Interview with
Ban Mingyu & Pak Maseong
Special thanks to RUSKOREA for organizing the festival and making this interview possible. The festival was sponsored by Korean companies DAEWOO Electronics and CJ Raviollo.
— How did you come up with an idea of becoming a musician?
Ban Mingyu: I started studying music at my 8th grade. One day I heard Queen's songs on YouTube. They left a strong impression on me and made me want to sing that beautifully.

Pak Maseong:
I was rather focusing on sports till my 9th grade. I wanted to become a professional sportsman but this turned out to be impossible due to certain health issues of mine. That was a real shock for me. Back then I was helped a lot by my mom who suggested playing my father's old guitar in order to distract myself from the problem. Somehow I managed to get into this activity and started singing eventually.
— Do you have any job or studies while not performing at Hongdae?
Pak Maseong: I have a part-time job.

Ban Mingyu: For me there is only music.
— Do you use your real or stage names?
Ban Mingyu: I use my real name and he has chosen a stage name.

Pak Maseong:
There are a lot of people having the same name as mine in Korea. This stage name was actually my ex-girlfriend's idea (laughs). And I want to become known by this name.
— Is it possible to survive in Korea by focusing exclusively on what you want to do?
Ban Mingyu: All my activitiea are somehow connected to music. Every weekend I perform at someone's wedding. I'm invited to congratulate the newlyweds and sing for them. Beside that I'm working as a vocal trainer teaching people how to sing properly. And I'm also recording demo versions of the songs for other famous singers.
— There are a lot of people performing at Hongdae. Is it hard to find the place?
Pak Maseong: Nowadays those who sing at Hongdae while playing guitar or any other instrument usually face certain difficulties. Since K-POP is getting more and more popular there are a lot of cover dance teams coming there and playing their music really loudly. That is a huge problem for those singing or playing an instrument and it's almost impossible for them to perform at the same place. These are difficulties we currently have at Hongdae.
— You've shown various cover performances at the festival in Saint Petersburg. Do you create your own music?
Pak Maseong: Lots of! I have my own band in Korea. All the members gathered up only a month ago. But the songs are almost ready and we are planning to release an album soon.
— Is it possible to perform at Hongdae at any time you want?
Pak Maseong: Hongdae has a special schedule so you can book a certain place and time. This was created in order to prevent fights for a place between the artists which would obviously be a problem.
— Should your music be referred to K-POP? Do you prefer any other music genre?
Ban Mingyu: I'm working with K-POP music most the time but can also add some R&B to it. And still it's ballad genre that I feel most confident in.
— What are you planning for the future as an artist?
Ban Mingyu: I want to become famous not only as a performer but also as a producer. And I would probably like to try composing as well. I want my life to be full of music.

Pak Maseong: My aim is not only becoming a popular musician but also becoming a happy man. That is why self development seems the most important thing for me now. I want my music to touch people's hearts and get to the very depth of one's soul. And if I want to share happiness I need to be happy myself. This is the aim I'm focused on right now.
— You want to have full freedom in creating and performing songs. Let's imagine you getting a chance to become part of a famous entertainment company. Although the company is huge and powerful its contract contains a lot of restrictions. Would you sign it?
Pak Maseong: For me music is something that can comfort people, make them happy or sad, make them cry. If I agree to join the company which doesn't allow me to be myself then my music loses its sincerity.
- Are you planning to appear on TV?
Pak Maseong: I got some offers but their conception didn't get to meet my own point of view so I had to deny most of them. I'm going to focus on our upcoming album and performances now.

Ban Mingyu:
Not planning this for now. I have to join the army soon.
- Would you call your band's style "revolutionary"? Something that is "against the rules"?
Pak Maseong: Not really. I want to have freedom while creating music but it doesn't necessarily means crossing the line. Our team also has its rules. We are free at expressing ourselves, that's the thing. And we are trying to work with people who understand our vision and principles.
- Last question. How do you like Saint Petersburg?
Pak Maseong: I'd like to move to this city to be honest. I think it's better than Korea. And there are so many beautiful people here!

Ban Mingyu: You, guys, have so much vacant space for such events, that's really amazing! I'm also glad to attend a K-POP festival and receive such a warm welcome. We've created a wonderful atmosphere together with the visitors

We had a little more talk with the guys discussing the popularity of K-POP in Russia and then they had to get ready for their last performance. We were extremely glad and exited to have an opportunity to talk with them. The guys didn't look ashamed and answered our questions sincerely. We wish both of them achieve huge success in the future.

Interpreter - Kim Huan
Editor - Kira Raid
PurSean band (Official Instagram) -