(G)I-DLE on their year-long hiatus, musical identity and first full-length album ‘I Never Die’

The trailblazing quintet return with new music and open up to NME about their evolution and journey thus far, following a tumultuous 2021

Nearly four years after their debut, (G)I-DLE have finally unleashed their first full-length album to the world. The arrival of ‘I Never Die’ is one that is long overdue, having been anticipated since the overnight success of their debut single ‘Latata’ back in 2018. But perhaps the time was necessary; the group’s growth and identity shine through on the new record, an epic rebirth after a tumultuous 2021 for the act, which saw the departure of founding member Soojin. Now, back and more than ready to prove their mettle, NME catches up with (G)I-DLE to discuss their debut studio album ‘I Never Die’ and how it reflects their identity and renewed confidence.

While rapper and leader Soyeon has long been the group’s main producer, one look at the credits on ‘I Never Die’ reveals each member’s involvement in the record. “I think this album is different from our previous work in the sense that [it] contains many songs done by our members themselves,” says youngest member Shuhua. “We worked so hard preparing to show people the best version of ourselves.”

Soyeon echoes this sentiment, adding that having her bandmates take creative reins had made the record much more meaningful. “It feels great to be able to be making music that we, (G)I-DLE, want to be doing,” she tells us.

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Among the album’s eight original songs, vocalists Miyeon and Minnie single out the fun, sassy hip-hop offering ‘My Bag’ as their personal favourite, explaining that Soyeon had tailored each verse for each member. “I was touched by how Soyeon wrote our individual parts in ‘My Bag’ in a way that suited each of us,” Minnie explained.

Meanwhile, vocalist Yuqi shares that her personal pick is title track ‘Tomboy’, a confident alt-rock track where (G)I-DLE unapologetically assert their freedom of self-expression. “Just (G)I-DLE being (G)I-DLE,” she says, referencing lyrics from the song: “It’s neither man nor woman / Man nor woman / It’s never man nor woman / Just me I-dle.”

“‘Tomboy’ is a song that says ‘no one nor any standard can match me. I am just who I am’,” elaborates main vocalist Miyeon. “I’ve been half-jokingly saying that I wanted to try a rock song, so it was amazing to see it happen!” Meanwhile, Soyeon tells NME that the group “strive for music that is honest, and we put a lot of our honest thoughts into our lyrics,” adding that she thinks that “telling our stories is our identity”.

“I think anything and everything can be an inspiration to me,” Yuqi chimes in optimistically, opening up about her process as a songwriter, where she also noted that she has picked up the habit of recording lyrics and melodies whenever they come to mind. Such conscientiousness has certainly paid off, not only on co-writes ‘Polaroid’ and ‘Liar’, but also her debut solo single album ‘A Page’. “The songs I participated in composing this time were written last year while we, (G)I-DLE, were apart from each other,” the vocalist reveals.

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Over the past year, the members of (G)I-DLE took the opportunity to explore their capabilities as individuals through a variety of ventures, from solo releases, to acting, to emceeing. Members Minnie, Yuqi and Shuhua also returned to their respective home countries of Thailand, China and Taiwan.

The girls take the time to reflect on their break, and how they have grown over their burgeoning career. “We kept on trying new styles, and practiced endlessly even during our times off,” recounted Yuqi. “Because I believe that there is no limit to a human being, I am continuing to try to find the best version of myself.” Meanwhile, Minnie shares that she has gained a greater sense of self-confidence over the years.

The quintet also note youngest member Shuhua’s growth, with their leader explaining that she has matured the most since their debut. “I think all the stages and performances I’ve experienced since our debut have helped me incredibly,” says Shuhua, who shares that she spent much of the group’s break practicing and taking lessons. “I [also] think I am the member who has become more passionate and has changed the most.”

Finally, we land on what is to come for (G)I-DLE. And here, members unanimously express their desire to return to the stage before a live audience as soon as possible. “I don’t think we have as much energy during our [online] performances compared to when we were able to see the faces and hear the sounds of our NEVERLAND (their official fanbase),” confesses Shuhua. “I want to see them soon.”

(G)I-DLE’s new studio album ‘I Never Die’ is out now.

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