The year 2018 was amazing for artist MINO (25). 

MINO created numerous pieces of works this year with his hard work. From WINNER’s album ‘EVERYD4Y’ to his first solo album ‘XX’, tvN ‘New Journey to the West’, and guest appearances on JTBC ‘Let’s Eat Dinner Together’ and ‘Knowing Bros’, MINO worked nonstop. Everything worked out. MINO who says, “I’ll put the motor on instead of rowing when the water comes” is also preparing for WINNER’s comeback on December to keep his momentum. In the meantime, his solo track ‘FIANCÉ’ is still ranked at the top charts. People are wondering if MINO and WINNER may be selected as the no. 1 candidate for a music broadcast at the same time. 

It was all challenge and response from debut for MINO. He earned his place today by overcoming all hardships, but it wasn’t always easy. He quit drinking due to his panic disorder that continued from last year until the beginning of this year. The drink talk with MINO was a place to review his 2018, which was hard but still splendid. We had an alcohol free drink talk with carbonated drinks.

-How much do you drink.

“It used to be 3 soju bottles. But I quit drinking due to my panic disorder. I didn’t reveal that (panic disorder) at first, but the fans knew after I came out naturally during a program. I’m avoiding any drinking occasions these days. I blocked all of it since I was sick during the beginning of the year. I used to like to drink. That’s why I didn’t go to drinking parties unless it was for a wrap up”.

-You’ve had a busy year. We can’t forget about your solo activities. You swept music charts and music broadcasts.

“Recalling this year, I feel like I only worked on albums. I was active as WINNER in the beginning of the year, released a solo album, and just worked. I’ve prepared for my solo album for a long time. I wanted to release it on June or July, but it came out during the year-end due to various issues regarding quality. I really lived this year for this album. I had high expectations. I was happy just for the fact that I released an album with 12 tracks, but I feel so grateful since many people enjoyed my work, despite being physically tired. I’m so happy and sincerely worry how I can express my gratitude towards the fans and the people who helped me”.

-WINNER activities, solo activities, variety programs, you must’ve been very busy this year.

“It was the fastest year I’ve ever lived. I was out of my mind after working on everything from WINNER’s album, my album, variety programs, and exhibitions. Now that I think of it, I can’t believe I managed to do all this. I tried to do a lot this year, and I didn’t even want to spare sleep time. I can create something and do more during the time I sleep. I didn’t have enough time to work as WINNER while being active as a solo, but YOON wrote many songs during that time”. 

-We’ve heard you didn’t prepare for you solo album at first.

“When the president (YANG HYUN SUK) offered me to go solo, I stated my opinion and started to prepare for a full album. When I was young, before I came to YG, my dream was to release an album filled with my voice. I got an opportunity to state my opinions on my 5th year as WINNER and prepared hard to create 12 tracks”. 

-We know it’s hard for artists of YG to make comeback like the word ‘YG TREASURE BOX’ suggests. Releasing a solo album probably means that president YANG HYUN SUK has faith in you.

“That’s correct. President YANG is giving me a lot of love and attention these days. That makes me nervous. He used to be hard to me, but he expresses a lot of affections, so I don’t know how I can pay up to all of it. At the same time, I feel grateful”.

-Your rap speech after your no. 1 on SBS ‘Inkigayo’ was impressive. 

“I won the no. 1 trophy on MBC ‘Show! Music Core’ on the day before, and I couldn’t remind myself of the names I should mention and express my gratitude. I thought I was too stuttering, so I thought I should do it my own way. That was my rap speech”.

-How did you come up with sampling ‘Soyanggang Maid’ for ‘FIANCÉ’.

“I actually didn’t know the song ‘Soyanggang maid’. I wanted a fresh genre with a basis on Trot when I was making the concept for ‘FIANCÉ’, and president YANG have me the idea when the song was about 80% done. I heard the song and added the elements on to it”.

-The song ‘AGREE’ reveals your hardships as an artist and an entertainer. 

“I wrote the song when I was hard and distressed. It’s just like the lyrics. People bother me on airports and in airplanes, ask for autographs even if they don’t know me in restaurants after saying, “Isn’t he a celebrity?”. Those times are like my private times, but some people act rude, which is what I wrote about. And also about the haters. But I didn’t want to be all serious, I just wanted to say what I want to say. I usually like to have double meanings, so the wind stands for wind that blows and hopes. The expression of breeze stand for the fans’ hopes, and the strong wind stands for the haters”. 

-How would you rate your solo activities.

“I’ve prepared for a long time, but I still feel like I could’ve done better. I’m improving but the trend changes even faster, so I feel some points that lack in certain parts. I feel like I could’ve done better. However, I’m just grateful that many people supported me, way more than I expected”. 

-Was there something you thought ‘I must present this’ during your solo activities.

“I had 12 tracks on the album. I wanted various genres and messages in all tracks. I just insisted since it’s hard to release another full length album in YG. I wanted to present my musical spectrum and how serious I am in music. The fans know, but I thought the public thinks of me more as ‘Song mojiri’ from variety programs, so I wanted to put emphasis on the musical aspects.

-You’ve mentioned that president YANG HYUN SUK is like a girlfriend on one interview. 

“Yes. (Laughs) He sent me a lot of feedbacks even during late hours when I was preparing for the album which I felt grateful for, and that’s why I said he is like a girlfriend. He’s really physically well fit. He participates in a lot of work, not just mine, until late at night. And on early mornings, he asks, ‘How was the mix’ and ‘How did that go’, having everything under control. It’s amazing. 

-Does he still feel like a girlfriend while preparing for WINNER’s comeback on December.

“He (President YANG) is my current girlfriend. Haha. He will be until the day we release the song”. 

What words by president YANG HYUN SUK support you the most. 

“I’m really getting a lot these days. (Laughs) He’s happy about my success even more than I am. He’s cold outside and warm inside, so he usually scolds people more than he praises them, but he patted me after the concert recently. When we met each other in YG headquarters, he called me ‘No. 1 artist MINO’ in an unusually soft voice and tone. It was fresh and shocking. Those kind of things help me a lot”.