NetEase Entertainment ent.163.com
Translated by Wendy
(Thank you, Wendy!)
Han Geng: Pressure with going Solo and a new Album
Returning to China for career development is not Ingratitude
On the afternoon of August 4th, Han Geng came, along with his new album <Geng Xin>, to be the guest of NetEase Entertainment’s <Super Face-to-Face>. During the interview, Han Geng said there is tremendous pressure flying solo and coming out with his first album; the new album’s name <Geng Xin> is homophonous to <renew>, which can be considered as a satisfying response for his fans and himself after the complete “transformation”.
Beginning of this year, Han Geng announced to terminate his contract with his previous company, Korea’s SM Entertainment. The “Termination Gate” event has brought upon heated discussions. When talking about the latest lawsuit development, Han Geng revealed that the company has temporarily put the case on the shelf and felt no pressure about the astronomical compensation requested by SM Entertainment. Instead, he felt grateful to SM Entertainment for their care and training.
Previously, netizens left messages on the web criticizing Han Geng after he left Super Junior, saying that it’s an act of ungratefulness. During the interview, Han Geng stated that he doesn’t pay too much attention to rumors. “Some people say I’m ‘a heartless and unscrupulous beast’* (*a Chinese saying), some say I’m ungrateful, some say I forgot my roots. What does that mean ‘forgetting my roots’? Now I’m back to my own country, I’m not forgetting my roots. No matter what they say, it doesn’t matter to me. I can’t have everyone’s focus solely on me and make everyone say that I’m good, that’s impossible; therefore, I am also more open-minded.”
Furthermore, although he has left the group Super Junior, Han Geng indicated that he still keeps in touch with Choi Siwon, Reoywook, and other Super Junior members. Everyone has remained good friends.
The following is the full transcript of the interview:
1. Confusion During the Lawsuit, but did not Think of Escaping
NetEase: Welcome to this episode of ent.163.com <Super Face to Face>, I’m Huang Jun. Today joining our live broadcast is the great guest Han Gen. Hi Han Geng, please say hello to our netizens.
Han Geng: Hello, I’m Han Geng, I’m happy to be here and meet with everybody. I am very happy to meet you.
NetEase: Last time, Han Geng, you were still with the group Super Junior-M. This time you’ve came out with your own solo album, gone to entertainment shows by yourself. Do you feel tired?
Han Geng: There is some pressure. Before there were a lot of people so we took care of each other. Now, not only on stage, being guests on shows, all the pressure is on me. But when I’m with friends I’m very happy, very relaxed.
NetEase: When the media is in heated discussion about the lawsuit, Han Geng facing all these pressures, have you thought of running away deep down in your heart?
Han Geng: No, I didn’t think it mattered, I can handle anything, no matter what’s on the web is good or bad, everything, I can manage it, because I don’t care, I only need to do the best that I can now, and have a good product to show everybody; therefore, I really don’t care about what people are saying now.
NetEase: During that time when I suddenly heard Han Geng made this kind of decision, I also felt very shocked. Afterwards, Han Geng has disappeared from the screen for a very long time. That time when you were readjusting your mental health, are you also alone?
Han Geng: At that time I went to South Lijiang with my friend and rested there for a month. I was there learning, strengthening, and readjust my thoughts, get a hold of my mind, get a grip of myself, calm myself down from all those complicated feelings. There, everyday, is studying, going on the web, sunbathing; I felt very relaxed, so after that I started to feel relaxed and my mentality has also changed.
NetEase: You have been very busy with your work before, now you can finally relax.
Han Geng: Over there I hardly thought of the problems of work, normally I would look at everybody’s comments on the web and the suspicions, but I won’t think too much when I’m there.
NetEase: Did you think of what is the next step at that time?
Han Geng: At that time I was pretty confused. Under that kind of situation I have felt uncertain of the next step. Nobody knows what will happen next, so at that time it was pretty confusing. But everybody was preparing, I was also preparing, slowly when everybody is almost ready, we got together and started discussing the plans for the new album.
NetEase: Do you feel that you are a person with plans?
Han Geng: I’m okay but not planning on purpose, only do well of what I need to do now, let things be natural.
2. Putting off the Termination Lawsuit, Developing back home is not “Forgetting Roots”
NetEase: Han Geng has done what you wanted to do, SM Entertainment has requested an astronomical compensation, do you feel that is a huge pressure?
