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Consisting of multi-national members from Japan, Korea, the U.S. and Canada, is the male dance and vocal group “NCT 127”, whose outstanding performance and ability of expressiveness, together with their heightened sensibility in music, have earned them acclamation the world over. This interview series showcases the individuality of each member through what they believe is their “own style”, delving into their approach on fashion to their methodology towards expressing themselves, as well as what their futures may hold, unraveling the group’s mystery from every angle all in the MEN’S NON-NO way. With special contents, including pre-interview questions the members have each carefully responded to, online interviews connecting Tokyo and Seoul, and exclusive photographs provided by the members themselves, this interview series is certain to be a positive contrast to the challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic.The sixth member to speak to us about their “my own style” is JAEHYUN. As he spoke slowly as if to cherish the calm atmosphere, powerful comments glimmered through, full of passion and zest for challenge. *For this interview, JAEHYUN spoke to us in Korean. The parts in which he spoke to us in Japanese are described as “(in Japanese)”.
JAEHYUN is someone in which the more you know, the more you like?
JAEHYUN: Hello, this is JAEHYUN! Ohhhhh, I see all of you (NCT 127’s Japanese staff) are here too. I really miss you guys.
MEN’S NON-NO: JAEHYUN-san, thank you very much for your time today.
J: (In Japanese) It’s a pleasure to be here.
MN: Thank you for carefully responding to the questionnaire. Your comments were so full of passion and we look forward to what you have to say.
J: Yes. Thank you very much!
MN: To start, for the section in which the question was, “If you were to introduce yourself as if you were doing so to someone you met for the first time, what would that be?”, you wrote,“Someone in which the more you know, the more you like”.It is really lovely that you can introduce yourself in this way.
J: The reason why I wrote that is because I prefer to allow the person to get to know me in the most natural way possible, rather than showing everything about myself from the beginning. I believe that by not showing everything at once, that person can watch me a little at a time, gradually discovering what kind of person I am in the most natural way, and that’s behind why I wrote that.
MN: Does that mean that people often say something like, “You’re not at all what I expected”?
J: (Chuckle) Oh, I wonder… there are times when I’m told I am different from their first impression and then there are times when I’m told I’m not different at all.
MN:How mysterious. Definitely a response to spark our curiosity about what kind of person you are and just the kind of response our editorial department loves. We are told that you love fashion, JAEHYUN-san, and to the question, “How do you find your favorites?”, you responded,“I’m on a constant search. I frequently read magazines, too.” This is a point the readers of MEN’S NON-NO can certainly relate to. If you don’t mind, could we ask you what type of reading you go for?
J: I particularly like to read articles on luxury brand collections! I also keep up on those items through my smartphone, like on magazine websites, and I’ve also installed apps that can sort out styles according to the brand and season. I’m often on the watch for media realms with a lot of fashion contents”
MN: MEN’S NON-NO’s website, which is where this series can be found, also has a high volume of fashion articles. Of course, information on collections as well! Please have a look if you are interested. Sorry for the plug in (LOL).
J: Yes, but of course! I definitely will~.
MN: Thank you very much.
What about your most memorable landscape of beauty?
MN: The impact of COVID-19 has made it very difficult to enjoy offline activities, such as concerts and traveling. Including you, JAEHYUN-san, it has been quite some time since the last time the members of NCT 127 came to Japan, but when you do finally make it over the next time, what would you like to do? Please also tell us about what left an impression the last time you were here for your Japan tour.
J: Well, first off, the next time I’m able to go to Japan, I of course want to be touring! I mean, I just can’t wait to be touring again… I’m hungry in that “I really want to perform!” Also, I really love Japanese food, so I’m hoping to go to different places while on tour and eat all kinds of delicious foods. Now for the second question. This is about the time when we used a trolley in our staging to go around the audience seats during our performance. We were all on the trolley, very close to the fans in the audience, and I just remember feeling very happy at that moment. That has really left a lasting impression on me, and is personally a good memory of touring in Japan.
MN: Not that we’ve seen all your performances, but I love it when you’re on stage and you explain in your own words what you like and find beautiful about each place, JAEHYUN-san.
J: Awe… thank you very much.
MN: From Hokkaido in the north down to Fukuoka in the south, including your 1st tour and the arena tours, you have visited 9 cities within Japan. Is there a particularly memorable landscape that you could share with us?
J: Let’s see. What comes to mind first is from Tokyo, where the row of cherry blossom trees seems to go on forever.
MN: That’s right, you were in Tokyo during the cherry blossom season.
