“Nowadays, with his busy schedule, he says he can’t help but wish there were 42 hours in a day. We spoke to Song Min Ho, wearing the Ernporio Arrnani Connected watch, about moments filled with happiness. “
ARENA HOMME: With promotions WINNER’s second official album, <EVERYDAY> beginning, you made a comment saying that you “already have a lot of schedules but you wish there were more.” What did you mean by that?
MINO: lt, sort of like, “When fortune knocks upon the door, open it widely.” (Laughs) Of course, this is a very busy time right now, especially since in the last few years there were no moments of rest. But when I think about the past, of when I was a trainee, or during our period of absence, I feel all over again how much bigger the pain was then. I want to stay busy, because I know how difficult it was when I wasn’t.
ARENA HOMME: Busy people tend to wish that they had more than 24 hours in a day, but how many hours do you think you need in a day for it to be enough? About 40 hours?
MINO: No, I think 1 need about 42 hours. Sunmi’s song, ’24 hours,’ is really a classic piece of music in that sense (laughs). Sometimes, when feel like I don’t have enough hours in a day, I think, “How nice would it be if I had the superpower to make my own space and time, Like a place where everything stops and I’m the only one who can move.”
ARENA HOMME: You had an especially joyful 2017. Are there any moments in particular that make you feel happy just thinking about them?
MINO: Well first, I felt that ‘happiness’ through, when WINNER was able to travel to Australia together. I loved it because it felt like an actual trip. I thought in every single moment of that excursion, “Wow, I’m so happy.” 2017 was the year where I was busiest and was able to receive the biggest amount of love. It wasn’t intentional, but ‘Song Finger’ also became a hot issue (laughs). All these things made me feel grateful, and joyful.
ARENA HOMME: However, WINNER, popularity is definitely not coincidental. It was an obvious outcome because your songs were actually very good. It seems as though with this new album, WINNER’S colors have become more distinct. I personally use them as a mood-booster on my way to work.
MINO: I wish that the songs we make will be considered ‘timeless’. It’s a bar we set for ourselves from a long time ago. ‘Really Really‘ gained more popularity than we expected, so it received a lot of love. Because of that, of course, there was some pressure, but since this was our first full-length album in four years, we wanted to work on this album with ease and a peace of mind. If you feel pressured, there will be no end to things. So we got to work on the album without trying to think about those things the best we could. It’s ‘WINNER, color’ because all four of our tastes are reflected in the choices, but I also think compared to before, our musical spectrum has been widened.
ARENA HOMME: What do you think it means to be ‘WINNER-like’?
MINO: Let, see. I don’t think it, anything I or the other WINNER members designate specifically like for everything to be ‘WINNER-like.’ For example, when you’re shopping and you see a jacket, and you think —“I’m so sure this is in Seung Hoon’s closet!”
ARENA HOMME: A lot of people have grown to like Song Min Ho through watching variety shows. Does the way you want to be seen by the public influence the way you make your music?
MINO: Once my character in the variety-world became set, people, awareness of me became heightened as well. Those who already knew of WINNER, or me, would know different sides of me, but for those who found out about me for the first time through variety programs, they would think of, first and foremost, ‘Song Dummy.’ Having that nickname and being remembered that way is a great thing I feel so overwhelmingly thankful for, but on the other hand, when I’m on stage and putting on an amazing performance, I thought a lot of differentiating the two characters. But, nowadays, I try not to think about that at anymore. I’m trying to distinguish me in variety shows versus me on stage. Like two different people (laughs). In variety programs, I show my true self, and with music and other things, I can chase after whatever I’m seeking for.
ARENA HOMME: I saw that last winter, you attended the Leica Exhibition. I knew through Instagram that you have a lot of interest in taking photos, but seeing you bear the cold and look at those photographs left an impression on me.
MINO: I grew an interest in cameras last year so I tried to use film cameras. It, an ’emotional’ work so I was ready to deal with any inconveniences, but it was difficult to constant, have to take the rolls of film to be developed and go to pick them up again (laughs). So I dabbled in drawing and other hobbies, but at the beginning of this year, I became re-interested in cameras. I’ve used toy cameras, and I’m also trying to use different kinds of lenses. The action of taking a photo alone is enough to give my heart some healing.
ARENA HOMME: What do you take photos of in general? People? Sceneries?
