It’s an undeniably interesting time for MONSTA X. The five active members of the group — Minhyuk, Kihyun, Hyungwon, Joohoney and I.M — have been writing, creating, and touring steadily over the past few years. An English-language release, The Dreaming, was followed by 2022’s SHAPE OF LOVE. The group’s leader, Shownu, is completing his enlistment period in the South Korean military and expected to return in the coming months. In the meantime, youngest member I.M signed with Sony Music Korea for solo endeavors, while emphasizing his commitment to the group simultaneously.
Contract renewals, especially for groups who have been active as long as MONSTA X, can be anxiety-inducing for fans (MONSTA X’s listeners are known as MONBEBE). The members of MONSTA X, relaxed and clearly familiar with one another in conversation with Consequence over Zoom, don’t seem worried; the way they discuss their team dynamic should be assurance enough for anyone worried about the group’s future.
“Personally, I think I’m more energetic when working as a team and working together,” says Kihyun, who dove into solo endeavors throughout 2022 with Voyager. I.M refers to the members as a “family” when discussing their decision-making process.
The group has now returned with their 12th mini-album, a wild number, even when remembering that MONSTA X have been active since 2015.
With REASON and title track “Beautiful Liar,” the members are clear — they were ready to dive into something a bit more sultry than past releases. 2022’s “LOVE” is glittery and bright, while the nostalgic roller-rink visual for “You Problem” is addictive and sweet. “Beautiful Liar” is the perfect introduction to REASON, which is more rock inspired, heavier, and sonically darker. “I wanted to mix different genres,” says Joohoney, who wrote on multiple tracks alongside the other members. “We participated at every point, especially with the lead track, ‘Beautiful Liar,'” I.M explains.
Give REASON a spin, and read the full interview with Minhyuk, Kihyun, Hyungwon, Joohoney and I.M below.
This is your 12th mini-album! I love the rock elements throughout the album, but am curious what you guys were most interested in focusing on for this collection.
Hyungwon: We wanted it to be deeper and sexier. And we wanted to focus on our visuals.
I.M: We all participated in the music video and the concept. We participated at every point, especially with the lead track, “Beautiful Liar.” We participated in the lyrics, and I think it’s hard to explain in one sentence, but I’d also like to say that we wanted it to be more sexy.
Joohoney: I wrote my songs “Crescendo” and “IT’S ALRIGHT.” In “Crescendo,” I wanted to mix the different genres, drill and Korean traditional sounds. That was a big point.
This album definitely had contrast with The Dreaming and SHAPE OF LOVE and feels a bit darker overall. What was the process like for creating the vibe of this mini-album? What came first, the overall concept or some of the songs?
I.M.: When we release an English album and Korean album, it’s totally different. When we’re releasing an English album in the States, we take a different approach — it’s bright and cheery, and it’s things people can sing more easily. In Korean albums, we take more of our original identity and what we’ve been doing since debut. This time, we came out with something we really had confidence in.
You’ve all been busy on some individual work in addition to your team projects. How is it being in the studio or dance rehearsal as a team, as compared to when working on individual projects?
I.M: When we do our personal stuff, it’s different vibes for each member. When we have activity by ourselves I only have to think about me and my schedule, but when we’re as a team and collaborate as a team — as a family — we aim to find the best part of what we can do. That’s the biggest point. It’s kind of complicated, but we’ve been doing this for eight or nine years now, so we know how.
Kihyun: Personally, I think I’m more energetic when working as a team and working together.
Hyungwon: When I do individual or personal activities, the time resting isn’t as fun; when we’re working as a group, even the time when we’re resting is fun and enjoyable.
My favorite on the album is “Daydream.” Do any of you have a song on the album you’re particularly excited to share with MONBEBE?
I.M: Me too, my taste is similar to yours — I’d like to say “Daydream.”
Kihyun: For me, I’m excited to introduce “Crescendo” to MONBEBE. I love the Korean traditional sound.
As usual, you all contributed to lyrics, production, etc. What are some elements you’re curious about incorporating into MONSTA X’s discography in the future?
Joohoney: Personally, for me, we often tend to do tracks with loud and strong sounds. I’d like to do quieter ballads with acoustic sounds in the future.
Kihyun: I’d like to try doing things all together with a gospel kind of sound. I’d like to do a track where we really jam out to gospel music in the future.
Minhyuk: Like I.M said, American albums and Korean albums are totally different, so I think we should switch styles.
Finally, it’s the start of a new year! Is there anything else coming up you’re looking forward to? Any goals for 2023?
Kihyun: In Korean age, I became 31.
Joohoney: I’m looking forward to our American MONBEBE’s feedback about this album. My goal is to meet more fans in America, too.
I.M: I’m looking forward to this album, too, but I’m also personally excited to cheer on the members in personal activities. I’m really looking forward to what’s going to happen and am really excited.
Kihyun: We aren’t promoting this album in America, but I hope fans all around the world listen to it.