E:You looked especially skilled during the photoshoot earlier, do you practice often?
Chanyeol: In comparison to practicing in front of a mirror, experience is always more important. Due to frequent[ly going for] photoshoots, I am very familiar with the angles or poses that go better with different types of clothes and the like. I can also understand any directions or instructions that the photographer may give.
E: Which do you think is your best angle?
Chanyeol: I feel it’s my right side. (laughs)
E: Feedback can always be either positive or negative, but many people bear an indisputably positive opinion of you. Why do you think this is so?
Chanyeol: When you put it like that, I feel a little embarrassed (starts to look slightly bashful). Whenever we participate in talent shows or other events, I tend to exhibit very natural reactions, some of which are really bright, or doting towards other people, so I guess it may be why people think of me as such.
E: In that case, have you come across criticism from others?
Chanyeol: Yes, I have … for example, on some variety shows, when I make a joke, some viewers tend to think, “aren’t you being too much!”, and I’ve seen feedback like that online. I don’t think much of it since I tend to joke like that around friends, and they receive it likewise. But ever since, I tend to be a little more careful.
E: Besides the online users who don’t personally know you, have you experienced the people around you criticizing you?
Chanyeol: Those around me? Not really. (laughs)
E: Your personality is one that is more straightforward, and very caring to others, and you seem like the type to be very enthusiastic and positive. Do you stay good-tempered even in the face of something displeasing to you?
Chanyeol: My typical personality results in my taking the initiative to enthusiastically participate in anything, and if I don’t give it my all, I will feel very moody. I have a very lively personality, and won’t really grow upset at tiny issues.
E: Under what circumstances will you grow intolerant and throw tantrums?
Chanyeol: I cannot tolerate impoliteness and immorality. In the presence of these, I grow very angry. but I wouldn’t throw a tantrum; instead I would quietly approach the person involved and point out his mistake. From my memory I feel like I’ve really never thrown a tantrum at all.
E: This is rather uncharacteristic of a Sagittarius, is it really tough to be so tolerant?
Chanyeol: Am I being tolerant? Hahaha, I think I’ve grown used to it. (aegyo)
E: We saw that you kept secretly writing song lyrics. What sort of music do you enjoy listening to on a typical basis? What’s your composing process like?
Chanyeol: When it comes to composing, I really have so much I’d like to say. I enjoy composing music for others to listen to, and often use the computer or guitar and piano to compose at home. once I’m done with my recording, I give it to my bandmates for their listening. I particularly enjoy [composing like] this.
E: What’s your composing style like lately?
Chanyeol: I like listening to all genres of music, so my composing varies likewise. But mostly jazz-pop, about 70% [of my composing] is jazz-pop.
E: At present, you certainly would have made some headway into variety shows and acting. Beyond that, do you have any other plans?
Chanyeol: Everything I enjoy doing, I am already currently doing, such as participating in variety shows, and preparing for a movie … … I think my biggest wish right now is to compose, and have my song recorded and released as a part of EXO’s album.
E: Would you be willing to undergo other new challenges?
Chanyeol: I always welcome new things, if it’s there for me to try then I would like to give it a shot.
Q: In that case, are you only interested in new and different things?
Chanyeol: My attitude towards things goes along the lines of “if I start it I have to finish it”, otherwise I will feel very unsettled. As a child, if I began learning a new instrument, I would have to master it to a point where others would praise me for playing it well. That’s my personality, to do things all the way to the end.
E: To be honest, on the surface, such perseverance doesn’t show [when looking at you].
Chanyeol: Yeah? I’ve often heard others say that as well.
E: Have you ever experienced a situation in which, despite your genuine focus in doing something, others don’t see it and disagree?
Chanyeol: Many people often feel this way, when they first meet me and have yet to know me well. Because I’m always laughing, and am especially lively, people tend to think “ah, he’s a playful child who likes to joke around”. But after they know me better, they’ll understand that I’m someone who thinks a lot, and has a lot of depth. I believe [everyone] can feel it, when they’ve gotten familiar with me.
