K-pop sensations TWICE are reinvigorated in their quest to reclaim their own stories. Throughout their six years as a group, TWICE took every opportunity to melodically muse on the meaning of growth, love, and longing. It’s part of a formulation that makes the group so successful: good music, incredible group chemistry, and infectious charm that strikes the screen so very few times in a lifetime. In all their iterations of solving the complicated equation of love, there is one thing the group never has to search for — sisterhood.
When you listen to a TWICE song, it’s like transporting yourself to a sleepover — complete with giddy giggles and sanguine introspection that speaks to how enchanting a woman’s coming-of-age can be. Actually living life and going through the motions of womanhood is painful and beautiful at once — in large part due to growth. Growing as artists and women requires sitting with this private reckoning, figuring out the equilibrium of who you are, who you’ll become, and your place in all of it. TWICE makes this process divine, reveling in this within themselves and inviting their fans to do as well on their meditative album Formula of Love: O+T=˂3, released Nov. 12.
In their most dynamic work yet, the group weaves pop perfection with facets of punk and ‘80s dancehall on the album. From the sumptuous smugness of“REAL YOU” and the warm glow of intimate “PUSH & PULL,”Formula of Love: O+T=˂3 effortlessly delineates the group‘s triumphant artistry.
Back in 2015, the nine members burst onto the Korean music scene through competition show Sixteen and are now completely dominating the industry. As seniors in their craft, the group boldly doesn’t have time for anyone else’s opinions. In both their relationships with themselves and with listeners, they’re taking control. “Follow your heart / Let your heart lead you,” SANA sings, not concerned so much about the meaning of love itself, but how she is empowering herself to find it. By the end of the album, you see TWICE stepping up, flexing their skills and, most arrestingly, fully using their voices.
“Your life will feel complete with friends who truly believe in you, trust you and support you in whatever you do,” JEONGYEON tells EUPHORIA. TWICE has fully embraced evolving together, refusing to accept anything that doesn’t fit into their ever-growing versions of themselves.
EUPHORIA. spoke to TWICE about growth, coming into their own, and relying on each other without words having to be said.
Congratulations on Formula of Love : O+T=<3. Can you walk us through the journey of preparing for this album? What message did you all want to send with this new comeback?
DAHYUN: Since we have prepared a wide variety of song styles for this third full album, we hope ONCE can have fun picking out the songs they like.
CHAEYOUNG: We also have full English tracks in the album — which we’ve prepared with the knowledge and skills we learned from creating “The Feels,” So I hope ONCE can enjoy those, as well!
How did you go about preparing to ensure all your unique creative visions came together and were in place?
JIHYO: Through constantly communicating amongst our members and with our team. For this album, I participated more than previous TWICE albums by writing lyrics for two tracks and also composing for the first time. For “REAL YOU,” I imagined what the story is like from a given topic, and for “선인장 (CACTUS),” I got my inspiration from a pet cactus that I used to raise. Like so, our members try to participate in the album making process and give our creative input.
How have you all seen each other’s methods and skills preparing for the comeback change since the Taste of Love mini-album? How have you all found your skills changed as artists since your debut?
MINA: I have definitely felt that my ability to express my feelings through movement and facial expression[s] have developed, [especially] compared to six years ago.
JIHYO: As I’ve mentioned before, I tried composing for the first time — which is a huge step up from before. I love taking it step-by-step: first trying to write lyrics, and then trying to compose. I can’t wait to see what my next step will be!
What do you want ONCE to take away from your strength as a group and this comeback? What’s a message you want to send to all ONCE?
CHAEYOUNG: That TWICE can take on a wide variety of concepts. We are trying new concepts for each comeback, and I believe ONCE is able to discover new sides of TWICE members that they haven’t seen before through our attempts at new concepts.
What is the most exciting part of this new album? What’s your favorite song that makes you feel like you’ve figured out what it means to love?
NAYEON: I personally liked recording the unit tracks and trying a new genre and style with MOMO and CHAEYOUNG. My favorite song is “MOONLIGHT” because listening to this song makes you picture walking under a beautiful moonlight. I hope listeners find the meaning of love for the wonderful nature by listening to this track.
What changes have you seen with your music and artistry? And what would you like to see more of?
TZUYU: We have definitely seen it going global with each and every comeback. We first tried out releasing English versions of our tracks like “MORE & MORE,” but now we have several full English singles for our international fans. Now that we are planning a tour, we would love to have a chance to perform and sing one of these songs in front of our fans so that they can sing along with us.
What are some of the moments you all could recall where, without words having to be said, you all knew you could rely on each other?
SANA: We often have these moments when we just make eye contact, and we know what each other is thinking. Especially during performances, when we feel like a member is in trouble with costume issues, choreography issues, etc. We know straight away what to do to help that member out — just by making eye contact and without using any words.
What would you all tell your past trainee selves and teach your past selves about growing and working together?
DAHYUN: I want to tell my past trainee self to have some fun! I remember being too nervous and stressed out about the monthly assessments. Even if I go back to those trainee years, I would still probably feel nervous. But, I hope that I could find some fun aspects about preparing for our debut and be more excited rather than stressed out.
What advice would you give fans and your members about staying strong and leaning on other people?
JEONGYEON: To give a quick [piece of] advice about friendship — since that’s something that I learned a lot with my sweet members — as long as you have friends, the number of friends doesn’t matter at all. Your life will feel complete with friends who truly believe in you, trust you and support you in whatever you do.
If you could turn back time, what moment from your past do you think allowed you to grow the most?
DAHYUN: I guess I can say that my trainee years have helped me grow the most. I remember being nervous all the time because of the monthly evaluation. Even though I was able to grow because of these evaluations, they were very [nerve-wracking] moments. If I could go back to these moments, I would like to tell trainee DAHYUN to relax, enjoy and she’s doing great.
What’s been the biggest lesson you’ve all learned from exploring multiple mediums?
JIHYO: That each medium has its own characteristics and ways of telling a story. I can share my thoughts by writing lyrics for a song — while I can share my emotions through composing a melody of a song. Now that I’ve tried exploring these mediums to express my art, I would love to continue without hesitation to deliver my thoughts and emotions to my fans.
Looking back on the last six years, what’s given you all the most pride as TWICE?
MOMO: All the concerts! I think meeting our fans face-to-face gives me the most pride as TWICE and [to] be proud of the work I’m doing and making. It’s also great to hear how ONCE masters our cheering guide and cheers us on during the concerts. Those moments are very touching and precious to me. I just hope I can bring as much happiness to ONCE as they do to me. ONCE — let’s stay healthy and be together for the rest of our lives!