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[Interview] Tablo on Suffering, Laughter and Life

Rating Rating more Three Stars

2011.11.14 14:03 Mwave Kim, JiYeon

Sometimes life can be pretty cruel. In a time when he should have been the happiest man on earth after becoming a husband and a father, life decided to serve Tablo the worst time of his life. Just after Stanford University graduate Tablo got married and fathered a child, the pestering of a few netizens who maintained that his academic credentials were false gave him and his family wounds that seemed like they would never heal.

Tablo says that at the time, he didn’t think “Why me?” but rather, “Why now?” He says, “If it had happened when I was alone at least, then my family wouldn’t have been hurt.”

[Interview] Tablo on Suffering, Laughter and Life

Fortunately, even scars which seem like they will never heal, dull with the course of time. As the incident slowly seemed to be coming to a close thanks to the passage of time and the intervention of prosecutors and police, Tablo also slowly found his calm.

And so he started the music he had left off, thanks to his wife, actress Kang Hye Jung, and his daughter. Tablo, who had limped away from us in pain, returned to our sides for the first time in two years with his first solo album Fever’s End.

“If it was just that they just needed a victim, it’s a good thing it was me.”

We couldn’t help but ask him again what it felt like to be the representative example of the harmful consequences of the internet.

“There were a lot of things going on in the internet after me and I’m the representative example? (bitterly) You say I’m the representative example, but if it was just that they just needed a victim, it’s a good thing it was me. I’m not very strong-willed myself, but if it was someone who had a weaker psychological balance I think he/she wouldn’t have made it through very well. It was something that had to happen to someone; the first just happened to be me.”

He calmly but surely showed us his scars. Sometimes his expressions betrayed a trace of the pain he had been feeling all this time, but Tablo was a stronger man, and a stronger head of his family than we once thought. He was now a husband and father who had a wife and daughter he had to protect from the harshness of the world.

When Tablo smiled and said, “Thankfully, I had a lot of places to rely on. I had my wife and my daughter. So I pulled through,” we could feel how his suffering had matured his mind.

He′s now a difficult man to tackle. When asked why he didn′t shield himself openly at the time of the controversy, he stood firm.

“The incident was just something happening on the internet to some, but for me it was a reality in which I was threatened and bullied. So I cared first for my wife and daughter, and didn’t step forward like some people pointed out that I should have. I still believe I made the right decision.”

In essence, Tablo has grown up to become a real adult who thinks of his ‘family’ rather than ‘himself’ first and foremost.

[Interview] Tablo on Suffering, Laughter and Life

“Hye Jung and my daughter Haru gave me the strength to take up music again.”

You can see who the people around you really are when you’re going through hard times, but especially, your family becomes your strongest shield in the face of difficulty. For Tablo, Kang Hye Jung and his daughter Haru became his shield and comfort.

When asked how he managed to return to music, he immediately answered that he was helped by his wife Kang Hye Jung and his daughter Haru.

“It was Hye Jung and my daughter. My daughter is just 18 months old, but she really likes music. What’s odd is that she doesn’t dance to my old music, but when I make her listen to my new music she even headbangs. Hye Jung said as a joke, ‘I think you’ll have to come up with new things to keep her happy.’

There are a few close friends that have stayed with me since my debut, and they said that for me to laugh again I would have to take up music. I started to make music to make my loved ones laugh again.”

Laughter comes without warning

But still, laughter managed to catch him off guard to appear on his lips. While he was watching Infinity Challenge with his friend, actor Bong Tae Gyu, he let out a little laugh before he realized he felt like laughing.

“Before, I used to feel uncomfortable on variety shows, but thanks to those shows I could laugh even during my hard times. I was watching Infinity Challenge over big fan Tae Gyu’s shoulders, and I couldn’t stop myself from laughing. (smile) I sent a text message saying ‘Thank you for making me laugh’ to the Infinity Challenge members even though they didn’t know what happened,”

After that, Kang Hye Jung ordered (?) Tablo to watch Infinity Challenge to forget about his troubles, even for a little while.

And so Tablo found his laughter again where he least expected to find it. His music also slowly started to take shape with the support of his family and his loved ones, and finally his first solo album Fever’s End came out into the world on November 1. The 10 tracks, from Home to Bad, Source and Thank You for Breathing, contain the last two years of Tablo we weren’t able to witness.

“I made this music without ever thinking it would be released, but it’s so amazing and I’m happy to see it be released like this," said Tablo. "I want to try many things as a solo singer, as a composer and as a member of Epik High.”

Tablo suffered, and matured because of that suffering. When we asked ‘Do you want to go back to those times when you didn’t have to suffer?’, he answered firmly, ‘No’.

“I don’t want to go back to who I was before I suffered. I lost something, but that personally made me a better person. I became a husband, a father and an adult. The three biggest changes that to take place in my life happened at the same time. Of course you need to change and grow. And so, I like better who I am now.”

Photo credit: YG Entertainment
Translation credit: Erika Kim

Tablo (Epik High) 20111114 Infinity Challenge 20111114 Kang Hye Jung 20111114
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