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Friday, 21 December 2012 00:18 | By Choi, EunHwa

[Interview] Brown Eyed Soul's Jung Yeop Chooses to Express Himself Through Music

Jung Yeop talks about his music and Brown Eyed Soul.


You're happy when you're in love and sad when you break up. It may seem fairly simple, but this simple fact is what life is based on.

In such lives, the sweet happy moments and the pains of separation that this man sings about make smiles come to our mouths, and at other times make our eyes water.

Jung Yeop sings of winter through his second studio album, Part II: We Are No More.

[Interview] Brown Eyed Soul's Jung Yeop Chooses to Express Himself Through Music

The album is his first in a year following the first album he produced with Eco Bridge under the name Honeydew'o.

The two men joined forces again, and packed their own styles into the recent album once more by writing their own songs. Still, the recent album is slightly different from their last. We Are No More, Ah..It was You, What Only We Know and Are You Joking are full of soul and express R&B pop sentiments, with some remixes mixing in neo-soul and electronic sounds to mark the duo's new attempts.

The music shows part of their efforts to start communicating with more trendy music, unlike other musicians who continue to dig deeper into their own styles.

The Jung Yeop we met on December 11 wasn't the man who had become immersed in competition through MBC's I Am a Singer.

It seemed he had set everything down, and was calmer and more laid back. He had returned as the vocalist Jung Yeop who whispers sweet melodies, making it certain that his album would be full of music that would be able to heal hearts.

We heard you flew to Britain to shoot the music video for 'We Are No More'; please tell us more about it.

"First, I got to know Lee Kyung Don through a drawing that had been put up in a tailor shop I frequented. I love illustrations, and a drawing that I immediately came to like was hanging in a frame in the shop."

"I contacted him for the first time because I wanted to buy his drawings, and that was when my album was in its beginnings. I thought it would be nice to put his drawings in my album, and produce an animation with them for my music video, so I went to see him in Britain."

"He immediately took up the offer, and I thought it would be better for me to talk about what I want over there rather than have him come here, so I went to London."

Why did you change your music style, and why did you set the concept of your new album to be change, or evolution?

"Since my work puts me close to the public, I tried to include both what I want to do and what the public would like, in other words, something that everyone can relate to."

"I was determined to express many different feelings in my music ever since I started working on my album, and I think maybe that's why it took so long to complete. I wanted to include a different color in each song with different concepts. I don't know how the public will receive it, but I wanted the album to be easily understandable in my conversation with the public, yet not feel too common."

What musical changes came to the album compared to your first studio album last year?

"It took me some time to release my second album after my part 1 album. Between I Am a Singer and Jung Yeop's Blue Night, I didn't have much psychological room to invest in creativity. I've come out with a package containing five songs, and I've taken my time to think it all over but I don't know if anything has changed."

"Like my last album, everything is mostly whimsical and the lyrics are all about my own experiences. We Are No More is entirely about me, and What Only We Know is about me too. The album is not fictional at all; it's all about my own experiences."

How are the lyrics all about you?

"For We Are No More, I actually heard from a girl I had broken up with that we should 'think each other to be dead'. It still makes me feel weird when I think about it."

"I also wrote the lyrics of What Only We Know while I was coming back from a trip with my girlfriend. Her awkwardness looked so lovely in my eyes, and what may make her look like a fool to others made her look pretty to me."

"Since I'm single now, my thoughts and those expressed in the lyrics, like those for Nothing Better, are all tied to the situations back then. When I meet a new lover I think I'll find something new to write about."

[Interview] Brown Eyed Soul's Jung Yeop Chooses to Express Himself Through Music

Through 'We Are No More' I felt that you have a voice that really goes well with the winter. It felt like I was wrapping up my year, and like the curtains were closing.

"I've heard myself be called someone who 'fits the autumn', but I hope that everyone who hears my voice feels differently about it. I personally hope that it feels more different than standard."

Naul, a fellow Brown Eyed Soul member, has released his first solo album. 'Memory of the Wind' managed to stay on the top of music sites for a long time; have you ever felt competitive or burdened?

"I would be lying if I said I'm never burdened whenever I release a song, but rivalry against Naul? (Laugh) Naul is a great singer and he's a proud member of Brown Eyed Soul, so I was more worried as a member about Naul's album. I was very worried because Naul and I rarely appear on mass media, but I was happy to see so many people like the songs."

You must personally feel you want your album to be a success, because you've made so many new attempts.

"I've set all that aside with the release of the album, so I don't feel that much. My music never really climbs sharply in its chorus parts. The music may be shunned by many, but I'm satisfied because I've expressed what I wanted."

