How do you feel about being on the cover of the inaugural issue of Y Magazine?
Minhyuk: It’s always important to start off on the right foot. Being the cover of a magazine feels good but to be honest, it’s a lot of pressure. I really wanted to do well so I tried especially hard for this shoot, I don’t know if you could tell (laughs). It’s a honor that we could be such a big part of the magazine’s first issue. Shownu: I think I was more relaxed and had more fun because Minhyuk was here. We got to try a lot of different styles of clothes and I feel like each one showed off a different side of us.
Did you do anything last night to prepare for the shoot today?
MH: I didn’t eat dinner and I turned my humidifier up to level 3 before I went to bed. I usually keep it at level 1 but I wanted to make sure my skin was well hydrated. I’m sure my electric bill went up though. SN: Normally I eat one healthy meal and then one meal of whatever I want but yesterday I ate healthy for all three meals. I had a hearty salad for lunch and for dinner I had sashimi and some sushi. Oh wait, Jooheon brought a whole box of fish cakes home so I had just three of those this morning.
Monsta X also debuted in the spring - May 14th, to be exact. You debuted in 2015 so you’re already in your 7th year. How do you feel about that?
MH: I don’t really think like, ‘oh wow where did the time go, 7 years have already gone by.’ I feel like I tried a lot of different things, worked hard at what I was given, and envied others when appropriate during that time. So I guess I mostly feel like those seven years were well spent. Like that time feels ‘right and natural.’ SN: I feel pretty differently, like ‘it’s already been 7 years? I’ve been in Monsta X that long?’ It was so fast. Like the time just went by and I didn’t do much with it. I feel kind of regretful.
Still, that’s now seven years that you’ve spent with your members. Do the members still have the same chemistry? Who do you spend the most time with these days?
MH: I think I get along with everyone about the same but these days Jooheon has the most energy and keeps our practices from being tedious. It can be hard, doing the same things over and over but Jooheon keeps us in ‘fighting’ spirit. SN: Even when we don’t have specific plans, I think I see and spend time with the ’93 guys a lot. We meet up and eat together a lot.
The two of you seem to have opposite personalities. What do you think of each other’s characters? Is there anything you particularly envy or admire about each other?
MH: I think being like Shownu would reduce a lot of mental stress. He tends to takes things in stride and deal with them calmly. Well, I guess it could still be stressful for him but from an outside perspective, it seems like he really doesn’t struggle with anything too much. He thinks positively. SN: I agree that Minhyuk’s personality is really different from mine. I look at Minhyuk and I think, ‘is that how a celebrity is supposed to act?’ He’s always really outgoing, and he’s serious when he needs to be but otherwise he’s really well-spoken and witty and I feel like I’m watching someone who’s just meant to be on TV. I’ve been working in entertainment for a while now but I’ve never felt like I’m cut out to be a celebrity. But I feel that whenever I look at Minhyuk.
Have you first impressions of each other held up?
SN: No. Mine was different. At first, Minhyuk was extremely polite and formal but now, well we’re pretty much like family. I guess that’s just how comfortable we are with each other. MH: I feel the exact opposite as you, that’s really interesting. Shownu just seemed like a star from the first time I met him. And he actually speaks really well. I definitely feel that whenever we’re on variety shows together. Especially the really big shows, I always feel like his experience makes a big difference.
For Shownu it’s your body, for Minhyuk it’s your skin but you’re both known for taking exceptionally good care of yourselves. Do you have any know-how or rules that you keep to?
SN: Your body is really straightforward. Just eat healthy, (gestures at the snacks in front him) not stuff like this (laughs). Be careful not to hurt yourself but anyone who puts some work and energy into it can improve their body. Of course different people change in different ways or at different paces but your body is simple and gives back what you put in. I try to work out 6 days a week. I take one rest day to prevent injuries. I usually spend an hour to an hour and a half, sometimes I just take my time with strength workouts, sometimes it’s just cardio, whatever my condition is that day. I think it’s been about two years since I’ve worked out like this. Before that, I didn’t gain weight no matter what I ate but these days I have to put more consistent work into maintaining my body. MH: Yeah. It’s not like the old days. I don’t do face masks lately. Face masks use to feel really moisturizing but I think like my skin has gotten more sensitive and easily troubled. So these days I just use a thick layer of good basics. I’ve started putting eye cream on my laugh lines and the corners of my mouth. I used to use up to seven different toners and research all the ingredients in different products. Honestly, these days I feel like there’s no substitute for good genes. I mean, maintenance is still really important, of course.
