Hello Asia’s Johnny Au had a chat with the super rookies Monsta X in Seoul, South Korea! The interview was held five months after their debut and the seven members gave their thoughts on survival program ‘No Mercy’ and working with Giriboy for ‘Rush’. The team also talk about their favourite memories, Western fans who left a strong impression, their biggest inspirations and Australia. Plus, I.M shows off his fluent English! Check out the full interview below! (TURN ON YOUR CAPTIONS FOR ENGLISH SUBTITLES)
Monsta X, congratulations on your latest comeback ‘Rush’! For our audience who have not heard the track before, can you describe the song ‘Rush’?
Hyungwon: The song ‘Rush’ was produced by Giriboy. Within the members, Jooheon and I.M participated in writing the lyrics for the song. The song is about telling the girl you love not to go to any other man, and to instead ‘rush’ over to you. Compared to our previous song ‘Trespass’, this track shows more of an energetic and playful side to us.
What was it like to work with Giriboy as producer for the title track ‘Rush’?
Jooheon: Ever since we participated in a survival program called ‘No Mercy’, Giriboy has been really friendly while working with us. He even produced our title track for us this time. We really want to express our gratitude to him. And he was really, really fun to work with. It was really comfortable. He gave us a lot of advice. He was always like– “do it the way you want to do it”, “this kind of feeling, that kind of feeling.” He’s the kind of producer who really works hard to bring out everyone’s individual potential. It was really great.
It’s been about five months since the debut of Monsta X. What is life like as a rookie group?
Wonho: As a rookie group, we intend to take the step of a ___ rookie. We’re working through our schedule without any time to rest, and we make sure to practice during any leftover time. We are making the absolute most out of our spare time! We’ll become a Monsta X who are always [working hard] like rookies.
What have been some of your best memories so far?
Minhyuk: Our first broadcast on MCountdown – our debut is what comes to mind. MCountdown… that stage is something we’ve done often through ‘No Mercy’. But the feeling of being on stage before our debut and the feeling of being on stage after our debut was so new and different. Rather than being anxious about it, it was a stage that were really excited about and looking forward to.
Monsta X made their debut in the US with K-CON. What was the experience of playing in front of a Western audience like?
Kihyun: First of all… it was less different than we expected. They cheered for us so passionately. Actually, we [initially] couldn’t hear them too well because of our in-ear, but when we took out the in-ear… they cheered for us so passionately to the point where it gave me goosebumps. It was a really great experience.
Minhyuk: And the foreign fans had memorised all our Korean lyrics and were following along, so it was really interesting and was a stage that gave us a lot of energy. It left a very good impression.
Jooheon: Just to add something else– Our clothes. Even at the meet and greet, there were people who came dressed up in the exact same clothes we had worn in our music video. Like ‘Shownu’, ‘Jooheon’, ‘Kihyun’, ‘Wonho’… They came dressed in our clothes so it was really fascinating. We were very grateful.
Wonho: And… L.A. Lakers. It was so great that we were able to perform in the stadium.
Did you experience any American culture whilst in L.A.?
Minhyuk: As for me… after I arrived at the airport I took a taxi and went nearby our hotel. After arriving first I was sitting inside a cafe. The sense of carefree, which is different to Korea, caught my eye. To give you an example, a foreigner rapping loudly as they walked past, or somebody singing a song without caring about what other people would think. Humming and dancing around… Seeing that was really amazing to us. We felt that it was a really cool city.
What music and musicians inspire Monsta X?
Jooheon: There are so, so many artists that inspire us. For me, personally, a group that I am inspired by and respect a lot is BIGBANG. They’re very cool and give me a lot of inspiration. No matter what field– whether it’s as an artist or in terms of entertainment, whether it’s in terms of acting… No matter what field or direction, they are always very versatile and well-rounded. And they’re so cool on stage. In that sense, I’m always being inspired by BIGBANG.
It’s been a very competitive year in K-Pop. How do you think Monsta X stands out among the competition?
Minhyuk: Our energy up on stage seems to be the strong point that differentiates us from other teams. Of course, all the other teams also show strong rookie-like energy. Monsta X’s unique energy – I think that if you watch our stage, you’ll probably be able to feel it too – the passion and energy. I think that’s our weapon.
Let’s talk about Australia. Have any members been to Australia before? What do you know about Australia?
Hyungwon: Yeah. Actually, when I was young… I ALMOST went to study abroad in Perth.
Minhyuk: What is that?! Hahaha.
Jooheon: So you didn’t go! Haha.
Hyungwon: I… I didn’t go. I ALMOST went. But while almost going to study abroad, I looked up a lot about Perth. There’s a ____. There’s the river and the ocean. I heard that a lot of people enjoy the calmness and composure. It’s a country that I definitely want to go to if the opportunity arises.
Minhyuk: Also, when we did an interview last time– to be honest, the spelling… I don’t really remember the pronunciation… Vegemite? Vegemite!
You tried Vegemite?
Did you like it?
Really? I don’t like it.
Minhyuk: Hahaha. So we tried it, but– more than I expected… wow. I was surprised. It’s tasty.
Next time you come to Australia, we’ll have some more vegemite. Okay?
Do you have a message for your fans who could be watching this video?
Wonho: There’s so much we can do and so much we want to show you. So we’ll continue being busier and working harder, and show you our developments. I hope that you’ll view us favourably.
I.M: [speaking in English] Thank you for your love and support in other countries. Not [just] Korea. Japan, or China, Australia, U.S.A… Thank you for all of your support. And we can feel your love. And give us more support, and we will do our best job.
Shownu: We’re thankful for your support and interest. Not just in Korea, but in other countries as well. In the future we’ll become a Monsta X who works even harder.
Translation by Cassandra Monjo