So! YoOn! About The New Album “Episode1: Love”: “I Knew That Gender Should Not Matter When Presenting Love”


“Animalistic” evolution, that’s how South Korean musician So!YoON! describes his second studio album “Episode1: Love”. Outwardly, this is a study of love and desire, but the frontwoman SE SO NEON uses it as a way of self—reflection, turning the traits she observes into six personalities telling their own stories – as presented by the singer on the album cover.

“In the beginning, I didn’t limit myself to six characters, as there are 11 tracks in the album. But as I visualized the characteristics of each track, I naturally began to imagine these six characters and how they behaved and communicated,”So!YoON! tells NME via Zoom from Seoul. Through the voices of these characters, the singer goes through various forms of passion, from yielding to a possessive partner to a hedonistic one-night stand and a paralyzing fear of opening his heart to another.

However, the album is based on the main single “Smoke Sprite”. A sensual and psychedelic collaboration with rapper BTS RM, the song paints a vivid image of lovers desperately calling each other into the abyss between dream and reality. “Get on your knees / Stuck with you in your dreams / Tell me more, I might die / Get up like a beast”, So!YoON! screams because of the grainy fill of grunge guitars when the boundaries between fiction and real life begin to blur. What’s left behind is desire — the thread that binds the record together — in its crudest form. With a song so soundly and lyrically harmonious, it’s surprising to find out that the couple didn’t start work on “Smoke Sprite” with a concept already ready.

“We first met last summer when he was preparing for the release of his solo album “Indigo”, — the singer recalls. “I was also working on my album, so we were just in the studio, sharing demos and tracks with each other when we listened to “Smoke Sprite” together. At first there were no themes or texts. Like our friendship, the whole process of cooperation was very natural, and we created [the track] together. It didn’t take long to write the lyrics.”

“I didn’t really get hung up on the fact that it was a same-sex relationship, [but] I knew that gender shouldn’t matter when representing love.”

But from this song, a blossoming friendship began, as the couple spent most of their time “just chatting and getting to know each other,” So!YoON! says, noting how she has learned a lot thanks to RM’s support throughout the process. “It’s hard to find support from other artists in this industry, because everyone is busy working on their projects, and it’s not always easy to be open with another person. He was able to support me and believe in me when I had doubts about the project,” she says. “These words of support can help another person a lot. I want to do this with the utmost sincerity.”

The ideas underlying each song, which the singer often calls “seeds”, had completely different roots. Some of them, such as “Bad”, were recorded during a jam session,” she says, recalling the recording of this song with friends in the USA. “Some of them are remakes of other tracks, and others started with a simple melody of a voice note. I had a lot of demos that I’ve been working on over the last year and a half, but I really wanted to use tracks that I liked, so I didn’t think about the overall genre and packaging of the album.”

For So!YoON! the ability to touch someone with words alone is important, it’s easy to understand, but her narrative is more comprehensive. Everything, from visual direction to fashion, begins to take root at the very thought of a new song. “While making music, I usually also start to figure out how it can be depicted visually and how it will be shown to the public,” says the musician, adding that visualizing these areas at an early stage often helps to build a song. self.

“In particular, this album is very raw and sensual, so it was very important to maintain this level of naturalness. But if you listen to tracks without video clips, they will be very analog and vintage,” she says, which led her to a more abstract, modern choice of accompanying visual effects. “I thought to balance [the music] with experimental modern elements and make it weird — in a good way.”

“I want to constantly have an open-minded mind and never lose myself in one area”

Take the video clip for “Bad”, a song about a relationship that is “hard to call love.” The track is told through the eyes of someone lonely and depressed, driven into a dull, stagnant world, who has nowhere to turn except for a lover who mixes passion with obsession. The singer’s languid vocals slide over shots of tree roots and people posing as statues throughout most of the video, with the exception of scenes where she and her lover passionately kiss inside a glass box. “Everything is bad for me,” she admits in the chorus. “But tell me where you are,” she sighs immediately after, giving herself to the woman who is her salvation and death.

When asked about her decision to portray same-sex relationships in the video, So!YoON! emits a thoughtful moo before answering: “You mean, why did I kiss a girl? [laughs] There are many images and forms of love, and I just wanted to present it best. I didn’t really get hung up on the fact that it was a same-sex relationship, [but] I knew that gender shouldn’t matter when representing love.”

Although the music video is primarily a study of human emotions, So!YoON! she shares what she thought about how her vision would be perceived. “I don’t worry too much about such things, but I think it may be difficult for others to talk about it,” she says. “But surprisingly, the negative reaction was not as strong as I imagined. Maybe the world is changing and moving for the better.”


As the name suggests, the new record is just one episode from the current season of the singer’s life. “I like that whenever I’m on Netflix, there’s always a brief description of each episode for each show. I think as musicians everyone would have their seasons too, and I thought it would be fun to create episodes in them,” she explains.

“I’m a rock artist, but I’m also a big fan of electronic music. So, in the second episode, I think I will actively use more electronic tools. I also want to use my vocals more freely, in a more sonic way,” says the musician. While the first episode is about love, So!YoON! I haven’t decided on the topic of my continuation yet. However, she adds that balance has been an important topic in her life lately.

“I like to think about the balance between rationality and using my instincts. I like to balance these two things in everything I do,” she shares. “Learn not to be too limited. I want to constantly have an open mind and never lose myself in one area. I hope that I will live like this every day, and it will affect my work, my music.”


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