"It's about encouragement to the listeners," Wonyoung says of the group's first English single, "All Night"
When IVE walks into an office, they get right down to business.
But unlike the regular 9 to 5 corporate worker, you won’t see these six girls dressed in formal attire or slouched over their desks, waiting for the hours to fly by.
Sure, they have a scroll of to-do items, just as any other worker. But within the Department of Popstars at Saweetie, Inc., the girls are a part of a special task force that works by their own methods.
In the midst of a summer day in Los Angeles, the girls — Gaeul, 21, Yujin, 20, Wonyoung, 19, Rei, 19, Jiwon, 19, and Leeseo, 16 — confidently stride past a flurry of daytime workers, ready to own the night. Their mission, according to rapper Saweetie? To increase the “FUN quota.”
And in IVE’s first all-English single, “All Night,” that’s exactly what they set out to do with the help of Saweetie, 30, in their first major collaboration. Against a vibrant beat, the girls become the life of a party and transform a drab office into an energetic, Barbie-esque nightclub. Their carefree confidence becomes all the more obvious as they sing the same lyrics from Swedish duo Icona Pop’s 2013 song of the same name.
“With the love this deep / We don’t need no sleep / And it feels like / We could do this all night / Yeah, everything is alright,” the girls collectively sing of the chorus.
True to their night-owl nature, the girls are also well awake at 10 p.m. in Seoul when they sit down with PEOPLE to discuss their latest milestone.
“Our previous songs were talking about loving myself and being myself, but I think it’s a little different with our single because it's about encouragement to the listeners,” Wonyoung muses.
With emphasis on the word “we,” the single seems to share a different message than the group’s two previous title tracks: “Baddie” and “I AM.” It not only alludes to the sisterly bond that the girls share as a group, but also to the assurance that they have for their fans, nicknamed the DIVES.
However, the similarities between the single and Icona Pop’s song end in the lyrics and beat.
In IVE’s reimagining of the nostalgic track, the girls make the best out of their messy office, surrounded by tall stacks of manila folders strewn about everywhere. Rather than complain, they only add to the playful chaos with a burst of their own colorful confetti, balloons and streamers that they can’t help but “throw” around.
The “Icy Grl” rapper also makes a spectacular entrance of her own by showing off her hazy vocals while atop a conference table. Just a few moments later, she launches into her signature explosive rap, with the IVE girls rocking right behind her.
When Yujin thinks about a memorable moment with Saweetie off-camera, her mind instantly flies to the “Best Friend” artist’s larger-than-life look on set.
“I really love her style, like makeup,” she says. “I was really curious — how long does it take [for her] to get ready? It was pretty long, and I was really shocked.”
Learning English for the single has also been a long-term process, but one that was also rewarding, as it gave Yujin a favorite English word to say.
“Slay,” she says triumphantly after putting her hands to her temples, deep in thought. “I love the word slay.”
Perhaps that’s the word that comes to mind when Wonyoung talks about the “unique vibe” that singing in English allows her to express.
Luckily, it’s a vibe they’ll be able to share with the world in-person as the girls embark on their first-ever world tour, “Show What I Have,” across Asia, North and South America and Australia this year.
Of all the stops, Yujin says she’s particularly excited to visit Australia, and at the mention of the continent’s animals, the faces of the girls instantly light up with shouts of “Kangaroos!”
When Liz highlights her own traveling bucket list, Wonyoung quickly jumps into her role as a de facto interpreter for the interview.
“Liz says she wants to go to the Eiffel Tower, but inside the U.S., maybe shopping,” Wonyoung says as she looks toward Liz, sitting at the center. “She’ll be happy to see another world and another atmosphere, and she will love it.”
It’s clear that Wonyoung also has her agenda set. When asked to think about the item she’d bring if she could only bring one with her on tour, a lightbulb goes off in the singer’s head.
“I will bring a big carrier because I [don’t want] to bring something from Korea, I want to buy something in the U.S.,” she cleverly says. “Very, very many. I would just bring a huge carrier with me.”
Before all the fun can happen, though, Leeseo says her plan is to study new languages for the tour so that she can better communicate with their DIVES at each stop.
At some point, the constant traveling and jet lag of touring may become tiring, but Gaeul says she knows how she’ll rest. Right before a good night’s sleep, a bath for her lower body always does the trick to de-stress her muscles. Knowing that her encouraging members are right next to her also gives her the motivation to “work harder.”
As daunting as a world tour may be, it comes right in time as the girls go forth into their third year as a group, having just celebrated their second anniversary in late December. While preparing their career-spanning and genre-diverse set for tour, a few songs naturally rise to the top as favorites.
For Wonyoung, “Love Dive” from their second single album of the same name stands out the most.
“I really love that song because I think it shows the most unique part of us, and it’s not too fast, not too slow,” she explains. “I think that kind of tempo really suits well on us, and also the lyrics, too.”
Singing as much about self-love as the IVE members do has also taught them more about their impact as role models. For instance, Liz believes that she first has to fully love herself before she can convince her fans to do the same. It’s that authenticity with which the girls sing from that allows their music to reach their fans on a deeper level.
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And with that spirit, “All Night” will hopefully be the first of many English singles that the group will perform, according to Wonyoung. The same may be said of their potential future collaborations with other big artists, and Rei has a dream collab that springs to mind.
“Sabrina Carpenter,” she says, before Yujin also shouts, “I really love her too.”
While a collab with Carpenter, 24, is on their wishlist, fans won’t have to wait long before they get another taste of IVE’s music later in the year.
“We are working on it,” Gaeul says with a smile.
“It’s better than before,” Wonyoung adds, adding to the anticipation. “And again, [it will have] our style of music by saying being myself is the best, and we put a very encouraging message in it, so please look forward to it!”
Even though rehearsing past songs while working on new music may now sometimes invoke nostalgia, this juxtaposition also represents another milestone that the girls have to look forward to. When faced with this blend of past, present and future, the members say they are ready to focus on the latter.
“I think I miss it a little bit,” Gaeul says of the past. “But I want to enjoy the moment now and focus on the future ahead of us.”
“All Night” is currently available to purchase and stream.
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