• JUNGWON - Leader

    JUNGWON “I believe idols should be good at everything”
    ENHYPEN Debut Interview

    ENHYPEN’s leader JUNGWON isn’t easily shaken even when bad things happen. It’s because he believes there is a solution to every problem.

    How does it feel to finally debut?


    We’re on music shows, we’re doing a lot of promotional activities, our videos are on YouTube and social media, and even MR removed videos are being uploaded. These videos used to feature other idol groups, but now that I see our faces in them, the fact that we have debuted is slowly sinking in.

    It must have been difficult getting ready for your debut right after I-LAND ended.


    We didn’t have much time until our debut. So our biggest priority was to perfect our debut performance, and once it was ready, we tried hard to become a tight-knit team. Trainees usually spend years together before they debut, but it’s been less than a year since we became a team.

    You must have put in a lot of effort.


    We practiced “Given-Taken” so much. (laughs) We did practice “Let Me In (20 CUBE)” a lot too, but not as much as “Given-Taken.”

    Which performance did you particularly enjoy or focus on at the DEBUT SHOW?


    “Let Me In (20 CUBE)” is a cheerful song, and it has a lot of jumps in the choreography, so we had a lot of fun performing it.

    What did you want to emphasize in the choreography of “Given-Taken”?


    NI-KI is an incredible dancer. So I copied NI-KI’s moves and added my own feel. But if I did things too differently, the details of the movements would change. So I would adjust the angle of my head just a little bit. But then, if I lower my head while I perform “Given-Taken,” I would look like I am glaring so I tried to be mindful of that.

    In the last episode of I-LAND, your role model Jung Kook said you were memorable because you were really good. The DEBUT SHOW featured “Given-Taken,” “Let Me In (20 CUBE),” “10 Months,” and “Flicker,” which all have completely different moods. You must have worked hard to put on the best performance for each concept.


    Some people are born with expressive faces, but that’s not the case for me. So I practiced making pre-planned expressions for each part. I believe that idols should be good at everything. So I think the point is to be well-rounded and do everything well. Jung Kook became my role model because he’s good at everything. He’s very laid back on stage. So I take inspiration from his relaxed expressions and strong vibes - “Boy with Luv” for relaxed expressions, and “ON,” as well as the solo performance of “My Time” from the recent concert for strong vibes.

    I can tell that “ON” is the kind of performance you want to do. (laughs)


    I’d like to try really difficult performances like that. I was actually hoping to do that for the final test of I-LAND. That’s the kind of performance I wanted. But I also liked our final performance.

    How was it like acting in the “Given-Taken” music video? Your nose is bled from the first scene.


    The scene where I wipe off blood wasn’t very difficult but the weather was so cold that the fake blood would harden as soon as it’s put in my nose. So the scene took about an hour to film because of that. I was also worried that I might look ugly getting a nosebleed and wiping it off.

    Some of the scenes from the music video are quite scary. What was it like on set?


    First of all, it was freezing (laughs), and there were eyeballs and fangs for props, but they were all made of jellies. When we had to look into each other’s eyes, we would burst into laughter, so we had to retake the scenes quite a few times. We laughed so much when we got bitten on the neck, we made a few bloopers.

    • 202012212JPwbiyKs.jpg

    When I watch videos featuring ENHYPEN, like the ones on V LIVE, you seem to have a keen eye for the things happening around you. How does that help you as the leader?


    There are times when we have issues as a team, but sometimes, two members might be at odds with each other and get hurt while the rest of us don’t know anything about it That can ruin the atmosphere when we’re on site. So I think it helps me notice those things and solve those issues, but it’s still not easy for me to go up to them and talk about those matters. It’s because of my personality, and I’m still working on it.

    As the leader, I am sure there are times when it’s hard for you to decide whether you should bring up certain matters or not.


    So we made rules on that. If everything goes well at work, that’s good, but you can’t always guarantee that. And if our feelings are hurt, that’ll affect our performance. So we agreed to put work above everything else and deal with the other issues later when we come back home.

    I heard that the leader was decided after a lengthy selection process.


    We all thought HEESEUNG would be the leader until the day before we had that meeting on “ENHYPEN&HI.” But then he called me over before bed and told me that he wanted me to be the leader. He thought it would be better if he remained a team member and the oldest member because if the oldest member also becomes the leader, the other members might be hesitant to express their opinions clearly. And he said the pressure that comes with being a leader can change people.

    Did he say anything else or give you advice?


    HEESEUNG was under a lot of pressure when he was the leader on I-LAND. So he already experienced all that and thought I might struggle in the same way. He told me that he doesn’t want me to feel too much pressure, and this is something he mentioned very casually, but he said if I know something, I should pretend I know more, and the members will have more trust in me. That’s a little trick - a tidbit he taught me. (laughs)

    I’m sure you take care of the members a lot, but how do you take care of yourself?


    I don’t usually get stressed out much, but when I do, it gets overwhelming. When that happens, I talk with HEESEUNG a lot. He catches on quick, so he lays it out for me. So I share my feelings with him and talk to him about my struggles, how I’m doing, and how I should deal with certain issues.

    When you were asked what kind of leader you want to be, you said you want to be a friendly leader. Is there a reason why you think allowing everyone to voice their opinions freely should be the top priority?


    This is something I’ve felt ever since we filmed I-LAND, but if we keep things to ourselves, we’ll end up with people who are dissatisfied. I think we have to include everyone’s opinions as much as possible. And since we’re going to work together as ENHYPEN for a long time, no one should be left behind, and that’s why I think communication is the most important. We promised we’d settle any issues or matters on the day it happened. So we have meetings at home about three to four times a week after work.

    • 20201221QR8Eh0hL-.jpg

    I’m sure you learned many things and grew while filming I-LAND, including how to be a leader. I noticed that whenever you receive feedback about your performance, you would look for ways to improve instead of being discouraged.


    My usual priorities are to practice dancing, singing, and live performance. But when I receive feedback about something, that becomes my top priority, and I practice it more.

    So after receiving feedback and practice, did you ever feel that you’ve improved a lot in a short period of time?


    This is a behind-the-scenes story (laughs), but when we were filming I-LAND Part 1, I got a lot of negative feedback even off camera. I wasn’t able to make much progress until the fourth performance of Part 1. But when we had a break before filming Part 2, I looked up different idol group performances and studied their facial expressions at the training studio and tried to copy them. Later, when I took the first test of Part 2, I felt like I had grown a lot.

    On “ENHYPEN&HI,” members picked you as the member who can stay calm when bad things happen. What is your secret to maintaining composure?


    I have a hard time, too if there’s a huge crisis. (laughs) But most of the time, I just try to ignore it. I believe there is a solution to every problem so I think it’s best not to think about the problem and just focus on the solution. When things got tough during I-LAND, I tried to ignore everything and worked on the solution right away, and I think that has been helpful even until now.

    Do you think you were born with that kind of personality? Or has it changed after you experienced that big event of your life, I-LAND?


    I am a very shy person, and I don’t usually wear my feelings on my sleeve, but I was really stressed out. But I think I’ve found a way to let go of stress while filming I-LAND. I talked a lot with the other trainees during that period. I even cut back on sleep to talk, and the producers would tell us to go to bed. We had to wake up at 10 a.m. the next morning, but we would talk until 6 a.m. Even when we finished practicing at 2 a.m., we would keep talking after taking off our microphones. We were all very anxious so I think talking to them often helped me hold myself together.

  • You used to practice Taekwondo before you debuted. Did your personality change in any way with your training?


    When I was in kindergarten, I was extremely shy. You know how they have talent shows in preschool? I heard that when I went on stage, I would just freeze and stand there, doing nothing. That’s when my mom took me to Taekwondo so I could be more sociable. But honestly, I don’t think it was that helpful for my social skills. (laughs) But practicing Taekwondo with music and all that seemed to have helped me with what I do now.

    You competed in Taekwondo sparring matches.


    When I first started Taekwondo, I didn’t like it because I didn’t know anyone there. But I’ve come to enjoy it more and more, until I became a Taekwondo sparrer. The first time I sparred in a competition, my opponent was a member of the national team so I lost with a KO, and that was a bit terrifying.

    You must be very sad about missing out on a lot of the school experience because you were an athlete and then a trainee.


    When I was in middle school, I would often leave school early, and I couldn’t even go on school trips. That was the saddest part. When I came home early, I had to eat lunch, so my grandma always made lunch for me.

    You seem to have a special relationship with your grandma. What are some of the influences your grandma had on your life?


    It became a habit of mine, but taking off my socks whenever I get into bed. My grandma hates it when I wear socks in bed.

    • 20201221bu1Fj7oK.jpg

    You seem very mature as a leader, but are there any moments you are reminded that you are still 16?


