Hyungwon, Jooheon, and I.M for Rolling Stone Korea
“Answer to Unlock” for Arcade Pang
Hyungwon with Steve Aoki hair is going to show up in my nightmares
Behind the scenes of Gambler MOVE REC
Interview for Vibe Magazine (playlist recommendations @ the link)
All In on Monsta X
Q. How was it broadcasting your live comeback show through Naver’s '#OUTNOW'? What were some reactions you got?
Minhyuk: It’s cute how the fans like to call us ‘sons of Naver.’ We’re always happy if they’re happy. The comeback show was a really fun experience in and of itself so we really enjoyed it.
Kihyun: The people around us really liked it, and a lot of them were really surprised that we were doing a comeback show with Naver. I was really happy with it.
Hyungwon: I was relieved that Monbebe’s enjoyed it. We did our best to put on the best comeback show we could and I felt it paid off.
Jooheon: I was really nervous to perform the song I produced, “Gambler,” in front of our fans for the first time but it was also a relief.
I.M: People really seemed to like it, which definitely makes us feel like all the hard work and preparation we put in was worth it.
Q. Your new mini-album was released about 7 months after your last full-length album, Fatal Love. That’s a relatively short break, what was it like producing the album during that time?
MH: Our members consistently work on creating music before, after, and during album promotions so we didn’t feel very rushed. We put a lot of hard work into this album so we hope people like it a lot.
KH: We started receiving the songs for this album right after Fatal Love. I feel like we built off of those preparations to swiftly put together a very solid album.
HW: We started working on it immediately after finishing Fatal Love. We wanted to fill the album with more diverse types of music, so I tried using English lyrics for “Secrets,” the song I produced, and also wrote some lyrics for our fansong “Bebe.” More than anything, the members did an amazing job performing and bringing the songs to life. I’m really grateful to them for that.
JH: Our title song “Gambler,” and the b-side “Heaven” were the most recently completed songs on this album. The production process was really instinctual for me this time, I revised the songs over and over just working towards whatever intuitively sounded good and I’m really proud that it’s getting good feedback.
IM: I feel this every time I’m working on music but it’s really never easy. But whenever we release an album, I always end up thinking, yup Monsta X gets it done!
Q. You’ve achieved quite a lot as a group, which must lead to high expectations for yourself. How did those pressures influence this album?
MH: I’ve never really put too much stock in scores or results, and I’ve never felt too much pressure either. I always think that we should work as hard as we’ve always done and brought that energy to this album as well.
KH: I try not to think of our expectations as high. In my experience, once that sort of pressure starts affecting an album, the results will usually be worse for it. I think we just approached it as doing the best we could do.
HW: Rather than pressure, I was resolved to show more improvement and growth so I just focused on heightening the quality of my productions.
JH: I’d be lying if I said I didn’t feel some sense of burden but I also had enough confidence in my music to disregard that. I leaned on that feeling while participating in the album.
IM: Overthinking things can poison them. So I’ve always tried to focus on the basics of playing my role well and making good music for people to enjoy.
Q. The members have participated in every album so far but I see you’re credited on the majority of songs for this one. What kind of musical growth do you think you’ve experienced?
MH: I think our greatest advantage is how the members have learned new ways of expressing the various sides of their personalities and characters.
KH: I think I’ve improved in understanding the overall structure of songs and how to sing them more effectively.
HW: I was happy that I could work in several different genres through this album.
JH: I’ve spent a lot of time analyzing the members’ different musical characteristics and figuring out how to write well for them and I think that paid off in producing the impressive accomplishment of a title song.
IM: I think we’re learning and developing in a lot of ways, it’s hard to pinpoint just any one in particular. That’s why I believe Monsta X has further potential to grow in many different ways in the future.
Q. You must have come across some challenges while making this album, what do the members do to resolve those?
MH: I think it’s all about communication. We give a lot of feedback about each other’s songs and thankfully that’s often taken in account. That’s how we’ll do it in the future as well.
KH: We debate a lot about how to best express what the songwriters intended. And we worked through those debates with a lot of conversation.
