Red Velvet Discuss Their Musical Identity and Headlining SXSW's KPop Night Out
publish date: 2017-03-20
Hours before making their SXSW debut at the fifth annual K-pop Night Out showcase, Red Velvet lounged about The Belmont after finishing their sound check. The headliners for the event, the K-pop quintet is one of the genre’s most prominent young acts, and artistic innovators leading a new wave of Korean girl groups. Later that night, they’d press through technical difficulties -- and member Irene leaving the stage temporarily to fix an audio issue -- to perform some of their recent hits (“Russian Roulette,” “Rookie,” “Dumb Dumb”) and two B-sides (“Something Kinda Crazy,” “Full”), all of which evoked riotous cheers from the crowd.
Propelled by their infectious “Red” pop songs and their “Velvet” R&B tunes and ballads, Red Velvet’s seen multiple tracks and albums appear on a variety of charts since their debut in 2014. Their most recent EP Rookie, which showcased the group’s versatility through songs like the whimsical “Happily Ever After” and the ethereal “Body Talk,” peaked to No. 1 on the World Albums chart upon its release in February.
Irene, Wendy, Seulgi, Joy, and Yeri sat down with to discuss their music, performances at SXSW, and what they’d like to pursue in the future.
Welcome to the U.S.! How does it feel to be here at SXSW?
Seulgi (through translator): It’s our first time coming to Texas, and we’re especially honored to perform at SXSW. Today we will deliver the best performance possible to captivate our fans.
Red Velvet’s only here for a short while since you’re performing at KCON Mexico tomorrow, but is there anything you want to do while you’re here?
Yeri (through translator): I looked up online to see what there is to do in Texas and I want to eat steak if there’s time. [Laughs.]
You recently released Rookie, and the single is doing really well in Korea. How does it feel?
Irene (through translator): "Rookie" is still receiving a lot of love and ranking high on Korean charts, even though we finished promoting it in February, so we’re really happy for all of the love from our fans.
Wendy: We compare our lover to a rookie and we want to mesmerize people with our song. People actually loved our song and we’re very thankful about it [still charting well in Korea].
Why do you think people like Red Velvet’s funky, quirky style so much?
Seulgi: I think, and actually heard from our fans, that listeners get energized by our songs. And because of our various music styles, everyone can find something they enjoy regardless of their age and gender.