K-pop girl group aespa talks about first mini-album ‘Savage,’ goals

K-pop girl group aespa will be coming back today (Oct. 5) with their first mini-album “Savage” containing the title track of the same name and five other songs.

SM Entertainment, the group’s agency, said as of Oct. 4, “Savage” has recorded 401,088 copies in pre-orders.

(From left) aespa's Giselle, Winter, Karina and Ningning pose at their global online press conference for their first mini-album "Savage" on Oct. 5 (SM Entertainment)

Aespa members held a global online press conference on Oct. 5 where they talked about their new album and career. Aespa debuted in November 2020 with “Black Mamba.”

“We plan on showing an upgraded version of aespa with our album ‘Savage,’ so please send your love and support,” said Giselle.

About the 400,000 copies in pre-orders, Karina said, “We were all very surprised to hear that there were more than 400,000 pre-orders. This is our first time releasing an (physical) album, so we didn’t expect the response to be as great as it has been. We’d like to thank everyone for their support! It made us think that we should work harder for all the love that we’ve been receiving.”

“Savage,” according to Winter, “is our first mini album with a total of six tracks, including the title track ‘Savage’ as well as songs of various genres from energetic dance to lyrical pop. The album not only contains stories that take place in our worldview like our previous singles ‘Black Mamba’ and ‘Next Level,’, but also various genres of music and charm, so please enjoy listening to it.”

The “Savage” album

The album contains the tracks “Savage,” "Aenergy,” “I’ll Make You Cry,” "Yeppi Yeppi," "Lucid Dream" and "Iconic."

“‘Savage’ is a trap style song where you can feel a strong sense of attack centered on heavy drums and bass sounds. Following ‘Black Mamba’ and ‘Next Level,’ this song continues the story that takes place in our unique worldview,” said Giselle.

"Aenergy,” on the other hand, “is a song that explains our character in aespa’s worldview,” added Giselle. “The lyrics explain our combat skills, so please pay special attention to the lyrics. For example, I have xenoglossy power, which is the ability to speak foreign languages that I’ve never learned before. Our producer Yoo Young-jin helped us throughout the entire process from producing to writing the lyrics and giving us vocal directions. He really brought out aespa’s unique color and charm through this track.”

In aespa’s worldview, “ae” means avatar, said Winter. “There are several other terms related to our worldview such as ‘Kosmo’ and ‘Naevis’ so I recommend everyone to try to guess what the song is about because I know we have many fans who really enjoy learning about our worldview. The melody is also very catchy and repetitive like a spell which I think fits well with our positive energy.”

About “I’ll Make You Cry, Karina said, "’I'll Make You Cry’ is a dance music with unique rhythms and intense progressions of the synth sounds. The melody is very ear-catching so after listening to it once, it doesn’t leave your head.”

Ningning added that "’I'll Make You Cry’ is about being deceived by someone you trust and pledging to pay them back for the pain. The lyrics contain phrases like ‘I'm trapped in the room’ and ‘I don’t understand you’, so when we were recording it, we tried to bring out the powerful feeling with our voices.”

“Lucid Dream,” according to Giselle, “is a pop music with minimal tracks and emotional melody. The lyrics describe a heartbroken soul who’s still searching for and missing their lover in their dreams who has already left them.”

The emcee, TV personality Jaejae, commented that “”Lucid Dream” is a breakup song.

“So far, we’ve showcased strong, powerful, and cool sides of us. With this album, we tried our best to show our other charms and personalities in addition to the powerful side of us. I think ‘Lucid Dream’ is that kind of song, so I hope the fans enjoy listening to it,” said Winter.

“Savage” choreography and music video

About the choreography for “Savage,” Ningning said, “Since ‘Savage’ is a song that highlights our strong performance against ‘Black Mamba,’ we wanted to portray more relaxed yet powerful aspects in the choreography than before.”

According to Winter, the music video for “Savage” has “various CG effects and animations that highlight the different elements of our worldview. I recommend everyone to watch the music video of our previous singles ‘Black Mamba’ and ‘Next Level’ before watching the ‘Savage’ music video like a movie series.”

