Nine-member K-pop group Twice has come a long way since their days of sweeping the rookie awards five to six years ago in Korea and is now continuously met with success as a top girl group globally. Now they’re back for the summer with their 10th mini-album, Taste of Love, featuring Latin-themed, bossa nova title track “Alcohol-Free.”
Twice’s signature sound used to be bubblegum pop, cute choreography, and lyrics that conveyed feelings of young love. They’ve grown as a group since then and have experimented with a variety of sounds that express a darker, more mature set of emotions and themes. The young women have shown their multifaceted approach to music and ability to showcase new charms with each release, with “Alcohol-Free” being no exception.
Now six years into their careers, the girls of Twice are more involved than ever in the production process, not only in songwriting but also in the production of their music videos and shoots.
In April, Rolling Stone met with Nayeon, Jeongyeon, Momo, Sana, Jihyo, Mina, Dahyun, Chaeyoung, and Tzuyu in Anseong, a quiet city 50 miles south of Seoul, Korea. While sitting together in a traditional Korean hanok to chat “Alcohol-Free,” the band members reflected on how Twice has grown over the past six years. The full takeover can be found on the official Rolling Stone Instagram.
Rolling Stone: Twice has experimented with a lot of different genres over the years and your recent tracks have shown a more mature side to the group. How have you been liking these concept changes?
Nayeon: I think it was a really fun process for not just us, but also for the fans, to see how we evolve over the years. It’s also just exciting for us to prepare these different looks and concepts.
Momo: We started doing more mature concepts last year, which are quite different from the bright and fun concepts that we first came out with. I’d love to continue doing both concepts and switching back and forth.
Nayeon: That’s right. I think it can be a strength of ours to execute both concepts.
Sana: I recently saw something a fan posted about how we previously had a song called “What Is Love?” In that song, we sing about how love must be sweet like candy, and the fan mentioned that we must know what love is, since we are releasing “Taste of Love.” When I saw that, it made me reflect on how we’ve continued to evolve.
Is there a concept you like most from the past or a concept you’d like to try in the future?
Tzuyu: I really like that there are a variety of concepts we’ve done in the past. I want to keep trying new concepts in the future. I honestly liked all of them.
Mina: I personally liked “Cry for Me.” It was almost like the opposite of what we’ve done in the past. It stuck with me because we were able to try something very new.
What makes this album special to you?
Jihyo: I personally really liked “Dance the Night Away,” so I’m happy to be promoting a summer song again. This is a really special album for me.
Dahyun: Our last releases, “Cry for Me” and “I Can’t Stop Me” had a darker vibe, while this new album really fits the current season and is summery, so I think the fans will really like it, and it’s no secret that the members are really excited as well.
Can you describe “Alcohol-Free” and Taste of Love?
Chaeyoung: “Alcohol-Free” is a song that our producer, J.Y. Park made for us, and it’s the first time we’re mentioning alcohol, saying we can be drunk in love without necessarily drinking. Although it’s a summer song like, “Dance the Night Away,” I think we’ve matured a lot since then, so I’m curious how the fans will react. The choreography for “Alcohol-Free” is really great, too.
What is your favorite non-title track from the six-song Taste of Love and why?
Jeongyeon: I like the song “Baby Blue Love,” because it has an exciting beat and shows the bright side of Twice.
Momo: “Scandal,” because our member Dahyun took part in writing. There are a few tracks that the members participated in, so look out for those ones.
Fans will often pick out certain members who really stand out in each song. As a group, who do you think shines most in “Alcohol-Free”?
Nayeon: I think our outfits for this round of promotions match Jihyo really well. Jihyo has always tanned for the summer and I think her healthy-looking skin tone matches the season. The concept for “Alcohol-Free” is not only summery but also draws inspiration from South American cultures with vibrant colors, which I think look really good on Jihyo.
Dahyun: I’d like to call out Chaeyoung’s new hair. I noticed that it looked really good when we were filming and fit the vibe of the music video well. Right now, her hair is damaged a bit (laughs) but in the music video, you’ll see that it looked really nice and bright.
Is there a specific scene from the music video that you like most?
Nayeon: I had a lot, but when we filmed at Jeju Island, we filmed in the day, during the sunset, and also at night. The scenes that show the same place depicted at different times of day were memorable to shoot. We also filmed with fireworks.
Momo: I liked the set that we used for Nayeon’s scene and my teaser. It was in Seoul, but really looked like Cuba. I was able to share my ideas and direction for that set, and I saw my ideas reflected.
“Alcohol-Free” references some wine and cocktail names, what is your favorite drink?
Nayeon: I like to get non-alcoholic mojitos when I go to cafés, since they’re “Alcohol-Free.” There were actually a lot of drinks in the lyrics that we’ve never had before, like mimosas or piña coladas.
Jihyo: It would be fun to film some content around trying those drinks.
