BEOMGYU is not the type to be swept away by brief waves of happiness nor to drown in despair when it inevitably comes. He simply believes in himself. That’s how he keeps himself walking down the long road ahead.

In your previous interview with Weverse Magazine, you talked about grappling with how to love yourself. Are you finding it easier to practice the “love myself” mantra now? 

BEOMGYU: Yes, I’m practicing “love myself”! (laughs) I think my sense of self-worth is higher now than it was back then, both physically and mentally.

In what way?

BEOMGYU: I’ve been working out a lot, for starters. And gaming less. At one point I tried giving up gaming completely, but I play in moderation now, just playing one or two rounds with friends and going right to bed.

Isn’t moderation even harder?

BEOMGYU: It is, yes. There’s been so many times I became determined to stick with something, only to lose my resolve every time, and I felt pathetic when I did, but it became a lot better once I became determined to improve myself. I realized I need to keep going, no matter what happens. Making up for my shortcomings has made me a healthier person and proud of myself.

That makes me think of something you said at the Fan Live, MOA X TOGETHER in March: “I’ve been so happy and healthy lately.” What has been your source of happiness these days?

BEOMGYU: Just everyday life. It doesn’t come from problems clearing up or doing anything special—I’m just happy living my everyday life. I didn’t have too many friends other than my members before, but lately I have more and more friends I can talk with and rely on, and that’s been a weight off my shoulders. Most notably, I became really close with HEESEUNG while we were doing the joint performance with ENHYPEN. He’s a funny guy, for one (laughs) and we go to bed at similar times and we’re both into gaming. We grew closer after talking about this and that, and I made more friends one by one, and now we can rely on each other and have fun together.

You said in your last Weverse Magazine interview that you write songs as a means of expressing how you feel. In what way are your feelings reflected in the way you produced “Thursday’s Child Has Far To Go” from the new album?
BEOMGYU: This was around the end of last year or the beginning of this year: I got this sudden urge to write some feel-good music and felt like I had to write it right away. And that’s the track I wrote. I wanted it to be a good song for everyone to dance along to together at concerts, listen to when taking a drive or to take a good mood and make it even better. I kept these positive thoughts in mind while working on it. It’s a little bit different from other music I’ve written and I’m happy that I was lucky enough to have a song included on one of our albums again after “Maze in the Mirror” was two years ago. (laughs)

“Thursday’s Child Has Far To Go” is a trendy synth-pop song but it has that specific feeling of that old C’est si bon sentiment that you like.
BEOMGYU: Trends come back around, you know? I feel like all the popular songs have catchy, synth-based melodies right now, so I tried to make use of that. I used to always write songs on guitar, but I listened to a lot of newer music while working out lately and decided I wanted to try my hand at making that kind of music. As you said, it could have ended up as a song with a strong retro feel, but I liked the way TAEHYUN gave it a more sophisticated vibe when he wrote the topline melody.

It’s new for you, but it also ended up sounding very BEOMGYU-ish. (laughs) Something else I feel must have been new for you is the fast, almost rap-like melody you sing along to in the first part of the lead single, “Good Boy Gone Bad.”
BEOMGYU: That was hard. I felt like, There’s no way Choi Beomgyu can follow along at this tempo with his low blood pressure. (laughs) It felt like I was lagging behind the beat no matter how I tried to sing it. It took a long time to record it. But over time, as my blood pressure rose back up, I rescued the recording. (laughs)

How did you relate to this song on an emotional level? You had to sing emotional lines like, “I just kill me killin’ me,” and make gestures to match.
BEOMGYU: I wanted to look as much like a bad boy as possible. I pictured myself as someone with nothing left to lose—somebody who’s gone crazy. It’s hard to put into words, but I was going for the feeling of someone going to a graveyard alone at night. But at the same time, instead of expressing it the full 100%, I had to express only 50 to 60% of that feeling in order to make it come across as cool, so I held back a bit.

