SUNOO “I’m so grateful, and I won’t let this moment pass me by”
ENHYPEN BORDER: CARNIVAL comeback interview
SUNOO always knows just how to smile to put the other person at ease. But even as he smiles, he talks about his concerns—mostly about ENGENE: “I want to be even better for them.”
That hair color looks great on you. How did you feel when you bleached your hair at first?
SUNOO: Actually, bleaching my hair has been on my bucket list since I was in school. It was something I dreamed about. Before I did it, I was worried and asked the other members if it would suit me, but I finally did it and luckily light hair suits me too. (laughs) When you first bleach your hair, you know, it turns sort of orange. I was surprised by the way it looked so I took selfies to document the fading process. And it wasn’t just bleaching—I also always wanted to get piercings, and I’m happy to say that that fit in with the new album’s concept too.
You’ve been wearing a beanie to hide your hair color.
SUNOO: (laughs) I tried really hard to be careful so that ENGENE wouldn’t find out. I was always really determined to surprise everyone with the reveal, so I covered up my ears and sideburns. I was diligent about covering up my hair to try not to show anything. I even wore the beanie to school. But I guess I wasn’t paying enough attention to it during one of our live streams. The back of my hair sometimes poked out slightly while streaming and ENGENE must’ve noticed that I dyed it. I’m personally disappointed I lost the chance to make a big reveal out of it (laughs) but ENGENE really like it at least, so that’s good.
It was worth the trouble—the concept photos and films looked fantastic. (laughs) The HYPE, DOWN and UP versions all have a different feeling, so how do you get yourself in the right headspace while filming?
SUNOO: First, when we’re filming, I try to lose myself to it. As long as I do that, the photos turns out great. I’m not one to plan ahead, so instead of thinking about how I should act in front of the camera, I tried to get into the mood of the set. You get the feel of it naturally when you take a look at the makeup or the set. The set for HYPE was all red, so the whole thing really had a hype feeling. They were using gummy candies as one of the props on set, so I tried eating some, holding a bunch in my hands, and just trying different things while messing things up. I think I managed to look like a bad boy. The costume for UP was like a prince’s clothes, so just putting that on made me stretch out my shoulders and straighten up my posture. (laughs) Anyway, I tried to look relaxed but also serious. For DOWN, the poses and acting seemed most important, so that’s what I focused on there.
I got the impression you’re good at directing yourself under any circumstances. For example, the lead single “Drunk-Dazed” is intense, but you have a soft aura when you sing, “It’s blinding, baby / This light, shining.”
SUNOO: I’ve always had something of a soft tone and image, so I think I’m well-suited for that part right before the song flips. This whole album has a wide spectrum of mood changes in general, so I put a lot of thought into how to express the emotional changes in parts like, “It’s blinding, baby / This light, shining,” or, “My heart’s again in a daze daze daze.” I also practiced a lot more than usual because the vocal range is higher than I’ve had to do before. That goes for choreography, too—there’s a big difference between when I’m fully immersed and when I’m not. I can’t wait to get to record something new. (laughs)
I recall a Dance JAM Live video where you sing the lyrics to Justin Bieber’s song “Yummy” perfectly.
SUNOO: I love listening to music. I always listen to music when I’m in the car or have a little free time in the middle of the day. I’m not picky about the genre, either. I listen to K-pop, American pop, J-pop, New Age—literally everything. (laughs) I listen to music because I like it, but also because I want to develop my tastes by listening to songs other than the ones I already know.
Looks like you’re determined to improve many of your skills. When I’ve seen Dance JAM Live, you’re usually practicing in silent concentration.
SUNOO: I’m more serious than you think. (laughs) The other members play a lot of jokes on me. I take things way too seriously, and they love how big my reactions are. That’s probably why they play so many pranks on me. (laughs) But actually, maybe because of my serious side, I don’t usually pull many pranks myself. If I’m given some work to do, I usually try to concentrate on getting it done quickly. I thought for this album especially I should put on an even better show than when we debuted. It’s no good if you just change your image but don’t improve your skills. I spent a lot of time thinking about how to show off how much I’ve improved.
You must have had to practice a lot to showcase three performances, “Drunk-Dazed,” “Not for Sale,” and “Mixed Up” for your new album.
SUNOO: It certainly wasn’t easy. (laughs) But when I finally try something that I expected to be hard, it ends up working out in the end. So these days I just say to myself, “Let’s just give it a shot!” Since all the other members of ENHYPEN are so talented, I made practicing my priority so I wouldn’t fall behind. I find that, when it comes to dancing, there’s just no other answer but to practice. The members had more time together while making this album and they helped me out a ton. They gave me a lot of feedback, and NI-KI—when we came out after a session with the choreography coach, he would give me pointers on the hand and foot movements, or tell me what he was trying to express. So after practicing and sharing feedback like that with each other, I got even better and our group choreo ended up tighter overall. So I’m really thankful to have these members on my team.