Momo: I had never tried a mimosa, but after finding out about them through this song, Sana and I saw it on a menu and decided to try. It was really good!
Mimosas are really popular for brunch in America.
Nayeyon: We’d really love to film contents around trying these. (laughs)
Are there any memorable moments you can share from preparing this new album?
Dahyun: Hmm.. We went to the airport for the first time in about a year. Even though we went for work, it was so nice to be by the ocean and feel the breeze in Jeju Island. It felt really refreshing and we were able to enjoy filming, too.
Tzuyu: When our producer J.Y. Park first showed us the song, he looked so happy and was dancing along. That was really memorable and funny.
Nayeon: Also, he kept asking me to sing with more of a South American feel. He gave me a lot of comments, more than I normally receive, and he told me to go out and try more South American foods to get inspired. (laughs)
Fans around the world are very interested in K-pop fashion and Twice’s fashion in particular. What sort of outfits can fans look forward to for Taste of Love?
Chaeyoung: We used bright and extravagantly patterned scarves to create outfits. I think fans can take a look at how we were able to use these scarves and get inspired.
Nayeon: Our stylists sourced a variety of scarves and turned them into wearable pieces, with some items being entirely made from scarves. I thought it was a fresh idea.
How would you describe your own personal fashion style and how does it differ from on-stage looks?
Sana: When going on stage, we’re used to wearing short skirts, shorts, and things that are pretty tight, so when we are off-stage, I think I gravitate toward more comfortable outfits. I like wearing wide-leg pants and jeans.
Jihyo: For me, I normally wear tighter clothes because I think my body type does not look as good in boxy or oversized fits. I don’t think it’s necessarily similar to what I wear on stage, but on stage, there’s definitely more of a variety.
Nayeon: I think Jihyo has a more feminine style off-stage.
Twice has been more active on TikTok recently, hopping on trends. How do you decide which videos to do? Do you have a favorite one that you’ve done?
Nayeon: Our marketing team comes up with fun ideas to try. (laughs) They actually create examples of themselves for us to see what the trend is and create something along those lines. One that I remember enjoying is from Christmas.
Dahyun: There were a lot of fun ones but I think the recent one with “Oh No” was funny. The one where Nayeon sends a text to her boss on accident.
Nayeon: I actually did that one without knowing the full context. I think I could have put more into it if I knew the trend.
Dahyun: It matched really well to the background sound and I laughed so hard.
Jihyo: Are we popular on TikTok?
Yes, I see them all of the time. I think they’ve been performing well.
Sana: Really? We didn’t know. (laughs)
Jihyo: All of us are pretty eager to crack jokes and let loose. We’re not really scared to be silly so I think there’s a lot more we can do.
Nayeon: I think with TikTok, rather than doing things where we just smile prettily, we’d love to do more random and funny videos.
What songs have you been listening to these days?
Jihyo: I really like Bruno Mars and Anderson Paak’s recent release [as Silk Sonic].
Nayeon: I like Black Skirt’s new album.
Jeongyeon: I like “Circles” by Post Malone.
You used to travel overseas to meet your fans around the world very often but have not been able to do so due to the pandemic. What are you looking forward to most when you can meet your fans in person again?
Mina: We’re really waiting to have in-person concerts and looking forward to go meet everyone in person once it’s safe to do so.
Momo: When we get to perform in person, I’m looking forward to hearing all of the fan chants.
Reflecting on the past year of online content and virtual fan meetings, is there a special memory that you can share?
Nayeon: Before, the fans would always come to us for the fan meetings, but now when meeting fans online, it’s like we are going to them and visiting their homes. It’s been really cool to see our fans’ rooms, pets, workplaces, etc. When seeing their rooms, I noticed a lot of them have our merch and photos set up, which was really touching. I feel like I’ve always heard of fans doing that but seeing it myself was a new and fun experience.
Twice has been very busy this past year and have a packed schedule for this summer. What do you like to do in your free time?
Jihyo: I want to learn how to surf. I only got to try it once last year due to the typhoons and also the pandemic, so this year I’m hoping to learn more.
Nayeon: Because the weather has been so nice, I’d love to take the dogs out and go on a ton of walks.
Sana: I want to go horseback riding. I’m actually allergic to animals and especially to horses, but I still want to try.
It’s already been six years since Twice’s debut. How do you think you’ve changed or grown?
Chaeyeong: Depending on how I look back, it can feel like a long time but also a very short time. Especially with last year passing by so quickly. When it comes to how we’ve changed, I think the members really feel like family now. We understand each other without having to say everything, and the way we approach new music has changed as well. I think our opinions and feedback are taken more into consideration, which has helped our passion for each project grow.
Tzuyu: I think I feel more comfortable on stage and I am able to enjoy myself more. When I first debuted, I think I had a hard time conveying my emotions and communicating well, but now I am trying to communicate with our fans more and open up.
Jihyo: That’s right. We’ve grown a lot.
Taste of Love is out June 11th.