CNBLUE is an established rock band from Korea, they have great popularity in Japan too. Recently, they concluded their Japanese indies activities at Yokohama Arena, and finally they had their major debut single “In My Head” on October 19. Their music has catchiness like Maroon 5 & the heaviness like Linkin Park. This band’s music sense of scale is far beyond than just a K-POP group. J-Rock bred hybrid sound will attracts Japan, and the world too —-.
‘Step by step, we aimed to make major debut’
– Why did you want to be a band in Japan?
JS: One of the reasons is because Japan has a well-developed band culture. There are many favorite bands. We wanted to compete with them as a band, so step by step we aimed to have our major debut here (as a band). So we are really happy now.
– Why did you feel attracted to the Japanese music scene?
YH: It is different from Korea, there are unique colors in it. Especially the indies scene, right?
JH: and there are many live houses, there are many unique bands. I feel that the Japanese bands are really enjoying their music. We were studying in Japan for six months, we’ve been playing at many small live houses, we were many inspired from the bands who played together at that time.
– Your average age is 20 years old, did you aim to be a professional band when you were first formed?
YH: Yes. we want to be professionals, we started towards being the professionals.
‘We performed Opening Act for Linkin Park Japan Tour, I was really impressed at that time’
– So why did you start music?
JS: When I was in junior high school, my friend introduced me to Mr. Big. I felt that “To Be With You” is really good song, then i wanted to play the music. I wanted to play many various instruments, but I was very attracted to that heavy sound, so I began to play bass. I yearn to be like Mr. Big’s Billy Sheehan or Jaco Pastorius as a bassist.
YH: When I was in elementary school I listened to Bon Jovi. I wanted to sing like Jon Bon Jovi, so I practiced singing so hard. I had impact also when I met Linkin Park in junior high. We performed as the Opening Act for Linkin Park Japan Tour this year, and I was really impressed at that time. So then..it would the best if we could play with Bon Jovi too in the future (laugh).
– I’m looking forward to that day (laugh). By the way, YongHwa-san’s guitar is Gretsch White Falcon, who inspired you to it?
YH: Actually, it is from the manga “BECK” (laugh). I saw it when I was looking for a guitar which would symbolize myself, then I tried to play it, and it sounded really good.
JH: I was the one who suggested “BECK” to him!
YH: I just remembered (laugh). But this White Falcon looks like a little luxurious, it’s perfect for me, right (laugh)? ..sorry, just kidding (laugh).
– (laugh). Do you two often talk about the guitar?
JH: Yes, often. I also like Bon Jovi, when I listen to Richie Sambora’s guitar, I thought that I wanted to play in a band.
–Those are your similarities. Is there anyone else?
JH: When I listened to Eric Clapton, I was attracted to the guitar. After that, I knew John Mayer etc, more and more I drawn into it, especially i became to love of Blues.
‘”In My Head” has a modern taste plus contemporary essence, I think it finishes off with fresh feeling’
–I think Jonghyun-san’s guitar ability really expressed such taste. How about Minhyuk-san?
MH: I was learning classical piano since kindergarten up till junior high. After that, I listen to music and with friends and began going to watch the live, at that time I listened Maroon 5 music, so I was interested in bands. It was then I started playing drums.
– Classical piano and drums, you’re like YOSHIKI of X JAPAN!
MH: YOSHIKI san is the best drummer I think!
YH: It is good. ENDLESS RAIN~♪ (started to sing)
YH: I like L’Arc~en~Ciel too. I came to like “GTO” anime, because they sang the theme song.
– The different cultures are mixed, forming their knowledge of music.
YH: I think so. We listen to various kinds of music without limiting the genres, it has influenced our sound and it is also became our strength. I think it will really be expressed in our songs from now.
JS: For example, “In My Head” has a modern taste, plus contemporary essence, it finished with fresh feeling I think.
YH: When I listen to this “In My Head”, I feel a rush of sensation in my body. I think such energy is transmitted to everyone who listened to it.
JS: And “Mr.KIA (Know It All)” is rhythmical and groovy. “Rain of Blessing” is a ballad written by Jonghyun with a romantic feel.
YH: I’m studying the music equipment and arrangements, because I want to show the various expressions in our band sound (music). In this song we finished with another instrument, what we used to play always, like a synthesizer. I really enjoy creating a sound like that.
‘We keep developing more and more, we want everyone to be touched by our future songs and live’
– The title song “In My Head” is especially a large scale song, like it’s targeted to the world music scene rather than Japan.
JH: Our dream is to be the No.1 on Billboard! Now, it is not just a dream, we are working towards it for real.
JS: I think it is possible!
YH: To that end, I think we always have to show that we are evolving. We want to show more and more, far beyond the expectations of everyone who support us.
JS: To do so, together, we each have to raise up our skills as musicians, and we need to keep time with us. I think it is important.
MH: No doubt. To express our music and do performances better, it is important that we work hard together.
– Lastly, please give a message to your fans that support you in Japan.
YH: Thank you so much for always supporting us. When we were in indie scene, we were studying and working. But after this major debut, we want to show you our profesional activities more. Then, we will keep developing more and more, we want our future songs and live to be felt by everyone. Please expect a lot from us!
THE STORY about ‘SMILE’
JS: To me, the first one is playing music live. Playing is fun for me & seeing audience smile makes me smile too. And GyuDon (laugh)! We have been eating it since the first time we came to Japan, it is delicious!
YH: When ‘In My Head’ finished I was very happy so I smiled a lot. And Japanese ramen (laugh). It always makes me smile when I add in rice or noodles.
JH: I like Japanese Onigiri (rice bowl). It has various tastes, my favorite is Mentaiko (raw cod eggs with chili) the most. If there’s one in front of me now, I think I would eat it right after this interview, it makes me smile instantly (laugh).
MH: We are living together, we are not bored (with each other) even though we have stayed together for so long. Especially Jungshin, he always makes me laugh. If I face a little hardship, I smile just because he is there.