What is your shopping style like?
SN: I usually use the internet, and buy everything from one site. I like being able to search by brand and price. MH: I like both on and offline shopping and I focus on colors. I tend to decide what colors I need before going shopping. I usually prefer neutral colors like navy, beige, brown and khaki. Also, gray, black and white.
Do you find certain aspects of each other’s fashion hard to understand?
SN: (Looks at Minhyuk) I don’t. For real. MH: To be honest, I did, a lot (laughs), but nowadays that just seems like Shownu’s sense of style. We just dress really differently so at first I was like, ‘huh?’ but these days it doesn’t look weird at all and it just seem to suits Shownu. Maybe it just looks good because it’s him. SN: Minhyuk has the most unique style out of the members. He makes a lot of bold choices. But it never looks awkward and it always seems to work. MH: Wait! I thought of something! The way he pulls his socks up over his sweatpants! I thought it was really weird at first but now I think it just works for him. It makes his legs look good. SN: That’s what I was going for. Making my legs look good. MH: Oh, so you found your own fit. Respect. SN: I don’t like to look like I’m making an effort but I am (laughs).
Then what’s your favorite fashion item that you’ve bought recently?
MH: (Points to the pants he’s wearing) These pants. I happened to buy them while we were abroad, and they might look like any other cargo pants but I really like the way they fit and feel. My style actually changed a lot because of these. I’ve been trying to find this brand whenever we’re overseas. I think our fans prefer it when I wear jeans but these pants are really comfortable and I’m really attached to them. They’ve changed the way I dress.
Never mind shopping, going outside at all these days isn’t easy due to the pandemic. What do you do during your downtime at home?
MH: I clean my humidifier, I find new good places to order food, I play video games, I’ve been shopping for bed linens now that the seasons are changing. I’ve gotten into taking care of my scalp so I’ve been researching shampoo and hair products. We often recommend and share stuff we like with each other so we’ve been sharing scalp toner and cabbage juice at home. SN: I spend more free time at my studio than at home. Recently I added a lot of weights and equipment so I don’t have to go to the gym anymore, I just work out there. I watch a lot of Youtube. I listen to playlists and mixes or else watch stuff about cooking or health or music.
What kind of content do you like to watch?
SN: I don’t watch many mukbangs anymore. I watch a lot of stuff about working out and exercise, or life advice, or audiobooks. I’m not good at reading books for a long time but it’s a lot easier to listen to them. MH: I watch a lot of comedy. I like the Youtube series, Hansarang Alpine Club, a lot of the skits are about being middle-aged and the humor and pathos of that. It’s really funny but also a lot to consider. It makes me think a lot about my father’s life. I’m a big fan of anime so I watch a lot of content and reviews about that.
Is there anything you’re particularly immersed in these days?
MH: Anime. I’ll watch anything that’s not too “otherworldly.” Oh, what does that mean? (Laughs) Basically I’ll watch everything that’s not too grotesque or unrealistic. Well, obviously I don’t watch everything. SN: Hm, for me… I’m particularly immersed in not being too immersed in anything.
Monsta X first and foremost brings to mind powerful performances and energetic songs. What kind of music do you typically listen to?
SN: I like stuff that’s striking and addictive. (T/N Here he makes a bad joke about heavy metal that’s impossible to translate sorry lol) Usually pop that’s a bit sexy, something with a bit of groove and rhythm. MH: Music that doesn’t demand too much attention, something that just flows and is easy to listen to. Ballads or downtempo pop. Like Jeremy Zucker’s music, or these days I'm listening to Post Malone’s “Stay” a lot.
