[INTERVIEW] Winner returns as four-member dancing act
Posted : 2017-04-04 18:41
Updated : 2017-04-04 19:31
YG Entertainment's K-pop band WINNER, from left, Lee Seung-hoon, Song Min-ho, Kim Jin-woo and Kang Seung-yoon pose in the photo for new mini-album "Fate Number For" release. / Courtesy of YG Entertainment
By Kim Jae-heun
K-pop band Winner is down a member, but the four remaining bandmates push on, releasing their second mini-album with a three-day "concept showroom" showcase at Club NB near Hongik University, western Seoul.
The group debuted with five members originally, but main vocalist Nam Tae-hyun bowed out due to mental illness. YG Entertainment announced that the contract with the singer ended on Nov. 18 and the band will continue to perform without a replacement for him.
The band took a break in 2015 while its members pursued solo careers. "A year and two months on hiatus wasn't a long time for us. We released a mini-album last year and we regularly met our fans through V-live shows," Winner member Kang Seung-yoon said during an interview at Club NB, Tuesday. "It's quite interesting and awkward without Taehyun and we definitely feel his empty spot. We tried hard to fill the emptiness and spent a lot of time developing our skills during the break."
Winner's new mini-album "Fate Number For" consists of two singles _ "Really Really" and "Fool" _ and their instrumental versions.
"Really Really" is the band's first attempt at the "tropical house" genre. Kang wrote the song with the group's rapper Song Min-ho.
Kang said the group has pursued emotional music with deep feelings in the past and now the band wanted to try young and bright songs that they can perform to. At the same time, he denied that the change in their musical style was due to Nam's departure, as he had previously been writing songs for Winner with an unyielding originality that gave the band its uniqueness.
"We practiced dancing a lot before we debuted, but we had no chance to show that as we only released slow and sentimental songs. Through this album, we will appeal to fans with major music, which we will dance to. We've been waiting to try such genres," Kang said.
Q. When do you feel Nam Tae-hyun's absence most?
A. Kang Seung-yoon: The group members live together in one house and we felt his absence when he left our home. Also, a band looks stable when it has an odd number of members, especially when they perform on the stage, because you have one person in the center, leading the formation. Without Nam, it was strange and uncomfortable for us to perform. Apart from that, he was our main singer, so the members have to do their part to cover Taehyun's vocals.
Q. What does the title of your album "Fate Number For" signify?
A. Kang: Well, it has dual meanings as it can be pronounced similarly to the number four and it tells we've returned in four. It can also refer to the preposition as in we are going somewhere or we want to work for somebody. We wanted it to have many meanings.
Q. Winner has prepared powerful performances this time. What kind of dance will you show?
A. Kang: Tropical house is not a genre that you can perform powerful choreography to. It does not adopt a fast beat and it's more like chilling and young music. Still, we managed to put powerful moves at the end while starting with putting ourselves in the slow and natural groove of the song.
Q. When will you release more songs?
A. Lee Seung-hoon: We worked on a lot of songs during our break and we are still writing new songs. We will release two more mini-albums this year and Yang Hyun-suk approved it. It's only a matter of whether we will present what we already have or a totally new song that hasn't been produced yet.
Q. What is the advantage of being a four-member act?
A. Lee: First of all, I made the choreography and I was worried about dancing as a four-member act. It is preferable for an idol band to have an odd number of members so there is one in the center leading the line stably. But when we performed in four, it was rather refreshing and original. I thought it was artistic in some way that we are not displaying perfect symmetry.
Q. It has been three years since Winner's debut. What kind of band do you wish to become?
A. Kang: We prefer to be called a group that keeps developing rather than a top class band. Our goal is to not stay at one level and keep moving on to show better performances. In this album, you will see a lot of development in Jin-woo's vocals.
A. Lee: Not only has he improved his vocalization in singing, but also the way he portrays emotions when he sings and the confidence he earned through his performance in the contemporary dance project "Little Prince," recently.