Photo: C9 Entertainment

CIX

CIX, the South Korean sensation, has been captivating global audiences with their electrifying performances and groundbreaking music since their debut. Evolving remarkably as artists, they’ve stayed true to their distinct style, as showcased in their latest Single Album, 0 or 1, where they venture into new musical realms while retaining their identity. This bold departure sees CIX embracing fresh vibes and vibrant hues, with the concept of the album featuring members transformed into androids, embodying their commitment to innovation and creativity by integrating AI technology into their promotions.

The fusion of sleek robotic aesthetics with human-like vibes in their concept photos mirrors the complex themes of love and identity explored in tracks like “Lovers or Enemies.” Through both music and visuals, CIX skillfully navigates the depths of emotion, solidifying their position as pioneers in the K-pop landscape. Amidst their hectic promotional schedule for 0 or 1, the group reflects on their artistic journey, discussing the process of developing new musical styles and futuristic concepts while staying true to themselves.

Photo: C9 Entertainment

Hello CIX! I was introduced to your music at HallyuPopFest London 2022 and have been a fan ever since, so it’s a pleasure to finally be interviewing you today. How do you feel you have grown as artists and performers since that performance in 2022?

YONGHEE: Our evolution as artists continues steadily, as it always has. I would love to perform in London again, as our time there remains a cherished memory.

HYUNSUK: I believe we’ve evolved while maintaining our unique style and color. Personally, I’ve grown in all aspects with the experiences I’ve gained as an artist, and I anticipate to evolve with practice and diverse experiences.

You have released your new Single Album 0 or 1, which features the title track “Lovers or Enemies” and is described as a departure from your usual musical style. What motivated this change, and how do you feel about exploring new vibes?

BX: We’ve consistently pushed ourselves to come back with songs with a fresh vibe and our own distinctive colors. This time, we aimed to showcase something new, as we always have, distinct from our previous releases. I’m always thrilled to reveal a new facet of our group to our fans, FIX, and I’m eager to embrace more challenges in the days ahead.

SEUNGHUN: I wanted to create an album outside of the CIX universe and demonstrate our versatility across different genres. I don’t feel pressured to experiment with something new; in fact, I look forward to exploring more diverse musical paths in the future.

In what ways do you think this new musical direction reflects the growth and evolution of CIX as a group?

YONGHEE: It was a great experience because it felt entirely new to me. I believe that trying something once is more beneficial than observing or listening to it a hundred times.

BAEJINYOUNG: I believe that our ability to comprehend diverse and complex concepts has improved. This album has allowed us to grow and develop the capacity to interpret any concept in various ways through new approaches.

The 0 or 1 Single Album is fronted by striking concept photos of members as androids. Can you share more details about how this idea came about and the creative process behind developing this concept?

BAEJINYOUNG: The concept was inspired by an image of a suit that enhances a man’s attractiveness while maintaining subtlety. The song’s sensuality is accentuated by cut-out details, aiming to achieve a direct yet restrained vibe.

Each member has released an AI Briefing video which impressively features briefings in a significant amount of languages, from English, Korean, and Arabic to Turkish, Hindi, and Polish. What was the overall meaning behind these clips – how do they connect with the overall concept for 0 or 1?

SEUNGHUN: Since the concept was centered around AI, we thought it would be fun to utilize AI technology to announce our comeback. This idea stemmed from wanting to share the news in various languages for our fans worldwide while relating to the album’s concept.

How did it feel to see yourselves transformed into AI beings, and what were the challenges of capturing such characters in these AI briefing videos?

BX: We filmed the scenes ourselves so it was not challenging, but incredibly fascinating. I was curious about the outcome while filming and remained amazed after seeing the result.

HYUNSUK: I find no difficulty in the process, but seeing myself transform into an AI felt a bit awkward at first. Yet the more I saw, the more fascinating it became.

Meanwhile, the humanoid concept photos appear to have a more organic and human-like aesthetic. What symbolism or narrative elements are represented in these images, and how do they contrast with the android concept?

YONGHEE: To highlight the contrast between the humanoid and android concepts, we deliberately created polar opposite costumes and vibes. As humanoids, our goal was to evoke the emotions of comfort and leisure through a natural appearance, creating a romantic atmosphere that transports you to a space with your lover.

Does the futuristic concept build upon any previous storylines or concepts in your discography, or is it a standalone narrative? How does it contribute to the evolution of CIX’s overarching storyline?

BAEJINYOUNG: For this album, we are stepping away from the storyline presented in our previous mini-albums and exploring an independent narrative with a fresh concept. While this new music and concept are different, they still embody CIX’s unique colors, making it an album that expands the spectrum of our future music endeavors.

How did the visual representation of humanoid and android influence the creation of the music and lyrics for the Single Album? Are there specific thematic elements that directly tie into these visual concepts?

