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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. Featured this time is one of the leading vocalists to come out of NCT 127, DOYOUNG. The way he thought through each question and carefully chose his words as he spoke with us was quite impressive. We bring to you an English version this time as well!
*For this interview, DOYOUNG spoke to us in his native language of Korean. The parts in which he greeted us in Japanese are described as “(in Japanese)”.
What Is That “Coolness” That You Want To Share With Everyone Right Now?
DOYOUNG: (In Japanese) Hello! How have you been? I really wish I could see you all.
MEN’S NON-NO: Good day. You speak good Japanese as well, DOYOUNG-san! Thank you for being with us today.
D: (In Japanese) Yes, thank you for having me!
MN: Thank you so much for all the photographs and for answering our pre-interview questions. We especially look forward to sharing the detailed photographs you took, as they tell us a lot about you.
D: (in Japanese) Thank you very much.
MN: We’d like to start out with an introduction from you. Regarding how you would particularly like to appeal to the readers of this series, you wrote, “I’d like to convey what I find cool about myself”. Please tell us what you would like us to focus on in particular.
D: I’m sure that some of you are new to me, so perhaps I should start out by stating my name and go from there. Good day, my name is DOYOUNG. I believe that our fans have seen much of me on stage and I’m sure you may have found the coolness to who I am during those performances, but I’d like to ask you to turn towards all the other sides of my so-called coolness, as a full-size, dare-I-say, natural me.
MN: We plan on asking you all kinds of questions in today’s interview, so please feel free to speak out as much as you want about who you are, DOYOUNG-san. If you find something is difficult to talk about, please feel to skip the question.
D: Thank you! Would love to! Incidentally, we also shoot and upload a lot of different contents on YouTube, not just MVs or concerts. So, I hope you will have a look at my personal day-to-day as well as the group’s, as we show ourselves stripped down.
MN: Ohhh, what a great intro!
What Is The ‘Relaxation’ That You Embrace, DOYOUNG-san?
MN: First, let’s have everybody look at this. It is a photograph you sent to us on our request for an image in which you are relaxing in a room, DOYOUNG-san.
D: Yes, I’m often wrapped in a quilt like this at our lodging quarters.
MN: From your responses to the pre-interview questions, our impression of you, if you don’t our saying, is that you are a person who embraces self-care and grabbing onto a pace that is most comfortable for you.
MN: The reason being, you mentioned that you enjoy lying down, which left an impression. To the question, “What do you enjoy doing the most?”, you responded, “When I’m lying down.” To the question, “What is the one thing that makes you proud?”, you answered, “To lie down.” And that we found rather interesting… This type of conversation never came up with the others and it’s unique. Can you tell us how important it is for you to rest, DOYOUNG-san?
D: More often than none, my daily schedule is set up in advance. Once I do this, then I have to do that, and when that’s done, there is always something else to do. That’s what my daily life looks like. So, to take the time to rest, means to step a little back from such plans to give myself a moment of relief. Whether that’s to actually lie down or just to relax a bit in my room, I believe that taking a moment for rest is a very important part of life. Of course, we live within our full schedule, but being able to take a break also means that you have time to reflect on yourself. Not doing anything in particular, eating freely when you want to, sleeping when you want to… I find it is lovely and quite vital to be able to live with a little fluidity in this way.
MN: Is it easy for you, DOYOUNG-san, to switch on and off?
D: I think so.
MN: Nowadays,there are so many people out there who overdo it and end up losing their pace. As such, they forget to take the time to breathe.
D: I don’t know if I can give those people any good advice or not, but I do often find myself thinking about work even when I don’t need to be thinking about it. That’s probably why I think that it is better to find ways to minimize the time I’m overly immersed. The more I think about wanting to do things well or getting things right, it just makes it more difficult to switch on and off, and I wind up getting immersed in it all over again. Wouldn’t it be so much easier if we could consciously control when we do things and when we don’t? Even though it’s so difficult…
MN: Then, in contrary, when you go out and are switched “on” and in contact with people, do you have an ideal as far as how you want to spend that time?
