It’s almost midnight in South Korea, and ODD EYE CIRCLE are in their last interview of the day. I expressed gratefulness to the group for setting aside time in their busy schedule for us, especially Kim Lip, who fans tease for having an early bedtime and the members affectionately call 예민공주, or “sensitive princess”. (Kim Lip laughs. “You know about that?“) “It’s her bedtime,” Choerry jests, pointing to Kim Lip with her thumb, and the latter jokingly pretends to fall asleep. The group is tired and still wearing their outfits from their performance on the Korean music show Show Champion, but despite an exhaustive full day (or maybe the delirium has finally kicked in), the group is smiley and giggly. Off the giant success of their latest comeback Version Up, JinSoul, Choerry, and Kim Lip are reveling in their performances and sisterhood in the past seven years.
It’s been seven years since ODD EYE CIRCLE did promotions as a sub-unit. All of the group’s focus was on their whole 12-member girl group LOONA for the past couple of years and a lot of things have happened between then and now— from music show wins, an American Top 40 hit, a #1 album on Billboard’s Heatseekers Albums chart, a successful world tour to health issues, legal battles, and company changes. “We finally re-debuted after such a long time and honestly, we were kind of worried because we had no idea how the fans would react to our re-debut and our new releases,” Kim Lip reminisces, “However, we are receiving an overwhelming amount of love so we’re really thankful and we’re living the happiest moments of our life.”
With the help of LOONA’s former creative director Jaden Jeong and being housed in their new company Modhaus, OEC wants to expand on the riches they already have. “Air Force One” offers a fresh sound but with the familiar rush that grasped their fans at first listen. The girls are ready to show that flair on tour for their first world tour with their new company.
I caught up with ODD EYE CIRCLE to discuss the love surrounding Version Up, their upcoming tour, and what they have in store for the future.
How are you preparing for performing for this new tour and how do you reflect on your growth as performers? Are there any things that you’re going to do differently than you did last year during your world tour?
JinSoul: Last year, we performed as part of the group, LOONA which is a 12-member group. But now we are ready to show ourselves as ODD EYE CIRCLE, the three-member unit group.
KimLip: We’re planning to put in a lot of storylines related to our worldview and we’re also planning to show a lot of solo performances as well.
Why was Europe the first stop on your tour?
JinSoul: All of us had the urge to meet our international fans as fast as we could. The destination we thought that we’d be able to meet our fans the quickest was Europe. That’s why we chose it as our first destination for the tour.
You’ve expressed a desire to write and produce songs in the past. Kim Lip, you wrote lyrics for LOONA as well as for Korean-American singer-songwriter Ailee. You also wrote lyrics for Version Up’s title track, “Air Force One.” JinSoul, you’ve also expressed interest in composing music, working on the unreleased fan song “O-Light.” Does the group have plans to produce an album that’s fully written and composed by the members?
Kim Lip: I think I’d really enjoy the overall experience and will be happy with the result when I produce and write lyrics along with the members and release a full album. I’m actually thinking of writing a fan song with the members. I think that would be a good idea. It would be very meaningful to me.
JinSoul: Of course, I really want to release an album that consists of songs written and composed by the members. I think it would be very meaningful, and after time has passed and we’ve become more mature and our skills have improved over time, I believe we will be able to do various activities with songs that we’ve produced, composed, and written ourselves.
In the same vein, Choerry, I know that you’re really interested in choreography. In the past, you’ve contributed to past choreographies with LOONA and you also helped choreograph ODD EYE CIRCLE’s “Uncover.” Do you have any aspirations to one day choreograph an entire song on your own?
Choerry: Yes, of course! I would love to create choreography for a whole song or even an entire album. What I’m thinking of right now is that if the other members of ODD EYE CIRCLE compose music, I would like to create a full choreography based on that music.
JinSoul, Modhaus CEO Jaden Jeong has praised you for your A&R skills, and you yourself expressed interest in joining the Modhaus A&R team in the future. If you could create your own new sub-unit out of the ARTMS members, who would you choose to be in it and what would be the concept?
JinSoul: I think the combination of Choerry and Haseul would be a good combination because their voices compared to the other three members are very clean and somewhat pure. So I’m very curious about how that unit would look like and how their songs would sound.