    Whenever JAKE tells me I am cute. He says that a lot. The other older members rarely say that when I’m around, and SUNGHOON usually doesn’t say things like that. So I think I feel like a 16-year-old when SUNGHOON tells me I am cute once in a while.

    Perhaps some pressure is lifted off your shoulders when older members treat you like a cute younger brother.


    When we’re in a good mood at home or before going to bed, we all chat really loud like teenagers. So we’re the most energetic before we go to sleep or get off work, and that’s when we have a lot of fun (laughs).

    What kind of team do you want to make with the members? What’s your definition of a good team?


    One whose members always think about the team. The members of SEVENTEEN told us that we should do what’s best for the team, not what’s best for a particular member. But if we only do what’s best for the team, some members might end up doing the things they don’t want to do. So, in the end, I think the best team is the one that does what everyone wants to do.

    Then what kind of person do you want to be? At the end of I-LAND, you said you want to make others proud.


    There are so many talented people these days. So if we become a group that stands out with our talent, our fans will be able to take pride in us and root for us. When that happens, I think I’ll be able to be proud of myself.

    I was surprised that you knew Weverse was scheduled for website maintenance on December 2. I think that shows how often you communicate with your fans and how much you care about them. You must be very sad that you can’t meet them in person.


    That’s how I felt ever since we filmed I-LAND. But wouldn’t we be able to meet someday? Recently, a staff member of a TV program came up to me saying they are ENGENE. I think it’s great that I can at least meet our fans like this once in a while.

    Is there anything you would like to say to your fans right now?


    The one thing I want to do the most right now is to perform in front of all our fans. Not only myself but all ENHYPEN members are on social media because we really want to communicate with you. I hope our sincerity reaches out to everyone.

    Source: https://magazine.weverse.io/ar…ew?lang=en&colca=1&num=72


    SUNGHOON “I want to put on a performance that shows what kind of team we are”
    ENHYPEN debut interview
    On his lunch break during the photoshoot, SUNGHOON carefully considered his choice between bulgogi fried rice and kimchi fried rice, thinking back on what he had eaten for breakfast. He’s the same person who left his longtime friend, figure skating, to pursue his life as an idol. And now, SUNGHOON is serious.

    Can you remember the moment you were a confirmed member of ENHYPEN?


    They called my name sixth, and I was so nervous. It would’ve been devastating if I couldn’t debut after everything I went through for three whole months. So when they called my name I was happy, but also really relieved at the same time.

    And now you’ve debuted.


    Before, it hadn’t really sunk in, but now I can really feel it. It’s fascinating to be on TV programs I used to watch at home. I’ve been busy but it’s a lot of fun, too. There are so many things I’ve never done before so I get worried or nervous at first, but when I get started I get used to it and then it gets fun.

    On I-LAND you talked about your younger sister. Is she still watching you now that you’ve debuted?


    My sister… Well, she isn’t particularly interested in what I do. (laughs) But once in a while she’d share what she saw on TV or what the current issues are. We don’t usually talk a lot.

    You seemed like you were very close with her, though.


    We are close, but we also fought a lot. (laughs) Not so much fight, but squabble. When I was little, I spent more time playing with my sister than with kids my age. Even though I’m five years older than her, I feel less like her big brother and more like her friend.

    You cried a lot when you read the letter your mother wrote to you on I-LAND.


    I never really spent time apart from my parents, and I was so busy and stressed out with all the tests we had to take that I really teared up. My family always supported me, right since I started figure skating. Most of what my family did, they did for me, so I feel indebted to them… and very, very thankful, too. Now that we’re living apart, I hope my parents can do all the things they never had time to while they were busy taking care of me.

    It seems like you really lightened up once ENHYPEN was formed.


    That’s probably because I’m doing what I always wanted to do. The other members also had an effect on me. We don’t agree on everything and we have disagreements here and there, but we work through them and now we’ve developed a kind of camaraderie. It’s fun being with them.

    You look like you’re relaxed and having a good time when you broadcast on V LIVE with 02s. What’s it like when the three of you are together in real life?


    The whole group is like a family, but the three of us have the same interests so we tend to talk about that a lot. We even cooked together a little while ago. JAY took the lead and made buchimgae, which turned out a bit salty (laughs) but they still tasted all right.

    You and JAY have completely different personalities, how did you become close friends?


    I can’t really open up to other people immediately because I’m pretty shy, but JAY opened up to me first and we became close. I think I feel comfortable being with a friend like JAY—someone carefree, and unpretentious. (laughs)


    In “Given-Taken” and “Let Me In,” you and JAY sang the same lyrics but in different parts and with different feels.

    SUNGHOON: We did a unit performance together at the beginning of I-LAND, and you can really see that our minds run on the same frequencies when we dance together, too. JAY and I give off a totally different vibe, but I think that balance actually has its own unique charm.

    Your acting improved a lot compared to when you were on I-LAND.


    I practiced in front of the mirror a lot, and thought a lot about the feeling and nuances of the lyrics. The lyrics, “On that crown / That blood / Dripping down,” in “Given-Taken,” felt very intense to me, so I tried to make a sexy expression, and tried to make my face look more intense during the chorus.

    You definitely came off as intense in the “Given-Taken” chorus.


    That’s the part where the song slows down, so we really had to emphasize our facial expressions. I paid a lot of attention to the look in my eyes for the part where we all gather around and changes to slow motion. I start by looking straight in front of me, then slowly turn my head. I made that stand out, too.

    What about the performance for “10 Months”? You had a hard time pulling off a cute look. (laughs)


    (laughs) I got better by performing “Chamber 5.” Still, I prefer darker songs like “Given-Taken,” although I got used to songs like “10 Months” with playful concepts. I think I make better facial expressions when I think about the lyrics of that song, too.

    What were you thinking of while trying to express the lyrics for “10 Months”?


    I pictured someone who is going through puberty early but doesn’t know it, and they’re telling how they feel to the person they like. I didn’t know it when I was going through puberty either, I think. I never felt puberty was very hard for me, but I’m not sure how my parents or anyone else I know felt. I definitely hit that phaze I think I just went through it without ever realizing.

    All your experience as a figure skater must have been a lot of help for your performances and facial expressions.

    SUNGHOON: I wasn’t really good at facial expressions when I figure skated, but I remember feeling the melody and I did a lot of sentimental acting, which I think helped. That still wasn’t enough, though, so I ended up studying a lot and practiced alone taking selfies. And because I figure skated for so long, I’ve become pretty athletic, so even though I haven’t learned much, say, acrobatics, I could do it right away. People say I have a clean dancing style and that I don’t have any bad habits, and that there’s a soft, pretty tone to my dancing. (laughs) And people usually practice their dance moves in front of the mirror and get used to that, but when I was figure skating I never really did that. I think not having to rely on the mirror makes my performances on stage and on camera look just as good as when I practice.


    How did you first start figure skating?


    My parents first said I should try to do something active, so I started to play ice hockey. Then I saw Yuna Kim and started figure skating. At first it was for fun, and then I started competing. I really liked the sense of accomplishment from getting good scores and winning medals, so I practiced a lot. I went through a bit of a slump at one point but I never wanted to quit. I really wanted to be good at figure skating so I kept at it for a long time and didn’t give up.

    How were you able to be an idol in training while continuing as a figure skater at the same time?


    I was getting a lot of calls from Big Hit at the time. My parents suggested it couldn’t hurt to try out once, and that the dancing and expressions you learn while training to be an idol could also be helpful for my figure skating, so I decided to do both at the same time. The more I got into it, the more fun it was to spend time with my trainee friends, and watching other artists do amazing performances on stage made me really want to do that too and I became more and more interested in being an idol.

  • Wasn’t it hard to give up your figure skating career?

    SUNGHOON: I did have a hard time giving it up, because I’d been doing it for so long. That’s why I kept figure skating the first two years I was training to be an idol. Then I was officially selected to go on I-LAND

    , and that’s when I decided to focus solely on the show.

    They both require a lot of practice.


    When the other trainees went off to school, I went to train for figure skating. I figure skated in the morning and trained to be an idol after that. My parents really took care of me—giving me rides to practice, picking me up after. They were so helpful in so many different ways and made it much easier for me to practice.

    Practice must be particularly meaningful to you. During your debut show, when you were asked if you ever felt the other members were too slow during practice, your dog ears twitched. (laughs)


    Ah. (laughs) I got a bit frustrated when the others couldn’t concentrate. I tend to lose confidence when I haven’t practiced enough. I don’t naturally ooze confidence, so I wanted to make up for that with a lot of practice.

    I heard that you give yourself praise to boost your self-confidence. Does that work?

    SUNGHOON: It does work, but if I overdo it, it can make me look like a show-off. (laughs) But I think saying something really makes it come true. I used to be pretty self-deprecating until people around me said I should speak more confidently to myself. That’s how I started to gear up mentally. If I tell myself, “I’m handsome; there’s nothing I can’t do; I can do anything,” it gives me a little more confidence.


