You could clearly hear his lively passion ringing in his voice. It’s a sort of excitement that can only come from a boy who is ready to open the door.

Meeting the fans for the first time on Weverse

SUNGHO: I was so touched because so many people responded. I really want to show them the best of me going forward. Each artist can change their nicknames on Weverse, but LEEHAN and I are the only ones who didn’t yet. (Interview was held on May 19.) I’m not sure what my nickname should be. But then I saw this comment that said, “How cute would it be if SUNGHO can’t decide on a nickname right now?” I thought that they might be watching me for a hot minute! (laughs) I’m not sure what emoji to use yet, because some fans say that I look like a cat, and others say I look like a fox from what they saw in our concept photo. It might be fun to let them decide with a vote or by having a Q&A.


Feelings about the debut
I posted my concept photo in my family group chat. My parents don’t really use social media, so I sent it to them in case they didn’t get to see it yet. (laughs) But it turns out that a lot of their friends sent it to them already. They don’t say things in so many words, but I realized that they were keeping tabs on everything. (laughs) They told me that my brother was keeping his eye out for me, too. There's a big age gap between my older brother and me, so he didn’t tease me too much (laughs) but he said it felt a little strange, just like any brother would.

​Choosing to become an idol at sixteen

SUNGHO: I’ve always loved singing and performing on stage since I was little. I thought that only a singer would be able to do all of that. But it took a while for me to tell people that I wanted to become a singer and idol. I was in seventh grade when I first realized that that was something I wanted to do, but I kept it to myself for over two years. I was a bit worried that my friends would tease me and tell me that I wasn’t cut out to be a singer. (laughs) But then in ninth grade we really had to think about our future, and I just couldn’t keep it in anymore. I thought that I would really regret it if I didn’t give it a shot, so I told my parents first. They thanked me for being honest with them and telling them what I wanted to do. They were fully supportive from the get-go. I could prepare for my auditions and now I’ve debuted all thanks to them.


Life as a trainee for three years and nine months

SUNGHO: I started going on auditions when I turned seventeen. I briefly lived in Wonju back then, and that’s when I saw a poster of an open audition at KOZ Entertainment by chance. I had never taken any dance lessons, so I just showed them a simple choreography that I practiced. I felt more confident with singing. I was in a band in middle school, and I played the guitar. (laughs) That’s how I began my trainee life in my first year of high school. I don’t have many typical high school memories of going to a study café with my friends to drink coffee and studying for exams together, but I don’t have any regrets. I had a dream and a clear goal, so I’m glad I went through it well.


Things SUNGHO likes

SUNGHO: I’m younger than my brother, so he’s had a huge influence on me. He has sophisticated tastes and a discerning eye for quality content. He taught me what was what since I was really little (laughs) which affected me as I grew older. I love watching dramas and movies, and I’m more enamored by the cinematography rather than the plot. I’m the type to admire and watch with awe, thinking, “Oh, they framed the camera like this!” or “How did they portray this scene like this?” I also enjoy the work of famous directors like Christopher Nolan, Martin Scorsese, and Park Chan-wook. In terms of music, I like K-pop, naturally, and I also enjoy jazz, and I occasionally listen to classical music. I don’t stick to a certain style of music; I appreciate many different genres. 



SUNGHO: There are a lot of objects that can give a pretty accurate first impression of who I am in “SUNGHO’s DOOR”. Cycling isn’t a huge hobby of mine, but it was used in the music video to make me look more reserved and sophisticated. (laughs) There are a lot of artworks around the door illustration - I like drawing and going to exhibitions. It was hard for me to go see them in person after I became a trainee, though. (laughs) I look up a lot of articles or photographs to make up for any missed experiences. I’m interested in architecture, too, which is another area where I was influenced by my brother. I have a lot of pictures and illustrations of buildings, and movie posters on my Pinterest board. A lot of movie fans hang up posters in their rooms, but I keep mine in my small phone because I can’t decorate our current living space. (laughs)