E: Does your happy personality have to do with your surrounding environment while growing up? Could you share a bit about your growing process as a child?
Chanyeol: I’ve always received a lot of my parents’ love from young, and I’ve always watched them and felt their love since. As such I’ve grown to be very optimistic and enthused myself.
E: So the feeling you give others really is very bright (like sunshine), and isn’t forced!
Chanyeol: That’s right, of course it’s not forced! (coquettish)
E: [You] need to thank your parents.
Chanyeol: Yes, I’m always very grateful and thankful to them.
E: What’s a life philosophy you like?
Chanyeol: Enjoy yourself!
E: What’s the biggest frustration for you right now?
Chanyeol: (thinks for a very long time) Nothing really! I don’t often have frustrations.
E: Perhaps you will after you’ve grown up a bit? (laughs)
Chanyeol: Hahaha, indeed, my young age is to blame right now.
E: Please list three of your best features. Your especially long legs?
Chanyeol: Long legs are third, hahaha! First place is probably my smile, and second is probably my passion … third … … I think I could give you ten strong points, haha.
E: Lastly, please say something for the first anniversary of ELLE MEN Hongkong!
Chanyeol: A huge congratulations to ELLE MEN for the welcoming of your first anniversary! May readers keep loving ELLE MEN, and keep loving EXO! I’m very honored to be able to be a part of ELLE MEN’s first anniversary, and I hope everyone enjoys the many faces of EXO, and we will continue to show everyone even better sides of ourselves. Fighting!
Trans © fy-exo
E: How do you teach yourself to be more all-rounded?
Lay: Under the premise of ensuring my own stable development, I work on my capacity in various aspects. For example, though I debuted as a dancer, I’m still working hard to improve and better my skills in piano, guitar, composing, singing, etc.
E: Do you feel that this sort of all-roundedness is a positive attribute or a flaw?
Lay: Well, I’m a celebrity, so I believe very strongly that “art does not burden the body” (t/n: a Chinese proverb, used to imply that having more skills is not burdensome). Also due to my being a Libra, I tend to strive for perfection and harmony [in the self], and as a result I put a lot of pressure on myself to keep working hard, and to do everything well.
E: Looking at it from the aspect of celebrity life, all-roundedness can be counted a strength, huh?
Lay: Yes yes yes, as the “slow boil type” (t/n: someone who’s a little slower to warm to things, but will then erupt in passion), I can grow impassioned about more things later on.
E: Is your natural personality that of the “slow boil type”?
Lay: I don’t have an especially good personality. While I’m usually rather tame, I do get irritable at times, and I tend to flare up after the fury has accumulated for a period of time, scaring other people.
E: If a good opportunity in television presented itself to you, would you readily accept it?
Lay: Of course, because all these good opportunities are also helpful to my songwriting, and I can acquire new skills and more friends through my training to be on television. Plus, it’d be even more wonderful if I could meet other people who enjoy music as well!
E: If you were to write the main theme song?
Lay: Whoa … … if they were to use a theme song I write, then I won’t charge for entrance fees. (t/n: not sure how this is relevant since he’s talking about tv series, but in general it indicates that he would be honored to do so, free of charge)
E: What is your goal with respect to music?
Lay: With regards to musicality, our seniors have been really good examples. I’ve never thought of bringing music from China into other places, but I do have this advantage: not only am I a product of China, but I’m also a member of a band that has been known throughout Asia and crafted and nurtured by a company from Korea, and our activities are spread throughout the globe. As such I hope that we can act as a sort of bridge, to create some fusion and harmony. I’m giving myself ten years, or no, perhaps five years, and I hope to lead the direction of China’s music, this is my biggest goal.
E: What if, by some chance, when you return to a Chinese-speaking environment, things have not panned out as you had imagined? How then would you adjust accordingly?
Lay: I will very amicably admit to the failure, and happily accept defeat. When it comes to music, there are no right answers. There is only this saying – when this music of yours, your beat, your melody, your song lyrics, when it’s gripped people, then your song is complete. Not everyone will like your music, but if they can feel your sadness after listening to it, if they can feel the music, then it’s a good thing.