J: Yes. One of our staff members just told me that it was near the Meguro River. I really enjoyed that. A continuous promenade of beautiful cherry blossom trees in bloom. Oh, and the view in Otaru was also breathtaking. And also, Osaka! YUTA-san is from Osaka, so I had heard about it and was really curious. So, when we actually got there, I had a good impression and it was so much fun. So, yes, those three places have left a lasting impression on me.
MN: It appears that through your concert touring, you are gaining a lot of memories from different places.
J: Yes, that’s true. Oh, and I also loved Daikanyama in Tokyo! I felt it had such a nice atmosphere.
MN: To add a brief commentary for the many people from Tokyo, as well as from outside of Japan, who read this series, Daikanyama is near the row of cherry blossom trees around the Meguro River that JAEHYUN-san mentioned liking earlier, and it is a very fashionable area where people enjoy shopping and visiting cafes. I hope you get to spend some time enjoying the cherry blossoms again soon.
J: Yes, I can’t wait!
What do you mean by the importance of always “being prepared”?
MN: Now then, NCT 127 has a slogan “To the world”. For the question, “What is important to you in expressing yourself and conveying your style as a global artist?”, you emphatically responded,“To believe in myself, make the best of my good aspects, and work hard at what I lack”.
J: If I were to point out one thing that is good about myself when it comes to performances, I would have to say, “my voice”. I also think that I have a good feel for style and taste when it comes to singing. The part that I lack is very specific, but I’ve had stiff legs since I was a trainee. So, I’m not flexible enough and I’ve been working at that for a long time now. In any case, without being prepared, I think it is difficult to have confidence and only natural to be nervous. Even for me, when I’m not sufficiently prepared, I can’t help but lack confidence. That’s why I believe it is vital to do the best that I can within the time allotted. That way, I can really feel that “I did as much as I could at the time” and “I did my best”, and that is why I feel it is important to be prepared, so that I can feel a little more confident.
MN: In the last interview, TAEIL-san also spoke of how important it is to be prepared. We can see that the basis of your confidence as artists comes from your training and the time you have put into it.
J: I honestly believe that preparation leads to a strong mind and stronger confidence. That’s why I always make sure to practice my dance moves and to stretch prior to going on-stage. After all, these are the most important things in the end.
The secret behind NCT 127’s “neo-esque” aspect
MN: In contrast, to the question, “What do you find is cool about NCT 127?”, you responded,“An identity that is all our own”. In a nutshell, what is this?
J: I believe it is our neo-esque aspect.
MN: So, the “neo” from Neo Culture Technology (=NCT). With the meaning of “new” there, you even use “NEO CITY” in your tour titles, so we can see how important the term is all-around for NCT 127.
J: Exactly. We believe that ‘identity’ is something more that just the team’s identity. It’s more about the members that make up the team, the song, each and every performance. Since our debut, we have strongly felt that those aspects and what is yet to come are what “neo” means for NCT 127.
MN: Wonderful. So, it’s not so much that the team is made up of a group of people, but rather that the team is made up of the individuality that each person brings to the table. As part of NCT 127, to the question, “How has being a part of a group and its activities had an impact on you?”, you responded,“Through many experiences, it has helped me to grow”.
J: There is something I feel strongly about when performing. That is, ultimately, that I really do love to sing and dance. I come to this realization each and every time I’m on stage. It is something that I have felt since our first tour and it makes me want to grow even more.
MN: So, would you say that every time you go on stage, you realize that you love to sing and dance, and the more experience you gain, the more motivated you are to grow?
J: Exactly. First of all, in terms of skills with music, I think I’ve grown as I’ve gradually gained more experience while recording. I feel like I’m progressing as I listen to our recordings and improving on what I lack as I go through the process of recording over and over again. The same can be said for dance. I practice every single day, and I think I’m making progress by doing so. And personally, or should I say, on the people-to-people side, I feel like I have been able to grow because I’m part of the NCT 127 team. When working, we live with each other 24-7, even when we’re not on stage, and so I feel like I have learned a lot about accepting someone as they are and understanding them for who they are.
MN: Since NCT 127 is a multinational group, it feels like there is a rich environment for accepting people with different customs and cultures.
J: Yes, it is. I really do think I’ve also grown in terms of accepting others.
MN: To the question, “Please tell us what you think is great about the group”, you responded,“We advance together towards our goals, rejoice together when we are happy, and grieve together when we are sad“. We can tell you are building a relationship based on trust.
J: For me, NCT 127 is also with whom I’m spending my youth with.
MN: It sounds like they are more than co-workers to you. Without a doubt, the readers are certainly becoming more and more interested in the group called NCT 127. Now, we’d like to ask you to introduce some pieces of work you highly recommend.
J: Yes. I would love to.