BX: The music and lyrics for this song were completed first, giving us a hint of the concept. While melody holds great significance, equal emphasis is placed on lyrics. To convey a part of the lyrics, “two choices” on our stage, we chose the concepts of computer and AI which have already become a part of our daily lives. Our restrained methods of expression, along with facial expressions and costumes, complement the concept tailored to the music and lyrics.

The “Lovers or Enemies” lyrics mention turning on the music of the 80’s. How does the nostalgic vibe of the 80s contribute to the overall atmosphere and theme of the song?

HYUNSUK: As seen in the title “Lovers or Enemies,” I found the scenario where the android character enjoying 80’s music quite intriguing for depicting polar-opposite situations. This strange and incongruous situation effectively conveys the tension between lovers as well.

What ‘music of the 80’s’ could FIX expect each member to be listening to?

SEUNGHUN: I recommend “Radio Gaga” by Queen, a song that I believe our fans expect me to be listening to. It’s a bop and really fun to listen to.

BAEJINYOUNG: I do not know a lot of songs from the ’80s, but if there is any song that our fans recommend me to listen to, I will surely do that.

Photo: C9 Entertainment

Considering the humanoid and android visuals from the concept photos, how do the lyrics of “Lovers or Enemies” connect to or enhance the futuristic theme explored in these visual concepts?

BX: Though the concept is futuristic, I don’t think it’s about the distant future. AI has already become deeply integrated into our lives, even if we don’t always realize it. With this album, we aimed to explore whether a computer, despite its ability to perform complex calculations, can genuinely comprehend and convey love. Computers invariably encounter errors, and this song delves into the intricate emotions of love, portraying its complexity that defies categorization as lovers or enemies.

Each member, can you share your favorite lines or moments from the lyrics of “Lovers or Enemies” and why those particular aspects stand out to you?

YONGHEE: I love the overall vibe of the song “Lovers or Enemies,” especially the intro. It brings me joy when listening to it, as it announces the beginning of the song.

HYUNSUK: I love the part, “Love Love Love Love” in the song. The dance moves and melody during the part are just lovely and cute!

How did you approach the studio recording process for “Lovers or Enemies,” and were there any memorable moments during the studio sessions?

BX: As always, during any recording, we strive to bring out the best vibe of the song.

SEUNGHUN: This song covers a variety of vocal ranges, so I prepared accordingly. I remember feeling very proud after finishing the high-pitched ad-lib part in the second half of the song in three attempts.

When performing “Lovers or Enemies” live, how do you bring the emotions and themes of the song to the stage? Are there specific elements in your performances that tie into the song’s confessional theme or the android and humanoid concepts?

YONGHEE: We try to act in a way that resembles a robot but with the emotions of love, aiming to seduce the audience.

BAEJINYOUNG: The roughness of both the song and the dance complements this performance. We aimed to capture this feeling on stage.

For the music video for “Lovers or Enemies,” we see a cinematic storyline unfold with lots of sci-fi influences. How does the visual storytelling align with the theme of the song? 

HYUNSUK: I think that showing AI experiencing errors demonstrates that the emotion of love cannot be simply defined as 0 and 1. We aimed to convey that love’s complexity cannot be expressed through binary calculations by showing a perfect AI.

Meanwhile, the fashion styling for 0 or 1 features a lot of sharp suits with a modern twist. Can you share the inspiration behind this particular fashion choice and how it aligns with the overall concept of the Single Album?

SEUNGHUN: Inspired by a suit concept that enhances a man’s beauty while remaining restrained, we focused on emphasizing sexiness through cutout details in our song. We aimed to harmoniously express the direct yet restrained emotion in the song and lyrics through cut-out suit styling.

Before we wrap up, I also want to talk about the B-side “My name is shadow” which talks about being someone’s shadow. Can you delve into the poetic elements of these lyrics and the significance they hold within the song’s narrative?

BAEJINYOUNG: I believe that lyrics such as “You may not know, but my name is Shadow” and “My name that lives for you is Shadow” are poetic expressions that best express the theme of devoted love as well as the dreamy feeling of the song.

As the B-side for “Lovers or Enemies,” how do you feel the song balances with “Lovers or Enemies”? 

HYUNSUK: These two songs are very different musically, but I believe they effectively express the album’s title 0 or 1 through keywords like “Lovers or Enemies” and the contrast of light and darkness created by a shadow. It simplifies and clarifies the complexity of the emotion of love.

If there were to be a music video for “My name is shadow,” how would you imagine the visuals? 

BX: The music video will be dreamy yet beautiful at the same time, and I think our fans will love it.

HYUNSUK: I think that the music video will be as nostalgic as the lyrics of the song, evoking a warm feeling of consideration and sacrifice for one person.

0 or 1 is both CIX’s first-ever Single Album and first release in 2024. Might there be any other ‘firsts’ coming from CIX this year? 

SEUNGHUN: I’m uncertain about what our next ‘first’ would be, but given our consistent efforts to challenge ourselves, trying something new and achieving results could likely mark our first significant milestone.

This interview was translated from Korean to English.