Taecyeon & Nichkhun 'Friends in Song, Two of a Kind'

"Friends in Song
Two of a Kind"

The first appearance of the 6-membered idol group 2PM in Vogue Japan was in the August 2011 issue.

The photoshoot was done in June in Tokyo. While most international celebrities halted their activities in Japan after the earthquake, the members of the group had visited Japan again quite earlier than expected.

At a rooftop studio located in Minami Aoyama, Tokyo, they are riling up good responses from the readers as they immersed themselves and posed with the concept of "flying into the sky."

Approximately 2 years have passed, and big changes have taken place, be it in Japan, Asia, or even the world. And at the same time, the members have also grown more matured.
They received Golden status by the Record Industry Association of Japan for their 5th single "Masquerade" almost immediately after it was released last year in November, and now they're in the middle of a nationwide Arena Tour, which started on the 11th of January.
Moreover, they will also be having their first ever concert in Tokyo Dome on the 20th and 21st of April, titled "LEGEND OF 2PM in TOKYO DOME."
They've also made themselves quite known throughout the nation with their fixed program, "NHK One Point Hangul."

2PM Taecyeon and Nichkhun are members who actually grew up in the States. They came to Korea at the age of 18, and now both of them are the next generation's successful Asian stars who've received endless love and support from fans in Korea, Japan, China and all of Southeast Asia by the age of 24.
These two who had led a normal teenage life in the States have now grown into a very active and well-known stars in the Asian entertainment market. I wonder, what do they think of this unexpected situation?
The concept of the photoshoot for this time is about capturing how these two spend their relaxation time backstage, at ease before a performance. And no doubt with this very relaxed atmosphere, we were able to be exposed to their true selves.

---I heard your new album ('LEGEND OF 2PM', which will be released on February 13th) will be released soon.
TY: I have a good feeling about it. And the songs also reflect our thoughts and opinions.
NK: Solo songs composed by each of the members are also included in the album.

---Even self-composed songs?
NK: It'll be my first time for this album. I wanted to thank my fellow fans who've been supporting me and loving me without a fail, so I thought, "Isn't there anything I can do to repay them?" I was quite worried about it, when suddenly the title "Let It Rain" popped up in my mind. I immediately sat in front of the piano after that. And so, this song just came out quite naturally.
TY: As for my composed song, I put in the beats first, and then from there, the chorus part is created. I don't put in too much thought or sit still in front of the piano or anything like that. (Laughs) I also write the lyrics by myself~.
NK: Firstly, I wrote the lyrics in English. Because I think my true feelings are expressed the best in English, in the hope that the same meaning will get to each and every one of our fans. Do look forward to each of our solo songs at the Arena Tour.

"From the States to South Korea~ Testing out the possibilities."

---Your first encounter?
NK: I was scouted when I was in the States, and then I moved to South Korea for the first time. At that time, both of us were only 18 years old. I couldn't speak any Korean at all, so Taecyeon was my translator at that time. (Laughs) He was both my translator and a fellow trainee at the same time. It was a pity that he wasn't paid for the job though. (Laughs)
TY: We were also roommates. But when we first met, I thought he was a Korean person so I had said "annyeonghaseyo" to him, when he just went "Huh? Huh?" so I was thinking, "Why isn't he answering me?" (Laughs)
NK: Ahahaha. Taecyeon still wore his glasses at that time.
TY: And Nichkhun's hair was standing so upstraight that it gives the feeling of "What the hell is this!?" (Bursts into laughter)
NK: Ah, so embarrassing. I guess that's just me in my younger years.

---What kind of teenager were you when you were in the States?
NK: In short, I had this California feeling~.
TY: I had a Boston feeling.
NK: Taecyeon is the so-called "model student" type of teenager.

---Do you like studying?
TY: Of course!
NK: He is quite intelligent. Like we can be in a totally different conversation when he'd suddenly talk about science or history.
TY: I don't have any particular favorite, but I am generally really interested in world history. I really read a lot of history books in the past.
NK: I'm more of a "sports student" rather than a "model student." I started playing badminton when I was 9 years old, I even went to big matches. My father had adviced that this could be one of my possibilities.
TY: He's very good at it.
NK: I've only had a badminton battle with Taecyeon once and no more after that.
TY: It's very tiring to chase after the shuttlecock here and there, so it's definitely a no-no! (Laughs)
NK: Badminton is harder than you think.

---Were you worried when you had to come back to Asia from the States?
TY: At first, I had this "Let's see where this takes me" kind of mindset, rather than "Let's do this!" But after I debuted, my mindset had finally changed to "Okay, let's do this till the end!"

---If you weren't in 2PM, then what do you think you'd be doing in Boston right now?
NK: He probably would've turned into a teaching Professor at a university by now.
TY: What the? (Laughs)
NK: At the age of 24.
TY: I'm not THAT intelligent! But even so, I really liked studying then, so I probably would have been majoring in history at a university by now. And who knows, maybe I decided to become an expert in World History..
NK: I can't even remember what I was doing back then. But still, I do remember that I wanted to be a pianist..