Judging by how intensely you danced to BTS’s “FIRE” in BACKSTAGE: TXT x EN- DOCUMENTARY, you seem to prefer performances where you can fully express and not have to hold yourself back. You really think carefully about the best way to express things.

BEOMGYU: I’ve always wanted to do a good job at expressions including facial ones on stage ever since I was a trainee. I think there are plenty of people who are good at singing and dancing. But I feel like it isn’t easy to put on a performance that goes beyond that and draws people in. I think I’m becoming even more ambitious about it because I’m not fully satisfied with my performance yet.

I heard that you spent a lot of time talking to the label and advocating your specific vision for the video of your cover of “Wonder” by ADOY that was released around your birthday.

BEOMGYU: The reason I chose “Wonder” in the first place is because I had a whole plan about the kind of images I wanted to go along with it. I felt like the cover would be incomplete without a video to capture the right mood, so I was firm when I told the label my ideas. As a result, the video team was very helpful, and I really liked the way the video turned out. It came out while I was in quarantine and I really liked it so I watched it every day. (laughs)

You talked about “Wonder” on the V LIVE you did for your birthday and explained that the video shows “what my personal life looks like, after work,” which you said “may look glamorous, but it isn’t, actually.” Why did you want to show that side of yourself to MOA?

BEOMGYU: Because it’s a side of me they don’t normally see. I thought I could show them that side now. I always told MOA about the difficulties I face, but that was only 70% of it—I wanted to show them the remaining 30% now, too. When you’re famous, people only end up seeing the glamor, but since there’s a bright side, I think there’s a definite dark side, too. So I wanted to show them how worn out I get in my personal life as well. Most of all, I wanted to make the video feel like they were there with me. V posted a video where he covered “Someone Like You” by Adele, and if you watch it, the camera just follows him as he walks down the street, so it feels like you’re walking along with him. I was inspired after I saw the video and explained in detail to the video team all the things I wanted to get across: “It has to be filmed so that it makes MOA feel like they’re taking a walk with me, and it has to show me going home from the studio in a car, and the captions at the bottom need to be yellow and in this font.” Like that.

​You advocated what you wanted to express as an artist to the end, but you tend to go with the flow when you’re with others. Like in the episode of TO DO X TXT where SOOBIN keeps asking you to try shrimp and you finally do, even though you don’t like seafood.
BEOMGYU: I’m the only one in our group who doesn’t eat seafood. The others like seafood better than other meats, but they don’t eat it when we eat out because of me. They’re always considerate like that, even though I’m the only one who’s like that. So I thought I better progressively expand my palate. And I figured it was something I better try at least once. (laughs) It isn’t something I would eat alone, so I thought I should try it while I had the chance.

Bistro Shigor on JTBC was another opportunity for you to reveal your considerate side and how it contrasts with your image as a high-energy, playful person.
BEOMGYU: I think it’s important to go with the flow. Shows like TO DO X TXT or Amazing Saturday, with their clear-cut format, make me more silly than normal, but Bistro Shigor isn’t that kind of show, so the first day was tough. I went into it all ready to be on a variety show, but then saw it’s not the kind of variety show that my naturally silly personality is best suited for, so I got stressed out trying to figure out what I should do to be a good guest. But I met so many great people that my worries cleared up in no time, and I actually had such a good time that I wanted to keep going. Having the chance to work a part-time job for once and talk to all the customers was a great way for me to unwind, too.

You never had a part-time job, but you quickly figured out what needed to be done and adapted to the situation, which surprised people. What’s your secret?
BEOMGYU: I was just trying to survive. (laughs) It also has to do with the human connection: The others were all so nice, so I really wanted to help those people out and move quickly, so I ran around thinking it would be a little easier for them if I was the one doing the work.