D: Let’s see. When I’m spending time as an ‘idol’, an entertainer, I think it’s easy to forget to be considerate or to care about others, and yet, I want to be a person who can care about others right in front of me and around me as much as possible. So, I try my best to give back as much as I can to all the people around me who are there to help me. This may sound a bit no-nonsense, but I actually like to do things like that, and honestly, I also think it’s easier than to have others be concerned about you. Besides, by doing so, the atmosphere becomes serene and the air has a relaxed flow to it, so I believe to be considerate of others is something that is necessary for your own self. “On” or “off”, serenity is important.
As A Vocalist, What Is It That You Pour Your Heart And Soul Into?
MN: We’d like to ask you about the artist DOYOUNG. To the question, “Please list three things that make up who you are”, you listed, “Song, the fans’ hearts, those who constantly support me”, and you brought up ‘song’ first.
D: Yes, I did. Singing is very important to me.
MN: Could you tell us the NCT 127 song that you would like us to especially focus on for your voice, DOYOUNG-san?
D: I would be pleased if you would listen to the song “Make Your Day”. As you know, most of our songs are based on hip-hop. The lead track for our album is so, and the songs we perform on television shows are also so. As such, for those who don’t know much about our group, there may not be many opportunities for them to hear my voice in a ballad. Even though ballads are hard to sing, they are definitely worth doing, and I also think NCT 127 has beautiful ballads. We go through so much trial and error during recording sessions, challenging ourselves to a lot of things, like using different types of voices and different singing styles. We learn so much every single time. That’s why I would really like to emphasize this song for the readers, not so much for my voice alone, but rather the minute details throughout the song, like care that went into the chorus section and the feel-good atmosphere throughout the song we put effort into creating. Different from a laid-back song with a laid-back feel when singing each bar, I would love for everyone to experience the attention to sincerity and sensitivity that comes through the entire score.”
MN: Your buildup of discipline as a vocalist shows through. It appears you have also uploaded a bunch of cover songs.
D: Thank you very much. If I were to select one of those songs, it would be “Mine” by Bazzi. It was the first cover song I shared with everybody. The reason why I chose this song is because even if I were to be asked to redo it, I honestly don’t think I can. Back then, I worked hard to train for it, because it was the first time ever for me to challenge myself to do a cover song. There were so many things I didn’t know about, including how to complete the visuals, and yet I feel like that awkwardness really makes it what it is. For that aspect, this song is unforgettable to me.
MN: How wonderful that you impress on what’s good at that time, even though you may have been less experienced than you are now. What points make you want to choose to sing a cover song, DOYOUNG-san?
D: I personally want to try all kinds of songs. You might say that cover songs are a content that allows me to personally and freely challenge myself. That is why I have the desire to try out all kinds of songs, and at the same time, show a different side of myself in comparison to the artist I am when doing our original songs. I also feel like I have to tailor how I sing when doing a cover song. So, I choose the songs while thinking, “How do I want to challenge myself to sing in a way that I can show the best of myself as an individual?
MN: In addition to Bazzi, you have done cover songs regardless of whether they are by male or female artists, and you’ve given them all an originality. Perhaps everyone is waiting for a Japanese song…?
D: Thank you very much. Actually… I was just thinking about that!
MN: Now that’s something to look forward to.
Please Tell Us What Is Important To You In Connection With Your Fans!
MN: With regard to your source of inspiration for creative work, you answered, “All the fans”. For the question earlier on what makes up who you are, you also brought up “the hearts of all the fans”. It seems like you have very strong feelings about their existence.
D: With the situation as it is now, we are not able to directly meet with our fans. Of course, the best way to feel their strong connection is to meet with them directly, see them, and listen to their voices as they cheer us on. However, even though we are not able to see the fans right now, they have continued to send us a lot of messages online, visuals of their support, sharing their thoughts with us in so many different ways. It is truly touching, and should I say, inspirational… or even uplifting. It helps us to keep going on. And their messages in support consist of truly beautiful words. You can tell that they have taken the time to carefully put together these words that give us so much strength. It is a beautiful method of doing so that we have learned from them.
MN: Now then, DOYOUNG-san, when you send out a message to your fans via SNS, what do you find is most important?
D: The fans send us messages full of beautiful words. Therefore, I always want to send back messages in the same way. So, even though it may be a subtle word here and there, I always want to make the words more beautiful as I share them with the fans.