---Memories during your trainee days?
NK: I had to wake Taecyeon up every single morning. (Laughs) He still had to finish high school in Korea, so he had to set his alarm to 7 o'clock in the morning because of that, but he never wakes up. From what I remember, his alarm song was "Singin' in the Rain."
TY: Tarararara~ (Starts singing)
NK: I would always be shouting "Taecyeon, Taecyeon," but since he never wakes up, I'd be the one who shuts his alarm off. Every single morning!
TY: I'm not a morning person.

---When did you started feeling close?
NK: I think we got close right away.
TY: We didn't have any arguments, not even once. (Laughs)
NK: Though no doubt, we did have small things where we weren't satisfied with each other, but there was never a situation where we'd fight or say things like "I hate you!"
TY: That's right.

---If you were to give an example?
NK: Eum.. for example, maybe when we're discussing dancing.

---Only things like that?
NK: We'd discuss it until we change and fix ourselves for the better. Also at times when we felt like we had done well, but still feel certain insecurities, too.
TY: Ahahaha. But he's the most strict when it comes to cleaning your room. He also say things like "Shush, be quiet" a lot.
NK: That's right, that's right.
TY: Come to think of it, he's quite strict when it comes to work too. He says things like "Do this properly!" a lot.

"If I were to do this again, I'll work very hard on it."

NK: The moment I arrived in Korea, I had immediately started training (singing and dancing), and I also started attending Korean classes. But aside from that, Taecyeon had always been by my side translating for me.
TY: That's right. We were like "1+1" or something.
NK: "1+1" (Laughs)
TY: We gave off this "Taecyeon sticks to Nichkhun without a fail and Nichkhun also sticks to Taecyeon without a fail as they move around!" kind of feeling to other people. (Laughs)
NK: And because we were like that, people who work at the company warned us that my Korean would not improve if we kept moving around together, speaking English to each other. But still, we kept moving around like that for 3 years. (Laughs) So in the end, the staff would say things like "Stop talking in English!"
TY: At first, the fellow staff would say things like "Taecyeon-ah, thank you for being our translator"... (Laughs)
NK: But then since we stayed like that for 3 years, the staff got mad and would say things like, "Taecyeon! Don't you dare use English with Nichkhun! And stop sticking onto Nichkhun!" instead. (Laughs)
TY:At that time, I'd have this "Huh? Did I do something wrong?" kind of feeling. (Laughs)

---If given the chance to go back to your past and try to do that one thing properly once again, what would that be?
NK: I'd work even harder. On dancing, singing, learning Korean..... everything.
TY: (Deeply nods)
NK: Because then, we still wouldn't know what kind of job we'd do in the future.
TY: I also think that I'd work even harder. Back then, if there was a new dance or song, then we'd practice just that for a month and then we'd have a test. In other words, I'd learn just one new dance every month. But these days, we have this mindset that we'd be in trouble if we can't master the steps in just a few days. Because we'll also be showing it on TV too. It's like we have to finish everything in time no matter what. And then by the end of the month, we'd feel really at ease as we exclaim, "We still have a month left!"

---Traits that have changed and haven't changed at all from each other?
NK: Taecyeon's intelligence hasn't changed at all. And as for the change, I think his body got bigger.
TY: Because I didn't exercise at all back then.
NK: But still, his height was the same as now. He has really matured a lot from then and acts much more professionally. I think he's still on the way of maturing, even now. I don't mean this as in like talking wisely or something along those lines, I mean as in he knows what he has to do for this job. He can even wake up at 7 in the morning now. (Laughs)
TY: Though waking up early is not a problem these days, the real problem now is whether I can continue staying up after that. (Laughs) The fact that Nichkhun is nice and honest to everyone hasn't changed. And what has changed is he carries more self-confidence these days and knows exactly what he's doing. His Korean has also improved a lot. (Laughs)

---Since Taecyeon grew up in the States, wouldn't you have forgotten your Korean by then?
TY: There are times where I'd get confused. Because my Korean level is only of an elementary school student.. and then suddenly I had to move back to Korea so I was clueless about a lot of words. Though not as clueless as Nichkhun was. (Laughs)

---Are you still learning Japanese, even now?
NK: He can already speak Japanese comfortably, but as for me, I'm not up to that level yet.
TY: Before we came to Japan, we were told that "If you can't speak Japanese, then there'll be a big gap between you and your fans." So because of that, we got really worried and started to work hard on learning Japanese. We're still learning even now!