Would you ever try acting or musicals? Or is there anything else you would like to show your fans?
MH: Most of my other work, like Inkigayo or my show on Naver Now, I’ve been working with a lot of hoobae idols and I end up feeling a lot of pride? Fulfillment? I get a lot of that out of it. Especially when I get the sense they appreciated the advice I gave them or I hear they spoke well on their V Lives about meeting me or something like that. If it’s a chance to work with more hoobaes like that, I wouldn’t really care what the exact genre is. SN: I agree. Minhyuk is perfect for being and MC or a radio DJ. For me, it’s kind of hard to imagine now but I think I’d like to try acting someday. Though, of course, being a performing artist is what I like best and what I do best.
Monsta X’s performances are known for being impressive. What did you do to prepare for your recent fan concert?
MH: We made an effort to try some new things. We did different intros and revised some of our older performances. There was a lot to memorize and not that much time so I think it was harder on my brain than my body. SN: It was hard for both my body and my brain (laughs). I felt like I should take a lot more Omega-3. My memory is getting bad.
I’m sure you’ve seen a lot of reactions from fans over your career, what do you think they respond to especially well?
MH: Two things for sure. Selfies and comebacks with good songs. And also our performances! SN: I’m not sure about my selfies but they really liked it when I was on Hidden Singer. When I danced to “Bad Guy” by Rain. I think they just like it most when I dance. They also responded well to the OST Minhyuk and I did. They seem to like it when we do different kinds of projects.
How do you feel about today’s photoshoot? Did you like it?
MH: I really like darker, moodier photos. When we were consulting with the photographer, I kept saying how much I liked the direction and palette of the shots. In short, I loved it. SN: I liked the artistry and the moodiness of it. I also really liked that we got to try a wide range of poses.
What’s your favorite season out of the year? And what do you hope to do when that season comes around this year?
MH: Fall. I want to go scuba-diving. About two years ago, I wanted to overcome my fear of water so I got scuba certified and even took intensive courses but I haven’t had the chance to go since so I feel like I have to go this year. SN: I like winter. And I want to travel abroad. MH: Do you think we’ll be able to? SN: We might by the coming winter. If we can, I’d like to go to Australia, where it’s warm. Wait, then why did I say I like winter? (Laughs)
What would you most like to hear right now? What could someone say to make you happy?
MH: “You did a good job today.” After work is done, I’ll post to our fan cafe “Finished today’s schedules” and our fans will reply, “Whatever it was, good work.” It really warms my heart. That phrase in and of itself is just comforting. SN: “Wanna go get some soju?”
As the first muses of Y
MH: ‘Trying too hard to be happy will make you unhappy.’ When I’m having a hard time, I try to think to myself ‘this too will pass.’ The more you struggle to rush past it, the deeper you’ll sink. For example, if I can’t sleep, I’ll think ‘’I’ll just be a little more tired, I’ll be okay, or ‘I’ll just sleep when I’m done with work’ or ‘I might as well just play some games then,’ and try not to dwell on it too much. Then problems just pass more naturally. SN: I’d want to say, try more things, make more mistakes, just go for it and give it a shot. Don’t hold back, all the more when you’re young, even more when you’re a teenager. Of course, I’m in a position now where I need to be more careful.
In conclusion, what kind of impression do you want to leave with people? How do you want people to think of Minhyuk, of Shownu?
MH: Fans will already know this but I always say, ‘a one-and-only idol!’ I’m sure you know how rookies always get compared to someone else. But now I just want Minhyuk to be Minhyuk, to have my own unique character and image. When I was starting out, it made me happy to be compared to some sunbaes that I respected, and I hope in the future someone will be happy to be compared to me. SN: I’d like to hear that Shownu’s good, he’s handsome, he’s cool, things like that. More than anything, ‘He’s good.’ There’s a lot of meaning in that word, good.
Source: OfficialMonstaX, Y Noblesse (my own translations)
I legit forget sometimes how damn handsome Minhyuk is
Shownu acting like he's not going to be enlisted by the winter 😭