Part 2 with Jinwoo & Hoon
“We match well,” said the “Hyung-line” of WINNER, Jinwoo and Seunghoon, as they sat comfortably at the table together. Jinwoo carved and polished his skills during his long trainee period in YG. Seunghoon stamped his existence in the eyes of the viewers with his creative rapping and choreography when he was in a survival audition program that aired on national television. During the photoshoot, these two individuals showed their consideration for their dongsaengs by stepping to the side and like two alumni they constantly and freely depend on each other. I could feel deer-eyed Jinwoo’s pure nature that seemed to contradict his age, twenty four. Seunghoon’s constant talking was witty but never without purpose, “Why are you interviewing us? Who did you interview last month?” The flood of questions to the editor often led the conversation to tangents but it was evident that they had a larger desire to learn than to speak when they both said, “Even now we feel like trainees, not celebrities.”
– How do you feel about promoting as WINNER currently?
Hoon: I don’t feel like I’m a celebrity. Even when we go to broadcasting stations, I feel like it’s a field trip. We just recorded our first variety program, “Weekly Idol” and it amazed me how Jung Hyungdong was being comedic right in front of me.
– Which aspect of your debut album did you put most effort in?
Hoon: It was most difficult to find WINNER’s color because we had to be different from other YG artists and the average boy group. Anywhere we go, we always receive the question, “How are you different from Big Bang?”
Jinwoo: We have a difficult time answering that especially because our skills aren’t incredible like them.
Hoon: Our company gave us a classy image and hopefully our colors gradually get added as we promote.
– What made you dream of becoming a singer?
Jinwoo: When I was in my senior year of high school I became interested in acting and attended an academy. Before that I didn’t have a particular dream and I never attended academies for long periods of time. But I was just drawn to the acting academy and I was also curious. Then through an acquaintance I took part in a private audition and became a YG trainee.
Hoon: I think I had the “talent”. From when I was little I loved dancing and being on stage. When I was 19 years old I came to Seoul with a few friends, thinking, “I have to do something.” I didn’t set a specific goal when I appeared on KPOP Star. I just wanted to challenge myself.
– After the program ended and YG offered to make you their trainee, did you readily accept?
Hoon: It was a “thank you” from me. I would have entered YG even if I was recruited as a choreographer or a backup dancer. They asked me if I wanted to be a singer or a dancer. I told them that if they gave me the luxury to choose, I would want to be a singer. After I entered the company like that, YG said “Have him practice in Seungyoon’s team” . Because there were no dancing members in the team, and since there was a position I could be in charge of, I was able to adjust quickly.
– Jinwoo had the longest trainee period at YG.
Jinwoo: Because of that, I think I matured and changed a lot. I was originally very shy and couldn’t talk very well, and was embarrassed when in front of people. There are things that the company taught me directly, but there are things I taught myself to survive as a trainee. Of course, there was a time when I ran away because it was so exhausting. It lasted around half a day and after I got a call, I went back crying.
Hoon: Are we only going to talk about our past?
– Should we talk about dating? First love? Ideal type?
Jinwoo: My first love was in my last year of middle school. When I date, I’m the type that goes all in. I have to change my dating style, but because I can’t date, I don’t have an opportunity to change it. My ideal type is a nice girl that only likes me, lively personality, and I think a girl that can lead me would be good.
Hoon: I don’t have enough dating experience to the point where I can brag. Also, I forget easily. Out of all my girlfriends, there are some names that I don’t even remember. Generally, I’m the type that forgets bad incidents quickly. A girl that’s sure as to what she wants to do and isn’t pretentious. Also, a girl that has the same thoughts as me would match well with me, but that type of girl isn’t my ideal type. I think I’ll be able to meet anyone.
– Your hobbies or what you do for amusement?
Jinwoo: When I’m stressed, I play games or watch variety shows back to back. This helps in relieving stress for me. When I’m focused on one thing, I tend to not focus on other things
Hoon: I like meeting with close friends and talking. There is a group of friends I made in high school, and I grew up dancing with them and sharing our influences to each other. Even when we meet now, it’s always fun.
– The WINNER on stage shows a luxurious image, what about fashion off stage?
Hoon: When I look at it now, it’s childish but when I was young, I was the first one to wear ripped jeans and chains around my waist at school. Truthfully, if my looks were exceptional, I wouldn’t have had interest in fashion. Because my “face” was lacking, I paid attention to clothes and cultivated other charms. Originally, I liked street fashion but now, I like simple styles, vintage styles, I like them all. Just excluding expensive things.
Jinwoo: I didn’t have interest in clothes. I bought as the store representative recommended. As I watched the members wear clothes, I was influenced, and I was able to learn what fits me and what doesn’t.
Hoon: I went to the shop that hyung goes to often, and I got pissed off so I almost threw a fit. The store noona kept recommending weird clothes to Jinwoo-hyung.
Jinwoo: Haha. I didn’t go to that store again after that.
– After becoming WINNER, was there a change in lifestyle?
Jinwoo: I thought I would never be able to ride an airplane. I even went to the customary school trip to Jeju Island by boat. While standing as guests for “Big Bang Dome Tour 6”, I was able to ride on an airplane for the first time. And now, I’m even drinking a 10,000 won coffee!
Hoon: Writing “singer” on the disembarkation card and the customs declaration form confidently is something that changed. When I was a trainee, I wrote whatever I wanted. I wrote adventurer and since I was writing raps, I wrote freelancer, novelist, poet, etc… There was nothing that could specify who I, Lee Seunghoon, was but now I confidently have the title of WINNER.
– How was Jinwoo’s first birthday after becoming WINNER (September 26)?
Jinwoo: It was the day of the Japan Concert Tour. The members and fans held a surprise party for me on stage. It was the first time for me to receive birthday greetings from so many people. The members even gave me presents. But, starting next year, we decided not to give each other presents. (laugh)
– Jinwoo & Seunghoon, we’re curious as to what you think of each other.
Jinwoo: I match well with Seunghoon. In everyday life, he leads and takes care of situations well, but while he’s like a hyung, he has the most tender heart out of the others.
Hoon: Jinwoo hyung is one of the most innocent people I’ve met in Seoul. When met with a situation, he accepts it without prejudice. You can say that YG is a society. If you don’t have ‘talent’, genius, or looks, you can’t enter that society. However, Jinwoo hyung is like a friend that I met in the neighbourhood or at school.
– Feelings towards achieving the rookie dream of getting #1 on a music show?
Hoon: Since we got #1 as soon as we came out, we were a bit dazed. It was an unexpected result.
– You already have overseas fans. The ‘ELLE’ Twitter gained popularity.
Hoon: Because of Youtube! Because we debuted from a good agency, we’re reaping the benefits of good sunbaes. Before officially debuting, we participated in Big Bang and 2NE1’s overseas concerts, and we even stood on the Tokyo Dome stage in front of an unimaginable number of 50,000 audience members. The new location, food, and experiences have become pleasures and energizers.
– Isn’t it a start that’s too fast?
Hoon: Starting with ‘WINNER Week’ and the “Launching Show”, the company invested that much so it would be a huge problem if we didn’t achieve this much. We don’t think we’re very popular yet. The future will be more important.
Jinwoo: I want to work hard so we can win a rookie award at the end-of-the-year award ceremony. Will we be able to do it?
Translations by: timthemine, chrissy96