[Exclusive Interview] THE LEGEND Sends Love to Herose, Talks Goals and Gets Honest
There’s a new group in town - and these boys are already set to become Legends.
Legend, a 5-member group, is boldly trying to carve a place for itself in the K-pop scene. With a name like Legend, and a debut song from top songwriter Iain James, this group has more than a fighting chance of clawing its way to the top.
The group, which already has support from many other celebrities, thanks to a long trainee stint at Cube Entertainment (home to 4minute, BTOB and more), may not quite be legendary yet - but collectively, the group possesses an astonishing number of skills.
The Legend boys collectively speak English, Chinese, Japanese and of course Korean, while some members write and create music, others have perfect pitch and all of them can hold it together on stage - live.
The Legend members sat with Mwave for an exclusive interview prior to its MEET&GREET on August 13, to explain how they came to be, their interesting stage names and their fans.
Legend is a strong name, and not necessarily in theme with all the trendy names in K-Pop today, and even the members admitted they were initially not fond of the name.
“In the beginning, each of us 5 members came up with 5 different options for our group name. And for that, I came up with Jeon - Seol (Legend in Korean) - to mean, to roll along until we get big (like a legend),” said Lito. “Legend was just one of the names that we came up with, just to fill up the required five names. And I was actually pushing for a different name, but when we all met up with the CEO, he said, ‘Let’s go with Legend!’”
“We never even imagined that Legend would be chosen, but he said, “Legend is good. Let’s go with that.
We thought he was joking at first...like, we thought it couldn’t possibly be real…” said Lito.
For Jae Hyuk, the name wasn’t something he wanted to accept.
“For me, for 3 months, I couldn’t sleep, because of the name. So I kept searching for a better name for our group. But then I couldn’t find any other name, so I just faced it and was like, ‘Okay, we’re Legend. Jeon Seol,’” said Jae Hyuk. “And so many people asked me, “Hey, what’s your team name, what’s your team name.” And we were like, ‘Uh, we don’t know yet - only the boss knows.’ In that way, I kept avoiding answering that question. But in the end, we all got used to it.”
“But it has its merits, I think. Actually when we were coming up here, these women saw us and asked us, ‘What’s your name?’,” said Lito. “And we said, ‘Hello, we’re Legend’ - and they remembered our name right away. So when we were coming up, we thought, ‘Ah, I guess we picked a good name.’”
Beyond the group’s name, several of the members have also adopted stage names, with only Jae Hyuk and Chang Sun choosing to go by their birthnames.
The leader of the group, Listen (Lee Seung Tae), chose to go by a nickname for his stage name.
“For me, when I was in college, since my real name is Lee Seung Tae, my friends would call me, ‘Lee Seung Tae, Lee Seung Tae, LeeSeungTaeLeeSeungTae,’ and it eventually was shorted to ‘LeeSeung-Listen’ - so that was one of my nicknames,” said Listen. “And since it means, “to listen”, I thought it was a good stage name.”
Roi, the only Chinese member in the group, chose to leave his birth name (Jin Boon) behind, and also turned to his friends for advice.
“Jin Boon is kind of an old-fashioned name so I wanted to change it. And I asked my friends, ‘What would be a good name to use if I want to switch to an English name?’ And they suggested Roi. I thought it sounded good, so I asked what it meant, and they said it means king in French,” said Roi.
Lito, on the other hand, chose to take from the Spanish rather than the French.
“For me, since a lot of people have my name, I wanted to use a stage name. And so, I went out to eat hot dogs with a hyung I know and he asked what I thought about the name ‘Lito’. When I heard it, I thought it sounded really good. So when I asked him what it meant..” said Lito.
“So in Doritos, it referred to the middle part...rito (lito).I thought, I mean...Lito is a good name, but to use Doritos...it’s kind of weird . I asked if there was any other meaning, and if you look at the back of a Doritos bag, it actually says that in Spanish, it means ‘little bits of gold,’” said Lito, who decided to take on the name and focus in on the meaning of “little bits of gold,” rather than the less attractive Doritos chips.
Lito has also earned praise for being the lyricist of Legend’s debut song, Left Out, which was composed by famed songwriter Iain James, who’s written for TVXQ, One Direction, Little Mix and more.
“So we actually didn’t know [that the song was from Iain James], but whenever we practiced, whether it was vocals or dance, we were always filmed. And our CEO showed our practice videos to Iian James and I guess he looked upon us favorably,” said Jae Hyuk. “So our CEO came up to us with this really proud expression and was like, ‘Hey listen to this!!’ And it was our song, Left Out, and we all really liked it. We didn’t even know that he produced it and after we recorded, we found out.”
In addition to being composed by Iain James, the song received much attention as it was rumored that Lito wrote the lyrics to the song in five minutes.
“Ah, no, not in five minutes...It took some time to figure out the concept, but after I decided on the concept, I wrote the song pretty quickly,” said Lito. “Not in five minutes...but quickly…”
But Jae Hyuk, who was with him at a cafe when Lito wrote the song, was quick to praise his fellow member.
“He basically listened to the song and wrote it right away,” said Jae Hyuk.
It helps that the group is close enough that there seems to be no professional jealousy in the mix. As all the members have been friends for some time, and are working toward the same goal, Legend is aiming to truly become legendary.
“So when g.o.d returned this year, I was reading different news articles and a lot of people who were fans 10 years ago are still fans now, and they were cheering on g.o.d and bringing up memories from 10 years ago and so I think g.o.d is so impressive,” said Listen. “You know how there’s the Shinhwa generation or the H.O.T generation - I hope that in 10 years, they’ll refer to this time as the Legend generation. “
And while some groups flounder without an official fanclub for years, Listen already has a fanclub name as well - Herose, a combination of Hero and Rose.
“It basically can be either Heroes or Her Rose,” said Jae Hyuk.
The group’s fanbase is already impressive, especially for a group that’s been around for only a month. Perhaps because the group itself is composed of dynamic members, international fans have already been falling for the group.
But since the group is fresh out of the gate, fans have been pushing to see the group more - something the members promise will happen.
“To the fans everywhere...Legend has just started,” said Jae Hyuk. “There’s so much we’ve prepared and so much we want to share and please support us and please don’t worry about why we’re not showing up that much, because we’ll work hard and try to create more opportunities, so please cheer us on a lot!”
Photo credit: JKSpace Ent
- THE LEGEND 20140805 Roi (Legend) 20140805 Ryu Jae Hyuk (Legend) 20140805 Lito (Legend) 20140805 Listen (Legend) 20140805 Lee Chang Sun (Legend) 20140805