a really touching book, way beyond what I can explain.
The start of a dream
TAESAN: I was musically influenced by my father. When I was in kindergarten, as soon as I grew out of kids’ songs, my dad would play music by artists like The Beatles. That’s when my relationship with music began. My dad would recommend musicians from before my time, like Nirvana, the Carpenters, and Richard Sanderson, and I love them to this day. I think that, to create trendy music, you have to understand the music by artists who were hailed as the best in the past generations. So I listen to the oldies on top of more modern music, and listen to a variety of genres. I’m a huge fan of Nirvana. I love rock because they tend to go full out in the chorus, so you are left with lingering emotion. I tried writing a melody over a rock style beat, or writing lyrics while singing using the vocal techniques that my favorite rock vocalists use. I wrote two classic rock songs, and many more that are rock influenced. (laughs)
Music, the emotional records
TAESAN: I remember my MBTI type used to be ENFP until I was in ninth grade. But now I'm an INTJ. I became introverted in front of people I don’t know. I think it’s because I got more and more on my mind as I was exposed to the real world early on. I disliked that whenever I told someone how I felt, they would be affected and have a hard time, too. So I started to take care of everything on my own. Music was what I connected with emotionally. I have loved music since I was little. Music was what consoled me when I struggled, and it’s what got me even more elated when I was happy. I really started writing music when I was in tenth grade. I like music that captures what I am feeling at a given moment in time. When I listen to it a few months later, it reminds me of what I was feeling when I wrote it.
Candor, the driver on stage
TAESAN: I’m introverted, rational, and a bit shy in front of people I’m not close to when I'm off stage. But I’m actually really down to earth, and I like to speak my mind. I don’t put on an act on stage, per se. It’s just that I try to show who I think I am, and I get more confident when I’m on stage, too. There’s a story for the first part of the performance for “But I Like You.” I think LEEHAN’s waving at me, but it turns out that he was waving at WOONHAK, who is standing behind me. I shrug it off, and think what my next move is going to be, and that’s how the song starts. I ponder for a while, and ask, “Hey, hear me out am I crazy or what.” I didn’t practice acting that part, it just... came naturally to me. Haha. (laughs) When we were shooting the first scene of the trailer, the director told me to act like I’m speaking on the phone with a friend when I say, “Hey, hear me out am I crazy or what” so that’s what I did, and I got the “okay.”
“But I Like You” behind the scenes
TAESAN: I actually came up with the lyrics “But I Like You.” The producers gave us the melody and asked us to come up with six syllables that would go with it. Everyone came up with about 100 phrases. I came up with about 200 and turned them in. Some of my other lyrics were, “Man, I don’t know,” and “I really don’t know.” “But I Like You” was one of them, and it got chosen. (laughs) It sounds colloquial, right? So, I thought it would resonate with more people if we sang it like we were chatting with a bunch of friends, which is why I tried to make it sound somewhere between singing and rapping. I enjoy listening to singing rap, or genres where a spoonful of singing is added to rapping.
Imagining a “Serenade”
TAESAN: This song opens with someone knocking on the door. It’s a guy knocking on the girl’s door, and he’s waiting for her to come out. He’s really nervous, and he probably practiced what he’s going to say. So, I wrote “Man I’m so nervous to death/ I relax my stiff lips,” and the producers told me that it was relatable, which I’m really proud of.
Practicing behind the doors
TAESAN: The melody to “Ah please don’t say no/ Oh I won’t beat around the bush” in “Serenade” was supposed to be changed, because the producers thought that none of us could pull it off. But I really liked the melody when I heard the guide track, and I told them that I’d give it a shot. When the producers listened to what I recorded, they were really impressed, so they decided to keep the original. That’s how the melody became what it is. For “One and Only,” the part where I slip into my jacket was much harder than I expected. (laughs) So I spoke a lot with RIWOO to try and get it right. Also, the camera could easily catch us hiding behind the door, even if the angle was just a little off, so we tried really hard not to be seen. This isn’t about me, but there’s a part where the other guys shake the door. They said it was tough because the door was much heavier than it looked. But everyone got used to it now, so it all worked out fine.
How the six boys got together to form BOYNEXTDOOR
TAESAN: It was a year ago when all six of us finally came together. There was a lot of trial and error, and we made a ton of memories together. After many arguments, as well as learning to depend on one another, we've become a team in the truest sense of the word. One of my favorite memories is from when we went to the U.S. to train. We received dance lessons from a dancer that we all loved and looked up to. We had no worries, and we had so much fun at the time. That’s when we grew super close. I think that each of us has unique qualities, and that we have each other’s backs if ever we come up short, or whenever we aren’t able to show the best of ourselves. I really love my team.
TAESAN’s introduction to the members of BOYNEXTDOOR
TAESAN: It might be because WOONHAK is the youngest out of all of us, but I find him so adorable and like a little baby. He’s the team jester and is emotionally intelligent. When any of us gets sad, he’s right there with you, and he’s really considerate of others. He grew taller recently, and now he’s almost as tall as I am. (laughs) JAEHYUN, whose MBTI is ENFP just like WOONHAK, makes people laugh and just generally gets people in a good mood. LEEHAN has this unique allure about him. He comes up with really creative ideas, which I find absolutely fascinating. RIWOO is introverted like me, and he likes playing games. He’s the best dancer out of us all, so he helps us out by giving us many detailed pointers when we practice. SUNGHO is rational like me. All the other members except SUNGHO and I are empaths, so when the other members cry... Wait, but SUNGHO cries pretty often too, come to think of it. What should I do? (laughs)
“Boys next door” who grow with the fans
TAESAN: I don’t mean to brag or anything, but the phrase and gesture for “Who’s there? BOYNEXTDOOR!” was my idea. (laughs) When I heard the name “BOYNEXTDOOR” I thought it was the title of our album. I thought that it went really well with our music, but it turned out to be our team name. (laughs) I think it totally captures our unique colors and characteristics. I want BOYNEXTDOOR to be a team that can grow with the fans. If we’re the boys next door, that makes our fans our next-door neighbors. I really hope that they can watch us grow from the next door down, and I want to be amazing neighborhood friends with the people who are our age.
Dreaming of making the soundtrack for youth
TAESAN: Making good memories is very important to me. I hope that our team can be a source of good memories for our fans. My father is a huge fan of Shin Hae-chul. This musician was a big part of my dad’s youth, and he said whenever he’s thinking of the good old days, he could hear his music being a soundtrack to those times. I hope that we could be to our fans, what Shin Hae-chul is to my dad - the icon of youth. I hope our music can be the soundtrack to our fans’ memories of today when time passes by.
Article. Kim Rieun
Interview. Kim Rieun
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
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Knock, knock—BOYNEXTDOOR’s here!