To grow is to endure a certain period of endlessly filling yet never feeling satiated. Odd Eye Circle, finally having passed through a path that was like a tunnel lit in flickering lights, handed the second mini album <Version Up> to us like a badge.
One moment she’s humming along at a bite of strawberry cake, and the next she’s crestfallen at her friends’ secret talk that leaves her out. Days when she feels unfamiliar even to herself, changing her expression many times a day. Penetrating through the center of youth, there isn’t anything that they can fully understand. Then again, it’s not that they know nothing. A cold and incomplete season, with a gaping hole somewhere. The girl endures this, and soon enough she grows.
The cotton-soft greeting that Kim Lip, Jinsoul, and Choerry first extended to us six years ago was called ‘Loona’. And they grasped each other’s hands tightly in the unit ‘Odd Eye Circle’. Time empties and fills many things. The Moon waxed and waned dozens of times, and the members must have cried and laughed thousands of times leading up to today. Crossing through girlhood in that way, and having just passed the threshold of a new season, they embrace each other once again. Under a new name of ‘ARTMS’, under the firm solidarity called ‘Odd Eye Circle’ once again. Now, after they’ve learned to see the gleaming hope in the word “someday” instead of the threatening despair beaded on its uncertainty, the silent and still moonlight that had pooled at the tip of their feet begins to ripple.
The concept of today’s pictorial is ‘memories of summers past’. Is there an old memory that comes to mind?
Jinsoul: I saw the fish tank and goldfish among today’s props and they reminded me of filming for the music video of “Singing in the Rain”, my debut project single’s title track. Because there’s a lot of fish tank and goldfish in that music video too. I slipped into those memories for the first time in a while.
Kim Lip: When taking the sparkler photos, memories of going to the beach with friends and playing with fireworks bubbled up to mind.
Choerry: Maybe today’s shoot itself will be another memory once time passes? (Laughs) Unlike pictorials I’ve done in the past, this one has kind of a mature mood so it’s going to be memorable.
You recently finished promotions for the second mini album <Version Up>. A comeback after six whole years.
Jinsoul: I was really nervous to stand in front of fans as Odd Eye Circle for the first time in so long. I worried whether we could satisfy the expectations of fans who liked our music before, and I felt a sense of responsibility that I need to show development from these six years. I rewatched videos of old activities to return to the beginner’s mindset, while also reflecting growth in this album.
Kim Lip: I’m so thankful to the fans who waited, and we also realized once again how precious the stage is. Now we are hard at work practicing for the Europe tour to come soon.
It’s really not a short amount of time. What has changed in the interim?
Kim Lip: Six years certainly is long, but this is just our second promotion as Odd Eye Circle so it also feels short. So our mindset is still the same as at our debut. The only thought as we prepared the album was, ‘Let’s work hard, it’s our first one in a while so let’s really work hard.’
How about on a personal level?
Choerry: First of all my looks became mature. (Laughs) I also think my personality became a little more grown-up. To be honest, before I used to be unable to say no and would beat around the bush, to the point that other people would get frustrated for me. I’ve become honest to my own emotions and become a little more precise and certain in my expression.
Jinsoul: I’ve gotten a bit more brazen. Look at my debut stage and you can see me petrified. I wasn’t able to hide my nerves at all, but I guess now I’m pretty adept at pretending not be nervous? I still do get nervous. (Laughs)
Kim Lip: For me, mm….
Choerry: Unnie gained more aegyo. A lot more!
Haha. Do you agree?
Kim Lip: I think so. Before, I used to tie myself down with rules that I came up with, like ‘a female idol needs to be this way’. But I’ve met lots of people who truly love me, and I came to understand that even if I don’t force myself to laugh or pretend to be bright, these people like me for the way I am. So when I’m really happy I laugh wholeheartedly and express it, and that’s why I think people around me feel like my aegyo has grown.