    How do you feel, transitioning from working alone as a figure skater, to doing everything as a team?


    I like being in a team better, since we can rely on each other. To be honest, I never really used to think much about the team and just focused on myself, but at some point I started to put the team first. We haven’t been together very long, but we already feel like brothers, like family.

    I imagine it wasn’t easy at first—seven people from different backgrounds all living together.


    Disagreements bound to happen because different people spend every waking moment together. But we started to have more and more meetings and made it a habit to solve problems by following our leader’s initiative, to look at things objectively and talk about everything.

    JUNGWON said, “I can feel SUNGHOON subtly helping me out.”


    I’m in the older half of our group, and I know it’s hard for the leader to do everything by himself, so I try to help out from the sidelines. For example, if the rest of the members aren’t paying attention to what the leader’s saying, I try to make them get together and focus, or give him my thoughts on any problems or issues that come up. I think JUNGWON is doing a good job as the leader.

    You were chosen as the member most likely to take a fall for the sake of the team’s success.


    The past me probably never would’ve done that, but, I think I’ve changedThey might be right. I mean, I became a more active person because of figure skating, but I changed even more after I became a trainee compared to back then. There’s way more people my age here than there were in figure skating. I think that’s why I was able to become more social, spending time with friends without feeling awkward. I’m definitely braver now—more talkative, more outgoing.

    How else do you hope to change, in the future?


    I wanted to become an idol, watching BTS’s performances. Now I want to put on amazing performances just like them and develop a kind of aura. I ran into Jung Kook in the company lounge once, and he was so friendly when I said hello to him, and I was so happy when he cheered me on. (laughs)

    You’ve had a successful debut, but it’s a shame about COVID-19.


    I would really like to put on a fun show in front of the fans, but we’re only doing pre-recorded shows, unfortunately. Also, I’m worried that when things do get better and we finally put on a live show, I might get too nervous and can’t perform as well. But anyway, for now, just performing on stage is fun, and I made it my goal to continue to grow until the day we meet our fans. Even in these tough times, I want to show people all around the world what kind of team we are through our performances.

    Source: https://magazine.weverse.io/ar…st?lang=en&colca=1&page=1



    SUNOO “The stage is my happy place”
    ENHYPEN Debut Interview

    SUNOO kept on dancing to the music playing in the studio. But once the photoshoot began, he buckled down and began to focus. When I asked him how he could focus so quickly, he replied: “I just went with the flow.” The 17-year-old boy with a happy face had a deep soul that occasionally flowed like the ocean tide.

    Yesterday (December 4), you filmed an episode of KBS Music Bank. It was your first appearance on a music show - how did you feel?

    SUNOO : I have a sister who is three years older than me, and when we were young, we would have music shows on TV, and we sang and danced together. That’s when I started dreaming of becoming a singer. So I couldn’t believe I was actually going to go on a music show. I was nervous, but I was excited more.

    What about being on television intrigued you when you were young?

    SUNOO : The people who were singing and dancing on the colorful stage looked really happy. I thought, “Wow, I want to be like them.” “I want to be on that stage.” I think I was born with that dream. (laughs) My sister always watched music shows with me, but she never wanted to become a celebrity.

    So was it your dream to become a singer since you were little?

    SUNOO : Yes. I sang pretty well when I was in elementary school. (laughs) I memorized songs really fast, too. So I heard that my teachers would talk to my mom about putting me on music shows or TV programs. But then, when I was in 7th grade, I gave up my dream because I hit puberty, and my voice started cracking. Even when I sang, it wasn’t as exciting or fun as before. But when I got to 8th grade, an entertainment agency offered me a chance to audition. I didn’t get in, though, because my voice was still cracking, but they suggested that I audition again a year later. They knew that’s what I wanted. A year went by, and they really called me back. I started going to different auditions from then on and tried this and that, and that’s how I ended up here.

    You must get a special feeling when you see yourself on TV.

    SUNOO : I thought I had a “cute face,” but when I saw my photos, I was surprised because my eyes looked longer than I thought, and they looked cold. When I see myself on TV, I notice many things that I haven’t before.

    You are famous for having an “expressive face.” Have you been practicing these expressions since you were younger?

    SUNOO : I think it’s because I grew up watching all kinds of music shows. I’m very emotional too. I would cry when I see someone crying in a movie or drama, and I would tear up when I listen to sad music. When my friend cries, my heart sinks too. (laughs) Our facial expressions reveal our personality. So I think they just come naturally for me.

    On I-LAND, you said, “I was an ordinary student just a year ago.” What sort of student were you?

    SUNOO : People saw me as a “high-spirited” kid with lots of talent. My middle school hosted a choir competition every year, and I was always the first one to sign up because I loved dancing and singing. Sometimes I danced in the hallway because I liked getting attention, and my friends would go, “What’s up with you?” (laughs) My parents didn’t want me to go all-in on becoming a celebrity when I’m still a student. So I focused on my studies, and I got a perfect score on the math test for the first time in 8th grade. The questions were relatively easy, but there weren’t that many students who got everything right! (laughs) But then I started losing interest in my studies because I couldn’t follow my dream. So in 9th grade, I quit cram schools and did what I wanted to do instead. In high school, I was an ordinary student who liked watching K-pop music videos. I was also a member of the dance club, and my friends and I sometimes did each others’ hair for fun.


    I saw you doing the members’ hair quite often.

    SUNOO : From when I was young, I braided my sister’s hair and bought a hair iron to do her hair. There was even a time when I dreamed of becoming a hairdresser. I think I was influenced by my mom and sister because I saw them knitting and cross-stitching very often. I also played with stickers and did a lot of coloring and paper folding since childhood. The reason I’m interested in scents is also because of my sister. I saw her buying and wearing perfume, and that got me interested. I like light and refreshing scents, like the scent of lemon. Now that I think about it, I think I’ve always been interested in beauty. (laughs)

    SUNGHOON didn’t seem very enthusiastic about the hair you did for him at the DEBUT SHOW. (laughs)

    SUNOO : (laughs) Maybe it’s because I’m more used to styling long hair or bobbed hair. I did my sister’s hair a lot, but I didn’t do mine that often. I started doing my hair in middle school. I had a female friend who had short hair, so I would do her hair, and I would do my male friends’ hair too. So I did all sorts of hair, like short hair and long hair, and I think I’ve learned a lot in high school.

    On I-LAND, you said to SUNGHOON, “I want to be friends with you too.” Well, have you two gotten closer now?

    SUNOO : I can say this with absolute confidence. (laughs) We’ve gotten really close. We were awkward at first, but the more I get to know him, the more we have in common than we thought, and I play jokes on him a lot too. I’m quite sure he thinks I’m cute. So I often think to myself, “Am I really that cute?”. (laughs)

    Does NI-KI still sleep on your bed these days? (laughs)

    SUNOO : Yes. It was awkward having someone sleep next to me at first because I’ve always slept by myself. But NI-KI always asks me with confidence, “You’re sleeping next to me, right?” (laughs), so we kept sleeping side by side. But these days, I feel a bit lonely when I sleep alone. I guess I’ve gotten used to it. (laughs)

    On I-LAND, I noticed how you took good care of the other trainees.

    SUNOO : I think it’s because I like people. I like being around people more than being alone, and I’m interested in other people, too. When someone looks a bit down, I get concerned and think, “Is something wrong?” You know those friends who don’t give you any practical advice but are there for you and cry with you going, “Oh, no”? (laughs) Well, that’s me.

  • JAY once described you as “a friend who does things for him without ever complaining.”

    SUNOO : Maybe it’s because my attitude changed while I was practicing as a trainee. My sister also told me, “You were so immature, but you seem to have grown up these days.” (laughs) When I first started practicing, I would often hear people say that I am not good because it hadn’t been that long since I became a trainee. I wasn’t feeling well at the time too. But I didn’t want to give up, and I was quite depressed. But I kept going because whenever I struggled, my mom told me, “This is what you love doing, and I know you want to do this. So don’t give up, and I hope you don’t have any regrets.” I guess I’ve become more mature over time. In the past, I wasn’t able to stick to one thing for a long time. I would get tired of it and quit. But now I tell myself, “let’s keep going.” I think I’ve become a more positive and patient person.


    When you were first eliminated on I-LAND, I remember how you graciously accepted it and how composed you were in the video log series “-note,” when the staff gave you negative feedback.

    SUNOO : You can’t change what has already happened. So I try to accept the feedback for a better future and think, “let’s do better next time.” I used to have a lot of regrets. If I give you an example of food, I used to starve myself to eat more at a buffet. But when I got there, I would get full so fast and regret it. (laughs) Every time I did that, my mom told me, “Why do you always regret everything? Whenever you say things like that, it will affect the people listening to you, and it’s not good for you either.” So I stopped saying those things and learned how to accept reality.