Han Geng: My pressure is not so big because I’ve thought it out carefully, and I’m very open-minded. If worse come to worst, I’ll quit, stop going down this career path, I can be a teacher, I can be a teacher at a school, or an actor; no matter what I can support myself. Because originally I started from being a student, slowly, step by step, I got to where I am today. I’m also not afraid that I’ll lose everything I have now, I’m not afraid of these things, so it doesn’t matter. At that time, I was really open-minded, if anything I’ll just quit.
NetEase: As for your old company, are feeling grateful towards them?
Han Geng: Actually I’m very thankful towards them. Starting from the 2003 when I went to Korea for training, everything I’ve learned they have given me, no matter if it’s experience or skills, etc., it is they who have given them all to you. I’m also grateful that they have given me these things, given me the experience, given me the skills, the process and so on, an experience. But I wish to venture forward together, with mutual respect, mutual understanding and sympathy. Without these things, there won’t be happiness at work.
NetEase: So the relationship condition now is being put aside?
Han Geng: Yes, still in transition.
NetEase: Do you still keep in touch with the former members? Are you still friends?
Han Geng: Yes, privately we are still all good friends because these things do not concern the other members; it’s a problem between me and the company. I’m still the same with the other members, good friends.
NetEase: After Han Geng made such a huge important decision, a lot of fans of SJ have voiced their suspicion and doubt.
Han Geng: There are a lot of that kind of voice, there are those who supports me, there are those who don’t, some say I’m “a heartless and unscrupulous beast”, some say I’m ungrateful, some say I forgot my roots. What is “forgetting my roots”? Now that I’m back in my own country I’m not forgetting my roots. (laughs) No matter what they say, I don’t care, I can’t make everyone’s focus solely on me and make everyone say that I’m good, that’s impossible; therefore, I am also more open-minded. You can say whatever you want, but everything I do is not for others to see. Everything I do I am true to myself, as long as my close friends know what kind of person I am that is enough. “Forgetting my roots”, I don’t think I have forgotten my roots.
NetEase: Formally coming back to China to start the path of your new career, will you give up the Korean market?
Han Geng: This is what I’m thinking, why do I went ahead with the lawsuit? It’s because I don’t want to give up the Korean fans, I don’t want to lose the fans that have supported me from the very beginning, so I made this decision, to go ahead with the lawsuit.
NetEase: After Han Geng, after relaunching his career, has displayed various actions pertaining to music, either with album or with concert. At the same time, many of my colleagues also noticed that Han Geng have a very busy schedule, can you handle it? The hours spent on practicing dancing; the reporters who went to film discovered that Han Geng is truly very exhausted.
Han Geng: This is something I must do, because I must give everyone a satisfying result; let everyone know what I’ve been doing during this past year. I’ve been working very hard wanting to let my work, my career become even better, even under these kinds of conditions. That is why I have basically been practicing every day, because all the staffs are my close friends, together we know each other through and through, we have a deep understanding; therefore, there is a mutual agreement when working together, and also very happy. No matter how tired we are, we travel forward together, not just Han Geng going ahead by himself while everybody else stops, or everybody else goes forward and Han Geng stops. It’s all about everybody helping each other so I’m very happy now.
3. Huge Pressure with Flying Solo and New Album <Geng Xin> Moral Rebirth
NetEase: Coming back to be solo and coming out with your own album, performing songs, what are the differences?
Han Geng: It’s that the pressure will be greater than before. In the past there are so many people, everybody share a bit, each person gets one or two lines then you’re done. Now, I have to be responsible for everything. Sometimes I have a lot of ideas, no matter if it’s the design of the album, choreography, photoshoots, outfits…
NetEase: Including the new album cover?
Han Geng: Yes, I want my ideas to be included and I have discussed it with everybody. Whenever we have phone meetings or when practicing the choreography, “come have a meeting” (they’ll say), then I’ll be over letting everyone know my ideas. Pertaining to the design of the concert, the stage, I’ll also let them know.
NetEase: The name of the new album is <Geng Xin>, I felt that there is special meaning in the name, to you, what kind of message do you want to present to everyone?
Han Geng: Actually <Geng Xing> has a lot of meaning. One is a new start; one is to have a different Han Geng emerging. There is another meaning: Because this album is created from everybody’s heart and soul, and I also want to present to everybody the sincerity deep down in my heart, there’s this meaning.
