“Is It Okay To Sing About Capitalism And Self-Love At The Same Time?” tripleS LOVElution Interviewed

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It’s an inescapable fact that fans are the driving force behind any artist’s career. They are the tastemakers, the deciding factor, and the irreplaceable support system needed for an artist to grow and thrive within this jungle of an industry. However, K-pop group tripleS is taking this notion even further, placing total control directly in the hands of their fans — literally. 

LOVElution is the latest subunit to debut from the tripleS brand with their album, ‘LOVElution <ↀ> (Muhan)’. The group was formed from fan votes in what’s called Grand Gravity. In a nutshell, “Gravity” is an event where fans can vote on Cosmo: the Gate — the official tripleS and ARTMS app — for a range of different things such as lineups for subunits, the order in which units are promoted, the title track, and other things related to the fandom. Some of their other well-known subunits are Acid Angel from Asia, +(KR)ystal Eyes, and ACID EYES. According to the winning votes, LOVElution’s lineup includes eight members: SeoYeon, HyeRin, YuBin, Kaede, DaHyun, Nien, SoHyun, and Xinyu, and their debut single would be called ‘Girls’ Capitalism’.

After kicking off their first US tour in Atlanta and Reading, the members of LOVElution joined CLASH in an interview to shed light on the importance of fan culture, being each other’s support system, and what it means to embrace your inner beauty.

“I think the best part about having fans participate in the group’s development is that we’re able to communicate with them so much more,” SoHyun, the second oldest of the group, says. “That’s the biggest strength in idol culture, especially in K-pop — fans are essential and this whole system has allowed us to build a new relationship, like a bonding experience, I would say. It almost feels like a new type of love that we’ve never experienced before in our lives.”

It also takes a great amount of trust for a group, especially a newer one, to give its audience so much autonomy over how the unit is organized — it’s something many artists might even be reluctant to do considering how artistic freedom is the most coveted and desired among musicians. But it’s that kind of trust that led LOVElution to release the absolute ear-worm known as ‘Girls’ Capitalism’.

“When I first heard [the song], I thought, ‘This is sensational,’” LOVElution’s main vocalist DaHyun states. The group sat around a large conference table expressing their initial impressions of the title track. Sonically, the single is both undeniably infectious and unapologetically girly, daring you to get up and sing along wherever you are — the same energy that emanates from LOVElution themselves. Its message, however, combines the very two concepts that most people wouldn’t dare combine in the same sentence: capitalism and self-love. While one would seem to negate the other in most aspects, LOVElution is here to prove that regardless of the unattainable standards society has set for young women, you can have it all — money, beauty, brains, talent — anything you want, the world is yours. “Girls in this generation love capitalism,” SoHyun previously explained. “It’s important to have a greater outer appearance, but it’s also important to grow your skills to dream for your future.”

DaHyun further shared their initial worries about releasing a song of this nature. “If you take the words of capitalism and self-love, you wouldn’t imagine those two words going well, at first, and it’s like how can we connect these concepts? Is it okay to sing about capitalism and self-love at the same time as an idol? I don’t think nobody has done it before us,” she tells CLASH. “But once we started working on the track, I thought that this was something that really could show tripleS’ unique charm since it carries such a hopeful message about self-love and self-esteem. And because of that, I think it was the song that motivated us to build ourselves up even more and have pride in ourselves while recording.” 

That pride is not only palpable through the song’s lyrics and adorably quirky music video, but even more so every time the members discuss what they love about each other, their music, and tripleS as a whole. The girls applaud each other’s answers, giggle whenever someone does something even remotely funny, and hype each other up at any given moment. Even non-verbal cues don’t go unnoticed as SoHyun is quick to aid her members in their answers throughout the interview, attentively nodding and reaffirming that they’re on the right track. Although LOVElution has no set leader, as most K-pop groups typically do, it’s evident many of the members look to SoHyun for guidance and reassurance — a subtle but endearing moment to witness firsthand.

“I think Nien contributes a lot to the team’s energy because she is the group’s vitamin, she really brightens up the whole room, not only with us but also with the fans,” SoHyun says as she points to the younger member across from her. “She shows her loveliness and her brightness with everyone she meets, so I think we all owe our group’s aesthetics and charms to her.” Nien, in all her bubbliness, holds two peace signs in the air and excitedly waved them around as she smiled from ear to ear, satisfied with the elder’s response.

The girls are each other’s biggest cheerleaders, especially considering most of them are still very new to this industry, so there are bound to be moments when they need to lean on each other for solace and strength. One of those moments happened to be the moments leading up to their ‘Authentic’ US Tour, which they’ll be wrapping up on October 14 in Los Angeles. Some groups have ample time to promote and build up their discography before heading out on tour but for LOVElution, everything is happening in the blink of an eye. 

“For me, while we were preparing for the US tour, we had to remember all the choreography changes and edits during a short period for many, many songs which felt a little bit demanding, especially since we didn’t have a lot of time to prepare for the tour,” Xinyu softly says. “So that’s when I felt like, ‘Oh can I really do this?’ But whenever I had that thought in my head, the members would always jump in and we would help each other, practice together, and share feedback because we’re working on this together as a team…and that just wiped all the bad thoughts from my head immediately and then made me think, you know what, I can do this because I have my members with me, so that encouraged me to step up and give my best.”

Even through the struggles of touring as a rookie group, LOVElution recognizes that having their fans, known as WAV, with them every step of the way, is what makes the journey worthwhile. Kaede, who is one of the softer-spoken members of the group, shares: “In Korea, we, unfortunately, didn’t have a lot of opportunities to meet our fans in person because even when we are going on fan sign events, we mostly did it on through a screen. But now, I think this US tour is a great opportunity for us to really open up that stage for us, so it’s really fun, and we enjoy every second of communicating and performing in front of them.”

And just like that, their wishes came true. In addition to meeting and interacting with fans during their concerts, the octet was able to get up close and personal with WAV at a special fan meeting held in a New York cafe before their performance at Town Hall. There, the fans gathered to participate in fun activities such as giveaways, arts and crafts, and a one-on-one experience to chat and take selfies with LOVElution. Of course, that’s basically heaven on Earth for the fans, but it means just as much, if not more, to the group itself as they can now put names to faces in a world that’s so vastly digital — it’s just nice to be reminded these are actual people supporting you behind those screens. 

And LOVElution wants nothing more than to be a shining light in the darkness for those who struggle to find comfort within themselves. “In terms of building inner beauty, I think it’s really important to have that conversation with yourself and keep asking yourself, ‘What do you really want? What do you want to do? What is your purpose in life… those kinds of questions, and challenge yourself within,” SoHyun says. “I think it’s important to build that relationship with yourself because that’s the only way you’ll continue to grow as a person.”

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LOVElution’s new album, ‘LOVElution <ↀ> (Muhan)‘, is out now.

Words: Chyenne Tatum / @chyandblack
Photo credit: MODHAUS