Q. Do you have a personal favorite on the full album EVERYD4Y?
MOVIE STAR. It might be because I know the production process behind the making of the song and the motive and meaning of the lyrics but the lyrics are very realistic to me. I’ve found that I really like that kind of realism. (laughs)
Q. Is there a song [from the album] that you want to recommend we listen during this current season?
I want to recommend EVERYDAY to listen to during the spring. All the side tracks are good though.
Q. You usually always don’t do much to your hair but your curls are really eye-catching. Whose idea was it?
While I was thinking about our concept, I found this hairstyle on the internet. I said, “I want to do this hair!” while showing the pictures I found to our staff members. They all liked it. Actually, I curled my hair for REALLY REALLY promotions too but no one remembers it. (laughs) I want to keep curling my hair until the end of this promotion. Since I’ve always kept my hair long, I also want to try cutting it short like a buzz cut.
Q. Following “REALLY REALLY”, the public has become more attuned to Jinwoo’s vocal color. Is there a song you want to specially remake while highlighting your vocals?
Justin Bieber’s “Love Yourself”. I sang it very often when I practiced my singing [during my trainee period]. I recorded it multiple times too.
Q. You’re constantly working on your variety show skills by appearing on “Infinite Challenge” and “Live a Good Life”. You’re a vocalist in WINNER but how do you feel when you appear on variety shows alone?
As a singer, I think I’m given two options when I get to appear on variety shows. I can either forget the characteristics I show as a singer and immerse myself in the variety show or sustain my singer image on the show. I do the former. When I appear on variety show, I forget all about WINNER Kim Jinwoo’s appearance and I try to show me, the 100% human being Kim Jinwoo.
Q. Spending time as 100% human being Kim Jinwoo must also be precious to you then.
Yes, I’m a homebody so the time I stay at home amounts to quite a lot. But through variety shows, I’ve met many different people and I’ve become quite extroverted. I go outside to spend time with people more often now.
Q. Who is the artist you respect the most?
The late actress Choi Jin-shil. When I first watched the drama “My Rosy Life”, I became obsessed with it. Naturally, the acting she showed on that drama was really good too. That drama was the reason behind my wanting to officially start acting.
Q. Many people always talk about how you are a “warm-hearted person who cries easily”. On the other hand, Seungyoon, who trained with you [for the longest time] said that you are tenacious and that you’re a “genius through effort”. Are you usually very generous to others while being strict on yourself?
That’s right. I really hate to inconvenience others. This makes me be really strict on myself. Because of that, whenever I get angry or sad, instead of depending on others, I tend to repress my emotions often. There are pros and cons to this kind of personality.
Q. Who do you think is the winner of life?
Myself (laughs). When I look back from the time when I was a child who grew up in the countryside to the present where I’m a member of WINNER, there have been many changes. I’m going to continue to work hard to go forward.
Q. Your never letting go of your camera on set really impacted me.
I’m really into photography right now. I started it as a hobby last year but I’ve become more focused(/serious) about it recently. But because of that, I’ve bought too many cameras that it’s becoming a problem. I counted the number of cameras I’ve bought so far and they totaled up nine.
Q. Do you like collecting things?
Actually, I love things(/objects) in general. Four years ago, I really loved action figures so I collected them. At the time, our dorm was small so organizing them into a cramped space was really exhausting. Now, I like things/objects that are useful and I like efficient things that I can create with more than things I just look at.
Q. What songs do you enjoy listening to these days?
Hmm, I’ll show you my playlist. My all-time favorite song is Childish Gambino’s “Redbone”. I’ve been listening to it on repeat today, here on set. I also like Bachi(?)’s “Beautiful”.
Q. It feels like your rap style is constantly changing.
When I was in high school, I admired rappers with hard/rough voices. I liked rapping voices like DMX so I made my voice raspy and even shouted when I rapped. But you need a voice that has a wide spectrum rather than an aggressive voice when you need to be able to own all the songs in an album. I became aware of that and kept working hard. Once I changed my style, the spectrum of music I could rap to widened significantly. These days, I like to put in unique words into my lyrics. I’m working hard to be aware of the very thin line between childishness and uniqueness. I hope that even if I use a word that has ambiguous meanings, the way people understand it is straightforward. Including myself, I like it when lyrics are memorable to listeners.