    You eventually learned the worm move you had trouble with at the beginning of I-LAND,, and on V LIVE, you mentioned that you were sick while performing “Save ME” as a vocal unit. How did you get through it?

    SUNOO : I was able to do it because I kept thinking about why I decided to do this in the first place. I thought, “I’ve already come this far, so how can I give up?” If I become weak, everything I’ve done would become a waste of time, and I didn’t know what I would do if I didn’t do this. I was sick, but I couldn’t think of anything else other than getting my job done. So I did it. You can’t quit, can you? I thought, if I’m going to do this, I might as well try harder.

    The day after your debut was announced, you said, “I’ll always remind myself of why I chose this job and become a good artist.” on “-note.”

    SUNOO : I thought that’s the kind of mindset I should have to live a happy life. When I was younger, I loved dancing and singing along to music on TV, and that’s why I chose this job. I kept challenging myself because I thought I’d be happy and have no regrets if I chose this path. It can be hard sometimes, but if I keep going, thinking about the happiness I got from it, I think I’ll be able to enjoy my job more and do this for a long time.

    I was impressed with how calm you looked wearing the wire harness to film the debut trailer.

    SUNOO : Oh, I was really scared, actually. (laughs) I was more afraid of heights than I thought. It was also my first time wearing the wire harness. I had to let my hands go and flip over in mid air. Honestly, my hands wouldn’t budge at first. But then I saw all the staff who were there for the filming, and it occurred to me, that if I don’t let my hands go, I might delay the schedule. So I made up my mind to just get it over with, and fortunately, it worked out well. And if you think about it, not everyone gets to film a scene wearing a wire harness. So I thought I should put more effort into it.

    Can you share some of the memorable moments from when you were preparing for the debut album?

    SUNOO : In “Given-Taken,” there is a choreography where I dance with SUNGHOON and JUNGWON while singing, “That light burned me.” At first, I wasn’t given the center position. The parts get finalized after all the members try out different positions. The three of us practiced the choreography after our parts were confirmed, but it wasn’t easy because of the difference in our energy and style. And because SUNGHOON and JUNGWON trained longer than I did, I had to make up for my shortcomings. It was hard at first, but we practiced over and over again and got it right in the end.

    Your deep voice sounds attractive in that part.

    SUNOO : HEESEUNG’s part was all about gently starting off the song, and in my part that came right after, the key was to signal the change of mood. The producer emphasized that it needed to be intense. So I tried to get rid of my usual soft tone and sing with as much power as possible when we were recording. And the deep voice was what we got in the end. (laughs) It was relatively easier to record songs like “Flicker” and “10 months.” But there were particular details to the other songs so I had to practice more to produce that exact feel


    After a lengthy preparation period, you finally met ENGENE online through the DEBUT SHOW.

    SUNOO : It felt like I was meeting ENGENE in person. That’s how thrilled I was. I felt like my hard work was finally paying off with all the love coming from our fans, and I teared up thinking about everything I’ve been through. I was so thankful, and I really wish I could meet them in person. I took part in choir competitions and a dance club when I was younger, so I know exactly what it feels like when you perform in front of the audience. I was happy, but I felt the absence of our fans.

    What is the first thing you want to do when you meet your fans in person?

    SUNOO : I think I’m going to ask them how they became interested in me and how they’ve come to like me. (laughs)

    I noticed how you looked for the fans’ reactions and responded to them quite often on V LIVE. Can you share some of the memorable responses or comments you got from your fans?

    SUNOO : I remember the handwritten letter I got from a fan while filming I-LAND. It said something along the lines of, “You must be having a hard time, although you don’t show it on screen. I hope you don’t force yourself to look cheerful. I just hope you’ll be happy doing what you love.” When I read the letter, I felt that the people who are interested in me and think about me know everything about me. I was really grateful.

    What does the stage mean to you?

    SUNOO : The place I always wanted to be on and dreamed of. Whenever I’m on stage, I feel extremely happy. Oh, I’m not sure how to put this into words. On the DEBUT SHOW, I felt the endorphins running through my body when we performed “Let Me In (20 CUBE).” Of course, it would be best if we could perform while hearing the cheers from our fans, but the situation these days just doesn’t allow it......

    So the stage holds a special place in your heart.

    SUNOO : Yes.

    Source: https://magazine.weverse.io/ar…ew?lang=en&colca=1&num=75

  • JAY


    JAY “I’m extremely passionate about what I like”
    ENHYPEN debut interview

    Everything he did was JAYish. He had been moving to the rhythm of the music, then he came into the photoshoot with an abrupt change in his attitude. He laughed heartily when making pleasant conversation but his voice, expression, even his way of speaking reflected his passion and sincerity when he spoke seriously about his deepest feelings.

    You must feel very different after your debut, seeing as you were a trainee for so long.


    I guess I’m more relaxed than happy or excited. I saw a lot of my friends debut while I was a trainee for three years, so I knew what to expect from the debut process from watching them.

    It seems like you’ve changed since your I-LAND days. You look a little more relaxed.


    You’re right. The show was three months of lots of difficulty and stress, having to keep proving myself at every moment. I was much more nervous then. Now I hardly ever feel nervous on stage. I concentrate like I’m comfortably singing and dancing in my own room. (laughs)

    When I saw your parents on the show, they looked like cheery people.

    JAY: I have an easy-going, friendly relationship with my parents. And the way my mom talked on the show was extremely blunt. (laughs) My parents and I are very honest and straightforward—like, no matter what everyone might think of me, I’ll say what they need to hear and whatever I want to them. We’re all like that. Even on I-LAND, it wasn’t that different from when I was a trainee. I only thought about wanting to put on a good show every week, and that way, I think, I showed my honest side.

    And that’s when you had your “RAS” moment. (laughs) What did you think when you saw that scene?

    JAY: “Whoa … Someone’s having a hard time!” (laughs) I can’t really remember that well anymore, but I must’ve had a really hard time. I think I was way too honest. (laughs)

    You’re taking BTS’s advice: “Enjoy your embarrassing moments.” (laughs)

    JAY: Exactly. I don’t care about it at all anymore. I ignore it; I think, it is what it is, and there’s no way to take it back. Even after I die, it’ll still be floating around the Internet, like my ghost. So I just kind of gave up on that. (laughs)

    One of the reasons you had that RAS moment on I-LAND (laughs) was because you couldn’t get the part you really wanted. Do you like the parts you have now?

    JAY: (laughs) Yes. I really like them (laughs) and, for the hook in the chorus, SUNGHOON’s part and mine are pretty much identical which are repeated. It was actually my dance move for SUNGHOON’s part and his move for my part at first, but it was decided later it would fit the mood better if the choreography was changed, so they ended up switched. The first way wasn’t bad either, but I think the changed version suited both of us much better.

    I understand you’re something of a scaredy-cat. (laughs) Wasn’t it hard for you to get into the horror movie concept?

    JAY: People say I’m a scaredy-cat, but I’m really not. (laughs) I’m more of a logical person (laughs) so I’m sort of afraid of things that can’t be proven or analyzed mathematically or scientifically. So maybe that’s why horror themes aren’t my strong suit.


    I saw your reaction video for “Given-Taken” and it looked as though you were really surprised by how cool the music video turned out.

    JAY: Yes. There were a number of scenes I felt underwhelmed about when we were shooting them, but the director actually made them look really cool. There’s this one part especially, where JAKE and I are looking at each other and the camera moves between us and then passes to SUNGHOON. When we were filming that, I kept wondering, “How is this going to end up?” And then that scene turned out way cooler than I expected. (laughs)

    The look in your eyes the first time the chorus plays is amazing.

    JAY: I’m first up on both the first and second verses, so I paid extra attention to my facial expressions and the way the dancing feels so that that whole part would turn out well. It’s a lot harder to emphasize a slow dance than a fast and pounding one, so I tried to put more focus on that part by giving off a sort of aggressively charismatic sort of feeling.

    The part in the chorus where you were in the center was really intense, too.

    JAY: The first thing the performance director told me to do for that part was to do this sort of tough guy swagger. And when I thought about the whole song, the characters we play give off a kind of aristocracy vibe, so I made it a point to seem like we were looking down on people. So I was dancing with everything I’ve got while I kept my face relaxed. I even smirked a little.

    What do you hope to express when you’re dancing?

    JAY: Whenever I practice, I always keep in mind what my dance instructor said: “Anyone who has the basics of dancing down can dance well, but looking really good comes from knowing how to relax.” So I want to dance as if it’s a piece of cake even when I’m using every last drop of my energy that I could collapse. Because of that, I made Jimin from BTS my role model for when I’m doing K-pop choreography.

