Thursday, March 27, 2014

[TRANS] 'W Korea' April Issue, ToHeart interview featuring Key

Heart and Soul

The two friends who make up ToHeart, SHINee's Key and Infinite's Woohyun, are currently living their shining youths wholeheartedly.

Key's black jacket is by Saint Laurent, khaki see through shirt by Resurrection, pleated skirt by Push Button, and colorful sandals by Camper. Woohyun's black suit is by Saint Laurent, black see through shirt by Resurrection, skull lapel pin by H.R., unique parrot earrings by Saint Laurent, and right-hand ring by Justin Davis.

 Woohyun's white shirt, wide-leg pants, and cummerbund are by Z Zegna, right-hand rings are by H.R., and unique parrot earrings are by Saint Laurent.

It was a hot topic, the likes of when Facebook acquired Instagram and Whatsapp. The merger between SM Entertainment and Woollim Entertainment last August generated a lot of interest regarding the potential next moves by the companies' musicians and the topographical change in the music industry. It was then announced that as their first project, a duo consisting of SHINee's Key and Infinite's Woohyun, Toheart, was in the works. It is a unit that brings together one member each from two boybands from the two strongly established companies. Woohyun and Key talk about how they did not think they could have achieved this business opportunity without their closeness and friendship. These 24-year-old young men are each from groups that one another acknowledges as competition, as well as best friends who get along well. Woohyun's liveliness and respectfulness heated up the studio while Key was the type to prepare quietly and express everything with intensity. Although their personalities and styles are different, these two friends say the important thing is that they are heading in the same direction. Rather than feeling pressured by the new developments, they are very excited to be able to work with each other and are enjoying it.

I am curious as to how the two of you from today's most popular groups, Infinite and SHINee, came to form a unit.
Woohyun: When Key was a one-day radio DJ, I guested on his show and we got to know each other. At first, we talked about shooting a fashion magazine cover together. Our CEO (Woollim Entertainment's Lee Joongyeop) told us to wait because (he said) there will be good news. Some time passed and he asked what the two of us thought about making an album together. I thought he was joking at first, but the company merger was announced and we started working on it. It went on naturally and smoothly.

Have the two of you had moments where you became closer to each other?
Key: We both like clothes, so we share a common interest in fashion. We ate together often and told each other things we knew about each other, and that's how we were able to get close.
Woohyun: I'm comfortable when we're together. He's the kind of friend who gives me meaningful advice when I tell him my problems.

How do your interests in fashion collide?
Woohyun: When we go shopping together, we rush to buy the things we want and pick out items that would suit each other.
Key: We do that through our cellphones a lot.
Woohyun: We're like, "this is cool", "this came out well", "buy this so I can steal it from you".

Your personalities seem quite different.
Key: Woohyun is more rounded(amicable) than I am.
Woohyun: Key is more triangled than I am (laugh). He is angular.
Key: Even though our personalities are different, our dispositions are the same, so we can relate to each other.

How did you decide on the name ToHeart?
Woohyun: At first, we were going to go with names like "Woohyun and Key" or "Key and Woohyun", but it felt like a once in a lifetime thing. We made another name to represent that we'll continue to work as a team in the future and put out good music.

How much of your music preferences are reflected in this album?
Woohyun: When our CEO asked what type of music we wanted to do, I said: something funky that Kibum and I can have fun on stage with.
Key: Woohyun and I are most confident about going out completely dark and strong, or bright and playful. Our opinions were the same on that issue.
Woohyun: There's are very dark and sexy songs in the middle of the album. For a song like Departure, which was a remake, we had to completely relax.

If it is a remake, then is it Departure by Some Day, the Lee Byungwoo-Jo Dongik duo? That music is from before either of you were born.
Woohyun: Our CEO was Some Day's manager. He recommended it to me a long time ago and I really liked it.

What is your favorite song?
Woohyun: I like Tell Me Why and Departure the most.
Key: If I exclude the title song Delicious, You're My Lady is my favorite. I made the rap myself and I even thought promoting that song would have suited us more, but it wasn't the right song to melt away the noir of our adolescence and youth. Now that I think about it, Delicious suits us better. If you watch the music video, it'll look like scenes from a teen movie.

