It hasn’t even been a year since aespa debuted but the girl group under SM Entertainment has already taken the K-pop scene by storm.
In May, the quartet composed of Karina, Giselle, Winter and Ningning released its third single, “Next Level,” which became a viral hit and ranked high on various music charts.
“So many things have happened and I just want to say thank you,” Giselle said in a recent interview with ABS-CBN News.
“We didn’t expect to receive this much love. MYs have been with us from the beginning and they played a big role in the success of ‘Next Level,’” she added, referring to the group’s fandom.
Much of the excitement surrounding aespa — which was launched in November 2020 with the single “Black Mamba” — is partly due to the fantastical narrative built around them by SM Entertainment, one of K-pop’s leading companies.
The group’s songs and music videos follow the members’ adventures in a virtual universe inhabited by their digital counterparts, called “æ.”
Aespa’s metaverse is only part of a larger project called the SM Culture Universe, which is believed to bring together the company’s artists in a shared storyline.
Last October 5, aespa unveiled a new chapter to its story through its first mini album, “Savage,” composed of six tracks that take influences from a variety of genres.
Leading “Savage” is the title track, a trap song with edgy rap verses, an addictive hook, and stellar vocal flourishes stuffed at the final minute.
“When we first listened to the title track ‘Savage,’ our responses and thoughts were all the same. We all thought it was a good song, especially the intro. It hit us hard in a great way,” Giselle said.
“Then we heard the chorus and again thought, ‘This song is really good! Let’s do this!’ We were all surprised for sure,” she added.
The music video for “Savage,” which has been viewed over 100 million times on YouTube, shows the quartet teaming up with an artificial intelligence named Naevis to defeat Black Mamba, the antagonist of the aespa lore.
Karina, the group’s leader, hinted that the girls would continue working with their æs and Naevis to fight those who plan to disrupt their metaverse.
“With the help of Naevis, we plan on confronting the villains who are disturbing us and the æ members,” she said.
“Although we can’t tell you the details right now, we are looking forward to unveiling more of our story sometime in the future,” she added.
Asked to pick which B-side track from “Savage” was their favorite, Karina, Giselle and Ningning agreed on “Lucid Dream.”
“Since we mostly showcased powerful and fast-tempo songs, I think this track really stands out because it’s slower paced and has a different vibe compared to our previous singles,” Ningning said.
“Before this (Lucid Dream), we never released a love song and since this is our first, I feel more attached to it,” Karina said.
Winter, meanwhile, picked the runway-ready “Yeppi Yeppi” as her favorite because it’s “a track that we can perform with a bright, happy smile and everyone can enjoy it with us.”
Aespa has yet to meet its fans through in-person concerts, having debuted in the middle of the COVID-19 pandemic, but Ningning said the group was looking forward to performing for Filipino MYs.
“We can’t wait to meet you. We want to go to the Philippines to have a concert and perform for you in person,” she said, addressing fans.
“In the meantime, we’ll always do our best during this promotion period as well, so please continue to send us lots of love,” she added.
Video editing by Reya Buenaventura, ABS-CBN News
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