(TRANS) Elle Men Interview - Lay
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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 honoured to do so, free of charge)
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.
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.
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 … …)
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.
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!
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.
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 behaviour 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.
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.
Favorite life philosophy?
Lay: Work hard, work hard, and work even harder.
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!
Lastly, please say something for ELLE MEN’s first anniversary!
Lay: First of all, I feel very honoured and very happy to represent EXO as the cover models for ELLE MEN Hongkong, as well as to have spent this time closely interacted with our friends in Hongkong. During our concert in Hongkong 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!
i am that person who constantly jiggles their leg i’m s orry