There aren’t any obvious endings where one says ‘I have lived happily for a long, long time’. There are just the shoes that follow their owners around on stage and the owners of shoes that won’t stop dancing. “I don’t want to be trapped as a girl. This time, I dyed my hair blonde, wore black clothes, along with having red lipstick and red shoes.” The seasons have changed and even IU has transformed into a more mature state.
◆ The name of your album is the same as the Charlie Chaplin movie, ‘Modern Times’.
While I may not be able to perfectly understand the feelings of those times, I watched a lot of silent movies as I was preparing for this album, and I heard a lot of big band music from the 1930s. I found Charlie Chaplin before and after wearing makeup, and it was surprising how handsome he was.
◆ You have been preparing for the album for nine months.
While amending the title track and repeating the process of recording, we threw the ball back and forth during sessions, causing the producing time to become longer. However, it isn’t that I tried to do something very innovative through this album. It’s just that I was nervous releasing this after a year and five months, enjoying working on it, such as thinking that the air in the recording room is really nice.
◆ The people working/participating in your album is tremendous, from Lee Min Soo, Yang Hee Eun, Choi Baek Ho, Ga-in, Jonghyun, etc. All of them are people who possess a color in their music, so how was it working with them?
I’d say it was harmonizing the old and the new. First of all, it’s an honor to have worked with Choi Baek Ho and Yang Hee Eun. Choi Baek Ho is gentlemanlike, being respectful by calling me “IU-ssi” or “IU-yang”. He’s very sorry, so whenever I meet him, I always tend to take a fancy to him. Yang Hee Eun featured on ‘Daydream’, but when I listened to the mastered song, I thought there was a big problem. It’s expected that Yang Hee Eun singing solo would be a good thing, as I was touched when I heard her voice. Also, this is the first time someone of the same age participated in an album of mine, so it left a deep impression. It was very interesting.
◆ Who did you work best with?
It’s difficult to choose just one person, but I want to work with Choi Baek Ho again. I got the feeling of a teacher-student relationship in the song ‘Walk With Me, Girl’. He’s like an assistant who helps someone calm their wavering heart. Also, my father is a fan of Choi Baek Ho. I let my father listen to the track, and I even asked him if it would be bad if this were the title track.
◆ What’s the relationship between you, Lee Min Soo, and Ga-in?
Looking back, when working with Lee Min Soo, our opinions collide as he’s a composer. We pretend to be awkward with each other and keep our distance when recording. If we’re too close, it will become more uncomfortable when we speak. So on days when our opinions collide often, we put them aside to neatly finish the recording. With Ga-in, we recorded ‘Everybody Has Secrets’ and shot teaser pictures together. Seeing that Ga-in originally had a sexy image, and even though it’s my album, I kept on delaying [our song together]. I have known her for a long time, but I thought it would be good to get closer to her on the next level, seeing as she’s cool.
◆ Is there anything you gained from cooperating with them?
I want to collaborated with a lot of people in the future too. My seniors gave me the advice of putting sincerity into the songs. I’ll diligently research on this ‘sincerity’.
◆ There are many genres and artists mixed together in ‘Modern Times’. Don’t you think of this as organic?
Upon listening from track one to track thirteen, before any lingering attachment comes from the album, the genre quickly changes, so it is possible to think that [the album is organic]. However, I don’t think that’s bad. It’s been a while since I had a comeback, so I wanted to include all of these good things in the album.
◆ What type of song is ‘The Red Shoes’, the title track of your third album?
It’s a swing dance song that has nothing to do with my volition, but it’s about my destiny of continually going somewhere. I gained a motive from the fairy tale ‘Red Shoes’. At first it seemed like I was doing a choreography that was just right for a choreography, but I had to work that much harder to get it down.
◆ Isn’t an ear mic comfortable while doing the choreography? Is there a reason why you use a hand mic?
There’s discord no matter which mic I use. I give power to my hand that holds the mic while singing, so I chose the hand mic.
◆ The image derived from ‘Red Shoes’ is interesting. If you were to choose another fairy tale concept, which fairy tale would you choose?
To be honest, last year at my concert I declared that ‘I’m done with fantasy’, but I ended up doing another fairy tale concept, so I’m worried as to what excuse I should make. The result is the ‘Cruel Fairy Tale’ that chops off my ankles that are wearing red shoes with an axe. Next time, I want to do ‘Rapunzel’. I want to drag long hair upon stage while also directing an interesting stage.
◆ While doing a song with a swing feeling to it, did you attempt a change in your singing style.
As soon as the title track was decided to be a swing jazz song, I was shocked all of a sudden. I doubted whether I had the ‘swing’ feeling in me. At that time, composer Lee Min Soo stated “Swing isn’t a genre that I have confidence in, but wouldn’t it be bad if I were to say that I know nothing about the genre?” While meticulously thinking, I realized that there were genres I didn’t know about and things I had no confidence in. I thought to myself to find confidence before doing this and that. So in order to save my voice to the best of my ability, there was no change in the way I sang just for the swing songs.
◆ In ‘Between The Lips’, I see that you had the intention to becoming a sexy lady. I was even reminded of 10cm’s ‘King Star’.
Have I advanced to the stage where I can attempt to be sexy? Haha. There are even people who can’t become sexy, so I really don’t have any huge desire to try. Seeing that it had been a long time since I released an album, I needed an image transformation. Though we used tricks in the teasers and photos, it doesn’t seem too different from the songs I had previously. However, can’t you feel the mysteriousness in the title of ‘Between The Lips’? It’s dreamlike and sticky. I personally like the song.
◆ Introduce yourself as a composer.
There are a total of two songs I was a composer in, ‘Bad Day’ and ‘Voicemail’. Both songs are songs I wrote back in the day, but I wanted to put them in the album, so I pushed ahead with that intention. At first, the company suggested to only put in ‘Bad Day’, but ‘Voicemail’ was eventually included in the album. Honestly, G. Gorilla did the arrangement for ‘Bad Day’ very well, so it was put in. However, ‘Voicemail’ was included without any arrangement to give an amateur feel, saving the trivialness of the song I composed.
◆ I can feel that your attachment to this album is becoming stronger. If there’s a track that one must listen to, what is it?
It’s ‘Bad Day’. When I was a middle school student, I would turn the boiler with all of my might yet it would still be cold, but if I went outside, I would want to go back to my house. Without any reason, I wrote down my loneliness in my notebook. I referenced my diary and wrote that song. I wanted to have a serial feeling, connecting it to the much-loved ‘Good Day’, so I named it ‘Bad Day’. I recommended that because it was the only ballad and it matched the fall season.
◆ Don’t you feel any burden in the boundary between idol and musician?
I thought to myself, ‘Didn’t the burden lessen on me in this album?’ I expected people to say that this concept is weird, but surprisingly, the response to it has been great.
◆ Instead of being ‘The Nation’s Younger Sister’, what kind of musician do you want to become?
The scope in which I can express will expand gradually, and I will do many unexpected concepts. As the albums pile up, I want people to anticipated my fairy pitt (a type of bird) appearance. I plan to become a singer where people will naturally accept my transformation at the same time.
Translation: The Real CZ @ Hallyu Interview