HW: For “Secrets,” I wanted it to have more of a popsong sound. The members executed that as well as I was hoping and I was really thankful. For “Bebe,” I focused on all the things we wanted to say to Monbebe and tried to communicate them as truthfully as possible.
JH: I debated the most over whether to make the song more appealing to the general public or focus on expressing Monsta X’s unique identity. My current musical standards are set by our fandom’s tastes so I decided that emphasizing our own qualities would be better. The stress that builds up when I’m making music is also let off by making music so I think my worries work themselves out naturally during the process.
IM: I worked with my usual crew. We just set out to do what we always do and ended up producing “Rotate,” which I’m proud of, and the members pulled it off very well and made it a very smooth process.
Q. Your album title One Of A Kind speaks to something that is irreplaceable and impossible to replicate, so what do you believe makes Monsta X different from other idols and artists?
MH: We’re Monsta X and that makes us different. I think we’ve been putting together our unique identity as Monsta X through our music, performances, energy and concepts from the last 6 years. Over time we’ve steadily built up our own style and that sets us apart.
KH: I believe that Monsta X songs are done best when we do them. Nobody else can express or execute them as well as we do.
HW: I think our biggest advantage is that aside from our identity as a group, each of our members has a distinct color and personality of their own. That means we can carry out a wider range of music and performances. I think our fans recognize and appreciate that as well.
JH: Explosiveness, hard work, energy, passion, stamina. There are a lot of words that can express us and I think the fact that we can be expressed with all of those words is our greatest strength.
IM: There’s no way to really compare us with other idols or artists but I do think our teamwork is exceptionally strong. I don’t think you can discuss Monsta X without recognizing the positive energy and influence of that teamwork.
Q. You’ve received a lot of attention for your distinct concepts and powerful performances. What did you focus on for your performances for “Gambler?”
MH: We tried our best to pull off a more subtle style of performance. It’s still tiring for us on stage but we wanted to this performance to seem ‘less exhausting’ and more subdued to the viewers.
KH: We wanted the hook section to be more sly and sharp. But we also wanted to keep our energy levels up and make sure every part of the performance came across as fluid and natural.
HW: A lot of our previous choreography was really forceful and explosive, this time we focused on being powerful but restrained.
JH: We tried to tie it very close to the sound. We worked towards making a performance that came from the music and lyrics and that gave us the great choreography that we have now.
IM: We always have a lot of conversations about how to stage performances that defy expectations. We focused a lot on bringing an element of the unexpected to the melody and choreography of Gambler.
Q. Your music video is getting a lot of praise as well. What can you tell us about preparing for that?
MH: We tried to give it the feeling of a one-take performance. We put a lot of work into our formations and movements and the coordinations between us.
KH: I tried to take good care of my physical condition. The better shape we’re in, the better our results will be. I made an effort not to let my condition or energy drop.
HW: We paid a lot of attention to the visual aspects. This music video was filmed in a wide variety of locations and the different stylings and backgrounds of each concept help make it more immersive to watch.
JH: There’s an auction scene in the music video and we all look very serious in the final cut but we were joking with each other the whole time we were filming and it was a really fun experience.
IM: We stayed true to the concept of a “gambler.” We transformed into villains for the music video of “Love Killa” and this time we did our best to express the captivation of gambling with our expressions and gestures.
Q. The black suits and attractive visuals you guys showcased have apparently been bringing in a flood of new fans, so what would you say is your greatest appeal in attracting fans?
MH: I think we all feel pretty similarly about this. It’s something our fans always bring up, which is the ‘gap’ in our personas. There’s a big ‘gap’ between who we are on stage and off. I think that charms a lot of people.
KH: We perform like professionals on stage but otherwise we’re pretty funny and humorous. A lot of people seem to like that.
HW: I also think it’s the ‘gap.’ If you watch us talking comfortably amongst ourselves on V LIVE and the like, you can get a sense of familiarity that’s different from when we’re onstage. I think that’s one of the elements that fans appreciate most about us.
JH: Our surprise appeal. We have a very strong kind of energy on stage and then another very strong kind of energy off stage. I think that appeals to a lot of fans.
IM: The difference between onstage and off? We do a lot of really intense concepts when we perform so viewers might think we’re intense people as well but we all have pretty unusual personalities. Fans seem to really like that about us.
