[TRANS] Kai @ GQ Korea Magazine August Issue


I could be completely different later. I think that’s really interesting. I said I heard too much classical music in the past so I don’t find it fun anymore and don’t actively listen to it, but 20 years later, I could be enjoying classical music, right? It would feel very strange.

The first time I really smelled flowers was the flowers I got at graduation. After that I always smell them when I receive them, because I like them so much. But I don’t like them so much that I remember each and every flower scent. I don’t use a lot of perfume either. Honestly, I don’t really like when others use it too.

I can’t cook. I imagine though. One time, I imagined for some reason that it would taste good to put corn in my egg bowl. So I actually tried it and it wasn’t good. It wasn’t good at all! Was it bad, because there was no ketchup? I tried again with ketchup. Wow, it was so bad, that I realized then, I can’t cook.

I like the color red. Honestly, it doesn’t suit me well. It’s a color I wouldn’t take if someone gave it to me. Even though I wouldn’t take it , I like red the best. Its a completely irrelevant color to me, but I like that when I look at it, it’s “color.” But in my closet, I have a lot of whites and blacks.




Q:The photographer and I kind of hoped that your eyes would be puffy because it’s morning.
Kai: Ah, I usually don’t really care, but I did care today. I slept early and didn’t drink water. I also got my wisdom teeth pulled not too long ago, so I am a little swollen.

Q: Speaking of pulling your wisdom teeth* (wisdom teeth in Korean is “love teeth”), let the first question will be about your first love.
Kai: I have a really bad memory about wisdom teeth.

Q: So you’re telling me not to ask?
Kai: No, (laughs) when I pulled out my first wisdom tooth, I felt the worst pain in the world. Seriously, it hurt a lot. Thankfully this time it came out easily.

Q: Do you like to feel everything meticulously?
Kai: I think I prefer ambiguity to meticulousness. Anyways, I tend to think of images a lot. I aim to express that through dance. I begin with a negligible image when I choreograph. I like being alone; walking, listening to music, thinking of some image, ever since I was little. Even though I’m still young.

Q: You’re young?
Kai: Yes. But when is someone considered an adult. Once someone pass 20 years of age, does he/she become an adult? I guess you could say one matures because one gains legal and social responsibility. But what about before? Isn’t it common sense to take responsibility for own words? I don’t want to classify myself as an adult or non-adult. If I really had to clarify, I’d say, I passed 20 years of age.

Q: Sounds like something someone who looks back and fine tunes oneself would say.
Kai: I don’t know. I just sit still by myself like this. I really like thinking of images as I listen to music. For example when a droplet falls in the darkness, it splashes, and the image of it spreading out. In these instances, I always think with color. Sometimes in black and white.

Isn’t it not easy to have alone time if you’re promoting as a group? Kai: I actually don’t have many friends. It was like this since I was little. I transferred schools often too. A few trainee friends, a few members. I’ve always enjoyed meditation. There is nothing awkward about being alone. I’m never like, I’m lonely, or I’m bored.

Q: You probably do get lonely and bored. You just don’t accept it in a negative way.
Kai: I think that’s exactly right. I definitely get lonely and bored, but I don’t necessarily try to alleviate it.

Q: Do you like the daytime or nighttime?
Kai: Night. Around 8 in the evening or 2 in the morning. I like it because it’s sensitive. The sensitive hours.

Q: Is Winter your favorite season?
Kai: Yes, I like Winter.

Q: Most people like the season they are born in.
Kai: That’s right. It’s kind of comforting.

Q: Right now, it’s midsummer.
Kai: You should always spend Summer cooling off. Actually I think Summer is a time where you need to be living busily. I was always busy in the Summer as well. I think I was always sweaty. I danced, and I worked really hard on some things. I think Summer is a season that exists for me to sweat.

Q: You always have music around you, right?
Kai: That’s true. Honestly, I can’t not listen. But I don’t want to say things like, “music is my friend, it’s my lifelong partner.” It’s something really important, yet nothing at all. I think it’s a natural state. I wonder if there’s a need to think about it meaningfully.