NetEase: The three songs in the album <Fire>, <Say No>, <Holding an Umbrella> are shot into a trilogy style MV, this kind of idea also explains a very complete story structure, what kind of story do you want to tell everybody?
Han Geng: This idea, I have told my manager when I was at Lijian: Later on when I want to shoot the MV, I want it to be shot in the style of a movie, with a plot, connecting together, interspersed with a few songs. This idea has been kept on. Afterwards, I discussed it with the director, thus the result of the MV trilogy.
The first song is <Fire>, the Han Geng that is appearing on stage, completely different, Han Geng that is transformed. That dance style is something I have never tried before. Teacher Park and I have together worked on the choreography, a new feel of dance movement; it’s a state of transformation.
<Say No>, the feeling on the stage is, wanting relief, wanting freedom. The freedom that everybody wants is different, the relief that everybody wants to feel is different. As for me, I want to go tour the natural world, go travel, go to the snowy alp. So for <Say No>, we filmed that I went to look for my freedom, without the feeling of being tied down, go to somewhere where there are not many people.
The third one is <Holding an Umbrella>. I feel there are many significance to <Holding an Umbrella>. It not only deals with love, there’s also friendship, family ties, and so forth. In it, is completely wanting to live a life like a simple person, going back home, to the country, wanting to start a new project, not knowing that it’s a plot changing MV.
NetEase: The story is certainly dramatic. In the MV Han Geng plays the protagonist. Crossing over to a different world in the end also has its special meaning.
Han Geng: Wanting to be reborn, wanting to have a new Han Geng.
NetEase: The lyrics in the song, <Say No>, from the album, have a certain gory feeling.
Han Geng: It’s specially tailor-made for me by teacher Cao, the lyrics too.
NetEase: Any special feeling towards it?
Han Geng: When I sing this song I get very emotional, especially emotional. Maybe there are a lot of people who are in the same situation as I am, able to say “no”, but doesn’t have the courage to say “no”. How should I put it? It’s a way to vent.
4. First Time Trying to Sing Folk Song Because to Fulfill a Dream
NetEase: Along with Fan Wen Shan to produce a song, a very meaningful song, <Heartach, Notebook>, tried out the folk song style.
Han Geng: Yes, my first time trying to sing folk song.
NetEase: There’s a feeling of fresh and new.
Han Geng: When I am singing this song, I listened to the demo that they gave me and felt that it sounded really good. After meeting with teacher Yuan, he played the guitar and gave me a trial listen. After singing the song slowly, I felt the song is really very good. It also has the harmony of teacher Yuan and Cao Xuan Bin.
NetEase: When you held your concert in Beijing, they also went to harmonize?
Han Geng: They went to play the guitar.
NetEase: After your album, you immediately held your personal solo concert. There was a lot of pressure in challenging this for the first time. After the concert, did you want to go to sleep?
Han Geng: After the concert, I vacationed with my brothers and sisters (he was talking about his cousins) in the village, relaxed in the mountains for a while. This is what I did after the concert.
NetEase: After you are done with the concert, do you have a special sense of achievement?
Han Geng: I always have a dream of having my own stage. This time I got the chance to have my own album. Also at the concert, with all my fans in the audience, this stage belonged to all of us, our personal space. Everybody has put a lot of hard work into this concert: one, there weren’t much time; two, everybody worked day and night. In the end, everyone saw that the concert was a success; we all had a lot of emotions, very happy. In the audience were my fans, friends, and parents. I was also very emotional. It was my first concert.
NetEase: I remember on the stage, Han Geng had shed man’s tears.
Han Geng: I have too many emotions, from Korea to this concert stage, I have walk a long way, met up with a lot of things, experienced a lot of things. At that moment, I felt there was no distance with everybody, it was very comfortable.
NetEase: Everything you did was worth it.
Han Geng: Right, very worth it. When it reached that moment, I felt what I did was worth it.
Like to have peace in private, stage is where I like to vent
NetEase: I feel that Han Geng really likes to spend time at home; are you a person who crave quiet personal time?
Han Geng: Yes, I like quietness, don’t like rowdiness. It’s a matter of personality. Sometimes when people around me are being noisy, I’ll say “stop being so noisy, quiet down!” I like being quiet, I hardly go out.
NetEase: Don’t you think it has a conflict of interest with the work that you do?
Han Geng: It’s because when you are on stage, the feeling is different. The stage is a way for me to vent, it’s where I let out my emotions. When I’m on stage, I forget myself, I feel very free.
