Because EXO is SM Entertainment’s newest project since 2009, there is obviously a lot of expectations for the group. Any last words before the big debut?Suho: All 12 of us have been working diligently to deliver the best music and performances, not just in Asia, but for the whole world. We will try our best to continue our strong work ethics for EXO-K and EXO-M to become an established group.
What are some of your most memorable moments as a trainee?Kai: When we were all trainees, we made up this motto that would keep us motivated. It was “Giving, rather than receiving is what training is all about.” Celebrities are given so much love from fans, so on top of our training in singing and dancing, we also wanted to train ourselves in giving love back. To do this, all of us volunteered at the RCY shelter to help disabled children, playing with them and tidying up the facilities. Those little bits and pieces all added up to so much in the end, and whenever we look back, we can’t help but smile. We will never forget those times.
Let’s talk dorm rooms: who rooms with who?Chanyeol: There are three rooms in our dorm, so two members share one room. I room with Baek Hyun, Se Hun with Suho, and Kai with D.O.
So then each of you must know about the others’ sleeping habits.Baek Hyun: Chanyeol’s breathing is way too loud! And on top of that, he does this loud sniffling thing before he falls asleep. I just can’t fall asleep with all that noise.
Chanyeol: Well you (Baek Hyun) yelp like a dog like 40 times before falling asleep!
How about the rest of you, does your roommate have any strange bedtime habits?(The rest of them shake their heads) No, we all sleep peacefully and happily!
Baek Hyun: (Looking at Chanyeol) Maybe we shouldn’t have mentioned we do all of that…
Chanyeol: But we love each other though (laughs)
Is there a schedule as to who is on for laundry and cooking duties?Se Hun: Usually, all of us do laundry and house cleaning, and all that stuff on our own. We pick who’s on dish washing duty, but most of the time, we all wash our own dishes. But we’ve been recently playing games to see who has to do it all, kind of like in ’1 Night 2 Days’.
So who’s the best gamer out of the six?All: Kai, definitely. He’s like a sniper, you know. He’s good at just about any game.
Who’s the clean-freak of the group?Se Hun: D.O. is. When you go to his room and open up all his drawers, I guarantee you you’ll find everything neatly piled and organized. He even sorts his shirts by color and by type. Ah, well this isn’t to say that the rest of are unclean. We’re all pretty good with keeping our things organized, but D.O. is the cleanliest.
When you first joined SM, who was the one sunbae you wanted to be close with?Chanyeol: When I was younger, I wasn’t really in the know about idols or singers, but the first idol group I ever got into was TVXQ. Out of the five members, I liked Yunho sunbae the most. He was just so charismatic and I respected his unconditional care and leadership
Suho: Yunho sunbae has helped us so much throughout our trainee days. Whether it be dancing, singing or performing, he was always there to help us. Leeteuk sunbae has also become a great help to us too. He always taught us that manners, responsibilities and teamwork comes first before anything in this line of work.
When did you decide that you wanted to become a singer?D.O.: I’ve always loved singing ever since I was little. Even before joining SM’s training system, I took up vocal lessons and such. I decided to audition for SM in 2010, and I was lucky to have my parents in full support. They always taught me that if I had a dream, I should try with all that I have to reach it and make it reality.
Chanyeol: My decision started back when I was in high school. I was always passionate about playing and learning instruments, and I was even in the school band one year. I’ll always remember my first performance with the band; the feeling you get after a performance with the clapping and the cheers, was just so amazing. Ever since then, I dreamed of becoming a singer.
Se Hun: My casting was really by chance. I was walking past my school one day and a representative from the company asked me if I wanted to audition for SM. I was still young then, so I asked my mom if I could, to which she said yes. I was in the tenth grade when I joined SM, and to be honest, I didn’t really know what a celebrity was or what a celebrity did. My interests in becoming a singer, however, later developed into a passion after only the first day of training.
Baek Hyun: I wanted to become a singer since the fourth grade. I remember how I’d tell all my friends that I would be a celebrity when I grow up. To be honest though, I ended up getting dropped from all of the agencies I auditioned for. Then time flew by and one day, I was getting ready to audition to enroll at an arts university. But by some incredible chance, an SM representative was near that school. She must have overheard me practicing my song because I was immediately asked to join SM right in front of the gates.
Kai: I took jazz dance lessons and ballet since the third grade; dance was just a large part of my life. But one day, I saw Shinhwa sunbaes on TV, and I asked my dad “What kind of dance is that?” and he replied “That’s a performer’s dance” and ever since then I wanted to become a singer. I was actually accepted into SM when I was in the sixth grade, but the agency told me to come back after two years since I was too young. I, of course, returned and began my life as an SM trainee.
Suho: I’ve had the dream of becoming a singer since I was in elementary school, but I never really thought it would be possible. However, I was able to join SM when I was discovered through street casting. My parents were skeptical at first, but they knew how big of a company SM was, so they allowed me to enter the company.
What is your relationship with EXO-M like? Do you guys feel as if you are a one, whole unit, or do you feel a sense of competition between one another?Se Hun: We may be separated into two groups, but really, we are one big family. We trained together, ate together and shared so many memories together. There is no competition between us in the sense that we have a need to be better than the other. There is, however, some competition to a degree when it comes to dance and singing. We carefully monitor each others’ moves, share tips for improvements and spot out any mistakes, so the competition as you would call is all for the sake of perfecting our craft.
How would you describe EXO’s musical color?Suho: We want our music to be distinctive, so that people go “Ah, that’s definitely EXO” when they hear our songs. We’re aiming to make our music seem like it’s “from outer space.”
Is there anyone in your family that’s in the broadcast industry?(All the members look around dumbfounded, and then Chanyeol finally speaks up) Uhm, actually my sister is an announcer…
(The members all stare at him, as if saying “why didn’t you tell any of us this before,” then Chanyeol finally continues) No, wait, she’s studying to become an announcer!
I’ve heard that Chanyeol was dubbed as the “schoolboy ulzzang” when he was a high schooler!No, I wasn’t an ulzzang! But because everyone in my school knew I was a trainee, people sort of spread that around I guess. I didn’t really notice it going around though. I was just a normal, quiet high school student.
Tell us your goals for the future, and for EXOBaek Hyun: I want EXO to go down in Korean music history, so that a 100 years from now, we will be remembered as a great group. If I can, I want to try my hands at entertainment programs, or even acting.
Chanyeol: I want all 12 of us to be together forever. My personal goals would be studying songwriting, and to further develop my skills in guitar and drums. My biggest goal, though, is to write songs that many people will enjoy.
Suho: I want EXO to become an established group, and to become a multi-talented entertainer.
Kai: I’m going to give every last bit of my passion for dance to EXO. I want to help in letting the world know the sound of Korea.
D.O.: I want EXO to become a group loved by all. Aside from being a singer, I also have some interests in becoming a chef.
Kai: D.O. is actually in charge of cooking most of the time.
D.O.: Now that I think about it, I want to become a hair stylist and a fashion designer too!
That’s perfect, then D.O. can be the group’s stylist!All: No thank you.