[Herald Interview] Moonbyul says 'love is a movie' with new EP ‘6equence’
The Mamamoo member puts behind worries, now feels ready to enjoy her work
Published : Jan 19, 2022 - 07:51
Updated : Jan 19, 2022 - 14:45
Concept images of Moonbyul in her new title song “Lunatic” of her third EP “6equence.” (RBW)

The process of falling in love and coming out of it is not all pink, but every moment of it remains in the memory like scenes from the movies, and Moonbyul takes her listeners through the emotional ride with her third EP “6equence.”

Ahead of dropping the seven-track EP on Wednesday, Moonbyul conducted a joint interview with local media in Seoul to talk about the album and her career.

“It’s my first solo album in almost two years, and it was a long time of deliberation, long enough for me to do everything I wanted to, now come to think of it,” Moonbyul said about her comeback in a year and 11 months since her first EP “Dark Side of the Moon.”

Following the steps of love with “6equence”

Working on the album hands-on almost throughout the whole production, the artist said her main concerns for it was the overall concept.

“The songs from my last album were very serious and strongly conceptual. So this time, I wanted them to be easy-listening for the general audience and show that my music is not limited to certain genres,” Moonbyul said.

The first six tracks of “6equence” follows the organic flow of a romantic relationship, from the first fluttering heart to the emotional residues and regrets following the breakup.

“To me, every step of the relationship was visible, as if watching a movie. I wanted my album to trace that emotional flow, to show the listeners that ‘love is (like) a movie.’”

Concept images of Moonbyul in her new title song “Lunatic” of her third EP “6equence.” (RBW)

Leading the album is “Lunatic,” a house genre with an addictive hook that draws a heart engulfed in ennui, moonstruck, as it spends the day flurried by sporadic emotions of longing, rage and regret.

“I wanted the title track to be about obsession, to portray the feeling of craving someone so excessively,” Moonbyul explained. She compared the uncontrolled desire to the period when couples get stuck in a romantic rut, where the relationship often turns one-sided. 

Dying her hair burning red for “Lunatic,” Moonbyul said, “I have my hair blonde in the videos for the rest of the tracks. But for this one, I wanted to go really strong, (like) a lunatic.”

She also added an English version of “Lunatic” as a gift for her foreign fans who have been waiting for her until now.

The album brings a new self-written song by the artist, “Ddudduddu,” which the artist said was the first song written from "6equence." Titled “What can I do?” in Korean, the song is a mid-tempo rock ballad singing about the final step of love, with lyrics speaking up about accepting the remaining, unanswered feelings and staying true to them.

Such lingering emotions from love is a common theme of most of her self-written songs, Moonbyul said, adding that she herself has unresolved feelings from her latest romance.

“I usually don’t have regrets, but I have it about my last relationship, which was just before my debut. I think I wanted to be that bad girl then, and the nicer my partner was, the more I distanced myself. I was very wrong. Looking back, I now realize that that was the relationship I had to hold on to. So love to me is all about regrets.”

Moonbyul ventured further with her new EP, as she teamed up with two aspiring female musicians for her two pre-releases, with rapper Mirani for track “G999” and with singer-songwriter Seori for “Shutdown.” 

Cover image of Moonbyul's pre-release single "Shutdown" featuring Seori. (RBW)

“Shutdown” in particular sparked a huge stir online with its release, as the lyrics portrayed the passionate intimacy shared by two lovers, presumably both female. Fans lauded of the song’s inclusivity, especially as both Moonbyul and Seori have outspokenly supported the queer community. Their support comes in spite of the taboo on LGBTQ topics in the K-pop industry.

While saving words on whether she intended to throw such a message, Moonbyul said, “The album is supposed to show every step as two people meet and part. It seemed necessary to include such aspects. I wanted to depict being in love, regardless of with whom it may be.”

Striving beyond Mamamoo

Entering the K-pop scene in June 2014 as the rapper of K-pop quartet Mamamoo, Moonbyul made her solo debut in May 2018 with her first EP “Selfish.”

The past two years have been a time of wander for Moonbyul, both as a soloist and member of a popular idol group. Last June, Mamamoo made a new turn in their group career after Wheein ended her exclusive career with RBW Entertainment. Wheein signed an extended contract to continue to be a part of Mamamoo until December 2023.

“(In the past two years) I had so many worries about my future and what I had to do for work. I even considered starting a business or taking up a new job,” she said. “As a girl group member, I used to think that my time was limited. I worried whether I’d be able to stand here seven and eight years later, when I’m in my thirties.”

But turning thirty, she realized it was a waste of time to work her head into the question.

“I decided to just give things a go. If it doesn’t work out, oh well. I have a feeling that things will get more exciting from now.”

Concept images of Moonbyul in her new title song “Lunatic” of her third EP “6equence.” (RBW)

Defining herself as someone driven by what fascinates her, Moonbyul has been expanding her roles inside the entertainment scene recently. Hosting her own corner on Naver Now’s online radio platform, Moonbyul says she’s seeking out “hot rookies,” such as Seori and Mirani, who she also discovered with their appearances on her show. In November, she joined SBS’ sports variety show “Goal Bashing Girls” as a regular member and has been spending two to four hours every day practicing soccer since.

Eight years have passed since her debut with Mamamoo, and time had gone by in a flash as she faced unexpected challenges and strove to overcome them to set her foot into the ground.

It was only recently that she had a chance to look back on her deep-down feelings, when she met her longtime role model, singer and Girls’ Generation member Taeyeon during a variety show in November and burst into tears.

“I remember asking myself inside, ‘Why am I crying?’ and being taken aback by my own tears. It was something I’d never felt before. When Taeyeon reached out to me and said ‘Byul-a,’ that one word was so overwhelming and it felt like a pat on my heart, as if saying, ‘You’ve worked so hard. You’re doing great.’”

Teaser image of Mamamoo`s 11th EP "WAW." (RBW)

Moonbyul is now turning a new chapter in her career, with the new Mamamoo and also as a solo musician.

"I'm very open to new challenges and am easily moved by anything that enthralls me, and for someone with such traits, this job (as a K-pop artist) brings so many new possibilites. I think now I'm able to truly enjoy my job."

Just like Moonbyul, her bandmates have embarked on their own journeys as solo musicians, discovering their possibilities beyond Mamamoo. 

Just ahead of Moonbyul's comeback, Wheein dropped her first solo release under her new label, The L1ve, "Whee" on Sunday. 

"There's no competition with Wheein because we're like a family," she said.

“Although the members no longer belong the the same company, we’ve spent a long time talking together and we respect each other’s decisions. It doesn’t change the fact that we’re still members of Mamamoo and that we could be together anytime, anywhere,” she said, adding, “If the past 10 years together had been about presenting ourselves as Mamamoo, the next will be about showing the individual colors of the four members.”

By Choi Ji-won (jwc@heraldcorp.com)