E: What type of songs do you usually enjoy listening to?
Lay: I really like to listening to the songs I write. Do you want to hear them? I’ve been writing a rap lately, a demo, and this has a definite correlation to pop music in China (while the person taking notes is listening, Lay explains and does a few accompanying dance moves … …)
E: Then do you draw inspiration from watching TV dramas?
Lay: I really haven’t had time to watch any! Isn’t “My Love From the Stars” really popular? I still haven’t had the time to watch it. I always thought it was about incidents occurring after the appearance of a girl flown in from outer space.
E: What do you think you’ll be like in five years, ten years?
Lay: Besides my career, I guess I should have found a girlfriend? Maybe married? Hahahaha!
E: With regards to your career then?
Lay: Of course I can’t let go of my career. My goals are a little bigger, so I have more preparations to make, and it keeps accumulating, but I do hope to influence/lead the music of China well.
E: How have you acquired your particularly meticulous and polite nature?
Lay: I was brought up by my grandparents from a young age, and due to their occupation as teachers, they’ve influenced my behavior rather significantly and I tend to respect the elderly more. When I first entered the company, there were a lot of rituals to follow, and cultural clashes were a headache to deal with. Koreans pay attention to positions/rankings, and it’s mandatory to bow when greeting someone of a higher ranking, or permissible to use informal speak to those in the ranking below. However, as I’ve learnt since young, I believe that anyone who’s given me help, anyone who’s quietly supported me from behind, anyone’s who been kind to me, these are all of a higher ranking. I feel even more like this when it comes to our fans. I’ve never had that sort of direct contact with them, and I’ve also never said something like “you’re my girlfriends”, but everyone knows there exists that sort of special emotional relationship. All we do may be to put on makeup, wait in dressing rooms and go on stage to perform, giving our all. But they purchase tickets the day before, the day before that, a month in advance even, and even make their way to the airports to see us, so I think the love our fans give us is both admirable and adorable. If my bow is enough to express my gratitude and utmost respect, then I hope you never tire of my many many bows. When you [fans] have done [for me], my hundreds and thousands of bows will never match up to.
E: Can you tell us a bit about your growing process?
Lay: Ever since I was young my mother liked to take me to watch Michael Jackson’s movies, and at that time the moonwalk was really popular. I wanted to learn it but no matter what, I couldn’t seem to get it learnt well. When I was in high school I developed an interest in popping [the dance style], and eventually, at present, became the lead dancer of our band. I feel like the most important point of this journey has been to work hard, to practice. I tell it to my friends too; regardless of who they are, and regardless of whichever company they enter, there is the possibility to excel in any field of work. When I was still a trainee, I’d practice over ten hours a day, to the point that I could practice a whole day without returning home to sleep. My driving force came from the fact that many teachers in school did not think well of me as my grades were poor. It’s a great motivator for one to work hard, to achieve some kind of result, especially in the face of those who look down on you.
E: Favorite life philosophy?
Lay: Work hard, work hard, and work even harder.
E: List three of your positive traits.
Lay: I recently listed one, that I’m thankful. This is sincere, let me think about the others. I guess I’m still somewhat talented! Hahaha, and hardworking!
E: Lastly, please say something for ELLE MEN’s first anniversary!
Lay: First of all, I feel very honored and very happy to represent EXO as the cover models for ELLE MEN Hong Kong, as well as to have spent this time closely interacted with our friends in Hong Kong. During our concert in Hong Kong I had wanted to say this especially – (says in Cantonese) thank you very much to everyone for attending our concert! Thank you everyone! I hope EXO continues to grow bigger and better, and show everyone even an more excellent side of us. I hope everyone can love ELLE MEN very much, and love EXO very much!
Trans © fy-exo
E: The members all say you’re maturing really quickly, do you feel it yourself?
Sehun: Yes, everyone who sees me says so. I’ve grown taller, my shoulders have also broadened a lot, and it feels like it’ll keep going [like that]. when I think back to debut days I really have changed a lot … … but I hope I don’t grow any taller, I’ve grown too much already. (laughs)
E: As someone who appears cold on the exterior but is warmhearted on the inside, are you often mistaken as someone who is hard to get along with?