NetEase: Before the album was released, we invited many critics to come and have a listen. There were also many netizens who also heard the album. We discovered that your performance in this album have been eye-opening, have attempted many breakthroughs like R&B, techno, and also folk-style. Which style is your favorite?
Han Geng: Actually I really like R&B, feeling of Jazz. When singing, you give one the feeling of being care-free; the performance on-stage is also relaxed. You can dance however you want, sing however you want. When singing, don’t let people feel miserable, let people feel happy, relaxed is good.
NetEase: Besides certain techniques, we noticed that Han Geng has improved greatly in your singing ability. Many of fans feel that this album is made with a lot of effort. The general straightforward evaluation given is “made from the heart”.
Han Geng: You can’t say that this album is the best; it’s guaranteed to have many flaws. But I want to fix these flaws in the next album I make. Indeed everybody has put a lot of effort into this album, not only the staff. I know where the weaknesses are so it’s practice, practice, practice, everyday. That’s the way it is.
NetEase: What do you think you need to improve on?
Han Geng: My singing needs to be stronger.
5. Enriching Chinese Music taking it International, Wanting to Work with Jay Chou
NetEase: As for the behind-the-scenes team for your album, you found Michael Jackson’s dancers as your dancers and also designed many new dance steps. Do you still want to be an international singer?
Han Geng: Yes. Actually right now there are a lot of Korean singers, Japanese singers, European and American singers so I feel China’s entertainment can also slowly become ripe, slowly become better. There are a lot of talents in China and they should all enrich Chinese music, Chinese dance. Everybody should work hard to protect the Chinese culture, Chinese entertainment; everybody should join together to protect it, not destroy it.
NetEase: No matter if it’s your personal attempts in the album or everyone’s critique, Han Geng has always faced it with extreme calmness. How did you maintain such a good emotional state?
Han Geng: I just need to do well with what I need to do, whatever remains, voices on the side, it’s all entertainment, let people say whatever they want, no need to worry. For instance what I need to do now: when filming a movie, film it well; when shooting a commercial, shoot it well; when singing a song, sing it well; when having a concert, have a good concert. Do well what I need to do now, don’t worry and get affected by the world outside, then it’s enough. I don’t have to care about all the other things, whatever, let them say what they want to say.
NetEase: At your press conference I noticed that Jay Chou also sent his best wishes through the VCR. Did you ever think of working together?
Han Geng: I actually really want to collaborate with him, but he has a busy schedule and I am promoting my album. However I hope that both of us can find a good time to sit down and have a chat, talk about working together. Last time we met, I also told him how I really wish he would collaborate with me, not only on the screen, also in music; want to learn something new together.
6. Music VS Film, Never thought of Being a Super Star
NetEase: Looking back at this album, it is already out, you also held a concert. Everybody’s response is very positive. Personally, pertaining to music, do you have more ideas or future attempts and plans?
Han Geng: Actually I would like to have more personal work on the filming side because I have always maintained the dream of becoming an actor. As for music, performance on stage, dancing, I cannot let it go so it has created a lot of conflict.
NetEase: It’s hard to choose between the two.
Han Geng: Yes. For filming, I’m hoping for a good script, good director. Two people, at the same moment, must have fate to meet; must have a good chance to make a good product. Also hope that the next album will have more success.
NetEase: Do you think you will put more of your ideas into the next album? Even to include your own personal work?
Han Geng: I will still add my own personal idea. I have said before that I want this album to meet my satisfaction, everybody’s satisfaction; let the listeners, fans be more satisfied.
NetEase: Talking about films, I know that Han Geng has been in a few film performances. Do you have a clear understanding of your film career development?
Han Geng: Actually my experience has been very minor, only appeared in a few short films and a t.v. drama. I want to put more effort into this matter so I can have better products to show. I also wish to work with a good director, good actors so I can learn a lot from them.
NetEase: Do you think that you are an ambitious person when it comes to work and advancement?
Han Geng: I don’t have ambitions.
NetEase: No ambitions?
Han Geng: Really (laughs), I feel that I am…anyways, it’s not like I want to be a big shot, be a big super star. It’s just like what I have just said: Do my job well, let things work out naturally, no need to force myself to do certain things, must get to certain status. I don’t feel that way will necessary get me to that place; I will only tire myself out.
NetEase: Therefore, on one side you are making an album, on the other side you want to make a film. Wanting to go both directions at the same time will need even more energy. Do you feel tired?