"Flowing Tears made big issues before its release so I thought it would be big, but it didn't really become that popular. I realized then that nothing happens just because I want it, and that trying to draw something out of the public with my own thoughts isn't the answer. I just want to take it slow."

"I don't really want my songs to mark an all-kill on the charts. I just hope that people take time to sigh while they listen to my music."

Musicians usually want to prove their abilities alone, but you've joined a team named Honeydew'o with Eco Bridge. What's the good part about working with Eco Bridge?

"I have songs in my first solo album that I produced alone. I believe that by drawing up good music and evaluating it together with Eco Bridge, whom I've worked with since I was serving in the army, we've caused a great synergy effect."

"We fill in for what we lack, and working together with arrangement, melody and lyrics helps me a lot. I think I become happier when I get good reviews or when I hear people relate to what I'm saying. Unless we break ties or anything big happens, we'll continue to stay together."

Do you plan to release an album under the name Honeydew'o?

"I don't know when exactly, but next year we plan to release an album as Honeydew'o. We want to sing together with Honeydew'o songs that were released under that name, rather than have me sing songs produced by Honeydew'o alone. I want to feel the joy of being together."

[Interview] Brown Eyed Soul's Jung Yeop Chooses to Express Himself Through Music

What was 'I Am a Singer' to Jung Yeop?

"I feel thankful toward it. I was more stressed about my choice of song than about being onstage. I also wanted to perfect the quality of my performances for the audience, rather than for my own rankings. I felt that the singer onstage holding the mike and the public listening in felt differently about the same thing."

"I learned what pushes the public's buttons, and I thought it wasn't my style. It felt more like I was being evaluated not on the feelings that linger after a controlled reception, but on how stimulating I was. That also can be an answer but I wasn't the type of singer that fit that mold. I do believe I was one of the biggest benefitors, though."

You recently released a project album with comedian Park Myung Soo. Do you plan to release a second album?

"We came to talk about releasing an album during a get-together for I Am a Singer. I started on it because I thought it would be fun, interesting and great, but I was really thankful because Park Myung Soo hyungnim (big brother) thought so highly of me."

"Of course it took us a long time to prepare; it was especially hard to produce a harmony as we were to be a duet. It took a long time, but so many people loved us. I plan to release an album with Myung Soo hyung at least once a year."

Your solo activities seem to have helped the team also.

"The members all believe that it caused a great synergy effect. This year we all released solo albums, and we felt again how precious our members are, and how thankful it is to have a big mountain we can rely on. I felt thankful that I was a member of Brown Eyed Soul while I was promoting solo."

"I felt lonely, and I realized that while I only had to take up a quarter of the responsibility when I'm with a group, I have to take up all responsibility for my own activities. We came to think preciously of our members after releasing our solo albums."

[Interview] Brown Eyed Soul's Jung Yeop Chooses to Express Himself Through Music

You said you did what you want to do and what you like; what type of music does Jung Yeop really want to make?

"There's no answer to what I really want to do. I could find more things I want to do while I continue to work with music, and I could start thinking about what people would like better, but the music I'm working on now is the music I want to work on."

"For my recent album I worked with Eco Bridge as Honeydew'o and considered what we have in common, then chose the music we thought up on impulse."

It's been 10 years since you made your debut. Has anything changed since then?

"I don't really know much now, but I think I was even more ignorant when I first made my debut. The more time passes, I feel like I can get a grasp of what music is, but when I take a step forward it takes a step back. Music was a difficult thing then and it still is now."

"I've met music with more clarity and I've set aside my big wishes. Now, I believe I should distance myself from calculated music, and not just because I've earned money. I have earned a lot of money since my debut. (Laugh)"

Brown Eyed Soul will be going to Japan. You signed with Avex, which holds BoA, TVXQ (DBSK) and Ayumi; what do you plan to do in the future?

"We've been on great terms with Avex. Their officials even came to see our concerts. We plan to release a single album in Japan and hold concerts there."

"It would be great to release songs in Korean, but we believe in order to have Japanese fans relate more to our songs we should record our songs in Japanese. The members are all looking forward to it, and we're currently planning how we'll continue to promote. It feels great to see groups like ours, that sing ballad and soul music, be recognized in countries other than Korea. I want to work hard."

What will you be showing at Brown Eyed Soul's nationwide concert?

"We've started in Gwangju from December 15, and we'll continue until we land in Seoul on February 16. We'll sing songs from our solo albums for the first time. The members will all sing their solo singles, then add some bonuses. We'll also sing the songs we've rarely sung at concerts, so you can look forward to it."

Photo credit: Santa Music

Reach reporter Choi Eunhwa on Twitter @silvercandy88!

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