MN: So, when you said earlier about your policy, “So, I try my best to give back as much as I can to all the people around me who are there to help me”, it’s all connected.
D: Yes, it is. I want to give back as much of my genuine heart as they have shown to me.
MN: So, the next time we get to enjoy your concert offline, you will be able to share your feelings directly with the fans. What kind of staging are you hoping to share?
D: For now, a simple one. I mean, what we really want is to see our fans face-to-face. So, when we are able to do a concert for the first time in a long time, it would be fantastic if we could create something together. Of course, NCT 127 will perform the actual concert, but, for example, creating an element of the staging with the fans… Mmm… maybe even collaborating on something.”
MN: So, you mean something like incorporating a corner for fans to participate in?
D: Yes, exactly! How fun it would be to do a concert like that.
What Is The Balance Between Challenging Yourself And Protecting Your Own Pace?
MN: You wrote the words, “I hope you are able to feel a sense of accomplishment” with regard to “a memorable piece of advice you received from somebody.” This is probably not something you are able to feel very often. What do you find is necessary in order to reach that state?
D: There is something that I find more valuable than the passion to keep pressing on or to continue to challenge myself. What I myself lack, what parts of myself are imperfect, and what I really need to work on… these are things I am already aware of. For example, “100 percent” is a basic numerical value that is placed on exhibiting what a perfect state is. I feel that to be a professional means that I must place my efforts on achieving that 100 percent if that number is lacking within myself. It’s only natural and cannot be taken for granted. It may be warranted, but because I am aware of how I lack in experience and where I fall short, I don’t just passionately push forward or frantically try to achieve something. My desire is to be someone who can fill in the gaps with a level head and protect the fundamental parts. In order to do so, I feel the right thing to do is to steadily accomplish what one needs to do.
MN: You have your own balance between the passionate and the sensible stance. Regarding your motto, you wrote, “To be yourself as you live your life.” This also seems to connect to the stance in which you value how important it is to find your own pace. What do you say to that?
D: Yes, I agree. I feel that someone who really knows who they are, or is able to fully understand oneself is what is called an adult, and that is also what I meant by writing, “I want to be myself as I live my life.” This also means to know what you are really good at and working hard as you bring that to the table. You can’t simply force yourself to do what you can’t do. I believe these words also exhibit the determination to live as your own self.
MN: I see. That makes a lot of sense. Further expanding on being yourself, your response of “My room which is neatly organized,” in response to the landscape that symbolizes who you are… this has also left quite an impression. You also provided a separate photograph from the one in the beginning. You were the only person who mentioned your own room in response to this question, DOYOUNG-san. You appear to have a consistent emphasis on how to be comfortable.
D: To be tidy and live in comfort… how do I explain this… it’s a tiny little wish of mine and I am willing to put the effort in order to achieve it.
MN: In response to the question, “What types of places or atmosphere do you like?” you wrote, “A place where I can relax with a suitable temperature.” When we first read that response, we felt that mentioning the temperature really shows how you are particular about space. Having listened to you now, it all makes sense.
D: I’m sure it can get messy in the day-to-day, but I like to keep my room as organized as possible for my own self.
How Do You See Your Group Objectively?
MN: You responded, “to be as one and tread forward” to what is vital for NCT 127. Additionally, to “Please tell us what you find wonderful about the group,” you wrote, “The way in which we help each other as we work hard to achieve our goals.” It can’t be very easy to protect your own pace and maintain teamwork at the same time, which are very important to you …
D: With regard to the key in maintaining teamwork, more than anything, I think it is important to have the same dream. By having the same goal in the end, even if we have small arguments or fights in between because our methods are slightly different, I think we are able to put our efforts together in the long run in order to achieve that dream. Having one dream together as team members, this is very important.”
MN: Are there any memorable words/phrases or occurrences from spending time with your members?
D: I feel there is so much to learn from each and every member, respectively. I’m certain there are actual words from each member that have been wonderful, but more importantly, I think the way we subconsciously breathe as one while watching one another on a daily basis… this is bigger than any words I could bring up. This of course applies to dancing and singing, our areas of specialty as artists, but I also feel there are wonderful aspects of life that each and every one of us has, respectively. I mean, we all have different personalities. So, it’s like, this member may be better at this and that member may be better at that. All of this inclusive, from the way we all live, I believe that we all learn from each other daily, like at times like this, we should think this way or do things in this way.”
