By Dong Sun-hwa
Mino of K-pop boy group WINNER poses during an online press event Tuesday. Courtesy of YG Entertainment
“Digital Gunman,” a key phrase describing Mino of K-pop boy band WINNER, may make people scratch their heads at first: The exotic combination of two completely unrelated words sounds puzzling. At Tuesday’s online press conference, just before the release of his third full-length album “TO INFINITY,” Mino explained exactly what it means.
“For my new album, I wanted to breathe life into a new character that speaks for me,” the 28-year-old rapper said. “Since I wanted it to look a bit old-fashioned, I decided to reinterpret a cowboy of the old days in my own way and added a digital twist to it. So I also used an emoji in the title of the lead single, Tang! ♡.”
“Tang! ♡,” which is meant as onomatopoeia for the sound of a gunshot, is a tune about a man who is ready to bet everything on love. Mino has songwriting credits on all 10 tracks included on the album including “Tang! ♡.””While gearing up for the album, I wished I had a twin brother who could share my burden,” he said. “I just had too many things that I craved to show… But still, I like being busy.”
Undeniably, Mino has had a hectic year. He appeared as a judge on the 10th season of Mnet’s popular hip-hop competition program “Show Me the Money” and JTBC’s audition show “Sing Again.” In June, the rapper, who is reputed for his artistic prowess, displayed his paintings in “Korean Eye 2020,” a high-profile exhibition featuring contemporary Korean artists.
“I feel uneasy when I have nothing to do,” he said. “I think I am an attention seeker.”
After going solo with the 2018 album “XX,” Mino has been carving out a strong presence as a gifted rapper, dropping a series of hits such as “Fiance” (2018). Asked how his new release is distinct from his previous work, the YG Entertainment star revealed that he tried to take a more experimental route this time.
“In the past, I mostly highlighted my free-spiritedness in my music, but this time I attempted to take a further leap by taking on a new challenge… TO INFINITY offers the songs influenced by a diverse range of genres and features various moods,” he said.
He then moved on to explain the meaning of the album’s title, saying he was inspired by Buzz Lightyear, a fictional character of “Toy Story” fame.
“I was touched by Buzz, who has a big dream despite his humble background,” he said. “His famous line ― ‘To infinity and beyond’ ― was my well of inspiration this time.”
Mino added that he devoted a lot of time to deciding on the album’s track order. In addition to the lead single, the album also carries nine other pieces including “Pyramid,” “Language” and “Losing U.”
“The first few tunes are brimming with passion, but the songs at the end of the list are mostly tranquil and sentimental because I wanted my album to have a cinematic flow,” he noted. “Sad Walk, the last track of the album, might be able to leave a strong impression on listeners.”
Wrapping up the session, Mino disclosed that what he expects to achieve with the album is not a high rank on music streaming charts.
“I just hope people say it is a good album with good songs,” he said. “To me, it is so lovely.”Internet Explorer Channel Network