Three months since debut, WINNER is the rookie of rookie groups that just took their first step, but you can feel a composure that is different to other idol groups. Could this be because of the two audition contestants that are already familiar with the public, or could it be because of the two reality programs they were in before debut. The answer has to be found in their skills and their fortitude. We meet the members who expressed that they want to be the first WINNER, not the second BIGBANG.
– These days we only hear talks about ‘WINNER’ from here and there. Do you feel your popularity?
Taehyun: I feel it a little bit. We feel it more especially when there are more fans than before waiting for us in front of the YG building, and when we win #1 on a music program which we only dreamed of.
Seungyoon: I feel it at fan meetings or when I meet fans directly. However, I don’t feel it in my everyday life. I don’t know if it’s because we don’t have the freedom to go outside freely, or have personal time. But in our everyday life, I wonder ‘did we even debut’, it’s almost to the point where it’s the same as before.
– Weren’t you afraid due to your post-poned debut?
Mino: Rather than being afraid, we were impatient. As time went on, we paid more attention to our music production. We don’t think those times were bad. I think we made a better album because of that.
Hoon: I didn’t have any feelings of fear. The time was spent for a high quality album so it was a happy time.
– You have immense popularity in Japan. How are Japan promotions?
Jinwoo: First off, it’s an honor. It’s very fun. Despite the different language and nationality, the amount of energy always supports us, I think.
NH: Before debut, when we were guests at a sunbae’s concert, it was really fun. It’s more exciting putting together a solo concert. I’m lucky to be able to meet fans for on a big stage like I always dreamed of, whether it’s in Japan or in Korea
– It seems like your team work is exceptionally good. The secret?
Mino: While doing promotions, we’re always together when we’re happy or going through hard times, so our relationship became stronger. The situations that we’re going through right now is a first for everyone so the times of making experiences together makes us stronger.
Hoon: As time passes, we discover what we like and dislike, so there are less troubles. These days, even if there are disagreements, we don’t get into big emotional fights. We’re valuable and important to each other, so we’ve learned to respect each other’s territory.
– We’re curious as to what your individual roles in the dorm are.
Jinwoo: Truthfully, when we go to our dorm, everyone’s busy sleeping so there are no specific roles. For most housework, the dorm aunt does it for us. We spend most of our time in the practice rooms and we only sleep at the dorm.
Seungyoon: Rather than say there are roles, when I go into the dorm, I naturally turn into the dongsaeng from being the leader. In the dorm, the hyungs become the leaders. I don’t want to play the leader role at the dorm too. Even outside the dorm, I’m not an excessive leader.
Hoon: Not cooking, but I like setting the table for the members. When the members eat what I prepare, I naturally have a motherly smile on my face while looking at them.
– It seems like your support for Bobby and BI on Mnet would have been different from everyone else.
Taehyun: I watched every single episode. In the end, he finished it off with a cool performance but during the competition, B.I made many mistakes. I know that even when he’s met with obstacles, B.I overcomes them with toughness. B.I is that kind of kid. He’s someone who knows how to turn his weaknesses into strengths.
Mino: While watching B.I, I felt regrettable but I also felt his human-like charms often. When I saw him in the practice rooms recently, he looked close to perfect. I was able to feel B.I’s new charms so I was happy.
– Did you predict Bobby’s victory?
Seungyoon: Not at all. I supported him knowing it would be a good experience for me but I didn’t think he’d win. He has a good personality and he’s skilled so I did wish for him to win but that was all. I think he’s really incredible.
Hoon: I didn’t predict it either. Since there were so many outstanding competitors, I thought it would be difficult for him to win. When there were around 4 people left, I thought that he had a chance of winning. He was cool. Bobby is a really cool person.
– From the perspective of a rookie, there must be a lot of advantages being in a powerful agency like YG.
Seungyoon: There are a lot. From the sytemized system to the pleasant environment, and the respected sunbaes and teachers, from the perspective of a rookie, it’s true these aspects are really helpful.
Taehyun: The organized system is good too but I like that YG values the individuality of artists. The recording studios and the practicing rooms, the environment itself offers support, but the artists’ growth and progress is up to the individual, so we are given a lot of opportunities. So I think this allows for creative results.
– There are many people that see WINNER as the second BIGBANG.
Mino: I’m thankful that people even think of us like that. We’ll work even harder to be qualified to hear statements like that and I think that is the best way of repayment.
Taehyun: We will work hard to become the first WINNER.
Translations: timthemine, chrissy96