    It seems like you’re always thinking about dancing.

    JAY: I’m extremely passionate about what I like and what I’m interested in. I get sucked into things until I use up all my energy on them. I have this tendency to focus on just one thing, and for weeks I’ll spend all my time on that one interest except for when I eat, sleep and shower. I also really like everything to be organized perfectly: I make all my game IDs the same, and arrange all my things by color. I must’ve been influenced by a bunch of designers when I started to get into fashion—like Karl Lagerfeld, for example. He only ever wore black suits in public, so now we always have this exact image of him. If you think about it, it’s like a concept. I thought it’s pretty cool to create this identity where people think or feel something specific when you see them.

  • 20201224BIGq4OOLRon.jpg

    You’re also interested in fashion, right?


    I’m interested in anything related to art. And I think to be worthy of the title “artist” you need to be at least somewhat good in every art-related field. I take fashion very seriously because I think artists should show outwardly how seriously they take their art and their work. I think I’m also influenced by looking at artists like V from BTS who’re famous for their fashion sense.

    I heard you’re also a stylist for the other members.


    They’ve been asking me a lot of questions lately because they’re particularly into fashion now. My sense of fashion isn’t perfect, but I can make a decent judgment call by looking at length or color. For example, I can tell just from looking at a picture whether some combination will make someone’s legs look shorter or if some other combination will make their face look washed out, so the members will come to me to ask me questions and use me like a calculator. (laughs)

    That reminds me of the episode of I-LAND where you allotted parts for “Dive into You” based on how well they suited each of the unit members.


    I have a pretty good eye for things like music, dance, and clothes, so I think I can zero in on the key characteristics. I also stress efficiency in everything I do. I was actually a little bit edgy when I was giving out the parts for “Dive into You.” (laughs) Emotion is the root of my efficient and computative side. If I’m feeling competitive, or angry, or it’s a matter of pride, I get extremely focused and then I can think fast and efficiently to get results.

    Not unlike that scene on I-LAND that people were talking about where producer Rain gave you feedback.


    I was a bit surprised to see that clip of me being scolded by him popping up here and there. (laughs) Part of the reason I acted that way was because I was born in the US, but it’s also from my way of thinking efficiently. If I try to improve myself instead of just feeling intimidated, I might get better results next time. And I think it’s both efficient and not rude to listen to someone’s opinion properly, and show my determination not to repeat my mistakes in the future. That way I show how I’ll keep improving and moving forward.

    Your life in the US must have been a big influence on you.


    I think I was influenced by the way they always expect open and honest answers to everything. I usually think about what’s most important to others, to me, and to the situation before anything else, and then act based on that thinking. I never hesitate. I seriously won’t hesitate to do what’s best for them and for me, even if it makes me look bad. I think that’s more efficient than not being able to express my real opinion.

    You keep emphasizing efficiency. I’m guessing you would really hate to ease up on your practice or work schedule.


    Practice is a special case, I think. I think of art as an abstract kind of work: It’s something you have to slow down for and feel and think about, rather than something you can just figure out efficiently. So even when it’s time to dance, I’ll sometimes sit down with my earphones on and listen to some music to focus on my thoughts.

    Is that why you’re interested in so many different things? You also cook, and you know a lot about many different topics.

    JAY: I have interested in cooking since I was little. I learned bit by bit from my parents and from watching YouTube and slowly tried my hand at it. As for knowing a lot of trivia, that’s because of my dad. My dad and I are really similar. He knows literally everything. Even things you don’t usually need to know, he has a high-level understanding of. I heard him talk about a lot of things because I’m a naturally curious person and asked him a lot of questions. Ever since I was a kid, I have been curious about a lot of random things. Even when I’m in bed, if I suddenly wonder about things like, “Why isn’t time travel possible?” or, “How does the touch screen on phones work?” I immediately get up and search it.


    And what led such a curious boy to become an idol?


    I didn’t originally have any interest in it, but I got an offer to audition through street casting by another company. It sounded like it could be cool (laughs) so I decided to give it a try. I took some lessons for two or three days and had the audition and got in, but then something came up and I left that company. When I got serious again about wanting to demonstrate my skills and get into another company, I was just browsing the music charts and saw BTS’s “Blood Sweat & Tears” was number one. I didn’t really know about BTS at the time, though. As soon as I heard the song, my mind was blown. I looked up the music video and thought, wow, these guys are on a whole different level. (laughs) So I made Big Hit my goal, practiced for a month or two and here I am.

    That must be why you were so determined to debut when you were on I-LAND. We also saw you in the role of leader. How did it feel to lead a team like that?


    As someone who’s been leader twice, I don’t think it’s a job for humans. (laughs) That’s how hard it is. It’s too much pressure. When I was talking to HEESEUNG, I even said, “Honestly, you and I don’t have the right personality to be the leader.” There weren’t many people on I-LAND who had experience being the leader, so HEESEUNG and I had no choice but to do it. That was pretty hard. I knew what I had to do and how I should manage the team, but I felt like I just didn’t have the personality for it. But anyway, seeing how strong-willed JUNGWON is, I think he’ll do a perfectly good job as he gains more experience.

    It seems like you were close with HEESEUNG even before the debut.

    JAY: HEESEUNG and I are more like family. In the past three years, I spent more time with HEESEUNG than with my mom. We’re so close that we can say anything to each other. But with JUNGWON, it was more like a younger brother–older brother situation, so it was more about taking care of one another than being friends, and it was hard for me or HEESEUNG to get close to him. But as it started to feel like we might become members of the same team, I felt like JUNGWON was opening himself up to me, and I think that’s when we started to get close.

    I imagine that, as you grew closer practicing and debuting with your team, you also grew fonder of them.

    JAY: I really want to take good care of them. I really don’t need to interfere when someone else can handle it better, but still, I just want to do whatever I can to help out.

    Even though you haven’t been able to meet your fans yet, what would you like to do for them?

    JAY: It’s true that we can’t see our fans, and it’s a bad time for us and them both, but I’m trying to stay positive. For example, most of our shows right now are pre-recorded, so at least we can make fewer mistakes at the beginning of our debut. We have plenty of time to make ourselves even better so that when we see our fans in person we can hopefully put on a live show that we’ll have no regrets about. That’s what I want to do, so I’m practicing hard.

    Source: https://magazine.weverse.io/ar…ew?lang=en&colca=1&num=78

  • JAKE (my bias :p)


    JAKE “I want to sing and dance for many people”
    ENHYPEN Debut Interview

    JAKE set the following goals for his 20s: to show a more mature version of himself to everyone watching him and to become someone the younger members can turn to when in need of help.

    You have finally debuted.


    Our debut seems like yesterday, but time flew by because we had a jam-packed schedule from day one. All I think about these days is working hard.

    How was the preparation for your debut?


    I had to work harder than the others because I’ve only been a trainee for nine months. I didn’t want to lag behind. Once we debut, our dance performances have to be perfectly synchronized, and there are fancams too, so everyone can tell whether we’re good or not. I thought a lot about my dancing and singing because I wanted to show everyone that I made progress during the two months of preparation for our debut.

    You ranked first in the producers’ evaluation for the first time with “Flicker” on I-LAND. It must have felt special performing it again on the DEBUT SHOW. What did you want to emphasize during your solo shot on stage?

    JAKE: HEESEUNG performed the first part of “Flicker” really well on I-LAND

    . So I asked him for advice and thought a lot about the gestures, expressions, and choreography to find my own style. Whenever I raised my eyebrows or slightly lifted my head, I made sure to put on more relaxed expressions and vibes. I think the relaxed expressions and gestures are what make a performance stand out, so I try to make my gestures look as relaxed as possible.

    How do you practice those gestures?


    In fact, the gestures I do on stage are often different from when I practice them in front of the mirror. The gestures come out naturally under the stage lighting, with the vibe, and in my costumes. I never even thought about flapping the jacket lapel when I was practicing because I didn’t have the jacket on during practice, but it came out naturally on stage.

    Then was your impression of a puppy at the end of the performance of “10 Months” also improvised?


    I love puppies, and I take it as a compliment when people tell me I look like a puppy. “10 Months” is about a 10-month-old puppy, so I thought the impression would go well with the song. (laughs) I did it on the spot, but I thought a little bit about how I should do it before I went on stage.

    Where do you get those ideas?


    Watching performance videos help me the most since I haven’t had much stage experience yet. There have been so many idol group performances with diverse concepts. Because I watch so many of them, I’ve become more mindful of the concepts when thinking about performances, and I try to copy the expressions of the idols that staged those performances. I watch the videos of YEONJUN from TOMORROW X TOGETHER to pick up the playful expressions. I want to look like I’m enjoying the performance, but also cute at the same time.


