How about the responsibility part? I wonder which side you feel more pressure with: do you feel more pressure about not damaging the INFINITE name or do you feel burdened by having to do it alone, under your own name?
Kim: The former part is much more important for me. My teammates are cheeky and they put a lot of pressure on me. They think about sales figures and download rankings a lot, especially my roommate Woohyun. Hoya, who is also in the group’s upcoming sub-unit INFINITE h, is another one who pushes me hard, saying “Bro, we should show people something soon,” while Sungyeol and L always encourage me. So it feels very confusing being with all of them. (laugh)
Some of them give me the stick and the others give me carrots, so to speak. They joke around, saying I can’t be performing badly on the charts, they always tell me they’re proud of me. I don’t want to do anything to embarrass my teammates.
As a solo musician, you’ll have to appear on TV shows by yourself more often. How do you feel about that? (laugh)
Kim: I was quite afraid of appearing on variety programs as an INFINITE member. It felt stressful because I knew I was there representing the group. I thought to myself ‘What am I going to do if I make a mistake here? I am here to make INFINITE more famous!’ I was trying hard not to be dull or feel awkward like an uninvited guest. I tried my best and it was tough.
To be honest, it made me nervous since I told Sungyeol, Sung-jong or L when they appeared on variety shows and got edited out. “Don’t you want to make the team more famous? There are people take those jobs serious, so we do it half-heartedly, it’s actually bad manners. Let’s try harder and do our best, just like we do when we perform,” (laugh) I doubt someone will tell me those things now but I feel much better now.
What is the thing you value most as you combine teamwork and your solo schedule as well as TV appearances?
Kim: There is something we would talk about whenever we were doing individual activities and it goes like this. Of course it’s all tiring and sometimes it’s tough managing the group’s schedule and individual ones all at once. But if you are being professional, you shouldn’t show you are tired. Think about it. Some people really want to do this job but they don’t get the chance. Others want to find their personal goals but they don’t know what to do. So we need to look back and think what we were like back in the day. I have a really tight schedule everyday but it would be stupid to complain about it since this is a job I dreamed of for a long time. Positivity is what keeps me going.
It seems like you have a strong sense of commitment as a leader.
Kim: I tend to get nervous when I’m with other members. It’s become less stressful than before now. I used to overreact to every little thing they do when we made our debut, but now things are better since the others do a lot of things off their own backs. I used to set time aside for group discussions but now they tend to do think about my words without me having to tell them.
These days I’m the most relaxed one out of all of us and I make little mistakes when I appear on TV shows. Other members say “bro, what’s wrong?” and I say “oh, I’m sorry.” (laugh) In some ways, the solo activity can be an opportunity to take off my burdens as a leader because I only need take care of myself. But, I thought it would be nicer to be with them and so I said “come on over if you are free,” But they seemed more interested in taking breaks alone. (laugh)
“Members will love it if I cut down on my nagging”
Your teamwork still seems tight while all the members are doing individual activities. What is the secret?
Kim: It’s simple. I can speak with confidence that they are all good people. They are kind and considerate and that is the secret behind our teamwork. Since we are all boys, we do have frequent quarrels but they don’t last long. It’s like friends who argue with each other and act normal as if nothing actually happene. We are friends, family and advisors to each other.
As you embarked on a solo career, do you sometimes feel guilty that you’re not going to be able to perform leader’s duties like before?
Kim: They’ll love it if I cut down on my nagging. It may even feel like getting more freedom for them if I bother them less. (laugh) I didn’t realize it but they told me later that I nag a lot. They say in my face, “Okay, enough already,” but later, they text me, “Bro, thanks for the advice.” We are very close so they wouldn’t express dismay even if they feel I’m not fulfilling all of my duties as a leader these days.
But on the other hand, wouldn’t you feel a bit sad if all the other members seem to be doing well without you?
Kim: It’d be impossible for them to do well without me. (laugh) They’d be like a building without a pillar. I’m the average, the medium standard of the team members such as humor sense, driving force, vocal skills and dance skills except in the looks department. If some members are bad at something I encourage them and if some are good at it I discourage them (laugh) It’s me who keep the balance, so it would not work without me.
A team without its leader would lack in many things. Other members know it and say they are going to elect another leader but I won’t let that happen. I don’t want to imagine the team without me. I felt very empty when one member wasn’t around. I felt this for the first time when L was taping his TV series. After all I’ve told you, I hope they will notice my absence. What if they say “It’s not like when L wasn’t around. It doesn’t feel like someone missing”! (laugh)
CREDIT : 10Asia
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