The last time CNBLUE bassist and maknae (youngest member) Lee Jung Shin was in town, he reduced local reporters into a puddle of “awwws” when he shared about his close relationship with Jung Yong Hwa, the South Korean band’s leader and main vocalist.
But the twosome was anything but affectionate towards each other during our interview in a Valley Wing Suite at the Shangri-La Hotel yesterday afternoon – but don’t worry; things weren’t sour between them either.
It all started when we asked if the quartet, famed for their distinct indie rock sound, if they’d like to experiment with different music styles such as hip hop or techno.
Lead guitarist Lee Jong Hyun was telling us about how they’re already starting to try new things at the moment when Yong Hwa eagerly cut in, “Why don’t we try dance next time?”, and proceeded to demonstrate a stiff robot dance complete with mechanical sound effects (let’s just say CNBLUE is more known for chords than choreography).
This led us to ask the boys: who’s the best dancer in the group?
Without hesitation, both Jung Shin and Yong Hwa unabashedly raised their hands. Yong Hwa, upon noticing that his junior was vying for the self-imposed title of CNBLUE Dance King, immediately protested in English, “Hey. It’s me!”
Unmoved, Jung Shin stood his ground with a confident “No”, prompting Yong Hwa to play things a little more on the offensive: “I’m better than you.” (You can watch their brief bickering unfold here.)
When Jung Shin gave up (guess this unofficially makes Yong Hwa CNBLUE’s best dancer), we moved on to finding out who was the worst among the bunch.
Poor Kang Min Hyuk was volunteered by Yong Hwa with a forced raised arm, but the drummer did not protest, explaining, “I’m not that flexible, but I’m good with rhythm.”
A different CNBLUE show from last year
Unfortunately, fans won’t get to see any of the members’ smooth – or not-so-smooth – moves at their Can’t Stop gig at the Singapore Indoor Stadium tonight. However, Jung Shin did promise a show that deviates from their last live performance here almost exactly a year ago.
“We’ll be playing a lot of songs from our latest album ‘Can’t Stop’, which has a very different sound from previous records,” he elaborated. “We also went through our first global tour so we hope we’ve grown a lot since then, and we want to show that side to our Singapore fans.”
Besides gearing up to play for an arena full of screaming Boices (the fandom name), CNBLUE expressed their interest in accomplishing some touristy activities during their stay on our sunny island.
“We want to go to the Marina Bay Sands swimming pool,” Yong Hwa revealed. “We always see it from afar when traveling around Singapore, but we’ve never actually had the chance to pay a visit.” Also on their dream itinerary is a fun-filled day at Universal Studios and a gorge-fest on chili and pepper crab.
Playing florist for Parents’ Day
While children in many parts of the world are preparing to celebrate Mother’s Day tomorrow, South Korea had their Parents’ Day on May 8. To commemorate the occasion, Jung Shin had a family photo shoot, while Jong Hyun and Yong Hwa sent loving text messages.
Min Hyuk, however, was what one here would label as “spoil market”. “I like flowers, so I bought carnations and statice and made a floral arrangement for them,” disclosed the budding florist. He even got Yong Hwa to help out (even though the gesture is “not his style”), and the leader was really impressed.
“Our drummer does flower arrangements,” he noted.
Balancing music and dramas
Now that all four members have made formal ventures into acting, has this negatively impacted their jam sessions?
“When we’re busy [with dramas] it’s a little hard to meet up for practice, but we make an effort to do it,” said Yong Hwa. Jong Hyun concurred, “Regardless of how tied up we are, we try to fit in as much practice time as we can.”
In addition to sharpening their musical skills in private, the gang noted the importance of engaging their audience, something they gradually improved in as time went by.
“When we debuted, we focused more on the technical aspects and being the best with our instruments, so we lacked communication with our audience,” Yong Hwa recalled. “But as we started to get more relaxed on stage, we got better at it. It really makes a difference in the atmosphere.”