Q. How do you react when you are suddenly inspired in your daily life?
I note it down no matter what, whether by writing it or drawing it. I really hate it when I forget something because I didn’t note it down. I usually go to sleep at late hours because I enjoy the time right before falling asleep. Out of all the hours on the clock, that’s when I get the most ideas. When I think while lying down, I get ideas even right before my REM sleep and I either write it down or end up falling asleep, without noting anything. Whenever I fall asleep, I always regret it when I wake up. I think, “Ah! I had something amazing yesterday!”
Q. When I looked at your Instagram, I could see that you’re good at drawing and that you even design goods. It seems that you have a talent in creating. Is there an Instagram account that inspires you while producing music or designing?
Ah, I don’t want to share this… (laughs) I enjoy looking at Matt Cunningham’s Instagram feed (@moon_patrol). He’s famous for making collage artworks. I really like his art.
Q. I just noticed that your phone case has blue roses on it. I also saw a blue rose on the goods you designed.
I’m obsessed with blue roses [these days]. [One time] I was spacing out while starting at them and I looked up the symbol behind blue roses. Because they were originally difficult to attain, blue roses meant “despair/hopelessness” but as it became easier to attain, the meaning changed to “hope” and “miracle”. I loved that so I changed my Instagram profile picture to a blue rose. From that time on, my fans have been gifting me with blue roses, which I am grateful for. One time, during a concert in Japan, I received a real flower [a blue rose] for the first time. I was so worried that it’ll wilt while we were coming back home that I was really careful even on the airplane.
Q. Just like last year, you had your comeback on April 4th. What do you think WINNER will be doing on April 4th, 2019?
Fascinatingly, I used to like the number 3. But we received so much love from our 4/4 comeback last year, and we included the number 4 in the album name (EVERYD4Y), so as the point of connection with the number 4 increases, it feels like 4 is now a symbolic number for WINNER. I even feel different whenever the hands of a clock point to 4. (laughs) Director Yang Hyunsuk also supports the concept with number 4 so wouldn’t there be a high possibility that you’ll be able to listen to new WINNER music on April 4th for at least a few years from now?
Q. Like the lyrics of EVERYDAY, what is something that feels “new every day” for you these days?
I’ve been taking photos. I like the texture of film cameras so I recently bought one. I take pictures of my members and of landscapes. I’m working on a photo album so I’m taking photos to put into it.
Q. I saw you taking photos of the flowers in the garden right outside. When you are publishing the photo album you’re working on?
It’ll most likely take some time since choosing which photos to include will take time. I’m thinking about including pieces of my writing with the photos. The writing will be about the inspiration I received from the photos. I’ll write the inspiration I got from the photo next to the photo and I’m going to leave blank spaces so people who get the photo album can fill it in themselves.
Q. Where do you usually get inspiration from?
I usually get inspirations from daydreams. With this album (EVERYD4Y), I got a lot of inspirations while thinking about our fans. Even just starting with the theme “fan” takes my thoughts to many different directions. For example, it can be about our attitude when it comes to working hard for our fans, something we receive from fans, or things we want to tell our fans. These are the strongest inspirations I received recently.
Q. Is there a song from this album where the recording process was very memorable?
MOVIE STAR, which I put the most effort and sincerity into when writing the lyrics. Most of the songs on this album can be enjoyed without much thought but we worked really hard to include our stories into MOVIE STAR. When my members wrote their rap lyrics, they tried to exert a lot of sincerity into each word so they kept revising their revisions. In the last part of the song, we all sing together and we sang it joyously as if we were out camping.
Q. WINNER has many hit songs but Kang Seungyoon’s “Instinctively” will always be remembered. Right now, as an experienced musician, is there a song you want to remake?
I feel grateful for “Instinctively” because it’s the first song that made it possible for the public to become familiar with my name. If I were to remake a song now, I think I’ll think about a lot of things before remaking it. When I covered “Instinctively”, I was young and inexperienced so I did it bravely, but now, as someone who lives as a singer who creates songs, the categories of worries I must go through while producing music has become more detailed.
