The fourth generation of K-pop has marked a new renaissance for girl groups. Female-led acts have been dominating the charts, social media platforms and, more importantly, the hearts and minds of fans over the past year or so. Of the many that have made headlines, JYP Entertainment’s youngest group NMIXX are among the best.
NMIXX hit the ground running in February 2022 with the dynamic ‘O.O’, a head-spinning blend of baile funk, pop and rock. Since then, the six-member group have offered up what can only be described as a whimsical, jam-packed theme park ride – if you’re wondering how that all looks, check out the music video for ‘Dice’. To some, NMIXX may be an acquired taste, but it sure gets addicting the more you listen.
Though the group might have a penchant for the experimental, that doesn’t mean they can’t do pure pop goodness with the best of them. Just recently, NMIXX raced up South Korea’s Circle Chart with ‘Love Me Like This’, from their third mini-album ‘expérgo’, and clinched their first-ever music show win on Show Champion. To put the cherry on top, they then kicked off their first showcase tour, taking them to various cities across the US and Asia.
Titled ‘Nice to MIXX You’, the eight-stop US leg of the showcase tour kicked off in Seattle in early May, before concluding in Brooklyn’s King Theater. Four hours before their last show on May 16, and fresh off of their US TV debut on Good Day New York, NME caught up with NMIXX backstage to talk about the tour and what’s to come.
Congratulations on everything! You’re ending your last day of your showcase tour with a bang. Earlier you made your US television debut on Good Day New York. How does it feel?
Kyujin: “I’m super excited since I got to go to multiple cities as well during this long duration. I’m also so happy that I can meet NSWERs in different cities and show them our performance.”
Lily: “I’m glad that we got to go to a lot of different cities and meet different NSWERs from different places, you know? And also, in New York especially, it was our first time going on an American broadcasting system. We were very nervous, but I think it turned out pretty well so I’m really proud of us and yeah, I think we did prepare a lot for it and I’m glad that it went well so I’m very proud of us.”
Any culture-shocking moments? I saw you, Lily, about your confusion on tipping culture.
Lily: “Yeah! That definitely was something that I’m still not used to here. I don’t think I’ll ever be used to it no matter how many times I come. I just– I don’t know exactly when to tip and when not to tip, those types of things.” [Laughs]
Haewon: “I’m surprised by the small talk you can have with people that you’ve never met!”
Any favourite stops?
Lily: “A big impact on me was Seattle, which was our first stop. Before our first showcase, I was very nervous because I didn’t know how people would react if NSWERs were going to come or not or how the crowd would react to our songs and stuff. But then the Seattle crowd was just so amazing and there were so many NSWERs and so many MIXXsticks in the air and they prepared all these costumes and these signs and they knew all the lyrics and the dances. It made me feel so happy to be in that room.”
Your music has constantly evolved with every comeback, from ‘AD MARE’ to ‘expérgo’ now. How would you describe your growth?
Haewon: “Since ‘AD MARE’ was our first start, we wanted to give a powerful first impression. And as time progresses with our mix-pop genre, a lot of people can love it more. That’s kind of the route that we’re going right now.”
Speaking of, congratulations you guys got your first win on a music show with ‘Love Me Like This’. What was going through your minds when your name was called?
Jiwoo: “At first, I wanted to say my thankfulness to NSWERs and I thought NMIXX needs to work harder moving forward.”
Bae: “I was really nervous that we got our first place but I was really happy too. Because it’s all because of the fans that we got the first place so I want to think of how I can repay this to them.”
Care to share how you guys celebrated?
Haewon: “The company’s staff congratulated us with a cake within the green room.”
Lily: “Yeah, it was a super cute cake. There were animals on it that represented each of us. So it was a really thoughtful cake. We’re very thankful.”
Whenever you think of your wins and everything that has happened. What or who would you say inspired you to make you who you are today?
Jiwoo: “When I saw ITZY’s MAMA performance [of ‘Mafia in the Morning’], I thought the stage was super cool and I looked up to that.”
Lily: “Well for me, I have a really big role model in my life and it’s Taylor Swift. I really love her. I’ve loved her even before I was even in JYP, or even before I went to Korea. And she was a big inspiration for what I wanted to do in the future. Like, I wanted to perform and sing in front of people and, you know, show people my emotions through music, maybe help a lot of people come together through music. So, that was a big inspiration for me growing up.”
If the ‘Eras’ tour goes to Seoul, will you go?
Lily: ”I mean I want to! But I don’t know, hopefully! I will beg, I will do anything if I can! But I don’t know if my schedule will allow it. But if I don’t have anything scheduled that day, I really want to!”
Because you are the youngest group in JYP Entertainment at the moment, is there any pressure that you feel?
Sullyoon: “Like more than pressure, it motivates me to work harder.”
Haewon: “I receive a lot of motivation from looking at all our senior artists. They talk about health a lot.”
Considering NMIXX are a mix of different genres, personalities and talents, if you had a chance to mix your skills with another member, who would it be and what skill?
Lily: “I want to try mixing Kyujin’s clean dance line with my vocals. I think that’d be cool. I want to see what would happen.”
Jiwoo: “And! Since I worked a lot with Kyujin since I was young, I wanted to show a new performance that shows a different side and charm with ourselves, like collaborating.”
Haewon: “I want to add Bae and Jiwoo’s loud voices to my vocals.”
What do you think is the secret to NMIXX?
Lily: “I think the secret to why NMIXX is the best team ever is because we all have that base. We all have the basics: all of us had a long training period, we can all dance, we can all sing and we all have charms. Then, most importantly, on top of that we have our own different traits. For example, Bae has her vocal tone and then Sullyoon has her soft, beautiful vocal tone. And we each have our different charms on top of the basic skills. I also think our chemistry is very good as a team when we come together. So that’s why I’m sure a lot of people can relate to us as well when they see our videos.”
NMIXX’s third mini-album ‘expérgo’ is out now.