MINO: The places I’m allowed to go to are limited. Only when I’m promoting am I able to sometimes go to new places, but usually, its the studio, the hair/makeup shop, and the broadcasting stations. That, it. So, I tend to take photos of the people who are in those moments with me, whether it be the staff who work with us, or the WINNER members, or a setting where the fans are, stuff like that.
ARENA HOMME: You’re pretty great at drawing, too. It truly seemed like a free drawing, without the constraints of submitting to an art-college-entrance exam.
MINO: Drawing has been a long-time hobby of mine. Ever since I was in elementary school, I didn’t study but doodled instead, and after school, I rapped (laughs). Thanks to that, music became my career, and drawing became my hobby and specialty. I’m trying to go beyond the approach of just, ‘oh, he’s pretty good at drawing,’ but trying to study art and experimenting with expressing that. The reason I like drawing is a different matter in general. Even if I say I pour my heart into writing a song, truthfully, it’s limited expression. As time passes and more people get to know me, it feels as though I almost have to filter what I say. It’s harder to express things for the way they are, in a raw, rough way. But with art, those restrictions don’t exist. So when I draw, I solve those inner feelings I couldn’t write down in lyrics by expressing them like pieces of a puzzle, configured in a way that only I can know. Sometimes, when I post my artwork on Instagram, I used to hope, just a little bit, ‘Will someone understand this message?’ But now, truthfully, leaving that to the side,I just really like drawing.
ARENA HOMME: This is a cliché expression, but it seems like the group WINNER is at a point where they know what each other’s thinking just by looking at one another.
MINO: Of course. It, because we’ve lived together for so long. Just like how, with blood-related family members, you can see in their eyes whether they’re happy or sad, the same goes for WINNER.
ARENA HOMME: You will all accomplish more things under the name WINNER, but what are some of those things you want to achieve as WINNER?
MINO: We don’t have a big goal like, ‘Let, sweep the Billboard charts,’ or whatnot, but we talk about them amongst the members every time we come back. lt’s goals like, ‘Let’s put our happiness first’, ‘Even if we get first place, let’s, not get too excited’, ‘Let’s get an award this year.‘ We share goals like that amongst each other.
ARENA HOMME: In order for WINNER to work while putting their happiness first, what must be met?
MINO: This is a really hard question. For this past season, it’s been about prioritizing communication with the fans. Since there were some complications with us, too, the fans’ cheers and love felt even greater. That, why we had a lot of fan signs this time. We spent so much time talking to the fans and just being with them that our schedules always being delayed. But it was the staff members and the manager-hyung who really worked hard (laughs). When we get busier with schedules, we’re unable to sleep as much, so it, easy for us to get a little sensitive, but for the most part, we’re always encouraging with one another. That’s the way we find happiness, even when we’re tired. Before you’re able to be happy, you need to put yourself in the position of being able to receive happiness.
ARENA HOMME: We just spoke of the boundary between Song Min Ho with variety shows versus Song Min Ho with music. Then, I suppose, if we were to draw another boundary, it would be the one between members of WINNER, Song Min Ho, and rapper Song Min Ho. How are you able to find a balance between those two?
MINO: This was something that was difficult and confusing for me up until recently. If you listen to my rap verses on the songs towards the beginning of my debut, especially, it seems like it’s filled with greed That, because I thought that had to show everything about myself in that short fragment. Now, it’s a little different I try to harmonize the best l can with the song when it comes to WINNER’s music. I primarily place an emphasis on WINNER when I work on music. When it’s Song Min Ho as a solo, I’m alone, so I experiment more with new things and I am at a place where I have relatively been able to find an answer.
ARENA HOMME: There’s a boundary with WINNER as a group, too. Should I say, it’s sort of like an idol-group, but not,at the same time?
MINO: Honestly, we don’t think about it in that way too much. If someone calls us an idol-group, that’s the truth, so we always say that’s correct. But if someone else were to call us artist, we also say that’s correct. Being an idol-group isn’t a bad thing, and being an artist doesn’t mean you have to be super sophisticated. It’s in the eye of the beholder.
ARENA HOMME: Speaking of, despite being busy with WINNER’s schedule, it seems as though Song Min Ho, preparing for his solo album?
MINO: (Whispers) You may be able to meet it sooner than you think.
Translated by @softboimino from the June 2018 Issue, Arena Homme Korea Magazine