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K-pop girl group GFRIEND on changes and ‘Walpurgis Night’ album

Ni Nyoman Wira
Ni Nyoman Wira

The Jakarta Post

Jakarta  /  Wed, December 23, 2020  /  05:00 pm
K-pop girl group GFRIEND on changes and ‘Walpurgis Night’ album

GFRIEND members (from left to right): SinB, Eunha, Sowon, Yuju, Yerin and Umji during the photoshoot for their 'My Way' concept. (GFRIEND/File)

K-pop girl group GFRIEND has gone through significant changes after their debut in 2015 and the acquisition of their management company, Source Music, by BTS' agency Big Hit Entertainment in 2019.

The group, which consists of Sowon, Yerin, Eunha, Yuju, SinB and Umji, released their latest album : Walpurgis Night in November, which marked the end of their album trilogy, which began with : Labyrinth in February and : Song of the Sirens in July.

Inspired by a European holiday that is often associated with a “party of witches”, : Walpurgis Night allows the sextet to step out of their comfort zone by performing individually featured tracks for the first time: Yerin-SinB with “Secret Diary”, Sowon-Umji with “Better Me” and Yuju-Eunha with “Night Drive”.

“This creative process taught us more about ourselves as we translated our thoughts and feelings into music. You can’t get everything right on the first try, but we were able to adapt to the workflow and, most importantly, just enjoy the journey,” wrote GFRIEND to The Jakarta Post in an e-mail interview.

The girls also had a great time filming the music video for the album’s upbeat track “MAGO” and a photoshoot for My Way concept.

“Filming the music video was fun. It felt like we entered a different time and space because the set was all about retro and colors,” the group wrote. “We also had a blast during the concept photo session, especially for the concept My Way. It was during the night, and we wore suits, which felt like we showed a never-before-seen side of GFRIEND.”

The following are excerpts from the Post’s interview with GFRIEND.

Q: You've experienced a remarkable transformation since your debut mini album Season of Glass (2015), how do you feel about it?

GFRIEND: Now we feel more confident in freely expressing ourselves in various aspects like music, performance and many others. And we want to keep delivering new and exciting sides of GFRIEND to our fans. For the past six years, we’ve tried a variety of different concepts, and it wasn’t always smooth. But we tried to get the best out of the entire process of exploring these new concepts and styles with an open mindset. We learned and matured a lot, and we want to continue pushing forward!

Q: Have you received your fans' responses to the new album?

GFRIEND: Every time we release new music, we watch reaction videos. It felt great to see our song “MAGO” receive such positive feedback. There was this comment saying, “GFRIEND can pull off all kinds of concepts.” That really stood out for us.

Q: Are there any particular messages you want to convey to your fans with the trilogy?

GFRIEND: Each album of the trilogy pieced together creates a full story that we want to deliver to our listeners. The first story in : Labyrinth is about a girl who needs to make a decision in the face of infinite choices. The narrative continues in : Song of the Sirens where the girl has made a choice but is swayed by the “unchosen” option she discarded. Temptation is an important theme here. And lastly, in : Walpurgis Night, we see a confident girl, firm in her decision and desires.

Q: If you could sum up the trilogy in one word, what would you say and why?

SOWON: “Chameleon”. I don’t think we’ve ever expressed such various colors in an album.

YERIN: “Challenge” because we tried and expressed all these new concepts.

EUNHA: “Youth". The themes expressed throughout the trilogy like confusion, temptation and confidence are something that people of our age can relate to.

YUJU: “Bean Sprouts” because we grew a lot!

SINB: “Season” since the concept and moods underwent massive transformations for every album, similar to how the season comes and goes.

UMJI: “Movie” because the series had solid narratives.

Q: You held an online concert on Oct. 31 and garnered warm responses from fans. What sort of challenges did you experience in preparing for the concert?

GFRIEND: Even though we were not able to meet our fans in person, we were still grateful that we could meet them virtually. Also, we were both thrilled and a bit nervous to perform our [single-member focused] tracks for the first time on stage.

Q: Your discography covers various themes, ranging from youthfulness to women’s empowerment. If you had the opportunity to plan your next album, what theme would you come up with and why?

SOWON: Expressing the beauty of time and the emotions that you can feel in that particular moment or age may be fun.

YERIN: I want to show all the various concepts that we’ve done so far under the theme of “memories”.

EUNHA: An album that delivers a message of encouragement to people is something I want to try next – giving energy through melodies or lyrics!

YUJU:  I want to talk about “emotions” and channel through music all the different sentiments that people feel.

SINB: I love the concepts that we're currently doing right now. I just hope I can fully express the true me, being honest with my feelings and all of us moving forward.

UMJI: Singing about truth and lies sounds fun too. In this world, truth and lies always exist, and I’ve always considered this theme very interesting because not every truth is always good, and not every lie is always bad.

Q: As the end of 2020 is getting near, would you share experiences you’ve found valuable this year?

GFRIEND: We always heard the voices of our BUDDYs [GFRIEND’s fans] when we went up on stage, but this year felt so hollow and made us miss our fans even more. Once again, this reminded us how much BUDDYs mean to us, and we sincerely wish to meet you all in the near future.

Q: What are your forthcoming plans for 2021?

GFRIEND: We’ll work hard to return with a new album very soon.

This interview was arranged by MAXPERIENCE (MPE). (wng)

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