Q: You would be picky, of course?
Kai: I am on that side. I like quiet sonds, and African-American music. So, I can dance without music. I just need sounds. When someone next to me says random things like, “Today I drank water, and the water gave me a stomach ache,” I can dance to that. I think I just like sounds. These days, I listen to Mura Masa a lot. He’s a kid that does future bass. Let me turn it on right now. It’s like this.

Q: It’s something that sounds endless. Is there a reason it had to be dance?
Kai: Rather than a reason, I could say dance was just something that was natural to me. My parents let me find on my own what I wanted to do. Fortunately, I got to attend all the academics. I went to all the academics, but ever since the first day of Jazz Dance Academy, apparently I danced like crazy. When I was eight years old, to be honest, I don’t remember when I was eight. I remember when I was nine, but not when I was eight. I was dancing since the days I can’t remember, so honestly, I could even say that naturally, not even by my choice. Ever since I was born, my first memories are about dance. Rather than saying it makes me especially happy to move my body and dance, it’s simply that my first memories were dance.

Q: Like you were born with it.
Kai: But I don’t really think that I dance to show others. I don’t like that kind of dance. I like that I dance alone. Even when I was practicing, I stayed till the end and practiced on my own. Ever since I was little.¬†Honestly, even now, I have some parts of that left in me. Unless I’m satisfied, I don’t want to show others the process. I don’t want to show the practice process. I want to keep that to myself. Going on stage is for the audience, but before that the first priority is just myself. That’s why I do it, honestly.

Q: It makes me think, time is passing, and you’re going through certain times. You could’ve completely changed later.
Kai: It would be interesting if I’ve changed in some way in those times. Reminiscing about today.

Q: It will be important to pass every moment and every point of contact acutely.
Kai: The talk of time passing, and finding your senses again is interesting. People often talk about finding their original intentions. I think original intentions include one’s mindset back then, but also the emotions one felt back then. I think my original intention is the emotion I felt the moment of my debut showcase. The happiness I felt when I went up, I want to feel that again. Frankly, as time passes I feel a type of arousal different from those past feelings. But when I think about it, the happy arousal I felt dreading the unknown is the most memorable. Maybe that’s why I remember it as my original intention. I try to find it, and always want to go back to it.

Q: The shoot is over, so go grab something to eat. And have a good summer.
Kai: I want to have a good summer. But I am still thinking about our past conversation about the past, present, and future. If I say something, the times following would change. Then the times that have passed up until now would be wasted.

Q: I see. Because you’re always looking back and adjusting yourself.
Kai: I often think, when was I the happiest? I had many moments of intense happiness. Moments like, if this isn’t happiness then what is. But when did I feel the little happiness that last for a long time? I just thought about that and can think of two eras. One is when I was a trainee. After practice, buying a 500 won drink on the subway and bus ride home. The other is before I became a trainee, when I came up to Seoul and lived with just my mother. There were hard times but I get happy when I think about those days. But is this really a happy memory? I guess it might not be a happy memory, because I was having a hard time. One day, I skipped academy. I really didn’t want to go. However, I told my mother, I was going. I didn’t have friends, and didn’t really have anything to play with. I just put on my MP3 player and walked aimlessly around the transit stop. I was walking, looking, listening to music, and I met my mother right then and there. My mom hit my back with my backpack. She said, “What are you doing? Why are you here?” I told her, “I didn’t go because I didn’t want to.” “Where are you going now? Are you going home?” “No, I’m going to get some ice cream.” “Is that right? Let’s go then.” And she bought me ice cream. I was so happy. Those days, those feelings. They are past feelings, memories. I keep remembering these times. I was truly happy.

Q: Did you look different from now?
Kai: I was a little darker. I was darker and spoke few words. And I was alone with just my mother. I struggled a lot back then, but as much as I struggle, I was happy. Back then, I thought I would be happier if I had money, but I don’t think money makes one happy. Having a lot of time doesn’t make one happy either. Even if one had everything he wanted, it would be different from being happy. True happiness just pass by. One only realizes after time passes.

Q: That’s how we move forward. Seeing and hearing good things, eating good food.
Kai: I want to eat, but my wisdom teeth… When we were shooting before, you know how you said to try shouting? To be honest, my teeth hurt so much then.


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