MN: For what has had the most impact on you other than the members of NCT 127, you also mentioned, “SM (SM ENTERTAINMENT＝NCT 127’s talent agency)”. In what way has it had an impact on you?
D: I love music and have listened to SM’s music since I was a child. So, I can honestly say that it has been SM’s music that has had an impact on me in that it gave me the interest and guided me towards the path to entertainment, as well as helped to create the person that I am today. If we are talking about what made me interested in show business and entertainment itself, then yes, Korean music and culture has helped me to grow as an artist who sings songs. There are so many artists that I look up to from Korea. The way they live, the words they share, even a photo alone, I feel that the many things I can learn from are scattered throughout these aspects as I connect to the music as a vocalist right now.”
Does Comfort Have an Emphasis On Your Fashion As Well?
MN: Considering how important it is to be yourself, DOYOUNG-san, we would really like to ask you about fashion as well.
D: What we wear on stage has to be cool-looking and easy to perform in, but when it comes to my personal attire, I feel that the most important thing is being able to relax. What I find important in addition to this when I’m buying clothes for myself, is the color and fit. Overall, I like a sleek style.
MN: You provided a photograph of your favorite coordinated outfit. Why did you send this one to us?
D: I took a picture of what I actually do often wear and sent it to you. I don’t really like flamboyant or flashy styles. I prefer a more, simple outfit that I can relax in. When I choose my daily outfits, I think about the situation I will find myself in on that day. “It’s going to be a very active day today, so I should wear this” or “I will be sitting a lot today, so I should wear this.” That’s the way I think when making my selection, so it is very important to figure out what I will be able to relax in revolving around the circumstances.
MN: You also shot a photograph of some sandals as a favorite item. Do these sandals also meet the criteria of being something you can relax in?
D: Yes, they are. I wind up buying the same kind regardless of how many I may have.
MN: It was unique that you also sent a smartphone photo together with it, attaching the comment, “I also believe a smartphone is a vital fashion item.”
D: At the time of the pre-questions, I think I had just switched cellphones. So, that’s probably why I sent it as a fashion item… most likely, I just wanted to show it off (LOL).
MN: Is that so, no wonder. We’ll make sure to put it in the article clearly (LOL). In addition to clothing, do you have any preferences regarding hairstyle, etc.?
D: I’m not really that finicky about hairstyle nor do I have any particular preference I have to stick to. But if I’m going to go with cool, then I think it needs to be as cool as it can get, and if I’m going with natural, then the styling should be as effortless as possible. That’s how I like it.
MN: You’ve visited many different countries while on your concert tours. You mentioned “Paris, France” as deeply impressive when it comes to fashion. Can you tell us what resonated with you the most?
D: We’ve toured many countries, but Paris was memorable for me. Not only for fashion, but also everything was beautiful. It may depend on where we are visiting, but for most countries, there is a distinct difference between tourist areas and non-tourist areas. However, for Paris, it could be because of the buildings or the atmosphere and aroma of the entire city, no matter where I was, the photographs always came out as a work of art. That’s the kind of beauty that I felt.
For Your New Album, What Did You Focus On The Most?
MN: The release of your new album for Japan “LOVEHOLIC” is coming up the month after next. Could you tell us what kind of album it will be and what we can look forward to?
D: We are currently recording one song at a time and it’s turning out to be more of an emotional album than a pop style album.
MN: You can choose from the songs you have already recorded, but what is your favorite at this point?
D: That would be the lead track. We were fortunate to have Kenzie-san involved this time. I have always like Kenzie-san’s songs and we are so grateful that he wrote the lead track. The only thing is that the key is so high, making it difficult to record, but there’s a catharsis that can be felt from the range it is in.
MN: Do you mean for the audience?
D: Yes, that’s exactly it! I think the audience will certainly feel something when listening to it!”
