TVXQ! are K-pop royalty. With almost a decade under their belts, the group has proven themselves time and time again in the ever-changing Korean pop world by crafting new sounds, constructing imaginative live shows — weathering member changes along the way — to sell millions of singles and albums to try and satiate their hugely dedicated fanbase.
TVXQ! consists of Max Changmin and U-Know Yunho, actively promoting as a duo since 2011. In that time frame, the group has racked up two No. 1 singles (“Superstar” and “Still”) on the Japan Hot 100 plus two No. 2 singles (“Winter Rose” and “Android”).
While TVXQ! has yet to hit the American market on their own like fellow K-pop acts BIGBANG, 2NE1, or their SM Entertainment labelmates Girls’ Generation, the boys have begun planting seeds. The two performed at the 2011 SMTown showcase featuring labelmates BoA, Super Junior, f(x), SHINee, and more. In addition, they headlined the “Google” stop of the MBC Korean Music Wave show in San Francisco (with Wonder Girls, Kara, MBLAQ, SISTAR, and others) and the Billboard KPOP Masters Concert in Las Vegas.
The boys made a comeback this fall with their new “Catch Me” album (which peaked at No. 6 on the World Albums chart in October) featuring the K-Pop Hot 100 No. 25 hit single of the same name. Most recently, they repackaged the set with two new tracks including new single “Humanoids” and “Here I Stand.” The duo recently began touring (for the first time in four years) with their TVXQ! LIVE WORLD TOUR ‘Catch Me,’ holding a show in Korea’s capital of Seoul with more dates to come.
Max and U-Know took some time to answer questions for Billboard readers in this exclusive Q&A session. Check out which song they think best represents them, who they look up to musically, and where they may come to see their fans next.
Billboard: Hello Max and U-Know! For those who may be unfamiliar with TVXQ!, can you first describe your band and what makes you unique?
TVXQ!: TVXQ! stands for “The Rising Gods of the East” which means we strive to be the best group out of Asia to the rest of the world. What differentiates our group is our own unique style of performance filled with passion and our hard efforts in delivering good music and stage performance.
Tell us about your most recent music projects. What else do you have scheduled for the rest of 2012 and for 2013?
We’ve been working hard to promote our recent album “Catch Me” which became widely known for the “Hulk Dance,” followed by our newest song “Humanoids.” We will be continuing our tour around various cities worldwide throughout 2013 for TVXQ! LIVE WORLD TOUR ‘Catch Me’ which we were able to launch successfully in Seoul not too long ago. We will also be doing a five [shows] in Japan.
If a listener was hearing you for the first time, what songs or videos do you think best represents TVXQ!?
We would recommend the [first single] off our last album “Why (Keep Your Head Down)” as a song that best represents the distinct sound of our music, and the [first single] of our new album “Catch Me” to watch our powerful performance.
You performed in America before with your fellow SM Entertainment artists. Will we ever see TVXQ! put on a solo show or concert here in America?
We were truly inspired when we performed at the SMTOWN LIVE Concert in Madison Square Garden. Though we don’t have any set plans for a show in America yet, we would love to meet our fans in America if given the opportunity.
What other territories or countries do you two hope to visit?
If there is an opportunity, we’d love to visit our fans not only in the U.S. but also in other places we haven’t performed before in Latin America and Europe. We are planning to visit fans in various places around the world through our World Tour, so hope you guys are excited!
Are there any American artists you look up to or respect? Any artists or producers you hope to work with some day?
U-Know: Because there are so many talented artists and producers out there, regardless of who it might be, I feel that we’d be able to create great music together.
Max: I’ve always admired and looked up to artists like Brian McKnight, John Mayer, and Stevie Wonder, so I’d love to collaborate with them.
Anything else you would like to share with Billboard readers or a message to your fans worldwide?
We’re able to work hard and perform due to our fans’ support. We’re going to try our best to meet more of our fans worldwide in the future, and will continuously strive to become a better group. Please continue to show us lots of love and support. Thank you!