    You must have tried to look natural and cool when you were filming the “Given-Taken” music video, too.


    It was changed on the set of the music video during filming, but made my hands relaxed while filming. I like the relaxed look. V from BTS gives me a lot of inspiration because he is so good at that and because he looks awesome. I want to be like him. That’s my goal. (laughs)

    In your first close-up scene from the “Given-Taken” music video, you stand face-to-face with JAY. You two look great in the music video, but it might have been awkward since you are so close.


    It was very awkward. I couldn’t hold in my laughter to the point where I wanted to apologize to the director, so I actually looked a little bit to the side instead. I couldn’t help but laugh when I looked at his face. (laughs) We filmed without making eye contact or looking at each other’s faces. You know how we appear on the music video one by one? We also filmed many scenes where we face sideways, but I think they were taken out because we laughed so much.

    You are not a big fan of scary things, but the “Given-Taken” music video was filmed in the forest late at night.


    I’m not that afraid of ghosts. I’m more afraid of people than ghosts, and I think I’m more scared of horror movies about people than ghosts.

    You seemed terrified of bugs, though. (laughs)


    Wow. I have so many bad memories of bugs. I’ve had enough of giant bugs when I lived in Australia. (laughs)

    It looked like there were a lot of bugs when you were filming the music video. It must have been difficult to focus.


    I really hate bugs, but I put up with it because we had to film. I thought I shouldn’t look scared because the director and many other staff members were waiting.

    What did you think the music video was about when you were shooting it?

    JAKE: It’s not easy to analyze “Given-Taken,” and I think it has a deep meaning. I think the song describes the determination or fear we have as we enter the new world after I-LAND, so I tried to be mindful of that when filming the music video. I didn’t want my gestures to suggest that the song can only be interpreted in one way. I wanted to leave room for interpretation for the fans. It wasn’t easy because it was my first time filming a music video, but I did my best.

    The parts you sing in “Given-Taken” have many high notes. How did you practice singing?

    JAKE: From the day after our debut was decided, I’ve been recording every single day, and I think that helped a lot. I was able to hear my voice from an objective point of view, and I thought I needed to change the way I vocalize. Even when I speak, I tend to be breathy, so my voice sounds a bit weak when I’m singing. I asked the producer how I could resonate, project, and sound more solid, and I learned a lot. I also tried to look for solutions on my own.

  • 20201225u7k7132ta.jpg

    Your narration signaled the beginning of the team ENHYPEN. What did you want to express through the narration?


    I believe narrations should be able to draw people in. They should tie the whole album together. The title song “Given-Taken” is dark, and I thought it adequately described the fear and complicated feelings that arise when heading toward a new world so that’s the feel I tried to express.

    It must have been difficult since it was your first time recording a narration.


    The producers and I worked really hard, and the members would tell me that I went into the studio with lots of energy and then came out looking exhausted. (laughs) It was my first time narrating, and there were many parts that were just my voice without any background music. There were so many things I had to be mindful of, like how to bring out the right emotion. So I would set a heavy tone in the studio with no lights on, and brought up a lot of different thoughts. You usually stand when you’re recording, but I sat down sometimes because it took so long. But I think my narration in the first trailer turned out pretty well because I did it after I got some practice from recording the Intro and Outro.

    Your Australian accent from the narration received a lot of attention. What was it like living in Australia?


    Life in Australia was the definition of a chill life. I would get off school at three, and I didn’t have many things to do. The pace of life in Australia is slower, and you have a lot of time to think. So I found the Korean culture very different, with everything being done so quickly. I liked being busy and having a routine while living as a trainee for nine months in Korea, but these days, I sometimes miss the relaxed atmosphere of Australia. (laughs)

    I heard you became a trainee after passing the global audition with the odds of 500:1.


    I found that out when I watched the show. Until the morning of the audition , I still debated whether to go or not. But my dad suggested we give it a shot, so I went without thinking too much about it and I sang Justin Bieber’s “Love Yourself.”

    Were there any challenges to adapting to life as a trainee?


    Honestly speaking, I never knew it would be that hard. (laughs) It was okay on the days when I had lessons, but when I didn’t, I didn’t know what I should be doing all day long. But I prepared for the monthly performance tests, got lessons, and became more interested in dancing and singing. I think that’s when I started making a lot of progress.

    You also got a lot of attention on I-LAND for consistently making progress.


    I spend a lot of time thinking about the feedback I receive, and I think I was able to make progress because I focused on fixing my problems. I try to think that if I keep thinking about ways to improve my performance, I’ll be able to perform better next time. And whenever I’m rehearsing or performing on stage, I don’t worry too much about it, and I try not to. I’m going to be on many different stages from now. I try to enjoy myself because I think I make fewer mistakes throughout the performance when I’m truly having fun. When I moved to Korea from Australia, I had to transfer to a Korean school, and that along with becoming a trainee was completely new to me, so it wasn’t easy at first. But once I got used to my life as a trainee, it was fine.

    Moving to Korea to become a trainee must have been a big decision.

    JAKE: I made the bold choice to leave behind a lot of things in Australia to come here. My parents and I were very concerned because the path of a trainee is rife with uncertainties that can disappear all of a sudden. But when I get hooked on something, I have to see it through to the end. I think about it all day and become obsessive. (laughs) Ever since I started dreaming of becoming an idol, my goal was to debut no matter what. So even when people told me that being a trainee will be difficult, I thought of it as a step toward my dream.


    ENHYPEN must hold a special meaning for you.

    JAKE: Enhypen will be a part of me for the rest of my life, and I really think of the members as family. You know, BTS is famous for their strong teamwork and a tight-knit relationship, and it shows in their videos. We want to follow their example.

    You said that you get along with SUNGHOON very well because you’re the same MBTI type and have a lot in common.


    We depend on each other a lot. We have so much in common, and he has even more things on his mind. When we were choosing our in-ear monitors, he thought it over for three more days (laughs). It’s interesting because he often reminds me of myself before my personality changed. We share the same blood type and MBTI type. So when he is concerned about something, I often tell him what I would have wanted to hear if I had been in his situation.

    The members born in 2002 will enter your 20s very soon.


    This year has been very hectic for me, moving to Korea and becoming a trainee, and the next thing I know, I’m almost an adult. Honestly, I don’t have big expectations and haven’t given much thought about it, but I’m happy that I’m becoming an adult with the members who were born in 2002, like me.

    What do you want your 20s to be like?


    Above all, I’m an artist now, and I feel a sense of anxiety and tension about the fact that many people are watching me. So I’m determined to show a more mature version of myself. I’m 19, which means I’m the second oldest member of the team. Many of the members are younger than me, but they seem to think I’m cute, and honestly speaking, I don’t think I’m acting like an older member either (laughs). So I want to become close to them, and be someone they can turn to when they’re feeling down.

    Then as a member of ENHYPEN, what kind of artist do you want to be?


    I was an ordinary teenager until a year ago, and even now, I don’t think I’m very different from other people. I just think of myself as a performer and a musician. So I want to sing and dance for many people.

    There are fans out there who love your performance and music.


    This is still very new to me, and honestly, I’m so grateful and I don’t think this feeling will ever go away. (laughs) It’s my first time having fans, and I’m absolutely overwhelmed. It was my birthday a while ago, and I’ve never received so many congratulations from so many people. I was really grateful. I was all alone in the practice studio on my last birthday, calling and texting my family, but this year, I was so happy to see not only my family but so many fans rooting for me and sending me love.

    It’s a shame you can’t meet them in person right now.


    Like I said, I dreamed of becoming an idol watching idol group performances, and I dreamed of going on stage at a concert and screaming and shouting with the fans. I don’t know when that’ll be, but when I finally get to perform in front of our fans, I think I’ll be unimaginably happy.

    Source: https://magazine.weverse.io/ar…ew?lang=en&colca=1&num=80

  • NI-KI


    NI-KI “I want to show everyone I can keep growing”
    ENHYPEN debut interview

    NI-KI was rushing around but showed no signs of tiring out. He found the basketball hoop and kept taking shots until he made a basket and, whenever he could find the time, practiced his moves for the cover dance video. Until he achieved what he was going for.

    Your Korean has gotten a lot better.

    NI-KI: I guess it’s because when I was a trainee I learned a lot from watching reality shows and audition shows like I-LAND, and the other members also taught me a bunch. We discuss a lot before filming anything. If there’s some grammar or words I don’t know, I go right to JAY, since he’s good at Japanese. I don’t have a hard time in everyday life, but sometimes I get help from others while filming when there’s something I’m not sure about.

    I guess you must have had many opportunities to take in not only the language but also the culture.


    The food culture is very different; I can’t really eat spicy food. I like boiled mandu with meat inside so I’ve eaten a lot of those. (laughs) I think I learned a lot about Korean history and traditional culture when I went to Gyeongbokgung Palace.