Q. Other than music, what is something that each member has been interested in lately?
MH: For me, it’s gaming and painting. I like hobbies that I can do in a small room.
KH: Since we’re in the middle of promotions, I’m really just focused on the album.
HW: I’ve been interested in photography, acting and working out.
JH: I’ve been most interested in cooking and looking for new clothes lately.
IM: I’ve been obsessed with croffles. Croffles are really good.
Q. In your content or interviews, we can get a sense that you guys have a bond like family. How do your friendships influence your working together?
MH: It makes a huge difference that we can laugh and have fun together during our down time. Promoting is hard work and we’re often tired but we can be comfortable and relaxed with each other and we end up entertaining and energizing one another.
KH: I truly believe that’s more important than any of the extraneous stuff that happens during promotions. Rather than being an influence, that’s the entirety of us working together as Monsta X.
HW: It’s not something you can force or make up. Those kind of bonds that can’t be faked create a lot of positive synergy for us when we’re onstage as well.
JH: It’s a huge influence. We feel the effects of our unity viscerally when we’re performing. Promotions are always very tough but a single joke can refresh our energy and will.
IM: Aside from our skills and talents etc, I think our friendship makes up about half of who we are as Monsta X. I believe our teamwork is incredibly valuable.
Q. Looking at the years that have passed since your debut and the cycles of your career as a group, one can definitely see your trajectory towards success, as well as the attention you’re getting globally. What do your yourselves think of Monsta X’s position in the present and direction for the future?
MH: I don’t want to pick a desired direction. My only goal is to share a lot of love with the people who like us.
KH: I want to be good to and take good care of Monbebe in the future and make them happy with good music. That’s the kind of artist I want to be.
HW: I want to be a group that drives forward and doesn’t lag behind, just as we’ve always done.
JH: I think Monsta X has built up a flavor and color all our own. I believe that no other group has the same tone that we do so I think our direction for the future is just remaining the impressive Monsta X that we are for another 10, 20 years.
IM: If we continue to receive a lot of support and love, I couldn’t ask for anything more. Monsta X has come our own way in our own style thus far and we’ll continue to go that way.
The congratulations started early when the five active members ended June 17th’s episode of Naver NOW’s Gabojago shortly before midnight with a teddy bear in a birthday crown.
Later on the 18th, Shownu hosted a birthday VLive. Highlights included him singing his parts from Bebe and Secrets and as usual, unexpected yelling, standing way too close to the camera (to show that his eyes were okay 😭) and a giant cake (that he did not eat for once because he was still a little hungover lmaoo).
To our leader Shownu hyung, whom I always love and respect. I truly believe that no other leader could have lead us the way you have, unchanging and unwavering for the past six years. Always be happy and healthy, hyung.
And you look sexy in this picture
Your forehead is handsome and your eyes are handsome and your nose is handsome, my awesome hyung. Thank you for always being as warm as you are and I love you. Happy birthday from the bottom of my heart hyung, you shockingly sexy person
Minhyuk (posted at 6:18 PM)
Hyungah, it’s me, Minhyuk
Your presence is always big to us but now I feel it more than ever. Like how you always start our greetings and it feels so awkward when I do it and your absence just looms large in everything. Hyung, you have to get better soon, okay? Happy birthday, thank you for being born as Son Hyunwoo and thank you for being born again as Shownu
To my loved and respected hyung. I wish you a very happy birthday. Dancing with you is my favorite thing. I want us to dance together again soon ^^ I hope you were happier than anyone today, and I hope you’ll always sing and dance with us as our healthy, hungry, funny, and sexy Shownu. I’m always rooting for you.
You weren’t even away from us for very long but I still missed you very much
I won’t expect us to always be happy
But let’s always laugh and play dumb games and have fun together, even when we’re old
I love you, hyung
Sources: OfficialMonstaX 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11, Rolling Stone Korea, Arcade Pang, starshipTV, Vibe Magazine, VLive
(all translations my own) ETA: Forgot a link, sorry mods T-T
Their birthday tweets are always so sappy, these sweethearts 😭♥️🖤