Including composer Sweet Tune and music video director Hwang Sua, there are a lot of people who have worked with Infinite before. It must have been an opportunity for Key to experience working in a different environment. Was it strange or uncomfortable?
Key: It happened in an interesting way without any big differences in opinions. I thought it would be helpful to me if I tried something new around this point in my career. Be it the recording environment or work method, it was fun to adjust to the new conditions of the kind of vocal flavor we wanted. There was a time when I moved recording studios but I couldn't get adjusted and had to record one track several times. After going through that, I got better.

 Key's sleeveless top is by Dior Homme, pleated skirt by Push Button, metal buckle suspenders by Demande de Mutation, left-hand rings by Justin Davis, right-hand double ring by H.R., and earring from his own collection.


Infinite and SHINee are both groups with a lot of members. You must have been able to fulfill things through this unit that you could not achieve while in your groups.
Woohyun: Since there are seven of us promoting, my lines in our songs and the length of time I am featured onstage are both short. When the two of us promote, we have a lot that were able to show, so I think our strong points are more pronounced. I'm the main vocalist in Infinite, but I barely have any parts. However, since the two of us are performing one song, I think singing on stage will be the most fun part.
Key: I've constantly shown the kind of person I am for a long time in SHINee. My fans probably know the direction in which I'm heading really well. I think I'll be able to present that more distinctly through this unit. For example, in the past, I would put effort into making my outfit and hair match the balance (in the group), but this time, I have tried to project myself more.

What are the responses from the members of your respective groups?
Woohyun: Some are jealous and some support me. I let them listen to all the songs and they were saying that they were better than Infinite's songs. Sunggyu-hyung is the most jealous one (laugh), because he likes some of our songs.
Key: Which songs are those?
Woohyun: Tell Me Why and You're My Lady. He said, "They would have been awesome songs if you sang them with me", and was half joking and half serious about wanting them (laugh).
Key: The SHINee members were really interested in this team and had high expectations. They haven't asked to listen to the songs, but are waiting to listen to them when the songs are released.

Before you became friends, how did you feel when seeing each other's groups?
Woohyun: Our team members really like SHINee's music. We like each other's music and always support each other.
Key: Woohyun and I were the first ones to become close, but a lot of our members got closer after us. We aren't competitors. Instead, we support and like each other.
Woohyun: When SHINee and Infinite share a waiting room at a music show program, it's really loud. It's a lively atmosphere like when friends in their 20s meet up and hang out.

There are sensitive responses and concerns from your respective fandoms. What do you want to say to them?
Woohyun: First off, we're working well together, doing styles of music that we like, so I hope they will watch over us affectionately. Isn't doing music with a friend fun? It's not something that we can do many times in our life. If I like it, I think our fans would like it as well.
Key: When this project was first announced, there were people who assumed there was some political background to it. We're close friends and there was that good news about the merger, so we thought it'd be fun if we released an album, is all. We know that the people who are worried are also the people who love us. This is a project that gives those people more fun and it'd be nice if they realize that it's nothing more than that. It may not end after this one time but actually become a model for project groups between other musicians.

What do you want to say to the other person at the time of your departure?
Woohyun: Kibum is so busy with his musicals and concerts (laugh). On one hand, my heart hurts, but on the other hand, I'm thankful. I still can't believe that we're in a group together. Going on music shows together is so outrageous, it's to the point that I laugh when talking about it, even now. When the teaser was released, we were both jumping around happily. We were like, "we filmed a music video, huh", "this is unbelievable", and enjoyed it. I hope we can continue to work on good music together.
Key: Rather than saying something to Woohyun, I find it amazing how I'm not worried about anything. Usually when there's a comeback up ahead, I feel worried and pressured. But this time, I'm just waiting to have fun with it. There'll probably be a lot of things to figure out as we continue working, but I want to do them soon.

As colleagues who both work on music, what can you acknowledge about the other person?
Woohyun: This album fits Key more, to be honest. I think his ability to digest any concept is amazing.
Key: People normally associate themselves to a place and try to get help from other people, but this guy is greedy about accomplishing things by himself. In my case, even if I clearly have a weapon in mind, I consult people around me, my management, or managers because I need assurance and acknowledgement. Woohyun quickly picks up on those things on his own and uses it to appeal to others. He's very sure of himself.

Where does such assurance in yourself come from?
Woohyun: I believe in myself (laugh). The truth is that I don't trust others easily because I've been hurt a lot. I believe in myself instead.

Then how much do you trust Key?
Woohyun: Out of 100%, around 95?
Key: Where did the 5% go?
Woohyun: I'll try to fill it up during our promotions (laugh).

Credits: @sfinee, W Korea
Translations: kimchi hana @

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