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WINNER Struggle To Maintain Artistic Freedom: 'After Creating A Mold...You Can't Create Anything' Band Member Nam Taehyun Says

By Jesse Lent | February 12, 2016 05:24 PM EST

Retaining the ability to take your music in whatever direction you want it to go isn't easy, whether you're a so-called pop "idol" or any artist, according to Nam Taehyun of the K-pop boy band WINNER.

At a full-band press conference earlier this month in the Hongdae section of Seoul, Nam made it clear that the only reason they weren't wild about the "idol group" label, was because the label was restrictive creatively.

"We often hear that we don't seem like idols even though we're idols," he said.

"However, if we make music after creating a mold, be it an idol or artist, you can't create anything. We don't want to be tied up like that. Whether we're idols or artists, we're thankful if you listen and enjoy our music."

Earlier in the interview, WINNER vocalist Kang Seungyoon made it clear that though they are obviously being marketed as a pop group, that isn't how they want their music to be perceived.

"The fact is, we can't be in denial of the fact that we're idols," Kang said. "However, we'd like to be judged not as idols but singers."

His bandmate Song Minho agreed that there is a stigma attached to being a Hallyu star.

"I know that idols aren't seen in a good light," Song said.

"There are so many idol groups these days, and I think a negative view of idols is impossible to avoid. But even so, we don't want to deny the fact that we're idols. But because we're confident in our music, we're not obsessed with being assessed as idols or artists. Whatever the assessment may be, if they view our music and performances positively, that's enough for us."

WINNER was formed in 2014 as a result of being the winning team on the reality television program "WIN: Who Is Next?" The brainchild of YG Entertainment co-founder Yang Hyun Suk, the show pitted two teams of aspiring artists against each other for the chance to become the label's next boy band according to viewer voting. The losing group was to be disbanded, but ended up being reformed as iKON the following year after enduring another reality show, "Mix & Match."

"EXIT: E" shot to the top of the Korean pop charts when it was released on Feb. 1. The two singles "Baby Baby" and "Sentimental," secured the number one and numbers two on Naver Music, Melon, OllehMusic, Genie, Bugs, Soribada, Mnet and Monkey3Music.

Tagged :  winner, kpop, WIN: Who Is Next?, Nam Tae Hyun, K-Pop, interview

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