The Korea Herald


[Herald Interview] Winner says it has never stopped growing

By Hong Dam-young

Published : April 5, 2018 - 14:39

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A K-pop idol act’s full-length album means more than just setting out another promotional cycle, especially if it is packed with 12 self-created tracks.

Four members of Winner, a prominent K-pop boy band under YG Entertainment, was confident in that the act’s second full-length album “EVERYD4Y” was a result of its continuous efforts to reinvent and hone themselves.

“For the last few years since our debut, there was no single time we have stopped to become better Winner. I can confidently say that we’ve never received a comment ‘Winner’s been doing the same music all along’ from people except for those who hate us. Such assessment makes us stronger,” said Seunghoon during a recent interview with The Korea Herald in Seoul on Wednesday. 

Winner (YG Entertainment) Winner (YG Entertainment)

The self-made album, led by lead track “Everyday,” marks the act’s first release in eight months, as well as its new full-length album in four years since its debut album “2014 S/S.” And in this face-paced world of K-pop industry, returning with a fully packed album wouldn’t have been easy if it were not for YG CEO Yang Hyun-suk’s support, said Winner. After pulling all-nighters for seven days to record their new songs, the members requested Yang to confirm their results. What they heard from Yang, who is known for being stingy with compliments, was the best comment ever since their debut.

“He (Yang) said our new songs were interesting to the ears, and suggested we make a full-length album. It was a totally unexpected gift, as if finding a 10,000 won bill in an old winter jacket. We’ve never received such a positive comment from Yang,” Mino said.  

Composed by Seungyoon and Mino, the album’s lead track “Everyday” is a seasonally apropos bright trap-centered track that uses a breezy dancehall sound. Featuring mid-tempo rhythmic beat, the song is also reminiscent of Winner’s previous hit “Island.” The album also includes “Air,” produced by Seungyoon, “Hello,” a hip-hop track composed by Mino, “Turn off the Light,” Mino’s solo track that offers a more mature sound, “We Were,” a bluesy rock ballad created by Seungyoon, and “Special Night,” a song where Seunghoon took part in producing for the first time.

Four is an unlucky number to some, but Winner explained that it chose April 4 as the date of its new release, as it was the exact date when the act‘s breakout hit “Really Really” was dropped last year.  

Winner (YG Entertainment) Winner (YG Entertainment)

Winner also said listeners would be able to recognize some musical changes between tracks, as some of them were made few years ago.

“I think our music became trendier than four years ago. Back then, we tried to showcase something new that didn’t ride on trends, but now we are focusing on a sound that young people can enjoy as well,” Seungyoon said.

The originally five-piece group debuted in 2014, but went through a lineup transition as member Nam Tae-hyun left the group in November 2016. After a hiatus of over a year, Winner gained momentum again as one of K-pop’s most promising acts by releasing top-charting hits such as “Really Really” and “Fool” and offering a softer style than its label mates such as Big Bang and iKon.

Mino shared that he lost about 10 kilograms in the process of comeback due to the hectic schedule.

Seunghoon said the members spend a lot of time talking about music and discussing their musical direction offstage.

“I want people to assess our album itself, rather than our appearances. I know it may be hard for some people to go through all 12 tracks, but I would appreciate if they could listen to each of them, as no child is more precious than any other,” Mino said.