The name of the ‘Odd Eye Circle’ unit and the new ‘ARTMS’ project name are both related to the Moon. Deep in the night, with the Moon in the sky, is also a time when one can be true to oneself. When you’re alone at night, how do you spend your time?
Kim Lip: I’m always spending time near music during the day, so when I’m alone I want it to be as quiet as possibe. I turn out all the lights and sink into thought in silence, or I put on jazz music that I like and lie down and think about various thoughts, and that’s how I spend time.
Jinsoul: I’m a huge homebody, so I spend a lot of time at home alone. Lately I’ve been concentrating on cleaning the house. Or I watch YouTube or Netflix, or play games.
Choerry: I’m a little different from the unnies. I have music playing all day long. Just like background music. Then when I get carried away, I have a bedroom concert on my own, dancing while looking at the mirror or window. On days when I want to stay calmer, I either draw, or if I’ve spent a lot of energy that day, I have tea time. (Laughs)
It’s a collection of such different personalities, so are there not many occasions where opinions conflict? Picking a lunch menu, for example.
Choerry: Before, we would be all wary and yield to each other, so we would just keep repeating ‘What should we eat’ and go back and forth. But now, we just follow the person who was first to mention what they want to eat that day. It’s our unspoken rule.
Jinsoul: At the same time, we do look out for each other. For example I’m the type to just eat the same thing over and over again when I get into that thing, but even if I’m craving kimbap today, if we’ve ordered that too often lately, I suggest something else.
I’ve heard that Jinsoul likes ‘red food’. Curious what food you’re into lately.
Jinsoul: Since I live alone, delivery food portions are quite large for me, so I ate a lot of ramyeon. Especially Bibimyeon. I ate Bibimyeon on five days during the week leading up to the comeback. (Laughs)
I understand that Choerry likes fantasy movies. Tell us a memorable one you saw recently.
Choerry: I rewatched <Pan’s Labyrinth> for the first time in a really long time. Before I only focused on the scenes themselves, but upon rewatching, I grasped the foreshadowing and hidden meanings underlying that movie. It was a different kind of enjoyment than when I saw it previously.
When you debuted, all three members were in adolescence or had just become adults. It can’t have been easy to begin your working lives at an age when you’re emotionally quite sensitive. Do you recall any words that gave you comfort?
Choerry: There was a time when the unnies used to tell me often: “You can talk to me at any time.” Every time I heard that, I used to remind myself that I had precious people who protect me, right next to me. It would give me strength, and make me vow to get along even better with the unnies, to live diligently, and to love myself more.
Kim Lip: A fan I met recently told me, “Thanks for getting back up on the stage.” So I told them, “I’m even more thankful that you told me that.” And they replied: “I would have cheered for you even if you chose to do something else, instead of being a singer.” It made me more emotional than anything else I’ve heard recently.
Jinsoul: I think about the word ‘someday’ often. I use that a lot when I’m giving advice, and even when I myself am having a hard time, I tell myself “It’s going to get better someday” and feel comforted.
‘Someday’ implies an uncertain hope. So personally I’ve thought of that as a negative word. But I think Jinsoul knows how to focus on the hope rather than the uncertainty.
Jinsoul: That’s why, whenever I use the word ‘someday’, I only use positive phrases with it. ‘You can do it’, or ‘Once this passes this will be a good memory’. To be honest, I used to be the type of person who worries a lot and makes it harder on themselves. But as time passed, and as I grew, I naturally learned how to see myself in a positive light. And after that, I became a little more able to focus on the hope that this word carries.
What is Odd Eye Circle, to each other?
Jinsoul: They’re just as close to me as family or best friends, and sometimes I can share with them certain things that I can’t even tell those people. So it’s difficult to define this in the form of a relationship that exists elsewhere. I think this is a relationship that can’t be described with any other example.
Kim Lip: But one thing I can definitely say is: this is a relationship so precious that we’re really grateful for the very existence of each other.
So you’re saying that “Odd Eye Circle is Odd Eye Circle to each other”?
Choerry: Yes. Exactly. (Laughs)