Emotion pours out from BEOMGYU constantly. He was more serious than anyone else when talking to the crew ahead of the photoshoot, and after immersing himself in the shoot, he was taken by the gloomy sentiment of the set’s blue backdrop. To everyone’s amazement, in the middle of posing for photos, the emotion he was expressing changed subtly. Afterwards, shooting group photos with the other members, the artist returned to his rambunctious 20-year-old self. And so BEOMGYU continues to find himself, navigating the waves of emotion brought on by the world.
The group dance in the concept trailer for your new album, The Chaos Chapter: FREEZE, is amazing. You said this about the group choreography: “I still think it’s easier than anything else. I guess it just takes practice.” It sure doesn’t look like an easy dance. (laughs)
BEOMGYU: (laughs) There are times when you need a little luck, and other times when your abilities really do have it 100% covered. I did a performance with a basketball last year at the Golden Disc Awards and it was 50% luck, 50% practice. No matter how hard you practice, if you get bad luck and the ball bounces differently, it’s over. But anything like group dancing, where practice reduces the chance of failure—you can manage that through effort alone.
Did luck play any part in the scene you did in the “0X1=LOVESONG (I Know I Love You)” music video where you throw the lighter? (laughs)
BEOMGYU: (laughs) I had to personally throw the lighter with the inside of the car as the goal. I missed the first two times so I started making excuses to the director. “Oh, that wind came out of nowhere … This time I’ll throw it 2% softer, that’ll do it.” (laughs) But from the third time I made it every time.
You seem to have a good sense for being on camera. You look noticeably different in each of the concept photos for this album, and even the way your emotions kept changing during the Weverse Magazine shoot today was fantastic.
BEOMGYU: When I’m doing a photoshoot, I think like, It’d look great if I did it this way this time. I try to express those ideas as they come. And it’s really important to share feedback with the people you work with when you’re doing a shoot. It was best when we found some middle ground between what I had in mind and what the director wanted.
You really take the lead when you work. What kind of opinions do you usually share?
BEOMGYU: I think I know me well, so I tend to be open about my thoughts on hair and makeup. Which side of my face photographs better changes day to day. If my right side’s my good side that day, I ask them to part my hair so that it shows off that side better, or if my hair’s parted in a weird way then I ask them to touch that part up first. So I always feel sorry, but it comes with the job so I have to say what I have to say. (laughs) If you talk it out that way you’ll find good middle ground.
There were a lot of parts where you had to take the lead in the choreography for “0X1=LOVESONG (I Know I Love You),” featuring Seori. You had to fill the gaps with gestures and expression while dancing and holding a microphone.
BEOMGYU: That song’s harder without a microphone now. (laughs) It’s a really emotional song, so it isn’t hard to express it. For this song, at least, I thought it would be better if we didn’t dance perfectly in sync. So I suggested we try to match up our movements just the bare minimum between us and not worry about details down to the fingertips. When you dance, your emotions are laid bare, but everyone has a different way of expressing themselves. I thought my feelings wouldn’t come across if I stayed too close to the beat.
This song shows love more feverishly than any other TOMORROW X TOGETHER song. How did you interpret that feeling?
BEOMGYU: When I first heard the song, I was heartbroken. I never ran away with friends like in the music video, but I think I know what it feels like to want to be loved. After our debut I became distant for a little while. I didn’t make friends other than the group members, even though I knew exactly how good it feels to make new friends. I hid myself away despite knowing that. I thought the song was similar to that feeling of longing for relationships. I get emotional at the end of that song every time we perform it. It’s a song that makes you bare your emotions. (laughs)
How did you try to express that feeling when you were recording?
BEOMGYU: There’s a line in the chorus that goes, “Say you love me.” I think that line tells you everything you need to know about the song. I happened to end up recording that part. I wanted you to feel me saying, Please keep on loving me. That’s something you might say while crying, or if you’re really sad you might even laugh in a weird way. Sadness takes many forms, so I tried to express a kind of longing instead of just basic sadness.
You also helped write the lyrics for other songs off this album: “What if I had been that PUMA” and “No Rules.”
BEOMGYU: I wrote a lot of lyrics and music while we were getting this album ready. It’s been a while since I worked on anything so it was fun. Writing songs is one way that I can express what I’m feeling. They didn’t make it onto this album, but I also wrote some songs in a totally different style.
What do you usually write about?
BEOMGYU: I’m focused on the idea of everyday life. There’s this one thing I always do: If I had a hard day, I look up at the sky and sigh. It’s my way of saying, Brush it all off—you made it through the day. I’m trying to write a lot about my life like that. The musical reference point is C’est si bon. (laughs) I don’t think I’m anywhere close to being trendy. Anyway, that kind of old music isn’t very exciting, but I think it has a unique charm.
And yet you posted on Weverse not long ago [on May 24] that you wanted to listen to some music on cassette tapes. (laughs)
BEOMGYU: Someone gave me a cassette tape when I went to shoot something a while ago. So I took it back with me and wondered if music still comes out on tape. I looked online but I couldn’t find anything. So I’m wondering how to find tapes, and realize, This is exactly what Weverse is for! So I turned straight to MOA and asked them. (laughs) It sounds like they only release them as special editions.
I heard you usually use wired earphones when you listen to music, for the sound quality. But what is it about cassette tapes that’s so alluring to you?
BEOMGYU: It’s the bad sound quality that’s alluring. (laughs) LPs and tapes—they’re crackly, and the way the sound skips is all intriguing.
