LOONA are back and this time with their first-ever Japanese mini-album.
Fresh from the release of their latest EP [&], the 12-member girl group are sending a message of self-acceptance and encouragement with their Japanese debut mini-album, HULA HOOP / StarSeed - Kakusei -. Boasting their unique brand of "LOONA pop", the record spans four tracks including a Japanese version of their song 'PTT (Paint The Town)'.
"We'd like to describe LOONA’s music as 'LOONA POP'. We don’t limit ourselves to a certain music genre, always trying new stuff and creating our own style. We want to surprise listeners every time and sing various types of songs so that fans can choose what to listen to depending on their mood," the group tells Bandwagon.
Comprising HaSeul, ViVi, Yves, JinSoul, Kim Lip, Chuu, HeeJin, HyunJin, Go Won, Choerry, Olivia Hye, and YeoJin, LOONA has achieved an array of accolades since their debut in 2018 – which includes landing on the Billboard 200 chart with '12:00'.
As they embark on a new chapter of their musical journey, starting with their Japanese debut, Bandwagon caught up with the group to talk about their artistic growth, their dream collaborations, and the story behind HULA HOOP / StarSeed - Kakusei -.
You guys are finally back as 12 members this year! How does it feel to be promoting as a full group again with HaSeul?
HyunJin: First of all, the word, “full group” means a lot to us. We’re so happy that HaSeul is back and the atmosphere in the group has been brightened up more.
JinSoul: I think we can present our cool and perfect performance only with all 12 members in its entirety. I’m so glad that we can work in a real complete form and really looking forward to the activities moving forward. She’s the same age as me and a good friend of mine, and always has been a supportive and reliable member to me, so I feel more happiness.
Could you tell us more about your debut Japanese singles ‘HULA HOOP’ and ‘StarSeed -Kakusei-’? What is the story and message behind each song?
HeeJin: Both stories of 'HULA HOOP' and 'StarSeed -Kakusei-' are about ‘infinite possibilities inside of us.’ I hope these songs can encourage people who are not aware of their own possibilities yet or afraid of new challenges!
GoWon: 'HULA HOOP' has a positive message: Always be yourself and true to yourself. The point is the addictive chorus part with pop and fun rhythm. I hope everyone listens to this song a lot!
Chuu: 'StarSeed -Kakusei-' is a cheer-up song with a message: You're fine just the way you are. I hope everyone listens to this song and be good to yourself and live confidently while being true to yourself!
LOONA has been garnering lots of international attention, especially after ‘Star’ reached US Top 40 radio earlier this year. You guys also charted on Billboard 200 with 12:00 last year. Now that you’re expanding to Japan, how do you feel about your global success as a group?
Olivia Hye: Fans are so supportive even from far away and it gives us a lot of power. I can't feel a sense of reality since we can't go abroad at the moment, but I can't wait to be globally active once the situation becomes better. I receive a lot of love even now, but we'll try harder to be supported more. Please give us a little bit more time.
Did you learn anything new about yourselves when preparing for your Japanese debut?
HaSeul: We all studied Japanese really hard for this Japan debut. I really love Japanese animation and films, so I watched a lot of them while preparing for the Japan debut! I tried to learn Japanese culture and pronunciation and vocabularies through various content, so I can't wait to visit Japan once the situation gets better and learn more Japanese while meeting Orbit in person and communicating with them!
Some of the members, like Jinsoul and Yves, also compose and write original music. Are there any plans for the group to be more involved in songwriting for future releases?
JinSoul: I’m trying to write songs whenever I have time. I’m relatively quick in making overall taste and melody, but since I tweak around a lot while listening, it usually takes time to finish up. It would be great if I had a chance to participate in making LOONA’s album, but regardless of that, I’ll keep making music.
Yves: I pick up words from our daily conversation with members and watching movies, and write songs using those words when I have time.
If I had a chance to join making an album, I’ll write an R&B song with guitar and piano sound that matches members’ voices. This is my favourite music genre and I always write these types of songs, so it will give a fresh feel if members can sing with the lyrics I write based on our daily episodes.
Who are some dream artists that you’d like to work with?
Kim Lip: I’ve loved dancing and singing since I was little, so I chose this job. I have a lot of artists I like and respect, but each artist has a different aspect I admire, so it’s hard to choose one. Having said that, I think Ariana Grande and Taeyeon are so cool and I’m a big fan of them.
Choerry: Suzy is my role model! I’ve loved the songs of Miss A since I was little, and I even joined a talent competition! She’s so cool in every way and I want to be a multitalented artist like her.
It’s been three years since you officially debuted. Has the friendship between the members evolved in any way?
YeoJin: Three years can be short and long, but spending a lot of time together when it was hard, fun, and sad made us stronger as a team. Now, they are like true friends and at the same time, they are like my family I can depend on. I really appreciate that. I’m sure we can get over anything together!
ViVi: During these three years, we could learn more about each other while working as a full group. We support and care about each other and work in harmony. They are reliable and I feel happy to be around them. Our love and emotion toward the team grew as well. Because we’ve been through happiness and hardships together, which made the members important to me, I hope we make a lot of good memories together.
What do you still hope to achieve together as a group? What is your biggest dream for LOONA?
HyunJin: I think LOONA’s goal is to keep growing with Orbit all over the world. So, our biggest dream would be to become a group with infinite possibilities. I hope we keep this good condition and show our appreciation to Orbit.
늘 곁에서 응원해 주는 고마운 오빛💫 덕분에 #이달의소녀 가 '2021 뉴시스 한류엑스포'에서 한류문화대상 '서울시의회 의장상'을 수상했어요🏆 더욱 멋진 이달의 소녀가 돼서 오빛을 위해 높은 곳에서 빛날게요🌙 고마워요, 오빛! #LOONA pic.twitter.com/GwYfwPb94G— 이달의 소녀(LOOΠΔ) (@loonatheworld) September 16, 2021
Listen to LOONA's HULA HOOP / StarSeed -Kakusei- here.