Q. You are now in your mid-20s. Was there a recent moment when you truly felt like you were becoming an adult?
When I look at my past self, I think I wasn’t very understanding of myself and of others. I used to yell at myself, “Why is that all I can do? Why is this all I can do?” Now, I’m accepting of errors and mistakes and acknowledge my own. I also acknowledge that each person is different.
Q. Your members called you a “nagging mom” during their interviews. Which member does things that make you nag on them?
I don’t think I nagged on them that much recently… Actually, I nagged on Mino (laughs). When Mino becomes obsessed with something, he wants to buy all the equipments for that thing like an expert. Mino has been buying lots of cameras these days so I told him to stop buying them but he bought more (laughs).
Q. Who do you think is the winner of life?
Someone who achieves what they want to, someone who chases the happiness they define. In our case, many people liking WINNER’s music and remembering us for a long time, make us WINNERs, don’t you think?
Q. Just like last year, you came back with your full album EVERYD4Y on April 4th. What do you think you’ll be doing on April 4th, 2019?
Releasing a new album on the same date would be nice but personally, I want to show a new side of WINNER in a different season with a different vibe. We’ve promoted during spring and summer so promoting during winter would be nice too. If this becomes reality, we’ll probably be working on music [on 4/4] or we might be traveling.
Q. Which song in the album do you have special affections for?
Track 11, the song RAINING. This song is actually my first self-composition. I was treasuring it and didn’t include it in our previous albums but our Japanese agency said they wanted to release it so it was first released through our Japanese album and then released in Korea through this full album. It’s a very meaningful song for me.
Q. From your rap lyrics to your clothes, it seems like you’re a person who has your own specific color. Even when you wore the uniform for the Pyeongchang Olympic Torch Relay, there was a cheerfulness specific to Lee Seunghoon (laughs)
Whatever I do, I put storytelling as my first priority. That’s why even when I pick out what to wear, instead of something tasteless, I tend to pick out clothes that are cheerful and witty while thinking about my image. Generally, I like wearing comfortable clothes but I always make sure to color-coordinate well. Instead of black and grey, I look for colors that are fun.
Q. What’s the story behind the lunch box you posted on SNS? You posted it with the hashtag “#ihatecarrots” but the lunchbox has 6 carrots drawn on it.
The lunchbox is a goods I designed for our Japanese fans. We were able to choose the items. My members chose hats and bags but I thought a lunchbox would be fun. When I chose the band to be green and the lunchbox to be orange, I thought of carrots. The drawing of the dog on the lunchbox is my pet dog, Haute, but he doesn’t hate carrots (laughs). I was trying to come up with something witty and came up with that. Both clothes and items become memorable when there are stories attached to them.
Q. I saw the puppy academy diary you posted on Haute’s Instagram account (@maetamongisdad). There were detailed comments but which comment made you most happy as Haute’s dad?
There were many comments about Haute having a good personality. Whenever I see those kinds of things, I feel proud and think, “I’ve raised him well” so I like them (laughs). I think that dog-training is similar to human education so I make sure to be strict and establish order of rank with Haute.
Q. I saw that you also posted pictures of tasty hamburgers you’ve eaten on SNS. Can you share the #1 tastiest hamburger?
I pick New York Shake Shack burger as #1. When we went to New York to film our music video (2014 S/S), my members were very jet-lagged and tired so I searched up hamburgers and went to Shake Shack by navigating on my phone map. Rather than thinking they’re the best brand, it was memorable how it was in another country and I went to the store without depending on anyone and ordered hamburgers with limited English. I remember I said, “The taste of America!” while eating it (laughs). If I was told to go eat the same hamburger right now, I don’t think it would taste the same. Like I said, stories are important (laughs).
Q. Is there an artist who inspired you quite recently?
Chef Choi Hyunsuk. I went to one of his restaurants recently. I like what he shows as an entertainer on TV but the moment I ate the dish he made, I strongly felt the feeling of eating a piece of artwork. Experiencing the tastes and looking at the stories, decorations, and assortments that were created with the course in mind made me think, “He’s a real artist.”
Picture by: @benice_bekind33