The trailer film that marked their debut
SUNGHO: When the trailer film was uploaded, I saw it and thought, “Oh, I’m the thumbnail.” (laughs) Just like our fans, we counted down for it to drop until we finally got to watch it. It’s an honor to be in the thumbnail for our very first video. The guys said that I got chosen because I looked really good in the video – we complement each other a lot. I went to the States to film our videos. I’m an ordinary Korean guy down to the core (laughs), so I looked up and referred to a lot of TV shows and vlogs as examples. I thought, “Oh, this is how they did it in the shows and movies I liked, so I should try it like that.” It didn’t take long for me to get my head around the shoots. I think I quickly understood what I had to do. I went over the scenes in my head thinking about what would look good when the camera did what in my head. There were a lot of supporting local actors. I think they’ve probably been to a lot of parties and events, because they cheered us on when we were shooting our dancing scenes, and they really understood what we wanted to do. Thanks to them, I think we looked really natural in the shots, like we were having a lot of fun. 

Filming for the first time
SUNGHO: I’m a bit of a perfectionist. When I saw our video, I spotted what I could have done better, like the angle of my head, and tried to remember to do better next time. I am happy with the concept film though - we look really natural. Our goal was to capture ourselves hanging out with our friends and having fun. We intentionally messed with each other and joked around on set to try to get ourselves laughing. At first, I didn’t know whether I should try to look handsome, or if it was okay to laugh as hard as I wanted, but I think I’m getting the hang of it now. I think I look good on film when I put on a dramatic face or when I face slightly away. (laughs) Or when I’m looking sentimental. (laughs) I make a lot of chic expressions in our videos that suit the concept, but I smile a lot and make those cheek hearts on stage - you’ll see soon enough. (laughs) I am a bit concerned that I might not meet our fans’ expectations if I look too cute when I’m the ending fairy, especially after they saw me looking aloof in the music video. Recently, I thought of sticking to my concept from the music videos, but I’m down for anything our fans want to see. I’ll make the cheek hearts if that’s what they want to see me do. (laughs)

Recording at the studio for the first time
SUNGHO: I recorded at the studio for the first time when we prepared for our debut. The mics were completely different from the ones we used as trainees, so there was a bit of a learning curve. Recording wasn’t all easy. It was really important for us to record as if we were talking or shouting for “But I Like You” and “Serenade.” I tried squeezing out the sounds, or shouting as if I was calling for a friend. I had to make a lot of vocal sounds that I was unfamiliar with, but I think it helped me record other things, or for our live performances. I received a lot of direction for every breath and every pitch when we recorded “One and Only” and I learned a lot from that experience. I sing the high notes, while JAEHYUN sings the lower notes during the last chorus, and I hope that part will get a lot of love. (laughs) We do our best at everything -- that’s a given -- but we each have different things that we want to be stellar at. To me, that’s singing. I think I have a unique tone and a way of expressing myself. My voice tends to be on the higher side, so I usually sing the higher notes. It would make me proud if you appreciate these parts.

Making a BOYNEXTDOOR performance
SUNGHO: I put a lot of thought into every single gesture for “But I Like You” and “Serenade” to add to that musical vibe, and I tried to make the gestures look like I’m doing them for our fans. For “One and Only,” I tried really hard to get the technical aspects of the dance right. We wanted to catch two birds - to reflect each of our unique characteristics in our gestures, but also get our group choreo absolutely precise and detailed. We came up with different moves for each member to highlight our different characters and sent some of our ideas to the company. I can’t pinpoint exactly which parts were my contributions though because we all added and built on what each of us came up with. Ideas of our members, dance instructors, and the company staff all came together to make this perfect result. We jokingly say that we have too many voices. We’re all so committed to our performance that we all make so many suggestions. We do need to work on organizing our thoughts. (laughs) RIWOO has an excellent understanding of performing, and is really talented in that aspect, so we really value his opinions. We each add to his foundation, and at some point, a performance that best suits BOYNEXTDOOR emerges.

