While Feel My Rhythm‘s album artwork, and the Bach-sampling opening in the title track, all hint at a fantastical-pop approach, nothing is ever so simple for the quintet. Soon enough, clanging electronic production soon jumps into the mix, all making for a hit single equal parts experimental and elegant.
Feel My Rhythm continues to showcase Red Velvet’s range, with “Beg for Me” letting the group show how they’re “real nasty but still keeping it classy,” the sleek synths of “Rainbow Halo” letting them easily fit among some of RV’s best synth-pop gems, and the final half of the EP delivering different takes across R&B that Red Velvet tell Billboard are their favorite tracks.
While 2021’s Queendom EP was an enjoyable but somewhat safe return to K-pop after more than a year away from the scene, Feel My Rhythm sees Red Velvet at their shape-shifting best, yet still fully accessible thanks to the members’ sweet deliveries and loads of delicious hooks throughout this new collection.
Read on for reflections from Red Velvet members IRENE, SEULGI, WENDY, JOY and YERI on their Feel My Rhythm album, performing concerts again, and their growth as artists.
Starting with the title of the new album, The ReVe Festival 2022, is there any connection of this album to your three-part ReVe Festival series from 2019?
SEULGI: Through this album, we wanted to express Red Velvet’s unique “Imaginative World” worldview so we expanded and built on the themes that were showcased in our previous albums. You can see the connection to our previous works as well as a new side of Red Velvet that you haven’t seen before. Also, our “Feel My Rhythm” music video continues the dark fairytale concept for a new start.
Tell us about your new single “Feel My Rhythm.” What new sides of growth or evolution does this show of Red Velvet?
IRENE: Our new single starts with a sampling of Bach’s “Air on the G String” and has a very elegant and classic vibe. In the music video, you can also discover Red Velvet’s unique worldview: “Imaginative World.” We worked very hard to understand and make this track our own so you can look forward to hearing Red Velvet’s upgraded vocals. Please stay tuned for the performance as well!
The accompanying artwork and concept photos for “Feel My Rhythm” have been very whimsical, almost like a fairy tale with inspirations of what looks like princesses and ballerinas. Can you explain the visual inspirations?
YERI: While working on this album, we emphasized the “ReVe” concept that exists between imagination and reality. We hope everyone looks forward to Red Velvet’s stories in The ReVe Festival. Also, ballerinas and the garden in our “Imaginative World” served as the main visual inspirations for this EP. We took ballerina elements and emphasized the overall rounded silhouette to express a feminine mood. You can see we’re wearing a lot of corset designs with pearl pieces to give a classic look too. To capture the transition from winter to spring as well as the garden theme, we also wore elegant flower headpieces with white and pink pastel tones, which stand out visually.
Looking at all the tracks on the album, can each member share her favorite song from The ReVe Festival 2022?
IRENE: My personal favorite is “In My Dreams.” It’s a slow-tempo R&B ballad song, and I particularly love the signature orgel sound that reminds me of waking up after falling deep into a dream—and the chorus with the explosive energetic buildup.
SEULGI: I also like “In My Dreams” the most. I personally prefer delicate and fantasy-like music, so after hearing the demo, I immediately thought “This is my kind of music!” I had so much fun recording this as well and I hope ReVeluvs love it as much as I do.
WENDY: I can’t pick just one because I really like all the songs from this album. Hope you all enjoy listening to our new EP and let us know what your favorite song is!
JOY: My favorite track is “Bamboleo” because of the dream-like sound. “Bamboleo” means “to shake” or “sway” in Spanish, and the track captures the image of dancing freely throughout the night. I find the song to be charming.
YERI: My favorite track is “In My Dreams” as well because I like the lyrics the most. It’s a little melancholy and sad, but I can personally relate to the song very well so it was easy for me to bring out those emotions.
I’d like to get into the other album tracks too. “Rainbow Halo” has a really cool sound and title; I think it is going to be another beloved Red Velvet B-side. Can you explain the meaning?
WENDY: Thank you for liking “Rainbow Halo!” The signature sounds of this track are the restrained clap sound on top of a groovy bass along with the refreshing and subtly expanding bell sound. I think our vocals really stand out in this track! The lyrics metaphorically compare the person you love to a rainbow and describe the feeling of the moment when you are face-to-face with that person surrounded by the frame of the rainbow. The track beautifully expresses the feelings of love in the colors of the rainbow.
“Beg for Me” really stands out as a strong track, one of Red Velvet’s fiercest songs for sure. Can you talk about recording this song and embracing this strong side of yourselves?
JOY: As soon as I heard the demo, I was so excited that I literally cheered out loud! I love R&B music, so I’m happy that this album contains many R&B tracks! Beg for Me” has a playful but
also a sexy vibe, so it was especially fun to record this track. I did wonder if we should make it bolder and more expressive, but then I thought it would be better to refrain from the emotions a little and record in a nonchalant and chic manner and I am in love with how it turned out.
The second half of the album seems to be really loved by everyone: “Bamboleo,” “Good, Bad, Ugly” and “In My Dreams,” which are all a little slower and dreamier. WENDY has an amazing big note at the end of “In My Dreams.” Can you talk about these tracks and the second half of the album?
WENDY: “Bamboleo” is a different kind of retro, pop dance track with a dreamlike sound that is inspired by the image of dancing freely in front of the mirror throughout the night. “Good, Bad, Ugly” was fun to record because it sends a positive message to enjoy and look forward to the unpredictable moments in life. I like its jazzy sound as well. “In My Dreams’, which other members talked about the most, is a slow-tempo R&B ballad track based on a minimal trap rhythm and the lyrics express the desire to be together forever with the one you love even if it’s just in the dreams. Overall, with this album, you can listen to our upgraded, mature vocals. Throughout the entire process, we thought of our ReVeluvs who always believe in us.
Your live concert event “2022 The ReVe Festival : Prologue” needed to be postponed due to COVID-19. Can you share what to expect when it’s ready for the stage?
IRENE: We were all so excited and looking forward to the concert as well, so we were disappointed when it had to be postponed. However, everyone’s safety and health come first, and we know there will be another opportunity where we’ll meet again soon. Originally, we planned to perform our new single for the first time before the comeback but next time we meet, we’ll have amazing performances for our fans including songs from the new album so please look forward to it!
Is there any chance Red Velvet will bring their concerts to overseas fans? Any spoilers or hints you can share at this time?
YERI: From a while back, we’ve been planning our concert tour but it looks like we are going to have to wait a little longer for the situation to get better because the safety and the health of everyone including the members, fans, and the staff are our top priority! We really miss our fans from all over the world. We will share good news with you soon, so hold on a little longer!
Reflecting back to the 2019 ReVe Festival albums, Red Velvet has matured a lot and gone through a lot of changes! Can you share the ways you’ve felt you’ve changed and what you’ve learned since then?
IRENE: As we prepared for this EP, I definitely felt we’ve matured a lot. As we gain more years and experience in our careers, the work has become more natural and familiar compared to when we first debuted. We can grasp each process faster and our teamwork as a group has gotten so much stronger.
Is there anything else you’d like Billboard or your international fans to know at this time?
SEULGI: I didn’t know we wouldn’t see each other for this long. The circumstances are very unfortunate and we miss our fans so much. We have many exciting performances in store for you so we hope you enjoy listening to our album even though we are all far away from each other right now! Stay safe and healthy, and we look forward to meeting everyone soon!