MN: The hot topic is that the lead track of the album is a love song. There are so many different types of love songs in the world. Songs that share love in a straightforward way, songs that share the enjoyment of being in love, or on the flipside, songs about a broken heart… what type of love song do you, DOYOUNG-san, personally like to sing?
D: When I’m listening to music, I prefer songs that are lighthearted and uplifting, something that is easy to listen to. But when I’m singing, I prefer love songs that feed your sorrow. It is deeply fascinating to be able to express that type of emotion in a song, and I feel it is also a good thing.”
MN: DOYOUNG-san, when you personally express your special feelings to somebody, how do you go about it?
D: I would try to choose beautiful words to voice. Words have incredible power. They have the power to convey significant impact, so I would likely thoroughly think it through, while tormenting myself, so that I can use the most beautiful, most lovely words to express my feelings.
What Is Your ‘Authentic Self”, DOYOUNG-san?
MN: Finally, we have asked this of all the members, but what would you say, DOYOUNG-san’s “My Own Style” is?
D: That would have to be “My way”. When you hear the words “my way”, I think you get the image that you’re doing everything it is you want or living your life as you want. My current style is exactly that, “my way”. The reason being, as time has passed since our debut, there was a period in time when I thought, “why am I the way I am” in comparison to others. Like I was looking at myself through the basis of others. But after that period of time, and now, I’ve come to be able to think, “Oh, I’ll just do what I want.” I’ll do what I do best and what I’m good at… that it’s okay to show what I am able to show and that’s it. That I’ll live my “authentic-self”… I’ve been able to arrive at that point in the way I think and so, now, my way is my own style.”
MN: My way is my own style! What a great way to end. Thank you very much. Time’s up for the interview, so if we could close with a word from you to our readers.
D: I would like to express my deepest gratitude to MEN’S NON-NO for introducing us to the fans and for giving us the opportunity to speak to our fans in depth.
MN: Oh, no, that’s way too kind of you; we too thank you…
D: “NCT 127 is so grateful to have this opportunity, especially since we are all under circumstances that prevent us from being able to go to Japan and see our fans in person, even though we really want to. Although we cannot see each other now, we are trying to find all the ways to make it possible to communicate with you. So, we hope that you will continue to expect more from us in the future, and I would like to end by saying that the more you expect from us, the more we will expect from ourselves, so that we use our efforts to be able to respond to all of you in the best way possible.
MN: We pray that NCT 127 and the fans can reunite soon. Thank you for sharing so much with us today.
D: (in Japanese) “Thank you very much and thank you for your hard work!”
Of all the fashion items you have worn up to now, what item do you particularly like the most?
What do you want to conquer?
To train every morning…
What is the best memory you have from your teens?
Going to the movies with my friends.
How do you want to spend your 20s?
I want to make a lot of wonderful memories while achieving my goals.
What dream would you like to achieve in your life other than music?
I want to live in happiness with the good people around me.
MN: We have asked the members of NCT 127 to create a playlist for MEN’S NON-NO. By clicking the image above, you can actually jump to sites, such as Apple Music, Spotify, AWA, etc. DOYOUNG-san is the fourth member to appear in this series. The songs listed by the previous members who appeared in this series, YUTA-san, TAEYONG-san, JOHNNY-san, have already been added to the playlist. We ask each member to list up their favorite and recommended NCT 127 songs, as well as their latest favorites songs from other artists.
D: From our songs, I would first like to recommend the song titled “Day Dream”. It is a good song to listen to when you want to sleep well at night.”
MN: That’s true. It does have a dreamlike atmosphere to it. We would also like the readers to see it together with the vision in the teaser video.
D: For other artists’ songs, I would have to say the collaboration between Ariana Grande and Justin Bieber with “Stuck with U”. Lately, I find myself always listening to this one song, so it would mean a lot to know that our fans are also listening to it, as if we were together.”
NCT 127 is the boys’ group of multinational members based in Seoul, South Korea and is very active in global scenes. Its latest album ‘NEO ZONE’ sold well over 1 million copies and is breaking the group’s own sales record still now. Their fans’ long-awaited album, Japan 2nd Mini album ‘LOVEHOLIC’ is announced to be released on February 17,2021! The lead of the album is a love song that the group had the try for the first time and is much anticipated. nct-jp.net
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