​When the six members of BOYNEXTDOOR met

SUNGHO: The six of us were good friends from the get-go. The amount of time each of us spent training is different, but we have a really strong bond. We really wanted to continue with what we have been doing, and we started off really trusting each other. I was the first one to join the company, and RIWOO came about a month later. He was really shy at first, but then he showed me his dance moves and I was completely mind blown. Like, he was on another level. (laughs) This guy who was super shy just a second ago turned into a totally different person, and I thought he was just amazing. WOONHAK is another person who left a strong impression on me. When he first joined the company, he was this little kid. (laughs) It’s not that he was short, but he was really young - he even had a buzz cut. (laughs) I thought, “who on earth is this pure soul?” I’m three years older than he is, after all, and he’s an adorable kid. He was really bubbly, but he was really polite and humble, too, which was really memorable. I learned a lot from him regardless of our age difference. People might not understand what I’m talking about because he’s so cute and sunny, but he’s actually really mature.


BOYNEXTDOOR seen by SUNGHO, the oldest member

SUNGHO: It wasn’t very awkward for me to take on the role as the oldest member. I think that I’m pretty well-spoken (laughs) and I do enjoy being the leader, so I have a lot of experience being the representative of a group. I was the school president one year, when I was in middle school, and I went to a boarding school, so I was the head student of the boarding house. I’m good at quickly spotting what each team’s strength is, and what it needs to work on. You’re bound to get a little friction here and there when you live with other people, and you sometimes fall into a dilemma. If we ever find ourselves in these situations, we try to trust JAEHYUN to solve it because he's the leader. Too many cooks spoil the broth, (laughs) so we try to follow JAEHYUN’s lead. But as one of the oldest members in the group, I try to help out in areas he can’t manage by himself.

​Boys next door as seen by SUNGHO

SUNGHO: When I first heard our team name “BOYNEXTDOOR” it felt unfamiliar to me because it was my first time hearing the words. But after learning what it meant, I thought it perfectly reflected our team identity, and I got used to it really quickly. At one point, it started to feel like it's always been our team name. BOYNEXTDOOR sounds like a team that can show different emotions and experiences a person can go through. When you’re hanging out with a friend, you sometimes laugh and have a good time, but you also get embarrassed at times. (laughs) I think you’ll see that we’re like your friends who are fooling around, but also looking good while we're doing it. This might sound a bit serious, but I hope that BOYNEXTDOOR becomes a core memory for a lot of people. You know how when you listen to a song or watch a movie, they sometimes unlock memories from the past? I hope that BOYNEXTDOOR can sink into your memories just like that.


To the fans he will soon get to meet

SUNGHO: I want to grow really close to our fans. I haven’t met them in person yet, but I really can’t wait to meet them and connect with them. I can’t wait for us to go on music shows and talk shows, but meeting the fans in person comes first. I would absolutely love to show them how good we are on stage, but I hope that they don’t feel this huge wall when they see me as Park Sungho, either. And someday, I hope to be a positive influence on someone, and get them to think they want to lead a life like mine.

Article. Yoon Haein
Interview. Yoon Haein
Visual Director. Jeon Yurim
Coordinator. Song Hooryeong
Visual Creative Team. Noh Hyorin (KOZ ENTERTAINMENT)
Photography. Yoon Songyi / Assist. Kim Jaemin, Bak Heonjun
Hair. Hong Junsung, Kim Haeyeon
Makeup. Gunhee, Kim Yeji
Set Design. Choi Seoyun, Son Yehee, Kim Ayoung (da;rak)
Artist Management Team. Jang Moonsung
Artist Protocol Team. Park Geunyoung, Park Byoungho, Wang Heesun, Won Joungyeon