    The modern hanbok Jung Kook from BTS gifted you is also symbolic of Korea’s heritage.


    Yes, you’re right. I thought it was cool when I first got it because I was also learning another part of the culture, plus I was happy to receive a gift from him. I still wear it every day. (laughs) My teammates save their gifts for special occasions, but now I wear mine way more than any clothes I’ve ever worn. It feels like I get good energy from it.

    Was there a reason you came here after performing as a kid dancer in Japan?


    I saw some idols including SHINEE for the first time at the Tokyo Dome when I was in grade school—not only dancing, but performing while singing, and that really stuck in my mind. After that, I was determined to become an artist like them and be the one on that stage someday. So now, here I am, in Korea. Actually, the dance moves I learned when I first came to Korea were totally different from what I was used to doing. The singing was, too, so I felt I wasn’t good enough so I practiced every single day. Any time I learned a new move while I was a trainee, I made sure to practice it until it was perfect before the next class.

    You had a bit of a crisis while practicing for your debut: You were sent to the GROUND on I-LAND. When you became the dance representative and lost, you held back your tears even as the others were crying, until the producers came to cheer you up, and then you finally burst into tears.

    NI-KI: I felt terrible for losing, but I didn’t want my teammates to see me cry, so I held it in. But when the producers suddenly showed up … I was thinking how there were so many things that didn’t turn out well since starting I-LAND

    and had no idea what to do, but then the producers said we did a good job and suddenly I started crying too.

    Finally, you debuted as ENHYPEN. How did you feel right when the decision was made?

    NI-KI: Up until that point, even though I wasn’t sure if I could debut, I just wanted to make sure I had no regrets, so I tried my best to show everyone who supported me how much I had grown. In the end, when all seven of us put our arms around each other’s shoulders, I thought, “Wow, we’re really debuting!” Looking back now, I think it was fate for us to be together. I’m happy to have been able to debut with them.


    What’s it like to live with six older team members?

    NI-KI: We take care of each other when we’re having a hard time or feeling sad. Our sense of teamwork is getting better every day, too. The others are still really considerate towards me, especially JAY, who I could easily communicate with by speaking Japanese. Now we use Korean except for when we’re joking around.

    During the debut show, you said you feel closest to JUNGWON.

    NI-KI: I think it’s easiest to talk with him because we’re the closest in age. They all take a joke well—I love to joke around—but JUNGWON is especially good about my pranks.

    But you share a room with someone else. (laughs)

    NI-KI: SUNOO and I sleep in the same room. There wasn’t much of a chance to be close with JUNGWON during I-LAND, and SUNOO and I shared a room back then, too, so I got used to sleeping with him.

    The other members often brag on TV or social media about you, the youngest member. How do you feel when you hear them complimenting you like that?

    NI-KI: It’s a little bit embarrassing. (laughs) I still have a long way to go, so I feel kind of self-conscious when they talk me up that much. But still, I like it when they say I dance well. Sometimes I feel like, “I nailed it this time,” and it feels good when I hear them say it, too.

  • You feel embarrassed when you receive compliments, but you give them out to the other members often. In the “Given-Taken” reaction video, you clap and tell them again and again how great they look.


    I love to compliment my teammates. I’ll usually just say whatever’s on my mind. The music video really was that cool, and also touching. It was physically draining, filming for three days, but the video turned out so amazing that I felt like I became a fan, too, after seeing it.

    While watching the video together, the other members saw your scenes and said it was all freestyle and that it was mind-blowing to see on the day. What did you aim to express?


    I wanted to make a strong impression with my dancing in all the scenes, so I talked it over with the performance director and danced freestyle to make it look natural. I added a dark atmosphere to the “Dusk-Dawn” trailer by intentionally twisting my back like a zombie. I wanted to make a completely new character for the music video for the lead single. I was reminded of a movie I saw before, but I wanted to show people something that was my own.

    In “Given-Taken,” you break free from the chain around your feet and float in midair, singing the lyrics, “Between giving and taking / It’s time for my proving.” What did these lyrics mean to you?

    NI-KI: I’m still having a hard time with that. (laughs) Hmm … I imagined myself struggling between what I was given and what I had taken. The “given” part makes me think of everyone who supported me and my debut, and also maybe my talent and luck. And I have “taken” the debut by running towards my goal. When I was on I-LAND I worried whether I would be able to debut or not, but these days I worry whether I can do a good job as a member of ENHYPEN.


    So you’re still worrying, even after your debut.

    NI-KI: I was especially nervous and prepared a lot for the debut show since it was our first ever performance. I couldn’t actually meet the fans because of COVID-19, but I was really happy we could at least see their faces. I wanted to really thank everyone who watched our performance. When we went back home after the show, JUNGWON and I talked about how, “Even though we had some hard times leading up to our debut, it was touching to meet our fans through that surprise video.” And then fell asleep at around four in the morning. That’s the time I usually go to bed, and I always read the letters I got when I was on I-LAND before I fall asleep, even though I’m tired. They always give me strength.

    Did looking at the fan reactions to your debut also give you strength?


    It felt good when I read one comment saying it exceeded their expectations. There were some negative reactions, too, but I try to see those comments in a positive light. It makes me think how I can practice hard and put on an even better performance next time.

    The fans also give you cute nicknames. Which one is your favorite?

    NI-KI: Boongeoppang. If they draw a picture of NI-KI, I hope that a picture of a little fish shaped pastry is included too. (laughs) For me, it’s all about the red bean boongeoppang. The other flavors are good, too, but I like the simplicity of the red bean kind. I eat them head first. I like Puma, too. Some fans posted pictures of me, comparing when I started I-LAND and when we finished, and said I look like a puma.

    That explains why you use the leopard emoji every time you post on the Internet. It looks like a puma.


    I communicate online a lot since it’s impossible to meet people face to face right now. I’ll do my best to repay all the people who have supported me until now. I’ll keep that in mind when we perform. And I hope ENGENE and ENHYPEN can finally meet as one. I think it’ll be more fun to perform for them after not being able to meet them for so long. I imagine our fun future performances whenever we practice. When we get a chance to see them in person, the very first thing I want to do is thank them.

    What does this future performance you see when you practice look like?

    NI-KI: I remember how incredibly beautiful the lights in the audience looked from the stage, when I found my dream. I want the light from everyone’s light sticks to shine on me like they did then. And I think it’ll give me a boost when I hear all of them cheering. I want to put on a wonderful show for our fans—a performance that we can all enjoy together, where we can communicate with the fans, like if we ride around the whole arena giving out gifts like autographed balls or something.


    You’ve said many times, “Dance is everything to me.” What exactly does dancing mean to you?


    When I was three years old, my dad showed me a concert video. I remember how after that I would watch that video alone for, like, five hours every day, just practicing. That’s how much I liked dancing, and I want to keep dancing forever. I think that’s the most important feeling in my life.

    What do you like most, other than dancing?


    Microphones. Headset microphones. Even before I dreamed of becoming an idol, I saw performers wearing those headsets and thought that I wanted to wear one someday. I imagined myself with my own microphone and in-ear monitors, so now they’re very valuable things to me.

    And your childhood dreams came true. Now, imagining further into the future, what kind of artist do you want to be remembered as?


    An artist who gives a lot of people good energy, happiness, and can move them. I want to leave people with a lingering impression. My hope is that I can keep growing in every way.

    Source: https://magazine.weverse.io/ar…ew?lang=en&colca=1&num=81



    HEESEUNG “I don’t want to define music in one word”
    ENHYPEN debut interview

    HEESEUNG was comfortable with handling a basketball. Most of the time the ball went in, just as it was supposed to. Once, when he missed and the ball bounced off the rim, HEESEUNG kept shooting over and over until it went in. At last, two points. Shooting over and over and hitting the wall until he succeeds? Well, HEESEUNG’s attitude toward the stage is the same.

    On I-LAND, your older brother said that he’s proud of you now, thinking back to how you used to be this average cute but a little immature kid who liked playing games with friends and didn’t like to study.

    HEESEUNG: That time he was talking about, that was when I was really immature. I’m not exaggerating when I say that everything’s changed. This might be a bit off-topic, but I have this one good old friend who I would hang out with and goof around with all the time. It was all really childish, but I’m way more mature now. (laughs) But I do think I should keep growing up more than I am now.

    I saw that, when you were doing the group photoshoot, the staff asked you to move to NI-KI’s side, and you asked him first if that was okay before moving.

