LeeSsang Heats Up Billboard’s K-Pop Chart
Though its members dropped to two, TVXQ′s performances were still the best. Even inside the large-scale dome stages, their performances felt so grand.
On April 23, at Osaka’s Kyocera Dome, TVXQ’s TVXQ Live Tour 2012 ~ Tone ~ drew to a close in a fantastic finale after three months. Since its beginning on January 18 at Yokohama Arena, a total of 26 concerts were held, attracting a total of 550,000 individuals. It was an unprecedented record for a hallyu star.
For TVXQ’s two members who have run without stopping the past three months, enews caught up with them for an interview right before their final concert.
To the reporters who came from Korea they said, “Thank you for coming. We prepared a lot to show an impressive performance.”
A Korean artist attracted over 550,000 individuals in Japan. How do you feel about this?
U-Know Yunho: In the past when we toured Japan we brought in 250,000 people. But now we have doubled that number. We don’t have much to say other than to thank our fans. We felt a lot of burden. We even asked our Japanese staff member if us two attracting over 500,000 people was a big deal. But they all said it was. We are really proud of that fact. We wonder if we will ever be able to set a record like this again. We are so thankful.
Hip hop duo LeeSsang’s I Turned Off the TV has topped the Billboard K-pop chart.
On September 1, I Turned Off the TV from LeeSsang’s seventh studio album stole the number one spot on the K-Pop Hot 100 Chart, while the title track The Answer to Me is You and Reminisce ranked third and fifth respectively.
Max Changmin: We’re really happy. This is our first tour in Japan in three years. In addition, we re-started our activities in Japan last year. Three years is not a short time but we’re thankful to our fans who waited.
Compared to the past, your audience and fan numbers have risen. What do you think is the reason behind that?
U-Know Yunho: I think it’s because of our hard work. Though our Japanese is still lacking, I think they saw us doing our best. We purposely tried to ad lib with our fans to have better communication with them. Singing and performing is important but your communication with your fans is important too. I think creating a place where we can better approach our fans worked out well.
Compared to the past, we also had more male fans and families come out. I don’t think they came just to see us, but to experience a delightful show. So we’re feeling very happy about that.
I also think it’s due to the both of our hard work. I think seeing us both give our best brought back good feedback.
Were there any difficulties during your tour?
U-Know Yunho: Since the stages were so big, it was difficult to coordinate the dances. Also, since it was two members having to do it all until the end, there was some difficulty in terms of stamina.
Usually when it’s not my turn, I can go and catch my breath a bit, but since it was just two of us, it kept coming back to my turn. It was a bit more harder than I imagined.
Max Changmin: Over 97 days, we held 26 performances. This meant, we did a performance every four days so it would be a lie to say it wasn’t tough physically. Additionally, we began the tour in January right after last year’s end of our previous activities so that was a bit burdensome.
What was the most memorable moment during this tour?
Max Changmin: It was always memorable. During our Tokyo Dome concert, at one point our fans began flickering their pen lights from red to white and red again while cheering us on in a surprise event. My fellow member cried a lot at that.
U-Know Yunho: Since it was a performance at Tokyo Dome after a while, we were a bit nervous. But at that concert, the fans suddenly turned the sea of red pen lights into white for an event and at that point all the difficult times and the memories began flooding my mind. I’m normally one to think of crying on stage as embarrassing but that night I shed a lot of tears.
What’s the difference in completion musically between when five members stand on stage and two members do?
Max Changmin: I can’t say which one is more complete musically. The completion musically-wise is different each time.
Right now, we are working to showcase both our merits to the best of our abilities. We’re working to satisfy and move our fans with the merits of two individuals. We think the rest is something our fans will decide.
U-Know Yunho: I think there’s music that’s right for each age. I think the music we had then was expressed well with those friends. Right now the two of us have to hold our stages so our individual skills have greatly improved.
LeeSsang’s album, which swept various online music charts upon its release on August 25, has also been enjoying immense popularity in Korea. Netizens reacted to the Billboard ranking with comments like, “I want Kang Gary! Gil!” and “What incredible popularity."
The duo will hold its first concert LeeSsang Theater for three days beginning on November 11 at the AX-Korea in Seoul.
Photo credit: Jungle Entertainment
You brought in 550,000 people. What’s your next goal?
Max Changmin: In Japan, there are five dome arenas. We’ve thought before about a five dome arena tour. During this tour too, we stopped at Tokyo Dome and Kyocera Dome. We’re happy we were able to fill up both those stages.
Max Changmin, you’re currently filming a movie in Japan. How is that going?
Max Changmin: I’m filming with famous Japanese actors. It’s a great experience. Though our director’s personality is a bit tough, he makes good work. Though I’m a foreigner speaking Japanese in the movie, I’m doing my best to make sure it doesn’t seem awkward or lacking.
The language is really difficult. After listening, I have to process it in my mind and then show a reaction which isn’t easy. In particular, since our director uses the Osaka dialect it’s tough. Thinking with the mindset there isn’t anything more difficult than this, I think I’ll be able to do anything in the future delightfully.
What do you want to do after this tour?
U-Know Yunho: I want to sleep for 24 hours. I also want to go on vacation.
Max Changmin: While resting, I want to meet and have a drink with my friends and release my stress.
Unlike when TVXQ debuted, your juniors are working in a completely different environment. What do you think about this?
U-Know Yunho: Our juniors are doing things that we didn’t even think about when we debuted. They’re like national representatives. I hope they don’t lose their focus.
What are your future plans in Korea?
U-Know Yunho: In the early half of 2012, we mainly did activities in Japan but following our tour, we want to show a new side of us in Korea. We hope to hold concerts at a good point in the future too.
Max Changmin: We will always do our best.
Photo credit: SM Entertainment
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