-all translation credit goes to ahgawings-
Q.You’re gracing the March issue of [Bling], how does it feel?
Firstly, I’m truly happy. [Bling] is a magazine I’ve known of since a long time ago. I picked up knowledge of fashion and music from here and I’m able to see how people from various cultures live. On the other hand, I’m being careful too. I should have done better. Did I come out well?
Of course. You did really well.
(laughs) That’s great.
Q.I’m curious as to what type of music gets most of your attention usually.
Because I’m an idol who does K-POP, I don’t have prejudice. I don’t pick out genres but I think my interest is in hip-hop and R&B. I’m also interested in the Future genre.
Q.When did you start making music?
When I b-boyed, I learnt of the hip-hop culture, and that’s when I started thinking that about doing the music aspect too. Even if I wasn’t in an idol group, I think naturally I would have involved myself (in music). I entered JYP officially and started singing practices and after learning of music properly, I think that’s when I started making music. About 5-6 years ago.
Q.What’s the meaning of your other name, ‘DEF SOUL’?
I’m a huge fan of ‘Musiq Soulchild’. I was watching the music video for ‘Just Friends’ and in the last scene, the word ‘Def Jam’ appeared; it is also the name of a famous hip-hop label. I was curious about what it meant so I looked it up and it meant ‘cool music’. In slang, ‘DEF’ means ‘amazing’. (laughs) I was also wondering what name to use for b-boying so I used ‘DEF SOUL’. It’s also the name I used in music distribution, but lately I’ve shortened it to ‘DEF’. Please remember it!
If you encountered ‘DEF.’s’ Soundcloud without any prior information, you could be mistaken into thinking that it’s music by an overseas artist; that’s how refined the songs are. There’s also a sexy feel to it.
There are many people who mistakenly thought that these are songs that did not make the cut as GOT7 songs. About the sexy feel, that’s probably due to the content of the lyrics? Usually for full albums, the content of the songs are connected following the flow of the songs. I wrote the lyrics thinking of it as one official album. There is a narrative arc. The door opens and you enter the room, things happen, you leave the room and walk out – I wrote it all as a love story. The lyrics for the second song especially, is a little sexy (laughs).
You’re receiving unexpectedly good responses.
That’s right. Honestly, I didn’t expect this much. I needed a channel to release the songs I made. Shall I say it’s a method of release? I just wanted to make songs of a style I like and let whoever listen to it.
Seems like it is a different feeling from when GOT7 records good results.
Rather than joy or a sense of accomplishment, I was just happy. This is the start and I didn’t think it’s something amazing but in getting good response to the things I’ve made, it made me feel great to the point that I kept laughing (smiling) about it.
You would be really busy, are you usally the diligent (early-riser/hard-working) type?
When the time for me to be like that calls for it, then I am. But when it’s time for me to relax, I really relax. I can sleep up to 20 hours in a day (laughs). In matching to (our) schedules, I move about feeling tensed so I think when it’s time to rest, I really release it all.
Would we be able to see a ‘DEF. stage?
It would be great if there was an opportunity for it. When it comes to starting something new, I’m not afraid. I’m of a mindset that I should try something even if I were to fail.
Is there any artist in which you’re influenced musically?
Lately, I’ve been listening to a lot of Bryson Tiller and DVSN and I hope to be influenced. I’ve also thought of collaborating with them. I really like D’Angelo but I think I’m still lacking in far too much to be able to work on something with him. Feels like a wall I can’t overcome.
Is there any artist that you think is suave/cool visually?
I don’t really know but from the looks of it, I think ‘Beezino’ is really cool. Just that person. His music is great too.
You’re overflowing with talent. I think you’d do really well as a model too.
I really like having good opportunities in doing photoshoot. It’s fun. However, for models, it’s about height so I don’t think I can make it (laughs). I did acting at the start too but later on, if there’s an opportunity, I’d like to try it. I also like taking photos. Not taking photos of people but I think there’s a charm in taking photos of things that comes into my sight when I’m walking around.
You’ve achieved the cool dream of exceeding as an idol and becoming an artist (singer-songwriter). Is there a dream you’d definitely want to achieve for yourself as ‘you only live once’?
Firstly, it would be to keep doing music with the people I’m doing it with now. And as the words itself, to live life with fun. To live life without any discomfort or worries in my heart is my dream. Even if it seems really simple, I think it’s hard.
Is it not your dream to meet D’Angelo?
I think just meeting him would be an honor itself. When I first joined JYP, I barely sang. Should I say it was a fixation on b-boying? The trigger that made me think I must do music is his music. ‘The reason I started music is you,” I want to tell him that.
Lastly, some words.
I don’t know if I did well today. Firstly, the fans would have already known about this but to the people who don’t, I wanted them to learn of ‘DEF.’’s music. I am confident in saying it myself that it is good music. I hope you give it a shot. I’m really happy that I’m able to be on a cover of the magazine that I’ve seen often since I was a high school student. As GOT7’s leader, and through ‘DEF’’s music, I will show you various sides of myself step by step, so please anticipate it! I love [BLING]!