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[Herald Interview] GFriend comes of age with ‘The Awakening’

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Updated : March 12 2017

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GFriend (Ije Company)
At its creation, the concept of GFriend was embodied by its name: a girlfriend, who is with you at all times.

True to its driving idea, the group’s image was of a band approachable and easy to relate to.

With its fourth EP “The Awakening,” however, the six-member group has shed its girl-next-door image for a mature and chic look, with heavier makeup and colorful clothing.

The group says the change is in accordance with its youngest members reaching the age of majority this year.

“With SinB and Umji turning 20 (Korean age), we’re now all adults. So the company (Source Music) wanted to convey our growth and maturity with the new performance,” said Eunha, during an interview Wednesday in Seongsu-dong, eastern Seoul.

The change is not one that is taken lightly, she said, adding it almost felt like “a new debut,” despite the group already having released one album and three EPs, and with two years of a rather-impressive run under their collective belts.

“It’s the first time we’ve experienced such a drastic change. ... Each time a teaser image, a video (of the new EP) was released, we all felt jittery,” she said.

Umji said that while the reaction toward their change is likely be mixed, she hopes fans will eventually catch up.

“Our goal is to prove to those who have trouble connecting us to our concept that we can actually pull this off. It’s more of an upgrade than change, like obtaining an item in an online game. We’ve shown that we can do feminine; now we can pull off chic,” she said.

Their excitement is reflected in the lyrics of their main track from the EP, “Fingertip,” which conveys the story of a woman nervously but excitedly approaching a new love.

The song, written by composer group Leegi Yongbae, is a disco number with a mix of synthesizer, vocoder and electric guitar that adds bounce to its up-tempo beat.

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GFriend (Ije Company)
GFriend said the new goal this year is to show off the many sides of the group.

“We want to be like a chameleon, in that we can pull off any concept that is put on us,” said Yerin.

Leader Sowon said she hopes the group will release songs that survive the test of time.

“There are songs that people associate with each season, like a song everyone sings when they think about winter. We want to sing a song just like that,” she said.

GFriend’s new EP is the group’s first since releasing its first studio album “LOL” in July last year.

Since debuting in 2015 with “Glass Bead,” the group has enjoyed both commercial and critical success, having notched several awards, including January’s artist of the month award at last month’s Gaon Awards.

Still, the eighth-month absence was tough for a group that has just shed the rookie title.

“It’s the longest we’ve been away from the stage, so I’m both excited and worried. I hope the fans will find how hard we’ve worked by checking out our performance,” said Sowon.

The first stage performance of “Fingertip” by GFriend took place Thursday on Mnet’s “M Countdown.”

By Yoon Min-sik (minsikyoon@heraldcorp.com)

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