---The hardest thing you've experienced during your time working in Japan?
TY: Though it's not to the point where it'll be a big problem to us, there was quite the difference in terms of culture, so we were pretty culture shocked.
NK: That's right, we were.
TY: Come to think of it, Korea, America, and Japan, each of them are really different.
NK: Each of them has a different feeling. In America, the working culture is quite carefree and people don't pay attention to you as much. While in Korea, it's completely the opposite and they're extremely detailed.
TY: I guess you could say they're very serious about details? And also about every little things.
NK: When we came to Japan, the fact that everybody was extremely punctual really surprised us, though it's actually a very good habit in reality. And also, the fact that you must definitely introduce yourself properly and that they're much more detailed. (Laughs)
TY: That's right. They're up another floor more detailed than us. (Laughs) Regardless of cultures, I don't think they've just been created now. Instead, I think it was already like this since a long time ago. The same goes for Korea, Japan, and America. As we experience each of these differences, we'd always try to match with it and move on.
NK: There are a lot of differences that can't be explained through words. We can't really list exactly what the differences are that we've experienced, but one thing for sure is there is a clear and obvious difference.

"Thoughts about family and future goals."

---Do you invite your family to each of your concerts in every country?
TY: Our family would be the very first.
NK: My family has become my personal motivation to keep on going.
TY: Every time our families come to our concert, we would have dinner with them by ourselves.
NK: And also, Taecyeon's parents would always be translating for my parents. (Laughs) Regardless of the generation, the same situation applies even to our parents.

---Have you thought of what kind of family you'd want to have?
TY: Yes..? I've never thought that far. (Laughs) Let me think for a moment.. (Seriously ponders for a long while) Well firstly, Khun has a rather large family and a very strong bond between the siblings. So I thought if I were to build a family, then wouldn't the best family conditions be a lot of children while they have a close bond with each other?
NK: There's a possibility that my future wife will be intimidated by the number of members in my family. Because if we were to have a gathering, the number of people could easily pass over 50, so she might be shocked. If my future wife can adapt herself to this situation and everybody accepts her, then I think it's impossible to let her go.

---How about Taecyeon?
NK: Taecyeon still thinks that he can only be with a woman who can manage herself well. A woman who can manage herself, a good mother, and also a good cook. Even though Taecyeon is also a good cook himself...
Moreover, she has to take care of him too. Because he can't even handle his own business that well. (Laughs) I think a woman who can still care for him even though he starts doing something else instead of finishing his work, is good for him.

---I think both of you have challenged acting by now. Nichkhun had appeared in a Thai movie titled "Seven Something."
NK: It was a very meaningful experience for me, considering I really do want to continue on acting. But at that time, I was lacking time to prepare and practice my acting skills to film for that movie. And I couldn't even meet the fellow actors before filming for the movie either. So it was extremely awkward for me at first. I think everything went well because my fellow female partner was much more experienced and older than me, but.. since I've begun to improve myself too, I think the filming ended quite quickly every time because of this.

---Taecyeon also appeared in the Japanese drama "99 Days With a Star."
TY: I am planning on pursuing acting in the future. Although I do want to appear on different movies or dramas every year, since 2PM was busy with schedules in 2012, I don't think it's possible to reach that goal for now.

---What's the difference between acting and singing to each of you?
TY: Instead of saying that I'm a singer or I'm a dancer, I think I feel more like an entertainer who's expanding his turf. Everything is considered entertainment to me.
NK: Though there are certain things that I like about singing, dancing and standing in front of thousands of people, acting is not as comfortable. There's only me and a camera, and yet I already find it difficult to be at ease. So I think there's nothing else I can do other than just keep doing this until I can feel that I am "right here," at this new place.

---What will you be in 10 years time?
NK: I'll be 34 years old. Will I be married by then?
TY: I don't think I will ever get married. Back then, I was thinking of marrying at a young age, but it's clearly impossible now. I'm always busy with work.
NK: That's right.
TY: I'm also having fun with work.

---Will you do activities in Asia? Or maybe globally?
TY: Globally would be nice, but I think continuing to promote ourselves in Asia is our true thing. I think experiencing different cultures along the way will be quite nice as well.
NK: I think we're all really close with each other right now, and we are all the same human beings who probably want to stay together as long as we can.

---How about 20 years from now?
NK: I'll be 44 years old. If I already have a family by then, I'd want to invest some time to my family and children. And who knows, maybe I would open a cafe or restaurant in Thailand. I think I'm already on my way to happiness.
TY: After I went to Africa (for a TV program) together with Nichkhun and came back, I was thinking of doing some more international collaboration activities or worldwide development activities.

---Will you still be friends after 10, 20 years have passed?
TY: Of course!
NK: I think we'd probably gather each of our families and go on trips together.
TY: Ahahaha!
NK: I've imagined the scene of introducing each of our family members to each other as we say things like, "This is my son!" "It's Uncle Taecyeon!" (Laughs)

Scans by 2PMio
Translated by okniverse.net/carol_coo (JP-KOR), bbiyak25 @ WILD2DAY.ORG (KOR-ENG)