Unravelling CNBLUE’s maknae-leader close relationship
Text & Photos: Joanna Goh
Videos: Fiona Lin
In most Korean bands or groups, there is a distinct line drawn between its members based on their seniority levels, year of debut, or age in the group. In Korean indie band CNBLUE, however, this hierarchy system is almost non-existent.
The four members’ shared history of playing truant at training sessions during their trainee days and their fast and snappy “30 minutes” lunch break played a hand in bridging their age gap. Calling the lunch sessions his fondest memories as a trainee, Jung Shin fondly recalled wolfing down a hotdog bun in 5 mins after sprinting to the store, which is 10 mins run from their training place.
After playing music together for four years – and with a slight three-year age difference between the oldest and youngest members – Jung Shin said the quartet now see and treat each other as “equals”, at a group interview in Singapore. And while he gets no “special benefits” for being the maknae (youngest member), the bassist revealed that he shares the closest relationship with their group leader and main vocalist, Yong Hwa, who is also the oldest member amongst them.
Citing shared common topics as the main reason behind their closeness, the 22-year-old, who was in town to promote Scoot: K-Pop Star Hunt 3, wanted to visit Singapore with his leader, but the latter could not make it due to his new drama, The Future Choice.
The tall chap added, almost ruefully, “It’s a pity he can’t come together [with me],” eliciting a round of “awws” from reporters at the interview held in Oasia Hotel.
Together with his hyungs (brothers) in CNBLUE, Jung Shin says the group hopes to do music “for as long as possible and to make music that is real and true from our hearts.”
In order to survive in this cutthroat industry, the band never forgets their roots and their start from the bottom too. And Yong Hwa, the “good leader”, in Jung Shin’s words, would sit the band down after each performance to chat about their weaknesses so as to improve and “work on it together”.