5 Minute Focus: Astro's Moonbin & Sanha Discuss favorite scents & 'Incense'

AKA brief five minute podcast monologues by K-pop stars

5 Minute Focus: Astro's Moonbin & Sanha Discuss favorite scents & 'Incense'

Welcome to the first Notes on K-Pop interview! This is the launch of a five-minute segment featuring industry talent and insiders discussing their relationship and feelings about a certain topic for five minutes freely via voice note with no interruptions.

My aim is to bring a sense of intimacy and bite-sized depth about topics ranging from musical inspiration to their favorite foods in a different format than we usually see among K-pop and K-pop-related interviews.

This is an opportunity to hear where people’s inner thoughts and/or conversations with their teammates go when asked about a singular topic, plus a few prompt questions I provide to help spark the convo.

Kicking off the first edition of 5 Minute Focus* are Astro’s MOONBIN&SANHA unit (Moon Bin and Yoon San-ha) to share their thoughts on their favorite smells**, both generally and in relationship to the release of their new EP, INCENSE and their single, Madness.

The conversation was conducted in Korean between the two members, with an English transcription below.

This is an experiment of sorts, so please let me know if you enjoy the format in the comments.

Moonbin (0:03) Okay, Sanha, what's a smell you associate with this moment?

Sanha (0:06)  I think I associate with the smell of shampoo, because, you know, I take showers every day. I smell shampoo every day, so that's the smell that comes to my mind at this moment. How about you?

Moonbin (0:23) For me, it's Sanha's perfume.

Sanha (0:25) Ah!

Moonbin (0:26) I smell it so much that I almost think of it as my perfume. It's really good.

Sanha (0:28)  I'll buy you one as a gift.

Moonbin (0:29) It's okay, don't worry about it.

Sanha (0:32)  What scents remind you of home?

Moonbin (0:35) A scent reminding me of home... I'm thinking of a cozy scent.

Sanha (0:40)  There certainly is a unique scent of home.

Moonbin (0:44) Musk, musk scent.

Sanha (0:45)  Scent of home.

Moonbin (0:47) What does your house smell like?

Sanha (0:49)  At home... I think it's different every day.

Moonbin (0:54) Why is that?

Sanha (0:55)  Ummm...

Moonbin (0:56) Do you use different diffusers every day?

Sanha (0:58)  Something like...

Moonbin  (0:59) So you change them.

Sanha (0:59)  Yes, I think that's why it smells different every day. It's good!

Moonbin (1:05) Then what do you think are scents that comfort us?

Sanha (1:09)           Comfort? Hmm, do you have anything on your mind?

Moonbin (1:12) Yes, I do.

Sanha (1:13)         I'll talk about a scent that I like. I usually like sweet scents, and I think those scents help me to calm down and feel comfortable.

Moonbin (1:26) I'm thinking of the scent of fabric softener.

Sanha (1:28)  Ah yes, I see.

Moonbin (1:29) It makes me feel comfortable. Also, that scent makes me want to just relax and lie down.

Moonbin (1:36) All right, then. What would be the scent that is especially attractive?

Sanha (1:41)           Especially attractive? I think it would be sweet scents for me again.

Moonbin (1:46)  Just sweet scents?

Sanha  (1:49)           Then, I'll go with clean and fresh scent with a hint of sweetness!

Moonbin (1:58) You just can't give up a sweet scent.

Sanha (2:00)  That's right. I think I'm very attracted to a sweet scent.

Moonbin (2:04)    Then how would you describe the vibe of a sweet scent?

Sanha (2:08)  When you smell something sweet, you automatically go, 'Huh?'

Moonbin (2:11) Too sweet?

Sanha (2:12)  No, I don't like something too sweet.

Moonbin (2:14)  Just moderate sweetness.

Sanha (2:15)  If I smell a sweet scent, I feel like my brain becomes more active. It wakes up.

Moonbin (2:21) Then can you taste the scent sometimes too?

Sanha (2:24)  Taste sweetness?

Moonbin (2:25) Yes.

Sanha (2:26)  I'm not sure about that. I don't think I've ever tasted sweetness when I smell a scent.

Moonbin (2:29)        If you ever do, please let us know.

Sanha (2:30)    Sure.

Moonbin  (2:33)       These days, I prefer scents with a woody note.

Sanha (2:37)  Like phytoncide? (Note: Wood-based scents, such as cedarwood, pine, cypress, oak, and eucalyptus.)

Moonbin (2:38) Not phytoncide. Like the smell of burnt wood pieces...

Sanha (2:43)        Like from a campfire.

Moonbin (2:45) Something like that.

Sanha (2:46)  Really?

Moonbin (2:46) Yeah.

Sanha (2:47)  You're attracted to that scent?

Moonbin (2:49) Can I not be attracted to that scent?

Sanha (2:50)  No, no. Of course you can. That's good.

Moonbin (2:53) Yeah, I really like more natural, environment-friendly scents like burning woods.

Sanha (3:00) I agree. Those are the scents we need. Something comforting.

Moonbin (3:03) Yes, that's right.

Sanha (3:05) Last but not least, what does the word 'incense' mean to you?

Sanha  (3:13)     Incense...

Sanha  (3:19)    To be honest, I've only known about incense sticks before this album. I got to know more about the actual meaning of the word 'incense' while working on the album. Now when I hear the word “incense,” I think of something precious. Just like our album.

Moonbin (3:51) I see.

Moonbin (3:55) I've always thought of a scent as a medium for memories, and we built this album's concept around scent, hoping our album to become a medium that takes listeners back to their memories. On top of that, now I want to add another meaning to the word “incense” - eternal. I think going back to the past and reminiscing can be done anytime, and any memory can be everlasting.

Moonbin (4:35) You got that, Sanha?

Sanha (4:36)  Yes, I did.

Moonbin (4:38) We have talked about scents. Did you enjoy our conversation?

Moonbin (4:43) Great. Please look forward to our activities with the new album, and give lots of love to MOONBIN&SANHA.

Both (4:48)  This has been MOONBIN&SANHA. Bye bye~

*This is a working title. Please share ideas if you have a more creative one! A friend gave me the original idea as Five Question Fridays, and I kinda ran with it. I ultimately decided that I don’t want to tie it to Fridays specifically because I am terrible at sticking to routines, but we shall see how things go. Thank you, friend, you know who you are!

**I recently had the epiphany that I would one day really like to interview someone while making perfumes together because it is an immensely intimate experience that inspires memories and emotion. This realization of mine plus this album concept made me launch with this, but don’t worry. I will also hopefully feature interviews focused on the intimacies of music and performance creation as well as random factotum!