“We mentioned earlier that ‘Naevis’ will make an appearance as a facilitator in the new song. Please look forward to meeting ‘Naevis’ in our new music video,” said Giselle while Ningning added, “Of course, our ae-aespa friends will make an appearance as well. They will dance with us and make a really cool appearance, so please look forward to it.”

Ningning added, “When we were filming the MV and the performance video, I was so excited and wanted to share it with the fans as soon as possible. I think they turned out better than I imagined, which makes me want to quickly start promoting it! I really liked the ending scene with Winter! I think there may be a story.”

First mini-album

On “Savage” being their first mini-album, Winter explained, “This is the first physical album we are releasing since our debut with ‘Black Mamba’ last November. Everyone has been anticipating and waiting, and we are very excited and nervous to finally showcase it. Also, through this album, we are glad to be able to reveal our diverse charms through other songs besides the title track.”

“I think it was especially fun and exciting to work on our ‘Savage’ album. As mentioned earlier, while working on our album, our executive producer Soo-Man Lee personally directed every small detail such as the pronunciation of each syllable, so we worked extra hard in order to come back with performances even better than before,” said Giselle.

When asked what do they want to showcase the most in the promotions for “Savage,” Giselle said, “In our new song ‘Savage’, we finally come face-to-face with ‘Black Mamba’ and we wanted to show a more powerful but relaxed/nonchalant side through our performance. So, aespa on the ‘Next Level.’”

On which member best suits the concept of “Savage,” Giselle said, “Karina looks really good in our ‘Savage’ outfits and Winter looks great in short hair! Ningning also tried different styling and make-up, which I think suits her really well.”

Many celebrities did the dance from “Next Level” and aespa members said they are very thankful.

“We were grateful that so many people covered our ‘Next Level’ choreography. We enjoyed watching each and every one of them. Among them, I saw Taeyeon and Key dancing as ‘KEYrina’ on the TV program ‘Amazing Saturday’, and of course, they nailed every little detail including the facial expression.”

Members of aespa at their online press conference for "Savage" mini-album on Oct. 5 (SM Entertainment)

Success and first debut anniversary

Aespa were asked about what they thought were the reasons for the success of their previous singles.

“Both our singles ‘Black Mamba’ and ‘Next Level’ received a lot of love. Because it hasn’t been that long since we made our debut, we felt a little overwhelmed but incredibly happy. I think at first, many people were curious about the metaverse worldview with avatars since it’s a concept that had never existed before,” said Winter.

She added, “This got people curious about our music and who we are, thinking ‘Let me try listening to aespa’s music’, ‘Let me try watching their performance’ and etc. Rather than feeling pressured, we were more motivated to improve and show a more mature side of aespa as artists. We became more ambitious so we worked extra hard on our album ‘Savage.’ We hope everyone enjoys listening to it!”

Aespa will be celebrating their first anniversary of debut on Nov. 17 and Ningning said, “November 17 is our first anniversary. It doesn’t feel that long ago when we performed on stage for the first time with ‘Black Mamba.’ I can’t believe it’s already been one year. Time flew by fast! I felt so awkward and nervous in front of the camera at first, but now I feel more comfortable and can enjoy performing more! While the four of us had fantastic chemistry from the start, after spending one year together, the synergy is even stronger especially when we're on stage together.”

On their goals for “Savage,” Karina said, “Since ‘Savage’ is our first mini album containing a total of six tracks, we would like to show that aespa is a group that can pull off various colors and not only powerful songs such as ‘Black Mamba’ and ‘Next Level.’ Also, through our music, we want people to know that aespa's worldview story will continue and expand more with new stories. We worked really hard on this album, so hearing people say “I knew aespa would perform so well” would make us really happy.”

Aespa members ended the press conference with calls for support for their album.

“Thank you so much for taking time out to be with us today. Please show a lot of love for our first mini album ‘Savage’ and we will continue to work hard, so please show us a lot of support,” said Karina.

Giselle said, “The weather is getting colder these days, so be careful of the cold and always take care of your health. Thank you very much!”

Aespa’s first mini-album “Savage” and the music video will be released at 6 p.m. KST today (Oct. 5).