WINNER is back. The 5 people have gathered to swallow everything whole.
Q. The first song that was released from your new album was “Pricked”, the song you created. Is there a reason you chose Taehyun for the vocal parts?
Mino: I think he’s good at absorbing emotional songs. Taehyun’s voice tone possesses an excellent element that displays emotions. The point of the refrain was to ‘softly spread out’ and I think he expressed that very well.
Q. The lyrics are quite sorrowful, did you write it from experience?
Mino: I can’t say it’s 100% from experience but it is true that I made the song with the skin of it based on experience. I think I showed my hiphop style often until now but I actually enjoy working with this kind of emotional style when I’m creating music.
Q. I thought, “Wouldn’t Song Mino continue with a more earnest take towards rap with this upcoming album?” but I felt that I spoke too soon.
Mino: I wrote a solo track that people can strongly ride the rhythm with but I think what I wanted to do was go in this direction. Maybe it’s because I worked so much [in that genre] during “Show Me The Money 4”, but whenever I tried to immerse myself into hiphop, I couldn’t figure things out. I loved that I could do things freely by coming back as WINNER, without being restricted.
Q. While WINNER was on hiatus, you were busy.
Mino: I put my all from March to April of last year for “Show Me The Money 4”. But I wasn’t lazy with working on our music. I personally matured and experienced good things last year. I shared an honest story with “Fear” and people empathised with that and conveyed a good response. Something like that is the perfect kind of happiness a singer pursues. I want to be busy as WINNER this year.
Q. You had a kiss scene in the teaser videos. Are you in charge of “sexiness” in your group now?
Mino: My original personally is very bright and I love to joke around but I become serious when I work. I was given the part so I worked hard (laughs).
Q. Each member has his own specific style. Aren’t there any difficulties during the process of creating music together?
Mino: When we were making our first album in 2014, since each of us desired a different musical direction, there were many times when we disagreed with each other. In this upcoming album, we respected each other’s preferences and worked separately silently and whenever there were satisfactory results, we immediately talked to each other about it. Because this process worked out smoothly, we rarely clashed. All of us worked comfortably as we shared the mindset of wanting to construct the specific color of WINNER. Not really the obsession of shedding ourselves from ‘idol music’ but pouring our effort into creating something good, something we can do best in.
Q. You seem slightly different from the character I saw on “Show Me The Money 4”. I feel like you’re very comfortable and gentle.
Mino: Hiphop itself is a scary type of music and it’s not like there is a rule that you need to do everything with strength but the program “Show Me The Money” itself is an audition program where they make all the rappers compete with each other so it can’t be helped that there is a atmosphere that pressurizes the mentality. Without being conscious of it, I must’ve been emotionally suffering as I became really stressed. As I was cutting my hair that I dyed to yellow, more than half of it was white so I was really surprised. Compared to then, my heart is very relaxed right now. I want to run excitedly as WINNER from now.
Q. How did you spend the last year and 5 months?
Seungyoon: I spent it while working hard for preparations. Before the release of the new song (Pricked), I couldn’t sleep at all because my heart was beating so much. I had butterflies and I was shaking [from nervousness].
Q. A song that Song Mino and Nam Taehyun sang was released instead of a song that was sung by five members.
Seungyoon: It was a decision made by the company but I think it was a tactic that could raise the anticipation even more. If the pre-release track was a song sung by all five members, the color of our album would’ve become too predictable.
Q. How would you introduce the upcoming album, “EXIT MOVEMENT”, which will be released in its entire form in February?
Seungyoon: Our upcoming mini album is flavoured with band sounds so I think it is more mature and heavy. Taehyun has recently immersed himself into rock band music and in that sense, he and I have been on the same wavelength of sorts. The sound may be heavy but in the aspect of material, there is a more open feeling compared to our first album.
Q. You make music by playing your guitar and that affected has WINNER’s color. If the second album has a band sound, does that mean it contains your preferences?
Seungyoon: I didn’t do much producing for this upcoming album. There may be songs that have band sounds as its musical color but that doesn’t make it my color and it may not be easy to find the original image that people have towards me. I actually think the results turned out more classy because my members’ colors weren’t insisted on us/the album.
Q. You released solo songs after “Superstar K” and you could’ve even debuted as a solo. What are some things that are better because you are doing music in a group?
Seungyoon: I can do things that can’t be done when I’m alone and I’m much less bored no matter what I do. When a song is being sung, the fact that a different voice appears at a different part is deeply charming to me. Whether I’m onstage or recording, the fact that I’m not lonely is important to me. And I am grateful that there are people who can support me whenever I make a mistake or hesitate.
Q. You entered a large company and became a trainee then debuted but you seem to still have the originality specific to you, which you showed in the audition program. Did you consciously work hard to protect it?