You’ve really got a thing for analog! Is there a reason you like things from the past?
BEOMGYU: A while back I was sleeping and woke up, left my room for a little bit and then came back in. It reminded me of when I used to nap on Sundays and the smell of my family’s home came back to me. (laughs) I think it’s important to keep building up lovely memories like that. Sometimes I think about how I always used to listen to the radio when I was little or get video tapes for Christmas and stick them in and watch them. Stuff like that makes me even happier now. It can be sad and a little upsetting how you can’t hold onto the past, but at the same time I’m grateful there’s things that let me relive those memories.
You talked a lot about your love of radio on DAY6’s Kiss the Radio too.
BEOMGYU: I wanted to do night radio for forever. I was really energized during my three weeks on radio. I ended up being on right when I needed the support the most. I was comforting myself more just by talking about myself.
Why did you need support at that time?
BEOMGYU: I have a tendency to block painful memories out quickly, so I don’t remember any details of what I was feeling at the time. (laughs) But I was feeling uncertain about myself and kept thinking I wasn’t good enough.
On the first day you were on the radio, you wrote the following on Weverse: “Well, I’ve been having a lot of thoughts lately. How do others see me? Am I someone who others can lean on in times of need? I’ve been thinking about these things a lot.”
BEOMGYU: Everyone changes, you know. When I was 18, and when I was 19, and every year, if not every month, my values and my personality keep changing. Who am I? Am I happy? I kept tossing those kinds of questions around and struggling with them back then. I guess I was stuck in a rut at the time. (laughs)
Have you since found answers to those questions?
BEOMGYU: I haven’t solved all the questions, but you’re growing whenever you ask yourself questions like that. It’s good in hindsight. (laughs) One thing I realized was that I want to take care of the people around me more than I want to take care of myself. Even if it’s a little inconvenient for me, I tend to think I can be happy so long as the other person’s happy.
Is anything different since you changed your mindset?
BEOMGYU: Actually, I still have some lingering concerns from time to time. In a sense, sometimes you might not be giving yourself enough love. But after I changed my way of thinking, I felt better. I used to be kind of sensitive and got hurt easily, but now if someone says something emotionally driven to me I don’t get hurt and accept what they say if I really need to. Now I think to myself first—before you say anything, whether you’re letting your emotions get ahead of you, what purpose the thing you’re about to say serves, and if you’ll regret it if you do.
You might also say it’s a process of finding yourself. And during 2021 DREAM WEEK Youth Assembly, you said, “Now I’m not sure who I am. So, I guess I’m still searching.”
BEOMGYU: That’s hard. I can’t tell you for certain who I am, even now. I think I’m the kind of person who lives a tired life from thinking too much. (laughs) When I introduce myself these days, I just say I’m BEOMGYU. People aren’t required to explain themselves as a role they play. In TOMORROW X TOGETHER I might be seen as reliable to some member, and I might be the funny one to another. What I mean is, I just want to be who I am, not defined by any role.
When I look at TOMORROW X TOGETHER, I don’t get a sense of any of you having any specific roles.
BEOMGYU: Right. It’s really nothing like that. (laughs) We’ve been together for a long time, but the older members don’t see themselves as having any kind of authority, and neither do the younger ones. But everyone respects an unspoken rule. You have to know when to back down. (laughs) We’re like good friends: all the members are really kind and accept one another for who they are.
In the V LIVE you did on your birthday, TAEHYUN said, “It’s Dad! I’m home!” when he came in. (laughs)
BEOMGYU: I pretended like I was in a bad mood that day, but I was actually feeling good inside. (laughs) It was cute the way they came in one by one. Between the members and MOA, I really ended up with great companions. I can go to them any time I’m feeling down.
You saw your fans for the first time in a very long time recently, at FANLIVE SHINE X TOGETHER.
BEOMGYU: I’d been feeling so lonely and then I got to see MOA right at that moment when I missed them most. I guess I had been really sad. We worked so hard and we grew up a lot during that time, but we still couldn’t meet with MOA so I started to call into question why I was doing it all. And then I cried just because we could finally perform in person for MOA. I got a huge boost of energy from being up there in front of MOA even though the rule was they could only clap and not cheer. (laughs)
I’m sure MOA felt the same way. As you said yourself on Weverse, MOA is your best friend.
BEOMGYU: It’s really fascinating. There’s seriously a lot of MOA who share the exact same concerns I had. They’re worried about their friendships, and there were even people with the same worries I told you about earlier. But I think it’s for the best that I dealt with those things first. (laughs) I’d rather share my feelings and talk with MOA than give advice to them. That’s what best friends are for, right? Way easier to talk openly with than regular friends. I’m very open when I write my diary and I’m thankful for how open MOA are with me.
You also recommended Ariana Grande’s song “pov” to them, which is about someone who wants to love themselves the way they’re loved by others.
BEOMGYU: Yes, I did. That song is incredibly similar to my own experiences. There I was, trying to figure out a way to take a little better care of myself, when suddenly this song popped up on YouTube. So I posted it to share my own worries and to share it with the MOA who have similar concerns.
You said on Kiss the Radio that you normally choose music for your profile based on how you’re feeling. At the time you said you felt nothing and so you didn’t have any music either, but what about now? Do you have a song on there?
BEOMGYU: It’s that song. Ariana Grande’s “pov.” (laughs)
You’ve already started to “love myself”. (laughs)
BEOMGYU: It’s hard, but I’m trying. (laughs)
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