“Performing at multiple Jingle Ball events taught us so many things and offered opportunities to connect with global audiences. It was such a great honor, and it made us feel so many new emotions as musicians, instilled in us confidence,” said Minhyuk during an interview for the group’s new album in Seoul on Monday.
True to his word, Monsta X, in its fifth year, looked extra hyped and confident talking about its recent feats and its second full-length album “Take.2 We Are Here,” which follows up “Take.1 Are You There?” released in October last year. Aside from becoming the first K-pop group to play iHeart’s Jingle Ball tour, Monsta X has recently been recognized by multiple global media outlets such as Billboard and Guardian as among the most anticipated K-pop acts this year. Early this year, the act also received a main prize for the first time at this year’s Golden Disc Awards in Korea.
And “Alligator,” the lead track off of Monsta X’s new 10-track album, reflects the act’s artistic growth, said Jooheon, Monsta X’s rapper who has lent his hand in writing lyrics for “Alligator” alongside I.M. Keeping the group’s aggressive hip-hop attitude, the powerful song is built upon a dark theme of the alligator, an animal that dwells in swamps and hunts prey and is an icon for “silent intensity.”
“‘Alligator’ is a culmination of all of the growth and efforts we have gathered as Monsta X. Specifically, the song really brings out the most genuine and intense sides of us. I can confidently say that no other group can imitate our powerfulness,” said Jooheon.
A track that really proves the group’s global prominence from the new album is “Play it Cool,” a collaborative work between Monsta X and legendary DJ and producer Steve Aoki, who previously joined forces with K-pop powerhouse BTS.
Although the two acts worked from a distance via video chat, Monsta X couldn’t hide its excitement for the new partnership.
“The moment we listened to ‘Play it Cool,’ we immediately felt that the song was just for us. It’s a song that features new sides of us,” said Minhyuk.
Wonho said, “Next time, we plan to work with Aoki at his studio in Las Vegas. Maybe we will receive more songs from him for our next album.”
Jooheon and I.M added, “We also hope to invite him to our next world tour. We recently video chatted him, and asked why he had chosen us as his collaborator. His answer was, ‘Because you guys are dope,’”
While Monsta X now boasts a large dedicated fan base all across the globe, the group’s success did not come straight out of the gates. It took years for the act to get a hit and be recognized by the public. And surprisingly, there was no major milestone or event that can be pointed to for the group’s impressive growth.
“Actually, we don’t feel like there was a big leap in our career. We’ve been called ‘next rising artist’ for the past few years, I think the weight of such a title just made us keep going, enabled us not to lose confidence and faith in ourselves,” said Minhyuk.
“Confidence, that’s our driving force. We always have confidence in our albums and try not to get disappointed even when our songs don’t do well on charts,” Shownu said.
Asked about the act’s upcoming overseas promotions, I.M said the group has been working on new collaborations with other global producers, as well as new English singles and world tours.
“Just like we’ve climbed up the ladder of fame in Korea step by step, we hope to walk the same path in the global market. We will never let you down, I promise,” Wonho said.
By Hong Dam-young (firstname.lastname@example.org)