MN: We would like to paste in the link to the MV you really want the readers to see, JAEHYUN-san. However, apologies in advance, but all the members up to now have pushed “Hero; Kick It”…
J: Ohhhh, I bet. I was thinking about that one as well (LOL).
MN: Sorry (LOL). From this series of articles, we can clearly tell how confident you are that it is one of your best works. Since we are at it, it would be amazing if you could list up a different song.
J: Sure. Since it has come up so many times, I would be glad to introduce a different one~!
MN: Thank you for your consideration!
J: Please catch the Japanese version of “Limitless”. There is a story behind it and I just love the atmosphere that shows through the visuals. I also recommend a feel good piece, “Highway to Heaven”.
MN: We promise to write about how you love “Hero; Kick It” too.
J: (In Japanese) “Yes, thank you so much (LOL).
The three vital things that make up who JAEHYUN is
MN: To the question, “Please list three things that make up who you are now”, you wrote,“Classic, passionate, sincere”. Reading through the questionnaire, many of the comments were consistent with the fact that it really boils down to these three keywords. Let’s go through each one individually.
J: First, the reason why I wrote ‘classic’. This is literally because I love things that are classic. They may be simple, but they have proper roots. I like the backbone of it all. Also, the word “classy”… it feels luxurious and has a sophisticated feel to it. It’s that type of interpretation of the world that makes me love anything that is classic.
MN: Even looking at the photograph from you for “your favorite item”, JAEHYUN-san, we can tell that you have a classic taste. The “CIRE TRUDON” candle from the world’s oldest French wax products manufacturer from over 300 years ago. They have a history of supplying candles to the Palace of Versailles.You chose the “ABD EL KADER” fragrance.
J: I don’t recall exactly how I came to know the brand itself initially, but it is my favorite. I knew I loved it, the moment I smelled this fragrance. I bought two at the same time and used them all up. That’s how much I love this fragrance!
What do you mean by challenging spirit backed by passion?
MN: Next, we’d like to dig deeper into your “passion”. We can already tell from what you said earlier that you’re quite passionate about the way you engage yourself in your performances. For the question, “How do you want to spend your 20s?”, you wrote,“Full on and with passion”.
J: That’s right. The first thing I’m most passionate about right now is singing. I have a lot of passion for singing, truly so much. And the other thing is that I do not want to have any regrets about challenging myself to do something new. I always feel that there should never be any regrets and so that’s why I also have passion towards ‘challenging new things’.
MN: Regarding that, even with the questions on fashion, we could really tell that you are someone who loves to challenge yourself in terms of fashion as well. For the question, “What type of fashion would you like to try out?”, you wrote,“high fashion photogravure. I enjoy the challenge itself”. Additionally, for the question, “Fashion is indispensable when it comes to transmitting performances and artwork, but what’s your take on it?” , you responded, “When it comes to outfits for the stage and for photo shoots, even if they may require some bold courage, I try my best to assimilate”. Your challenging spirit on what you wear also comes through.
J: You mentioned that I am a person who loves to challenge myself. I totally agree! When on a shoot for a magazine or CD jacket, I often wear clothes that require a sense of challenge, and I love to imagine the different ways I could wear those outfits while the photos are being taken. By daring to challenge myself, I am able to find what suits me, what I like, and what don’t like, and that’s what makes the challenge so much fun.
MN: ”Fun”… nice. You really do enjoy fashion.
J: Exactly~! (In Japanese) Fashion is one way to express myself,
MN: To the question, “When thinking about what to wear, what is the most important thing, your policy?”, you responded,“It has to look good on me”. While many of the members preferred a more carefree taste in the interviews up to now, your answer that it has to look good on you shows your stoic mindset, which is different in personality from the others and also shows your challenging nature.
J: Ohhh, right~. As for the reason why I responded, “it has to look good on me”, I think it’s super cool when you can wear something eccentric and it still looks good on you. In contrary, even if the item isn’t particularly unique, if it suits the person, then it too will look cool. So, in the end, I think it is important to know what suits you and wear it with style. It’s not so much that I’ve decided on a particular fashion style. It’s more about how I can enjoy different styles in that way”
MN: As one way to express yourself, how do you want to present yourself through fashion?
J: I would like to be seen as I am, but on another note, my thoughts and my intent are to “assimilate in a particular way and to present myself in a particular way” with any type of style. So, I hope that people can see me as “a person who has a variety of different styles” and “a person who can wear the outfits in different ways”. Even for work, by wearing something new with a different taste from what I’ve worn before, I hope that people can see me as “a person who has many different and diverse sides” to him.