    HEESEUNG: Yes, I did say that. It happened so quickly, I’m surprised you caught it. (laughs)

    You didn’t hesitate to help other contestants with their dancing on I-LAND even though you were competing against one another. SUNOO said you’re an “angel.” (laughs)

    HEESEUNG: I could try and take all the credit for that, but that’s not really how it was. (laughs) I think that was possible because I-LAND had more challenges emphasizing teamwork than other survival shows. But that aside, I still wanted to help them. When I first became a Big Hit trainee, I practiced really hard for six months and became one of the better performers among the new recruits. I guess it’s probably because I had a lot of opportunities to be the leader from that time on.


    Did you have much experience singing or dancing before you became a trainee?

    HEESEUNG: I’m still not that good at dancing, but I was absolutely hopeless at the beginning. (laughs) I was really, really bad. It was so bad that my friends would make fun of me for not being able to do even basic moves. They’d say, “Seriously, how did you ever get casted?” But Big Hit’s training regimen is really good. (laughs and stretches arms out diagonally) This is called “arm stretching.” It’s a basic move. This is all I did for a year. And then more than a year of following the rhythm. I focused on basic, repetitive moves like that, then I took baby steps with a dance foundations class, and then with endless practice I finally got a lot better.

    You can give hope to hopeless dancers. (laughs) I know that you were always very interested in singing.

    HEESEUNG: I dreamed of becoming a singer since I was six, but I totally lacked confidence. Singers need to be able to sing in front of people without feeling nervous, but the most I could do until high school was sing with two or three really close friends at a karaoke. And then my dad suggested I take the entrance exam for an art high school, but I was too nervous during the test to sing anything. I was about to head home thinking I’d better study or choose a different career path when suddenly a casting agent spotted me. I was really lucky.

    It’s hard to imagine that when I see you on stage now.

    HEESEUNG: I was heavily influenced by YEONJUN from TOMORROW X TOGETHER when I came to Big Hit. Up until then, I had a sense of pride. I thought, well, I’m pretty good at singing, right? But after I saw YEONJUN, I realized I was totally fooling myself. (laughs) I felt like YEONJUN is the kid who gets perfect in every subject and I’m the one who gets, about 80 in one class and goes around bragging about it. So I thought there’s no room for feeling “not confident or some other nonsense like that” (laughs) I need to really up my game if I want to be a singer. From then on, I tried to really show off everything I’ve got on stage, which is different from how I used to be.

    In the “October 2020 by ENHYPEN” video, you set a goal to practice vocals for one and a half to two hours every day. Even with your busy schedule, you’ve been close to 70~80% successful with that goal.

    HEESEUNG: (laughs) It’s easy to achieve your goals when it’s something you like to do. I usually put my all into things I like, but I don’t have much motivation to do things I’m not into. I think that’s a strength and also a weakness. To use studying as an example: I lost interest in studying when I was in middle school, so I didn’t put much effort into most subjects, but I liked English because I liked to listen to pop songs. There was a foreign language high school near me that accepted students only based on their English grades and mine were good enough to get in.

    All your practice really shows on your debut album, BORDER: DAY ONE. I was impressed by how you expressed each song differently.

    HEESEUNG: The lead single, “Given-Taken,” is about facing a new world, and ENHYPEN just debuted as a team, so I wanted to convey a passionate start of a race. You could say it’s mellow since it opens with a harp, but I used all my energy to emphasize the tone. In “Let Me In (20 CUBE),” there’s the lyrics: “Can you open your window / Been looking everywhere for my Nemo.” It would sound kind of weird if I sang, “Open up!” forcefully like that.(laughs) So I recorded my vocals in a way that best conveys the meaning and doesn’t break the mood.

    It looks like you have specific ideas about the performances and your music. On I-LAND you recorded the “-note” video diary, and you reflected on various aspects of your performance. It was very impressive the way you could go back and analyze it like that.

    HEESEUNG: If you debut, you become a professional. I don’t look like a pro in my performances yet, but I think you become more professional by making deliberate efforts. I think I need to be able to express myself inside and out, so I’m trying to do all different kinds of training.

  • 20201225h-YMMTEutTJ.jpg

    You mentioned several times that you want to write your own songs this year. Have you written any?

    HEESEUNG: When I was in sixth grade, I took a music composition class using a sequencer program my dad recommended, called Cakewalk. I started to write songs again after I became a trainee. There’s a song I worked on until I got into I-LAND, and also some songs I wrote and recorded the lyrics over some existing beats. But we’ve been so busy preparing for the debut. I really regret that I haven’t been able to show off my work. Anyway, I’m going to keep trying to write songs for ENGENE whenever I get time. I just hope they’ll be patient with me.

    You said “Merry and the Witch’s Flower” by Yerin Baek is your favorite song. What kind of songs do you usually listen to?

    HEESEUNG: As far as genre goes, I’m really into alternative R&B. I also like songs that are dreamy and chill. I listened to a lot of songs by Yerin Baek, Anderson Paak and Eric Bellinger lately. I usually listen to the newest releases to see what people like these days, but I also listen to old hits by 2Pac and the Notorious B.I.G.

    In BE:LIFT LAB’s “Training Camp,” you said your personal motivation is the high goals you set for yourself.

    HEESEUNG: If I were to say that I want to be at 100, I’m currently at a 30 or 40. I’m absolutely serious. I think I need to try a lot harder if I’m going to reach my full potential. I want to be more than just a set of skills, or an amazing person; I want to make sure I don’t lose myself. The more time you spend on your work, the less time there is to invest in yourself. And if your work takes over your identity, I think you might even find it easy to lose your own sense of self. I want to be the kind of person who can grow while staying devoted to my work.

    It reminds me of your performance of “Chamber 5.” Even though I-LAND is a survival program and you could have chosen a song that would have been more advantageous to you, you took on a new challenge solely for self-improvement.

    HEESEUNG: (laughs) I was in way over my head. I seriously never tried even a single playful song like “Chamber 5” before in my life. But, obviously, you can’t go back to the past. Anyway, that was my choice. I was preparing for a job where you have to be ready to handle all different kinds of concepts. I took that as a fact and just practiced. And also, I had the magnificent teacher, Mr. SUNOO, right there with me. (laughs) So it was good in the end.

    Maybe it’s thanks to that experience that the way you turn around and wink in the “Let Me In (20 CUBE)” performance suits you so well.

    HEESEUNG: (laughs) That kind of stuff just comes to me naturally now—basically showing people how charming I am. Was it a bit awkward? (laughs) Songs like “10 Months” are in-your-face cutesy. It was hard at first, but after thinking about my own style the answer came to me. I look mature compared to the other members, so I figured that was the solution to the problem of how to express my charm. Now I am Lee HEESEUNG, a man of endless allure. (laughs)


    Before a leader was selected for ENHYPEN, your name kept coming up in the polls under headings like, “the first person you’ll turn to when you’re having a hard time,” or, “the person who won’t hesitate to take difficult tasks for others.”

    HEESEUNG: I’m good at listening to other people’s problems. That sounded like bragging. (laughs) If I see someone struggling with something I can fix or help them with, it’s hard for me to just stand by and watch. I don’t go around thinking I always need to help with everything, but I unconsciously act that way.

    You’re the oldest member of the group. I can tell the other members trust you, and rely on you. As their oldest teammate, how do you want to be there for them?

    HEESEUNG: I hope they don’t think of me as being more important than them just because I’m the oldest. In middle school, high school, clubs, and places like that, I realized that opening up to someone your senior isn’t always easy. So when we became a team, I thought I should be a cute, approachable guy (laughs) and create an atmosphere where they can speak openly with me. Everybody feels comfortable talking to that kind of person.

    It seems like you already are. You all looked really close when the others were touching your head without hesitation on V LIVE and saying it looks like the full moon. (laughs)

    HEESEUNG: (laughs) Yes, I’m … not thrilled that happened. (laughs) Everyone in the group has their own strong, unique personality, but still, we all try to trust and respect one another, and we set clear boundaries. And as we spend more time together, we share more personal stories, which helps us grow closer.

    In “-note,” you thank the people around you and judge your own practice progress objectively while finding the positive aspects. I was impressed.

    HEESEUNG: Even though they didn’t show it on the show much, I felt tremendous pressure being in a leadership position. There was so much to deal with. A lot of that was hard, of course, but I believe that people become the things they say they are, so I chose to be thankful and stay positive. If I say it like I believe it, my thinking will change and then I can overcome any difficulty. For artists, fans are important, skills are important, and talent is important, if you want to draw people in. Everything is important, really. I think it’s most important to have a healthy mind if you want to really nail all those things.

    What does music mean to you?


    That’s the hardest question. (laughs) I don’t want to define music in one word. I don’t think there should be just one correct answer to what music is. Because there’s no answer, all kinds of different music gets made, and many different people can be on stage. As soon as there is an answer, music will lose its charm.

    Source: https://magazine.weverse.io/ar…ew?lang=en&colca=1&num=82

Participate now!

Don’t have an account yet? Register yourself now and be a part of our community!