“For four years, we worked hard to become a better version of Winner.”
That’s what the group’s leader, Kang Seung-yoon, had to say on April 4, which was the day when Winner dropped their second full album titled EVERYD4Y. Just as he said, during the four years since the group’s debut, Winner continuously tried new things instead of settling for the status quo. EVERYD4Y is an album that shows the evidence of the growth that Winner has undergone. Each of the members had a hand in writing the music and lyrics for all 12 tracks, which cover a variety of genres such as trap (subgenre of hip hop), acoustic, and pop. Winner has also succeeded in captivating the public with their new music. The title song, “EVERYDAY” has not only taken over the No. 1 spot in eight different domestic music charts, it has also landed at the top spot of iTunes music charts in 18 different countries. The expectation now is that Winner will continue to break records and show growth.
10. What kind of album is EVERYD4Y?
Kang Seung-yoon: I think the album will become like a gift for the fans because we wrote a lot of songs with the fans in mind. For the public, it’s an album that says, “This is what Winner can do,” and it shows our own unique musical style. Regardless of how well the album does, the four of us are very satisfied with how it turned out.
Lee Seung-hoon: Because everyone was involved in writing all 12 of the songs, it’s an album that really feels like “our baby.”
10. The album’s title track, which shares the same name as the album itself, is a trap song. It’s different from the pop songs the group has done before which focus more on the vocals. How did “EVERYDAY” become the title track?
Lee Seung-hoon: When we heard the song, we liked it because it sounded so sophisticated. But we did wonder whether President Yang (CEO of YG Entertainment) would think it was a good song when he looked at it from a mass appeal standpoint.
Kang Seung-yoon: It might not sound like a typical Winner song, but by pulling off a trap song, we felt confident that we could show everyone our own style of hip hop.
10. I heard that Kang Seung-yoon and Song Min-ho composed the music for “EVERYDAY,” and Lee Seung-hoon joined the two in co-writing the lyrics.
Kang Seung-yoon: Since I’m not a rapper and I’m not very familiar with the trap genre, I asked for a lot of advice. I wanted the rap part to feel approachable to people, just like the chorus of an ordinary song. Min-ho and Seung-hoon helped a lot. We wrote the lyrics and made the melody together. I’ve been really into chill trap lately, so it’s a genre that I’ve been listening to a lot.
10. There were a lot of songs that the members co-wrote together. What was it like when you were all working together?
Lee Seung-hoon: I tend to start projects based on my hunches. Then Seung-yoon comes in and helps with the musical aspect and organizes everything. The other members have also gotten a lot of help from Seung-yoon, so I would like to thank Seung-yoon for that.
Kang Seung-yoon: I basically just layed the spoons on top of a table that had already been set (laughs). I feel like all I did was change the melodies that the rappers made so that it would suit the song’s vocals.
10. Why did you come back with a full-length album instead of a mini album?
Kang Seung-yoon: There were also talks of doing a mini album. In the beginning, we would pull all-nighters for a week and take five to seven new songs to President Yang all at once. When nearly all of those songs were approved, it was suddenly confirmed that we would be putting out a full-length album. To be honest, that’s our know-how. Stockpiling songs and letting the president hear them when the time is right is our secret weapon (laughs).
Song Min-ho: Even when it looks like we’re on a hiatus, we do a lot of work. Since we never know when an opportunity will present itself, we work on things in advance as if we were keeping a gun loaded. Since there are so many artists at YG, even getting to release one single is something that you feel grateful for. That’s why it was such a pleasant surprise when the president said we should make a full-length album.
10. How exactly did President Yang react when he heard the songs that you guys presented to him?
Kang Seung-yoon: I had never heard him being so complimentary toward us. The atmosphere in our group chat room could not be more harmonious (laughs). We’re so happy and having so much fun that it makes me wonder if we’ve ever joked around this much with President Yang (laughs).
Lee Seung-hoon: He has said thing like, “It’s interesting because each of the members have such a different writing style” and “I think it’s going to be a fun album.” We had him listen to other songs in the past, but we never heard those kinds of compliments. It’s nice because it’s not easy to get complimented by President Yang (laughs).
10. Which song on the album are you the most attached to?
Lee Seung-hoon: Track number 11, “RAINING.” The song was released in Japan first, and it’s the first song that I’ve written myself. For me, it has the significance of being my first “finished product.”
Kim Jin-woo: ”MOVIE STAR.” First of all, the lyrics are just so good. I’d recommend this song because I think that anyone who listened to it – not just me – would be able to find comfort in it.
Song Min-ho: Track number 2, “AIR.” It’s a song that Seung-yoon worked on after getting inspired by an air freshener that Inner Circle (Winner’s official fan club) gave us, and I really like it because the song’s message is expressed so well.
Kang Seung-yoon: For me, each and every song is precious, so I’d have to think long and hard if you asked me to choose just one song. If I really had to pick one track, it would be “HELLO.” If you listen to the song until the end, you’ll find yourself laughing. I had a lot of fun working on it. It’s a track that took a lot of preparation, and it’s the song that I would want as our follow-up single. Everyone should definitely listen to “HELLO” until the very end.
10. When you compare the second album to the first, what do you think has changed?
Kang Seung-yoon: I think [the second album] is a little more sophisticated. Back then, we focused on making timeless music. This time around, we ended up making songs that more people could enjoy together. I feel like we’ve expanded the territory of the kind of music that we can do.
Lee Seung-hoon: For this album, not only were we involved in the design of the album, but we were also heavily involved in the production of relevant goods, the scheduling of our tour, the creation of the tour concept, and with coming up with a concept for our fan meeting. We’ve also been communicating more actively with our label. I feel like we’re involved in everything that has to do with our music, and that makes me proud.
10. It looks like your teamwork has gotten stronger.
Lee Seung-hoon: As time goes by, it feels like the relationships between the members are becoming stronger. We have a great, close relationship. Our dancers and staff members that have worked with other groups in the past tell us that they have so much fun when they’re working with us. Also, although we don’t say brilliant things when we’re on shows, we do during informal occasions (laughs).
Kang Seung-yoon: We have a lot of really serious conversations. We also draw a lot of inspiration from each other. Min-ho tends to listen to a lot of new, good music, so he makes a lot of recommendations to the other members. If there was a secret to our teamwork, I’d say that it’s the fact that we talk with each other and research things together. Also, we’ve always just been close (laughs). We talk everyday about how we want to go on a trip with each other, even if it’s not for work.
10. What are your expectations and goals as you set out to promote this album?
Kang Seung-yoon: The group’s biggest goal is to expand the range of our promotional activities and our musical capacity. We also want to connect more to our fans and the public through variety shows and concerts. President Yang heard our opinions regarding this and immediately started organizing a plan for us, which is close to being finalized. We’ve never gone on an Asian tour or a world tour, so we do want to try that as well.
Translated by Jennifer Earwood