MN: Showing various sides of yourself through what you wear is the real joy of self-producing in fashion, isn’t it? To the question, “What is your favorite fashion that says. ‘this is my style in 2020!’?”, you gave us multiple selections and your love for fashion shines through. You said,“T-shirt with a favorite print + vintage bottoms/accessories with a statement for classic style/a wrap around the hip during rehearsals”, which are all so very different in taste.
J: That’s true. Classic for day-to-day, HIP HOP style for rehearsals… I change up my style depending on the scene!
MN: Incidentally, we hear you also like perfumes, JAEHYUN-san. For the question, “what scent matches your style?”, you shared with us,“Tom Ford’s White Suede, F Fabulous in the winter, BYREDO’s BAL D’AFRIQUE for the summer”. We see you use not only one scent, but different ones.
J: I’ve been using Tom Ford’s White Suede and F Fabulous for quite some time. When it comes to perfumes, I like to use different perfumes for winter and summer, depending on the season. For winter, I often use musk fragrances. The BYREDO scent is nice to smell in the summer and is appropriate for the season. If you smell this scent, I think you can get a sense of who I am and what my style is like.
MN: MEN’S NON-NO’s models and readers absolutely love Tom Ford’s perfumes, so we often feature it in our publications. Tom Ford’s philosophy of “It is my desire to create the first true luxury brand of the 21st century” shows the challenging nature of the brand, which is perfect for you, JAEHYUN-san.
J: Wow, it is, isn’t it! Why, I just learned a new fact!!
What is it to have sincerity?
MN: We fully understand that both “classic” and “passion” make up who you are, JAEHYUN-san. Now we would like to ask about the third element of “sincerity”.
J: I wrote sincerity because, well… it’s a little embarrassing, but if you talk about your true feelings with sincerity and without embellishment, I think the other person will understand how you feel, and that kind of thing is important to me.
MN: That is really lovely. There are many types of sincerity, but for you in particular, JAEHYUN-san, from the questionnaire, we can tell that you have a strong desire to care for the people around you. To the question, “What dream would you like to achieve in your life other than music?”, you wrote,“The health and happiness of my loved ones”, which was quite impressive.
J: You see… when you try to do something on your own, I feel there is a limit to what you can do. That’s where the people that are willing to be around you become important. That is the thought behind my response.
MN: Since when have you thought that way?
J: Let me see… probably since our debut. When you do your best and work hard at it, you can inspire others. And under those conditions, you can also be inspired by others around you. Working in a positive manner like that is very important even for the work itself, and since our debut, I have felt that it is all about the people around you.
MN: For this series, we have added the question, “Have you already found the real you?” You responded,“I have, but I’m still searching for more”. Including your devotion on growth and your policy of taking good care of the people around you for that purpose, would you say that what you have told us thus far constitutes who you are at this point in time?
J: Well… I mean, I am totally serious about what I talk about regarding what kind of tastes I have, what kind of things I like, what kind of person I am, but I think I’m still in the process of getting to know myself. That’s how I feel and that’s where, “I have, but I’m still searching for more” comes from.
MN: I know it’s really a difficult question to answer. Thank you for sharing something invaluable about your thoughts right now.
What do you need to create a world of comfort?
MN: You wrote about other things that you also like. To “what has had an impact on you?”, you wrote,“R&B, JAZZ”. To the questions, “What kind of place or atmosphere do you like?” “What landscape symbolizes who you are?”, your response was,“nightscape”.
J: I love to watch the nightscape. It’s healing, calming and eases my mind, and it makes it possible for me to think about a lot of things. Although I’m not able to see it that often, I try to make it a point to watch the nightscape whenever I can.
MN: As we ask you about the things you like, JAEHYUN-san, such as classical atmosphere and music, as well as the nightscape, what comes to mind is the visuals of the cover you did of Lauv’s “I Like Me Better”. It feels like it is packed with all the things you like. We hear it’s getting a lot of views on YouTube, too… (as of Nov. 2020: Approximately 40 million views).
J: (In Japanese) Ohhhh, why thank you! The reason why I decided to make it in the first place was because I was in Europe for a performance and the landscape was so lovely. It all begin while I was thinking about wanting to put myself in a landscape like that and take a photo. I then thought that the mood of Lauv’s “I Like Me Better” would fit really well; and since I love the songs in Lauv’s album to being with, I decided on that song. At first, I never even thought people would like this video as much as they have, but I’m very grateful to everyone who has watched it. At the time I shot this, I was simply trying to capture my trip as natural as possible and preserve it. I just want to express my deepest gratitude to everyone for the response and for liking it so much.
MN: We will make sure to pass on this message to everyone as well.
J: Yes, please. Thank you!