When Jaden Jeong was first brainstorming concepts for ODD EYE CIRCLE, he thought of the group having a band concept. Everyone took lessons in different instruments, but another concept was chosen. Would you ever consider doing a band concept in the future and if so, what instruments would you want to play?
JinSoul: All of us had instrument lessons when we were trainees, but we never actually did any professional activities with that band concept. Kim Lip was the bass player, Choerry played the keyboard, and I played the drums. Since we haven’t had any activities with a band concept, I think it’d be good to try it.
Kim Lip: I like that a lot. I want to try playing the bass.
Choerry: I played the keyboard, but I want to change to drums.
JinSoul: Yes, I think I would do really well at the keyboard, so this time I would like to change roles, and l would like to play the keyboard, Choerry plays the drum, and Kim Lip plays the bass, but I don’t know who’s going to do the vocals.
All of you can sing while playing!
Converses have been a big part of the LOONAverse especially for the ODD EYE CIRCLE sub-unit. With your title track being “Air Force One,” and the music video containing a shot where we see a pair of Converse burning, what do you think it means for the LOONAverse?
Jinsoul: As you mentioned, it is true that in the “Air Force One” music video the Converses are burning. However, if you look closely at the back, you see a lot of items that resemble our memories of the past. You see a lot of images behind the burning Converses. It implies that we would like to keep all the good memories that we had, but we’d also like to start a new chapter as ODD EYE CIRCLE. It’s not the end, but we’re upgrading ourselves as a unit.
If Air Force Ones are an upgrade from Converses, in your opinion, what do you think would be the version up from Air Force Ones?
Choerry: (laughs) That’s so hard! What could it be?
Kim Lip & Choerry: Jordans! (Everyone laughs)
In the past, Jaden Jeong mentioned that he envisioned the LOONAverse as 45 parts. Are there any plans to bring that to fruition now that you and Jaden Jeong are working together again?
Kim Lip: All of us are not very familiar with the 45 parts that Jaden Jeong envisioned, but I’m pretty sure that he has planned out everything for us. I think that whatever he has in mind will be fun, and we’re really looking forward to it!
In a recent post from Jaden Jeong, he said that he has gratitude for the ODD EYE CIRCLE members who forgave everything, even his difficult nature. Is it possible for you to elaborate on that? What was it like working with Jaden in the past compared to now?
Kim Lip: It’s true that it’s really difficult to work with Jaden Jeong. However, he expresses his emotions very well, which makes us understand him better. He also listens to all of the members’ opinions and applies them directly to our releases. I think that’s part of the reason why our recent release Version Up is loved by a lot of people. I just want to say thank you to Jaden Jeong, and I love you. (Everyone laughs after hearing Kim Lip’s ending statement “사랑합니다” is said in English by the translator.)
JinSoul: When we were rookies at the start of our debut era, we just followed whatever the company offered us to do, so it was really difficult back then to have voices and express our opinions. However, now with Jaden Jeong as our CEO, he listens to a lot of our opinions and actually applies them to our future work, and we discuss a lot of things together, so the overall experience is good.
Within the lyrics of your song “My Secret Playlist,” there is an actual hidden playlist with songs like “Paris in the Rain” by Lauv, “Best Part” by Daniel Caesar & H.E.R., and “Say So” by Doja Cat. If you could create your own secret playlist for your upcoming tour, what songs would you include?
JinSoul: My playlist would include “Lucid” by ODD EYE CIRCLE, which is my favorite track on Version Up. I also really love the movie Elemental and would include from its OST the song, “Steal The Show” by Lauv. Lastly, I always love rock music and want to include the song “River” by The Poles.
Kim Lip: I would obviously include “My Secret Playlist” by ODD EYE CIRCLE, as well as “Seasons” by Wave To Earth, and “These Days (이런 식)” by Kwon Jin-ah.
Choerry: For me, it’s “Je Ne Sais Quoi” by ODD EYE CIRCLE, “Dangerously” by Charlie Puth, and “Warm December” by Sabrina Claudio.
Good luck on your tour in Europe! Do you plan to tour other cities in the near future?
Choerry: Of course! Wherever our beloved fans are, we will be there! We are always ready to go wherever our fans are. So just hold on for a little while. If you wait just a little bit longer, we’ll be able to visit all the countries on this Earth. So please look forward to it!
Tickets to ODD EYE CIRCLE’s tour are available now. Get them here.