After competing in idol reality show Produce Camp 101 last year, members Santa and Rikimaru of Japan-based boy group WARPs UP reigned victorious among dozens of other contestants and secured their places in 11-member Chinese boy group, INTO1. As a result, the two will be active in China until April 2023, but fans of WARPs UP couldn’t help but wonder how the group would carry on with half of the members absent for such a prolonged period of time.
In January, Mingjun and Langyi, the group’s active members, released their first original song as a duo, “POWER_Xin,” with lyrics in both Chinese and Japanese, and more recently, they came out with “HERO_Sei,” an uplifting ballad with separate versions for both languages.
As WARPs UP continues to make music as a duo, Vanity Teen was fortunate enough to hear from Mingjun and Langyi about their latest song, their first impressions of each other, and more.
Before debuting as members of WARPs UP, the two of you had already known each other for quite some time, as you were both members of trainee boy group MR-X. Can you recall your first impressions of each other?
Langyi: When I met Mingjun for the first time, I believe it was at the entrance of our office. I was about to go home with other members at practice to have lunch, but I saw somebody who had blonde hair carrying a backpack, and he was practicing a dance over and over again. One of the members around me knew him, so we went to say hi, but Mingjun was so shy as he turned his back the whole time. This gave me the impression of him as a shy boy.
Mingjun: What I still remember is when we met for the first time, LANGYI showcased the choreography in front of everyone. I was ambitious and competitive in dancing, so I started having a rivalry with LANGYI.
What’s the happiest memory you’ve created during your careers as idols?
Langyi: Practicing and doing photo shoots with members and performing on stage.
Mingjun: Practicing with the other members and performing on stage.
Langyi is friends with WayV’s Xiaojun, and Mingjun is friends with actor and former Wanna One member Guanlin. Do the two of you have any other idol friends? If not, are there any idols or musical artists in particular that you’d like to befriend?
Langyi: I want to be friends with JUN and THE8 in SEVENTEEN. I hope to meet with them once and talk about our lives because they both work hard abroad to make their dreams come true.
Your recent single affirms that anyone can be a hero. What does being a hero mean to you?
Langyi: For me, I relate a hero to mentality, such as strength, passion, kindness, and/or benevolence. It is still a goal. The goal to cheer me up to make myself go forward.
Mingjun: It means being an idol. From my view, an idol is a kind of self-recognition. From an objective point of view, as it is written in People’s Daily Online, I don’t think idols should only satisfy the fan’s momentary aesthetic pleasure. I think it is important for an idol to inspire the audience to step forward, and to give positive energy to the audience.
Do you have a favorite lyric in the song?
Langyi: “Yes. The future becomes brighter anyway, so let’s take our hands and promise (glory).” These lyrics give me a warm power. It makes me feel like although we don’t know the future, whatever path I choose will be a light if I do my best. This song gave me the courage to overcome stress and anxiety without being afraid.
Mingjun: These lyrics give us the motivation to head toward the future we wish for.
“HERO_sei” is the second time you worked with your junior group, WARPs ROOTS. What was it like? And have you seen any growth among the members since you last worked with them in January for “Power_xin?”
Langyi: I think we and the ROOTS members have improved dramatically since we first met. We were initially not confident, having our heads down when performing, but now, I can see the confidence in each member’s eyes.
Mingjun: The first time we met was at the training camp. I remember they were still very young at that time. Now that time has passed, I believe they have found their charm and their performances on stage keep improving.
Do you have any messages for VT readers and your international listeners?
Langyi: I appreciate our overseas fans for supporting us online for years. I am so excited to meet you all and looking forward to showcasing our performance. Please stay tuned with us! For readers of Vanity Teen, thank you for reading our interview. Please check out our music if you didn’t know about us before. I’m sure you will find surprises and feel our powerful vibes!
Mingjun: We are very grateful to know that we have fans overseas. For the time being, I could only communicate with you all online, so I would like to say thank you for your support despite these circumstances, and we will also work even harder so that we can meet you all someday. I really appreciate Vanity Teen for interviewing us. We hope that more readers of Vanity Teen will get to know about us through this interview. See you next time!