Translation of FNC CEO Han Sungho's Interview (for FNC's 10 year anniversary)
"10 years, Not looking to the side but rather pushing on forward"
HSH: It doesn't feel like it's been ten years. It feels like a couple of days ago that I started the company. I don't know if it's because I was young but I was very passionate about working. I worked very hard. I had the vague dream of publicly listing a company that reflected my own color. That dream was fulfilled. There's one thing I realized after ten years have passed. I've had thoughts of wanting to surpassing the CEOs of companies ahead of us. I realized that you can't go on a different road from the others. It's important to catch up to them on the same road and then wisely pass them.
There have been a lot of trial and errors. But there was never a moment where I had doubt in the goals I set. If I didn't have the goal to create good contents while running a music entertainment company, then I might have sold the company and looked to go in a different direction when there were tough times in the middle. I never looked to the side (/only looked forward).
"Entertainment Top 3? Grateful expression"
HSH: There’s one thing about about a label being publicly listed. Usually other companies merge with others to be listed but the fact that a new company like ours got listed meant we’re competitive and qualified. We received a lot of congratulatory messages. We also heard people saying that they didn’t think we would succeed as a business and that we grew quickly. It’s not easy for a music producer to run a business.
If you say we're in the top 3 then I'm grateful. JYP is a big company. They are a company that have built up artists and contents to fit their brand for a long time. I see them as an established company with an identity. Our company is young. We have no experience so we could be reckless but a fresh challenge is capable. You have no fear when you’re young. I had no fear when I started this company.
(Note from gkboice- By the way, please don't ever engage in company fan wars..... Group fan wars and member fan wars are already dumb... No need to engage in company fan wars lol)
"Overflowing of tears after CNBLUE's debut"
HSH: The hardest time was right before CNBLUE's debut. I worked hard to create CNBLUE with the thought that this could be the end. I taught the members and produced their debut album while listening to each song a countless number of times. I also thought a lot about the concept for the music video. The people around me were saying that CNBLUE's debut stage on "Music Bank" was amazing. This was when I sold my car and went around on taxi. I cried very hard in the back seat of a taxi.
The company was in tough times. I've always paid the employees on time but it was getting to the point where I was unsure if I could keep paying them in two or three months time. I reached a critical point and I was wondering if I could manage this company. I was borrowing money from everywhere and was nervous about whether this was going to be the end. Tears just overflowed when I heard good reviews about CNBLUE.
“All the artists are working hard”
HSH: FTISLAND is the group that made FNC exist. If they didnt succeed, then there would have been no CNBLUE and there would have been no FNC either. They are important to me because they are the first group of mine. And also because they reached high levels of success. i’ve been with them for over ten years as artists. If they are willing, I want to be with them after they come back from the army. I’m going to support them even if they don’t.
FTISLAND is the group that made FNC exist. CNBLUE is the group that helped FNC grow. AOA is the group that helped FNC grow in the dance team area. Jung Hae-in was FNC’s first trained actor. Everyone is working hard. We have a lot of people in the entertainment area. We started in music but we have been expanding to other areas. It is just the beginning.
“Yoo Jaesuk, really thorough at taking care of himself”
HSH:The secret to bringing in new celebrities is not money but rather communication. When a parent raises their kid too strictly, the kid will want to be independent. But our artists and company grow together. I listen to everything and try to communicate with the artists. I try not to make forced relationships.
I first met Yoo Jaesuk when I went on the program, ‘Same Bed, Different Dreams’. We naturally started talking and a relationship was formed. He is really good at taking care of himself. He wasn’t able to come when the whole company met together but he took care of the dining costs and gifted winter coats. He really takes care of the staff. He is like a reliable older brother.
“We’re going to go further next year”
HSH: We tend to do things faster compared to other companies. We are planning to be involved in directing through FNC AD Culture. We’ve made “Who Are You? School 2015” and “Baekhee Has Returned” and we started on “Trick and True” and “Scene Stealer”. We are thinking about going into movies as well. We don’t want to only be restricted to doing music.
We grew a lot in 2015-2016 and moved forward without rest. It was a time for us to reorganize. When bad things popped up in the summer, FNC Ad Culture was created. We prepared a lot and restarted. We’re going to work harder next year to reach another 10 years.
“A lot of unwanted noise this year, Everyone is struggling”
(These are the words written in the article BY THE JOURNALIST BEFORE Han Sungho’s answer to give the reader some context about what he’s talking about.
“However, FNC has been suffering from quite a lot of unwanted noise. AOA is a popular girl group but have been involved in a history controversy. Jung Yonghwa underwent a police investigation for unfair profits after buying stocks but he was acquitted of such charges. Lee Seyoung received public cynicism for her sexual harassment controversy.”)
HSH: It has been hard on me but it has been really hard for the kids. But there is something I realized. I believe that I will be thankful in the future for this period of time. This will help me become a leader who went through all types of experiences. This was an opportunity for me, the artists, and the workers to get stronger. You are bound to be get sick if you are sheltered. I think of this as a vaccine to help FNC get through ten more years.
It hasn’t been a long time since Lee Seyoung joined the company when the problem arose. She was sorry and cried. She acknowledges her mistakes. I think of it as an opportunity for her to look back and lower her head in shame. Before joining FNC, she used to have no company. It would have been harder if she had to go through this when she was by herself. She shouldn’t feel sorry for me but rather relieved for herself. She will become more mature as she rests.
“Looking forward to a more mature FNC”
HSH: We have plans to debut a new group. AOA’s first full album will kick off our 2017. The plans have already been set for the artists that will be promoted in the first half of the year. We are also going to be heavily involved in drama production. To the point where you’re going to say “That drama is also produced by FNC?”. We ask that you have faith in us as a diverse entertainment company.
Entertainment is something that is done with joy. The goal is to expand in the entertainment area and be a good company. I’ve wanted to be the number one company for 10 years but now my thoughts have changed. I want to create a company where the staff and artists want to work together. We used to go full speed to the goal of becoming the number one company. Now we go full speed at a different goal. I wish FNC grows into a bigger company in ten years.