MN: For other music you like, you sent photos of your own record collection.
J: In taking the photos, I listed up some of my favorite LPs that I have. My selection criteria is LPs that make me feel “how nice” when listening to them or those that have something that stick with me. I’ve always loved R&B and JAZZ, but I began wondering what other artists might exist in those genres. So, when I find an artist that I like, I look for more pieces by that artist. Thus, I tend to choose and purchase LPs by the artists that I like.
MN: Do you listen to music you like on the way to watching the nightscape?
J: Yes, I do. There are times when I listen to music while watching the nightscape, too. But I can never remember what I was listening to at the time (LOL).
MN: That’s nice. So, you are completely chill.
J: I like to sit on a bench, put on some music, and relax as I watch the nightscape.
LOVEHOLIC and JAEHYUN
MN: Please tell us your enthusiasm towards your new Japanese album “LOVEHOLIC”. The release date is now set for February 17th, which is near your birthday, JAEHYUN-san.
J: Exactly.We’re actually in preparation as we speak [editorial staff note: at the time of the interview], but it’s been a long time since we’ve prepared and released a Japanese album like this, so I’m really excited about it. Whenever we release a new album, I have a strong desire to show a new side of myself, and you can expect the same this time as well”
MN: In light of the album title, what does “LOVEHOLIC” mean to you, JAEHYUN-san?
J: It means to really be into something. I’m really into Netflix as of late! (LOL)
MN: Hahaha! That’s really not romantic at all.
J: (Chuckle) I guess I’m into Netflix love.
MN: We are told that the lead track is a love song. There are many types of love songs, but what kind of love song do you like to sing, JAEHYUN-san?
J: When I’m listening to a love song, I like super sad love songs or love songs about a broken heart, but I prefer love songs with a happy ending. So, if I’m going to sing a love song, I prefer a happy love song. However, since “LOVEHOLIC” expresses various kinds of love, I would like to convey a bigger and stronger love than just a love song. I hope to be able to tour in Japan and to show it on stage. I really can’t wait to see all of you.
MN: Is there anything in particular that you would like us to focus on with regard to the album?
J: The growth in my vocals!
MN: We’re really looking forward to the release. Thank you for everything you have shared with us today. On a final note, could you share with us what you feel is “my own style” right now, JAEHYUN-san?
J: You mean in a word, right? “To be continued”… Mmmm… no… let me think about it again… Let’s go with, “As everyone sees me.
MN: My own style is “As everyone sees me”. You’re the first person to give a response that basically leaves your style to the other person’s perception, JAEHYUN-san. “To be continued” is intriguing as well. With what you shared today, they both make sense… In the end, you’ve given us a comment that will linger on in our minds.
J: Thank you deeply for interviewing me about so many things. To the readers, stay tuned for all our upcoming activities~!
MN: Thank you very much.
J: (In Japanese) Thank you! Until we meet again!
What do you enjoy doing the most?
Exercise, traveling, recording, being on stage
What is the one thing that makes you proud?
Bowling, high-pitched showdown, basketball
What is your source of inspiration for creative work?
Life, surroundings, movies
What is the best memory you have from your teens?
What is your classic style?
Black item + necklace
MN: It’s time for our popular playlist corner! We ask each featured member to list up their favorite and recommended NCT 127 songs, as well as their latest favorite songs from other artists, to create an original playlist for MEN’S NONNO. JAEHYUN-san makes the 6th member to participate, and with the selections by the 5 past members, the songs are piling up in style (By clicking the image above, you can actually jump to sites, such as Apple Music, Spotify, AWA, etc. So, please check it out!)
J: Wait, please give me a moment. I have too many songs to choose from. Ummm… I do have a lot of songs, but when it comes to NCT 127, today I’m feeling like “Welcome to My Playground”. When I listen to this song, I feel like a child again. Please also add “Jet Lag” to the playlist. I recommend it, because it has an R&B atmosphere to it, which is a style I love.
MN: Thank you so much. That’s two songs of completely different tastes. What is your personal favorite?
J: I would definitely like to select a song titled “blue” by Kamal. I often listen to this song because it’s very easy to listen to”
MN: As you mentioned earlier, it sounds perfect for when you put on some music and relax as you watch the nightscape!
NCT 127 is a boy band with global reach, consisting of multi-national members and based in Seoul of South Korea. Their latest hit “NEO ZONE” has sold over one million copies and still rising. And now, Japan’s highly-anticipated 2nd Mini Album “LOVEHOLIC” will be released on February 17,2021! Expectations are heightened as they try their hand at a love song for the first time as the lead track. nct-jp.net The last HP link is as follows (same as listed)
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