(From the left) Kang Seung Yoon, Song Min Ho, Lee Seung Hoon, Kim Jin Woo/ Photo provided by YG Entertainment

K-pop group WINNER has lately been feeling quite a burden. Since their debut 4 years ago, they had a break for 2 years and 8 months and during that time, one of their members left the group. Moreover, with YG Entertainment’s main group BigBang sending one of their members to the army, WINNER is feeling the pressure to continue the legacy of their seniors.

However, they were really moved when YG Entertainment’s CEO, Yang Hyun Suk simply told them, “Even if you don’t do anything you guys are great as you are.”

WINNER is known to have released songs that are indifferent from others to earn the love of many fans. While there are a lot of interest, expectations, and worries to come from this group, they should not lose hope as they are a group with a shining presence.

1. It will be difficult for BigBang to perform as a whole group with one member being admitted to the army. Do you feel the pressure of filling in for your seniors?
S.Y. Kang: How could we ever fill in their absence? (Laughs) We are still not experienced enough. But, we will strive to become as good as BigBang by working on our music. In order for that to happen, we have the responsibility of setting the right direction for our group.
S.H. Lee: The construction of YG Entertainment’s building will soon be completed. While it is obvious that BigBang contributed the most to construct that building, it does not matter as we will contribute to improve the welfare of the hardworking employees in that building. Can I hear a cheer from all YG employees? (Everyone laughs)

2. Is YG Entertainment CEO, Yang Hyun Suk helping you improve your welfare?
S.Y. Kang: When we were shooting our new music video in Los Angeles, our CEO continuously monitored us through his staff. Despite the time difference in Seoul and L.A., we received speedy feedbacks. Among his feedback, there was one thing he said that touched us. During our shoot, we were working really hard and gave as much strive as we did when we first started off. However, he told us, “Even if you don’t do anything you guys are great as you are. It would be great if you just perform as you always do.” It seemed like he approved of our talents and that truly moved us.
J.W. Kim: He was also the first to ask us if there was anything we needed for our shoot and we were really grateful for that.

Kang Seung Yoon / Photo provided by YG Entertainment

3. Was there any advice that Yang Hyun Suk gave for the performance of your new song?
S.Y. Kang: Among one of our title tracks, Fool, he told us that he wanted member Lee Seung Hoon to choreograph the dance. Seung Hoon was the one who choreographed the dance for the final performance in a survival program called WIN (aired on Mnet) in 2014 and CEO Yang sent us a link of that performance saying he wanted something like that.
S.H. Lee: It’s been 3 years since I have choreographed a dance since our debut song, Empty. But when CEO Yang told us it would be great if I choreographed our new song, I felt like I was chosen to be representative of our country. So, I quickly thought of a choreography and sent it to him within a day. The result was successful because I was able to discuss how it should be done with my fellow members.

4. Tell us a bit about Really Really’s performance as well.
S.Y Kang: It is a performance that will have the most number of dancers on stage. (Laughs) It will depict a full image. Also, it is really easy to dance along to and it will feel fresh.

5. In the note of performances, we heard that WINNER member Kim Jin Woo was the first idol to be casted as a lead contemporary dancer in the production, The Little Prince.
J.W. Kim: It was a new challenge. I learned a lot from it. It helped me change the way I think and behave. Also, I become more expressive. It was a great opportunity and it is something I wish to try again.

6. Song Min Ho gained a lot of popularity in tvN’s program, New Journey to the West 3.
M.H. Song: It was really unexpected. When I was first casted, I went to the set with great excitement. While I was nervous working with seniors who were much more experienced than I was, they took good care of me. I worked hard without thinking about it too much. I am not sure if I was good in the show (laughs), but due to giving my best, I believe that program director Na Young Seok and Shin Hyo Jung was able to make me into a fun and loving character. I was really happy and I want to be casted again.
S.Y Kang: Not too long ago, many people always portrayed Min Ho as a cool guy with swag when he appeared in Mnet’s Show Me the Money 4. However, lately, people just keep saying he is funny. (Everyone laughs) I think this helped the public feel more comfortable towards our group. (M.H. Song: Hey, I still have swag.) All our members watched the program together. If we weren’t able to watch it together, we always took the time to watch it in our own time and commented on how funny it was in our chatting room.

Song Min Ho/ Photo provided by YG Entertainment

7. Another boy group called iKON is due to return with a comeback. WINNER has always had a rivalry with iKON since the survival program, WIN. What would happen if there was a clash in performances?
S.Y. Kang: I think it will be fun. We would have a lot of fun hanging out in the waiting room. (Laughs) Plus, it will be fun to compete with one another in the music charts. Their music differs from ours. The general public will enjoy this difference. I heard that iKON’s new song is great. We have a lot of expectations.

8. We hear that WINNER plans to continuously release songs till the end of this year. Tell us about your direction for the future.
S.Y. Kang: We plan to continuously create music and there will also be times where we receive songs from other writers. We want to create new and catchy music. If it’s dance, we could continue to create dance music but we want to make music that we want. We are keeping our options open to make music of various genres. So please keep an eye out for our future ahead.

reporter: Son Ye Ji, translation: Choi Na Ri