Han Geng: It will certainly be hard to choose, something in the middle will have to be given up, but I just feel that I do what I need to do, do what I must do then it’s good enough. It’s alright, not especially tiring. It is really fun with everybody working together; there wasn’t a time where I’m especially irritated.
Family Support is the biggest motivation, Grateful for fans’ support all along the way
NetEase: So your biggest motivation is still your family?
Han Geng: I still want them to live more comfortably; live a happy joyful life. So, as for my work, I don’t want them to get involved. Because a lot of people will see what I do at work, I don’t want my family to get involved. I want them to be like ordinary people, live a happy joyful life; don’t have too many concerns, don’t worry too much about my dealings; because what I want do now is to make my family happy, joyful.
NetEase: Protecting them is very important.
Han Geng: I am more protective of them.
NetEase: When your parents go and support you during a live performance, is that the moment when you are especially touched?
Han Geng: Yes, because they don’t come and see me perform very often. Because to me, my very first concert is very important, I must show the fruit of my labor, all the hard work I put into it, to show everybody. Second is for my parents, let them be contented, let them be assured.
NetEase: Come to think of it there are a lot of songs in this album, <Say No>, <Holding an Umbrella>, these songs have been noticed by most people. Looking back at the album, which song holds the most special significance to you?
Han Geng: Every song has a different story. When producing the songs, writing the lyrics, and recording them, every song has a different story; it’s a lot of fun. After going through this time, I feel that what everyone do is not easy; everyone is working hard, all for this record. I want to use a special way to repay them, I like every single song.
NetEase: <Wings of Love> is a song made especially for you by a fan.
Han Geng: Because it is a gift for me by my fans previously. They wrote the lyrics, made the MV, given to me as a gift; therefore, I want to say, let me and my fans use this song… …They and the songs have been with me down this road all the way until now, so I want to give this song to them, put this song in the album. I’ve rearranged the music production.
NetEase: When you are in the recording studio reinterpreting this song, do you feel extra moved?
Han Geng: I have recorded the song with my fans behind me. There were a lot of fans in the recording studio. I recorded the last part together with them. That was pretty moving, seeing all that they have given. I felt that I need to work hard to make a good album, present to them a quality product to repay them; that is what I can do.
NetEase: I believe while we are having this interview, there are many fans outside waiting, following you all along, do you feel heartache towards them?
Han Geng: Everybody does not need to follow me every day. I feel that it is hard on them all; they do too much for me. I wish they can be happier, healthier, nothing bad will happen to them, then it’s okay.
NetEase: Han Gen and I have talked about so much just now, talked a lot of what he felt inside his heart, talked about his own goals, and also talked about the confusion and uncertainty that he is facing. Looking back to see all the turmoil, do you think you can face yourself with the every decision you made?
Han Geng: Every decision, no matter right or wrong, or whatever is the result, I’ve made them myself. I need to face the consequences and be held responsible; therefore, every step I’ve taken I have never regretted. My father always said to me, no matter what decision you make, it’s all your business, but it’s up to you to see how you treat it, how you are going to deal with it mentally. I’ve taken everything pretty lightly now, very peacefully; whatever they say in the outside world is not for me to say.
NetEase: A man must be responsible.
Han Geng: Yes, I must be responsible for myself, not afraid of trouble.
NetEase: After the Beijing concert, will there be plans later on when you get to meet with your fans?
Han Geng: There will be fan meetings, record signings. I also wish that everyone will like this album; everybody put a lot of heart into it. There are already a lot of fan meetings, record signings, and some performances.
NetEase: Can you do a live performance and sing us a little bit of a particular song?
Han Geng: Which song?
NetEase: <Wings of Love>?
Han Geng: How about this, I’ll just sing from teacher Yuan’s song.
NetEase: Interpreting folk-style songs is more comfortable.
Han Geng: That’s right. Everybody will feel more comfortable listening to it. I’ll just sing a little bit.
(Han Geng live performance of <Heartache, Notebook>)
NetEase: Thank you. I believe a lot of netizens have also heard the voice from your heart. I hope that after Han Geng brought his new musical achievement, there will be more to come, no matter if it’s in music or film. Thank you, Han Geng, for being a guest on this show.
Han Geng: Thank you.
Wanna learn some dance steps of The Queen?Here is a video clip of HG dance cut at the interview…credit lovechar2000@yt
pictures credit as tagged..