I was also really impressed by the way you carefully explained how to eat the bread properly to the one older customer and your approachability.
BEOMGYU: When I was a kid and I went to my friends’ houses I would hang out with their moms instead. (laughs) I loved talking with adults. All that experience was helpful. It was sort of awkward at first, but as I adjusted, I had this gut feeling about what kind of person each customer was and how I could approach them.
​It seems you have the power to make the people around you happy. You had a small neck injury in the 2021 MMA behind-the-scenes video so you couldn’t move your head properly, but you still made a small joke to the camera, saying, “I’m not glaring at you. I’m looking at you in a friendly way.”
BEOMGYU: I’m a person, too, so it’s hard for me to feel good when I’m stressed and tired and in pain. The reason I said that was for MOA. I knew they would watch it later and I wanted to make sure they wouldn’t worry. You look like you’re in less pain when you joke around, after all.

At the rehearsal for MOA X TOGETHER, you were practicing to do ASMR for the show, but when the concert came you danced in a trance without hesitation instead because MOA wanted you to.
BEOMGYU: I was drowning in embarrassment after that, actually. I was so embarrassed. (laughs)

Yet you started dancing even before the music started. (laughs)
BEOMGYU: It always makes things more fun. That’s my philosophy when it comes to entertainment. (laughs) I just thought, I’m crazy! And danced. If you can’t avoid it, enjoy it. Everyone wanted me to dance, but if I chose not to because of feeling embarrassed, it would have killed the mood. I think that’s way worse. I would rather keep things lively, even if I feel embarrassed. I didn’t want this whole scene that everyone was looking forward to to fall apart just because I didn’t want to embarrass myself, so I just had fun with it.

What was it like finally having MOA right there in front of you after so long? You didn’t go downstage when you rehearsed your opening remarks, but you went right up to the front of the stage where you could be close to the audience when you did it during the concert itself, and you looked excited.
BEOMGYU: I couldn’t contain my excitement. It was so good to see them after waiting nearly two years, so I ran right out. (laughs) It was such a long time since we filled a place with so many MOA, and it was only them and us this time. I was so thankful, and so happy, that the other members and MOA stuck it out for so long.
​You still feel the same, even though for a long time you didn’t have many opportunities to see MOA in person.
BEOMGYU: Even though we couldn’t be together, I never thought we were growing farther apart, not even once. It’s more like we grew closer. Of course I missed the roar of the crowd and in-person events, but we shared even more with MOA the whole time we were missing them and they communicated more with us, which I think made us even more like friends than we already were.

Since you’re going to have more and more opportunities to see MOA in person, what kind of image do you want to portray to them?
BEOMGYU: I just want to see them more. It’s not about having something new to give them just because we’re finally able to see them a lot again; I just want to keep being the same person I’ve been for them all along—the real me.

What’s the real BEOMGYU like?
BEOMGYU: What is the real me like? Ah, that’s hard. (laughs) I think I’m slowly becoming a stronger person as I learn to accept hardship. Just because I’m happy now, of course, doesn’t mean I’ll only be happy later on. I’m the kind of person who has a new issue each year and spends that year grappling with that one thing, so I’m likely to face more problems, too. Anyway, the past me has always dealt with those problems well. (laughs) I don’t want to worry about things before they happen. I just want to live my life being happy in the moment and experience new things while also being accepting, positive and flexible about everything.

As we all know, Thursday’s child has far to go. (laughs)
BEOMGYU: Not every path is a good one. I want to forge my own path, dealing with things properly but staying flexible.
Article. Rieun Kim
Interview. Rieun Kim
Visual Director. Yurim Jeon
Project Management. Jiyeon Lee
Visual Creative Team. Suchung Chung, Rakta(BIGHIT MUSIC)
Photography. Jiyong Yoon / Assist. Wonyoung Ki, Minhyung Jun, Kiwoong Kim, Eunji Song
Hair. Seungwon Kim
Makeup. Seulki Noh
Stylist. Aran Lee
Set Design. Darak(Seoyun Choi / Yehui Son, Ayeong Kim)
Artist Protocol Team. Daeyoung Kim, Jisoo Kim, Seungchan Shin, Juekyung You, Youngwook Ko