Sehun: (pretends to look hurt and misunderstood) Looking merely at my expressions, particularly when I’m expressionless, I will look rather tough and arrogant. But my personality really isn’t anything like that, and fans know it. But at the start, those who don’t know me too well will always bear some misconceptions. In truth I’m not a bad kid, I’m a kind kid. (smiles while answering)
E: When you’re misunderstood [for being cold and tough], will you feel somewhat lost?
Sehun: Yes. at the start I will feel a little hurt, but now I also know the reasons for such misunderstandings. Recently, in order to dispel these misunderstandings, I often try to make more lively and joyful expressions.
E: When you socialize with others, will you be the one to strike up a conversation or do you have to be pushed?
Sehun: I won’t actively initiate a conversation.
E: Can you tell us a bit about your growing process?
Sehun: my growing process? (suddenly turns towards Lay, “Hyung how did you answer this?” Lay: I said I grew up working very hard”) I’ve grown up working hard … (does an exact imitation like a recording machine) … … hahahha! (laughs out loud) Alright, it’s something rather meaningful – when I was in the sixth grade in elementary school, I would eat dukbokki in a little street nearby my house. That was when I was scouted by SM Entertainment, so if I hadn’t been eating dukbokki, perhaps I wouldn’t be a member of EXO today. (everyone laughs loudly)
E: As a dancer, what is the greatest charm of dancing, in your view?
Sehun: I think it’s that you can see another side of me. It’s hard isn’t it? I think it’s difficult too.
E: Are you the kind who places more importance on the technique or on emotion when dancing?
Sehun: The two are both very important, and both very difficult. But I think I’m the sort who focuses on emotion. (glances at Lay who is sitting opposite, “Hyung, how should I talk about this, hahaha!” here Lay violently stuffs a few spoonfuls of food into his mouth and answers, “I don’t want to be here, you don’t answer properly already”)
E: Are you close to your senior Donghae because you enjoy dance?
Sehun: Nah, it’s got nothing to do with dancing. When I first entered the company as a trainee, Donghae-hyung was the first to speak to me. From then on, from trainee days up till my debut, Donghae-hyung has always been very caring towards me, so that’s how we’ve wound up like this.
E: What’s one line of praise Donghae has said that has made you most happy?
Sehun: He’s never praised me …
E: Then has he ever said anything that hurt you before?
Sehun: I don’t think so, hahaha. The most memorable thing he’s said to me – grind [prepare] your weapons well. (t/n: something like train yourself well, to show your best)
E: List three of your best points:
Sehun: Um … … (half a minute passes) … …
E: You’re charismatic?
Sehun: No, no! Regarding good points, I really don’t know. Noona, tell me some (turns to face makeup noona who frantically waves him away). I think I’m a very interesting kid, secondly I think I’m a very warmhearted person, not as cold as my external appearance. Yes yes yes, if I were to praise myself, it would be that whatever I wear still looks especially stylish (says softly and shyly)
E: What’s your favorite life philosophy?
Sehun: You only live once, so do the things you enjoy, and live happily.
E: What’s your biggest frustration right now?
Sehun: In my opinion, I’m always worrying for my bandmates.
E: Then who do you worry for the most?
Sehun: All of them! I will worry a lot for my bandmates. EXO has to keep going, keep going forward, so I need to cherish every single member.
E: Does everyone occasionally neglect you, since you’re the maknae/youngest?
Sehun: No no, it’s not that way, they will never do that. (laughs)
E: Lastly, please say something for ELLE MEN’s first anniversary!
Sehun: First of all congratulations! (claps) I hope the magazine will last till your tenth anniversary, your hundredth anniversary. To spend such a meaningful day as your first anniversary with EXO, I feel very honored and glad, and today’s photoshoot was especially meaningful. I hope the next time we can have this photoshoot with all the EXO members, thank you very much!
Trans © fy-exo