Back in September 2022, following years of delays due to COVID-19, mimiirose finally made their debut with their single album ‘Awesome’ and its powerful lead single ‘Rose’. While their energetic introduction to the world was faced with tough competition, the quintet quickly caught the attention of The Recording Academy and Mashable, who named them as one of the K-pop groups to watch in 2023.
While fans waited with bated breath for mimiirose’s next release, the girl group wound up facing a months-long delay, after the CEO of their agency reportedly fell victim to a market manipulation scam. However, members Inn Hyori, Choi Yeonjae, Han Yewon, Yoon Jia and Seo Yunju share with NME that they have made the best of the time, honing their skills and strengthening their bond for their next comeback.
And, finally, mimiirose have returned for the first time since their debut, with their second single album ‘Live’. Between their busy promotional activities, the girl group spoke to NME over Zoom to discuss their new title track ‘Flirting’, their experience participating in survival shows and creating a sound that’s unique to mimiirose.
This is your first comeback in a year since mimiirose’s debut, what have the members been up to during this time?
Yoon Jia: “It was as if we went back to our trainee days. We took a lot of lessons, like choreography and singing, and also we really tried hard to apply all the feedback received from fans and people around us. We really spent a lot of quality time together during our break and also got to experiment with and try a lot of different concepts during this break.”
You have been promoting your new single album ‘Live’ and its lead track ‘Flirting’ for over a week, what has been the most fulfilling part of finally making a comeback?
Yoon Jia: “A moment that I really enjoyed was when all of us finally got to see our album, the physical album for the first time. Because it was a sample, we really couldn’t touch it, but thinking that all our hard work over the past year is in that album and just seeing it for the first time, it really touched our hearts.”
Inn Hyori: “I think the time that I’ve enjoyed the most has been meeting our fans in real-life after our long break. Between the members, we had such fun during the break together, but we also felt guilty for not being able to see our fans, who really missed us for the full year. So when I finally got to perform in front of the fans and meet them, we were able to tell them personally how much we missed and loved them, which made us all very emotional.”
The lead single ‘Flirting’ is also accompanied by a really fun, action-packed visual. Can you tell us more about its storyline and the message behind the track?
Inn Hyori: “The overall concept and plot of ‘Flirting’ is that the five of us are back as villains. We were kind of worried about it because it’s a concept that we’ve never tried, but we’re very satisfied with the results. The overall plot of the music video is us searching for a rare rose called mimiirose, and kidnapping this genius hacker and using him to acquire it. It’s really almost like a film, rather than a music video, and I think fans will really enjoy the twist at the end”
It sounds like you had a lot of fun with the music video as well. Were there any interesting happenings on the set while you were filming it?
Choi Yeonjae: “A funny incident that happened during our music video shoot was that all of us were wearing these glued-on nails which kept coming off. And then we’d find them in a really weird, random spot, like stuck to a wall or something. All of us kept having to run around looking for each other’s nail tips, which I thought was so funny.”
Seo Yunju: “I was playing the role of a thief, and there was a scene where I had to dramatically take off a mask, and all the fur and lint on the mask would stick to my face and go into my eyes [laughs]. So, it was a memory of suffering while shooting the video.”
Your new single album ‘Live’ also contains a few B-sides, could you tell us what your personal favourite track is and why?
Han Yewon: “One of our B-sides ‘A-Ok’ is about not being held back by past memories and searching for a new love, going on a new journey. The lyrics ‘I’ll hold on to the tears and keep smiling’ really touched my heart and comforted me, and I personally also really love the chorus of this song.”
Before debuting as mimiirose, Yoon Jia and Seo Yunju also competed in shows like Girls Planet 999 and My Teenage Girl. How have those experiences shaped your journey in becoming K-pop idols?
Yoon Jia: “I happened to be experiencing a bad slump when I went on Girls Planet, so I kind of doubted my eagerness and passion towards becoming an idol. But when I first stood on the stage getting ready to perform and heard the intro music, it made me realise how desperate I am, and that motivated me to work even harder for my debut and get through my trainee days.”
Seo Yunju: “I was also in a slump [when I joined My Teenage Girl]. I doubted that I would be able to do well, and I just personally didn’t like the idea of joining a survival show because I was very afraid. But performing for the first time on stage, that’s when I realised that I was just going through a rough time [in that moment], and I always had the passion of becoming an idol. It reminded me of that, and gave me a chance to reflect on my dream of becoming an idol once again.”
It sounds like these were good experiences, despite your initial struggles. What would you say was the biggest lesson you learnt from being on survival shows?
Yoon Jia: “What I learned was that if you want to become an idol, you need to be clear of who you are and what your charms are. Beyond just looking pretty, it’s important to know what your strengths and weaknesses are.”
Even without survival shows, it’s known that the training period for K-pop idols is quite difficult. What were mimiirose’s biggest motivators during this time?
Han Yewon: “The biggest motivation for me was my parents, because every time I told them I was too tired, they would say to me, ‘Just hold on a little more. Are you sure you won’t regret it if you give up now?’, in a kind of taunting way. But it boosted my confidence and motivated me to keep going. Also, Jia and I spent a lot of time together as trainees in our agency, so we always supported each other through hard times. I think I can say I was able to debut and come this far because of Jia.”
How did you discover your love for music and performing?
Choi Yeonjae: “I think my love for music goes way back to when I was very young. Whenever my parents couldn’t find me at home, I was always in my room alone, headbanging with headsets on and blasting music. while having headsets on and just blasting music. I really love going to karaoke too, and singing and dancing along to all the performances that our senior idols perform on TV, so I think it was clear to me from a young age.”
Were there any particular idols that inspired you at that age?
Choi Yeonjae: “Up until now, my idol and inspiration has always been Lee Hyori. Not only does she shine on stage, but she also does well on comedy shows and any advertisements or any commercials she does. She’s basically an all rounder, and I want to be like her someday.”
Since you’ve shared the impression that Lee Hyori has left on you, have you thought about how you want mimiirose to impact others?
Han Yewon: “mimiirose is not limited by any genre and we can ace anything we take on. When people think of mimiirose, I want them to think of us as the group who can do any genre, any concept we want. We also want to create our own unique genre so that different artists can perform in a genre and concept that mimiirose started.”
What is your vision for this unique mimiirose genre and concept?
Inn Hyori: “I want to take on something based on rock, because whenever we listen to music for fun together, the rock genre songs always hypes us all up. We’ve never tried rock before, but I think its energy and power would fit us well. We would like to try a kind of kitschy, rockstar concept in the future. It’s kind of hard to decide now because we’re open to any genre. But I want people to know that we are a group with absolutely no limit.”
Finally, now that you’ve reached the end of your first year together, what do you think fans can look forward to in mimiirose’s second year as a group?
Yoon Jia: “Between our debut to our new single album ‘Live’, we are still building on our concept and even our company is trying very hard to understand where we want to be in the future. While our performances and activities so far may be unsatisfying to some fans, I can assure everybody that the releases we will put out between now and our second anniversary will be perfect. I want it to be perfect, and I know that it will be perfect. So, please look forward to it!”
mimiirose’s new single album ‘Live’ is out now