Having celebrated their fourth anniversary in May of this year, Korean act Monsta X have come quite a long way in their musical journey. From performing as K-pop’s representatives in Oslo, Norway in front of South Korean president Moon Jae In and the first lady Kim Jung Sook, to an ongoing world tour - with a London show in July - the septet continues to scale new heights.
But their goal has always been to connect people through their music- giving each and every listener, a chance to feel loved and special. And this goal remains unchanged even today.
However, some things have changed for the better for the group. Recalling the struggles of their early days and the triumphs of recent times , they say, “ We are proud of our journey so far. We feel a strong sense of pride in our work, especially when it comes to the intimacy that we built with our fans.”
To the band, being able to tour worldwide year after year, playing to more people each time, is their biggest accomplishment. They also speak of their hope to grow further, “We hope to push the boundaries of music coming from Korea and create more relatedness all over the world.”
Accomplishments galore and hopes for the future alight, there is still a sense of humility that shines bright from the group. Asked what sets them apart from the other groups of the increasingly popular genre, there is sincere respect towards their contemporaries as they reply, “We love all the K-pop bands out there and we feel proud to take part in this historic movement.”
Creating music that’s energetic and constantly pushing boundaries as MonstaX do can be hard, but the companionship they find in each other and the inspiration drawn from fellow musicians, makes this process infinitely easier.
Speaking of what inspires them, they say, “We get inspiration and motivation from each other quite often. All of our members have different strength and skills! Also, we get inspiration from other musicians that we admire; from listening and coming in touch with artists worldwide.”
Seven individuals with varied tastes in music – with Shownu’s most repeated song being Elle Barner’s ‘Only wanna give it to you’, I.M and Minhyuk’s being Yerin Baek’s ‘Lean on me’ and See you again’, Joohoney and Kihyun loving Jaden Smith’s ‘Yeah yeah’ and Gucci Mane’s ‘Wake Up in the Sky’ , Code Kunst’s ‘XI’ being Hyungwon’s current favourite , and Wonho replaying Sigrid’s ‘High Five’ – their wide range of influences has manifested in the form of popular collaborations- most notably ‘Play It Cool’ with Steve Aoki.
Making clear their wish to collaborate with many more artists, they say, “ We are excited to connect with new artists in the very near future. It would bring us all closer and we’d love to enhance our music as well as expand the musical conversation to cross genres, cultures and even languages.”
Language barriers have never stopped the septet from making history outside their home. Becoming the first K-pop act to perform on iHeartRadio’s Jingle Ball last year was only the beginning, as they express their hopes of taking their music to a wider audience, connecting the world as one.
Their music has unfailingly created such connections; especially with the group’s fans. Crediting their success to their adoring fanbase, the band seem to be excited for their upcoming London date.
Having been to the city previously, they have a long list of favourites from Harry Potter to Jo Malone. But first on their list is the chance of playing for their Monbebes(official fandom) and meeting them.
They exclaim, “Thanks to our UK Monbebe, we are back to create more memorable moments and history. For us every time we get a chance to meet our Monbebe is special, and we’d definitely love to perform in more cities in the UK.”
It’s clear that the group adore their fans unabashedly. Asked what the most exciting part of making new music is, they gush about their fans once again, and say, “Thinking about our Monbebe listening to our new music gets us excited and it’s the motivation for everything that we do.”
But it’s not just the fans that motivate them when it comes to making music. The band is in love with the entire process of creating and performing songs. Delving deeper they say, “We mix different genres like EDM, Pop, Hiphop and Rap. Our music is full of energy and passion and a mixture of both personal experiences and creative liberties."
Explaining further, they add, “Joohoney and I.M write lyrics for the rap and they write more based on personal experiences. Everyone is pretty much involved in production these days and we have a desire to create our own color of music than ever before."
However, this love is not without frustrations. They say, “We really enjoy making new music and try to really give ourselves time to work on it but sometimes our schedule doesn’t allow that, so that can be somewhat frustrating.”
Small hiccups such as busy schedules do nothing to deter the band from their dream of connecting people through music. Talking of one message they’d like fans to take away from their music, they say, “We want to promote peace and equality through our music.”
From the launch of the group in 2015 after reality survival show No Mercy- a moment the group describe as ‘magical’- to now, things have undeniably changed for the young talents.
Success and fame aside, there is more maturity defining them. Harkening back to the past to give their younger selves a piece of advice, they say, “We’d want to tell ourselves not to be impatient and keep trying your best. Although the future is uncertain and sometimes scary, if you have a strong will and big dreams, work hard and follow them. You can never be wrong doing that.”
MonstaX have proven to themselves -and to many other dreamers - that where is there’s a will there’s a way. And with their simple goals of continuing to make music and growing their fanbase, the group is poised to take over the world with their warmth, charm and talent.
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Words: Malvika Padin
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