Seungyoon: If you see that, I’m relieved. I learned many things I wasn’t able to do when I joined YG. Dancing, the ability to sing a variety of songs, musical knowledge, foreign languages… On the other hand, I neglected things I was good at. I felt that when I supplemented for things I was bad at, my results would show that I could make both my strengths and weaknesses work in the end. I’m very sure there is a principle I have insisted on and protected until now but I think my attitude of doing anything that comes my way is closer to it than insisting on one type of music or a specific side of myself. I think it’s only right to match the singing method and vocal tone according to the song so I’ve always changed that along the way. Despite that, if you see that something that’s like me is seeped in and felt, I’m relieved.
Q. Don’t you want to do a solo project outside of the group?
Seungyoon: Just as one must sharpen one’s knife well and use it only when it’s sharp, I feel the thirst and greed to show who I am but I’m waiting for the right time. When many people listen to WINNER’s music because they trust it to be good, I want to release my solo album. Because only then would many more people lend their ears to my music.
Q. Each members’ individuality is strong in this group. I’m curious on how you mediate between yourselves while singing with your own voices clearly.
Seungyoon: It becomes very easy when each of us acknowledge each other. Possibilities of troubles disappear since each of us acknowledge each other’s distinct differences and gather what each of us are good at. It doesn’t suit us to take the effort to unite through one thing and I don’t think that’ll work well either.
Q. If you were to make a subunit like GD&TOP of BIGBANG, who would you want to do it with and with what kind of color?
Seungyoon: I think I can do it with each of my members. I can imagine this kind of feeling if I worked with this friend and that kind of feeling if I worked with that hyung. I am very greedy.
Q. What kind of directing did you receive when recording “Pricked” from Song Mino, as a producer?
Taehyun: Mino-hyung said that my sorrowful and sad voice would fit well with this song. He asked me to sing as softly as possible by mixing my breath with my singing as much as possible but it wasn’t very easy.
Q. How would you assess your vocal color?
Taehyun: I believe that one must give up on parts that one has to give up so that the parts that one can shine in, shines more. Whenever I sing a part that comes after Seungyoon-hyung’s strong voice, I feel like my voice plays the role of a cushion and paints a dynamic feeling overall. Relatively speaking, I think my voice produces a feeling of soft space.
Q. How did you spend your time last year?
Taehyun: During our long hiatus, I studied on how to recover from the things I found regretful during our promotions until then. I spent a lot of time learning how to play the guitar and I exercised often too. I also thought a lot and listened to lots of music and it was a time of training to heal myself.
Q. Out of everything you did, what stayed in your heart the most?
Taehyun: Since we are a group that creates and produces songs, I had to know a variety and a lot of music. I listened to new songs and because I learned how to play the guitar, I have recently fallen for blues music. I listened to music by legendary artists such as B. B. King, blues rock, and even modern rock. The songs I wrote that are in this upcoming album were influenced by this type of music.
Q. The music trend these days is to take references from hiphop but the fact that you talk about blues interests me.
Taehyun: When you dig deeper into hiphop, the roots of it is African-American music, such as jazz and blues. Our company handles hiphop most of the time and talented people overflow from the building so if one wants to be slightly different from them, instead of jumping into all that, one has to find something new (laughs).
Q. You appeared in the drama, “Midnight Diner” and you are going to be in the new variety show, “Actor School” where you learn how to act from Park Shinyang. How would you grade your acting from 1 to 10?
Taehyun: Naturally, I am still only a 1. However, I think that acting is similar to music as the importance lies in how one learns it. I think acting can only be done if one believes the situation that is given in front of the camera. Above anything else, acting takes away the fear one may habitually feel whenever thrown into a new situation.
Q. What do you wish for in 2016?
Taehyun: I want to show our fans many things first but before that I promised myself to grasp a certain attitude. Whatever the results are, instead of throwing myself into despair, I want to be satisfied and thankful. Even though this is only possible through patience and maturity, I want to become a person who is satisfied and thankful.
Q. I’m curious about your recent whereabouts. How have you been?
Hoon: Having a long hiatus after debuting and having promotions made me feel like I was back to being a trainee. I think I experienced a similar feeling to when I started my trainee period after the public was familiar with my face through “K-Pop Star”. It was also a time when I could return to my roots and look back at myself. I was able to think about the mistakes I made as a rookie and many different things about how we promoted [for 2014 S/S].
Q. What are the aspects of the upcoming album that you gave extra attention to and that you are fond of?
Hoon: I worked on a few songs but I don’t know if they’ll be released. It is common for information about the album to be finalized right before the release.
Q. Song Mino appeared in “Show Me The Money” alone last year. Do you also have something you want to do outside the borders of your group?
