Jeff Benjamin is a popular and trusted K-Pop reporter as he has participated in writing and editing for big names such as Billboard, Forbes, Rolling Stones, and more. He has recently interviewed with MONSTA X‘s I.M to discuss his new solo album Duality. Let’s take a look at his thoughts on the creation of his album and his career.
Q: What dualities do you see in yourself?
I think it’s a conflict between myself who wants to do better as an artist and myself who just wants to be a human being. At one time, I thought I wasn’t sure whether I was an introvert or an extrovert. To sum up, rather than concluding that I’m one thing, I’ve come to admit all those aspects as part of myself.
Q: Are these songs your personal stories?
I would say that some include my personal story, but I hope listeners project their own experiences and emotions. Feel free to interpret my album as your own!
Q: In “God Damn,” there’s a duality in lying about being happy. Can you explain the larger message?
There are moments when I get confused about what kind of person I am, whether I am happy or not. The phrase “god damn” is both used in good times and bad times, so the song contains various dualities. A lot of things were going through my mind and I was kind of going through a tough time. I was thinking about the good side and, always, as a human, you try to think positively when you’re in a negative situation. I think I was trying to figure out that situation in the days after that. All the lyrics are kind of like a metaphor, it’s not directly addressing anything.
Q: Have you had moments where you’ve had to lie about being happy because of your career as an idol?
The track was not made thinking about my life as an idol. I just wanted to portray the concept of “duality” that we are faced with as human beings. This solo album came out because I wanted to release something in an official way, not just a mixtape. I just wanted everybody to know I’m doing this music and let them know who I am. I was always thirsting to show my own identity, I’m not just a person who’s described as a person part of a team or a rapper in MONSTA X. Of course, I am a member of that group and I have lots of love for it, but I just wanted to show myself a bit more than that.
Q: You shared that the movie Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind inspired “Happy to Die.”
The melody came to me first and I was just looking for words and concepts to match my song. So, I was just trying to chill and ended up watching a movie. I was kind of sick of aggressive or intense movies, I was trying to find an older movie that I could watch and rest, something comfortable. At the end of the movie, Jim Carey says, “I could die right now, Clem.” I said, “Oh damn, that’s a good word—meaning, you’re happy but you say you want to die.’” I thought that was really interesting.
Q: What’s your goal with this mini-album?
I think the ultimate goal has already been achieved: present it to my fans. Really, I didn’t expect this [reaction], I’m so happy and don’t know what to say.
Catch the full interview at Forbes and listen to I.M’s song again below!