In 2018, girl group (G)I-dle arrived on the K-pop scene. They made a lot of noise with their debut single, “Latata” and its follow-up, “Hann,” rapidly gaining a following and diehard fanbase (known as Neverland) with their addicting, dramatic music blended with strong yet elegant performances from the six members.
Since then, they’ve released numerous singles and put out their third EP, I Trust, earlier this week.
Fronted by the single “oh my god,” I Trust arrived at a time of chaos: The act’s planned world tour has been postponed due to the coronavirus pandemic, and this album’s release was originally postponed as well. But the members of (G)I-dle showed no sense of doubt or concern while performing their latest songs, confidently assured in the quality of their work as they sing about finding and trusting in one’s self.
Over a Zoom call from Seoul, the members of (G)I-dle spoke with Billboard about the album’s release. Soyeon, who co-wrote and produced all of the songs on the album with collaborators Yummy Tone and collapsedone, took the lead in answering the majority of the questions.
How are you doing lately?
Soyeon: We’ve been busy preparing the new album. We’re excited to meet our fans because we haven’t put out an album in a while, so it’s nice to make a comeback.
What was the inspiration for the I Trust album?
Soyeon: The message of the album is, “I trust myself.” As a group, we’ve always had a self-confidence of our own; we’ve always believed in ourselves. But after being on [the 2019 South Korean competition show] Queendom, that belief in ourselves became even stronger. That’s why we wanted to name the album I Trust.
How did Queendom change your perspective in this regard?
Soyeon: We were the most rookie group on the show, but we wanted to do our best and tried our hardest to win the competition. We did [try our hardest], and the fans loved it and everything turned out well. So from that experience, our self-confidence got a boost.
The album is fronted by the single “oh my god,” and it’s quite a dramatic song, with all its beat drops and tonal shifts. What were your thoughts when creating this song?
Soyeon: Within the genre of (G)I-dle’s own sound and style, we wanted to try something new this time. We also wanted to do something that nobody else could do, that other artists normally won’t do.
What meaning do you want people to take away from it?
Soyeon: We want audiences to recognize (G)I-dle’s distinct style, and that this track only (G)I-dle can pull off.
You have a very distinct, strong style, as you say. Do you feel this helps you stand out in a competitive industry?
Soyeon: We believe every group is unique in their own way. For us, we believe that our music and our music videos leave a strong impact because we want to do something that expresses us well and in an honest way.
On the album, you released the song in an English version. How did it feel to work on both Korean and English variants of this single? Several members of (G)I-dle speak English, so I imagine it was quite comfortable.
Soyeon: Getting the pronunciation right was the most challenging part because this was our first fully English track, but we still enjoyed working on the track because we wanted to share it with our international fans.
What made you decide to create an English version of the song?
Soyeon: Our goal this year is to interact with our international fans more. But with our tour being postponed, we don’t have as much opportunity to interact with our global fans, so we wanted to put out this English track instead. Since a lot of people may find social distancing and staying at their homes very boring, we hope our new music and our performances gives them a little something to enjoy and fight the boredom.
What do you do when you’re bored? How does (G)I-dle fight boredom?
Soyeon: Lately, we haven’t had a single moment in our lives that was boring because we’ve been working on the album.
Along with “oh my god” and “Lion,” which you released previously through Queendom, the album also features two other new tracks, “Maybe” and “Luv U.” How do you feel these two songs fit into the album’s ideology of I Trust?
Soyeon: We believe that these tracks express the kind of feelings that you can experience while in the process of coming to believe in yourself — confusion, denial, acceptance, all those kinds of feelings. We normally work on the title track first, and then, with the assumption in mind that the character or narrator of the title track can experience many other emotions at different times, we work on the B-sides. “Maybe” represents that confusion one faces when coming to believe in themselves. “Luv U” is a track that’s based on the idea of temptations, and revolves around a situation when you have to believe in yourself.
Do you feel your process or approach to creating and writing music changed for this album versus prior work?
Soyeon: This is the first album in which we have the same person going through all of these tracks. The whole album is built around the story of one person’s development.
As the lead songwriter, Soyeon has been talking for almost this whole time, but I’m really curious if other members have thoughts on this album?
Yuqi: Soyeon’s been writing for us since debut, and she knows us really well, each of our members. She knows which parts suit us. I think we all trust her a lot. And the songs are good! So we just follow her. Whenever I listen to her songs for the first time, I really think, “Oh, this song is going to be on point.” [Laughs] The songs just hit me. I never thought that a K-pop girl group could do this before. I just love it so much. In my opinion, it’s my style. “oh my god” is really my style, I love it so much. I want to perform it for our fans as soon as possible.
Soyeon, Yuqi mentioned that the members put a lot of trust in you as a songwriter. Do you find that burdensome or stressful?
Soyeon: I don’t find it burdensome at all. The belief that the other girls have in me is very supportive.
2020 is kind of a weird year so far, but what are your goals for the rest of the year?
Minnie: Actually, our goal for 2020 is to meet our international Neverlands. But unfortunately, the tour was postponed, so we hope that in this year everything can get better and we can make it happen, our world tour. Since this album’s name is I Trust, I hope you all “will trust” [uses air quotes] us and listen to these songs. I hope it will be relatable to you, at least some of them. I hope you enjoy our third EP.
Many people around the world are having a hard time right now. Do you have a message you would like to tell fans who are struggling with the coronavirus pandemic?
Miyeon: We know that these are very challenging times, but we hope that everyone can stay clean, stay healthy, wash your hands, wear your masks so that things can get better soon. We really want to meet our fans again as soon as possible.