Hoon: There are opportunities like variety shows and acting but I am thinking a lot about doing something else entirely. I also think about what I could do if I am unable to be a singer. I have always thought that there is no such thing as useless experience so I want to challenge myself in a variety of things and experience things and even fail at things.
Q. I am aware that you thought about being a choreographer before preparing to debut.
Hoon: I don’t feel familiar with words such as, “You seem very interested in dancing and choreographing”, “You’re really good at that”. Dancing and choreographing are just things I knew how to do from when I was young. My horizon has widened a little now and I think about wanting to continuously create contents of something. Choreographing is making something out of nothing anyways. Or it can be things like clothes, characters, writing, stories. I like the process of drawing something in my head and then creating something after that so I’ll probably end up working in that area.
Q. Is that the next step after achieving your dream as a singer?
Hoon: I think I’m dreaming something different right now. I’ll be happy with being the best singer but I also think about what I really am when I strip myself from being a celebrity. I don’t think I’m a star yet but I become burdened at times when people recognise me on the streets or when people say their life changed thanks to me. I feel grateful but on the other hand I sometimes feel like this job doesn’t suit me as a person.
Q. You overflow with energy, brightness, and animalistic flexibility on stage but it seems like your offstage personality is different.
Hoon: Those things are masks I wear on stage (laughs). In some ways I think I lack self esteem. I don’t monitor myself often and I become embarrassed of looking at myself.
Q. I heard you have lots of interest in fashion.
Hoon: Because I’m lacking in looks (laughs)? I think among people who speak well or have outstanding fashion, many of them aren’t that good looking. When I was young, if I wasn’t dancing, I was fixing up clothes, looking for clothes brands that aren’t very known in community sites, and cutting back on money for food to buy vintage clothes. As of now, since I’ve been wearing whatever the stylist hands me, my interest has been waning. The color we have as a group is quite distant from the fashion I enjoyed and I’ve become accustomed to getting dressed by someone else.
Q. A very joyous moment you spent recently?
Hoon: Yesterday. We released a new song (Pricked) and it was my birthday.
Q. I feel as though you are slightly tired
Hoon: Because right now is the time when thoughts run wild. I need to show a different side of myself but the burden is most great right before the lid opens.
Q. What do you want to achieve this year?
Hoon: Before I go to sleep I constantly think about wanting to achieve happiness.
Q. How does it feel to come back after 1 year and 5 months?
Jinwoo: I’m very excited and I feel like we’re debuting again and starting something. Not doing anything suddenly made me feel wildly empty and exhausted. I was greatly stressed because I wanted to do something but I didn’t or couldn’t.
Q. How do parts get divided among vocalists?
Jinwoo: Because us five have worked with each other for a long time, we know which of us could do a certain part best. When members who compose songs like Seungyoon, Taehyun, or Mino, complete a song, they think about it and give parts according to who suits it best.
Q. Kang Seungyoon has thick and strong vocals, Nam Taehyun has a vocal color that is soft and spreads out. You seem to sing clear and distinct parts. How do you assess your vocal color?
Jinwoo: When I was young, I didn’t like my voice. It was so bad that when I recorded my singing to practice on my own, I cried after listening to it. Now, I acknowledge and accept it comfortably as my individual color like other people do but I don’t think it’s easy for me to be completely satisfied with it.
Q. You were a trainee for the longest. What was the energy that helped you endure that time?
Jinwoo: There must’ve been a desperation that made me think I couldn’t do anything else but this, despite my age. I was right in front of a steep cliff. Even when time passed, I couldn’t see anything and as people around me kept leaving, I became subdued. But one day Taehyun and I received the opportunity to be back dancers at a YG Family concert. I danced behind 2NE1-sunbaes, Jinusean-sunbaes, and BIGBANG-sunbaes and I felt as though the cheers of their fans woke me. I thought, “I’m so happy to dance at the back but how much more will I be enchanted if there were people who focused on me when I sang and danced in the front?” I think I tasted the charm of being a singer then and I had goosebumps. I think that experience helped me endure the hard times.
Q. You must feel like you achieved your dream.
Jinwoo: I did achieve my dream but I feel like I keep dreaming of more things constantly. If the size of the goal I challenge myself in is 1~2, it has turned into something that’s more than 3~4 now. I want to perform in front of more people and I want to grow enough to be able to sing alone.
Q. You’re the eldest in the group but it doesn’t feel like it.
Jinwoo: I don’t care if I don’t give off the feeling of being a hyung nor do I care to be treated like a hyung. Whenever my members do things that is very wrong, I make sure to say something but I never hit them or anything like that (laughs).
Q. If you were to organise a subunit within the group, what kind of planning would you do?
Jinwoo: Just the vocals, so if Seungyoon, Taehyun, and I did a project together, I think we would be able to show something more expressive through each of our different colors.
Source: wkorea, goduandme5