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K-pop group IVE talk all things girl power, and their inspirations from Little Mix to SZA

As they gear up to play The O2 this weekend, K-Pop favourites IVE tell Rolling Stone UK about their experiences of hitting the road.

By Joseph Kocharian

Ive (Image: Provided)

IVE are taking their first-ever world tour ‘Show What I have’ to London on Sunday, 16th June. The six-piece K-Pop group, who are known for their versatile discography have already completed the Asia and North American legs of the tour, and are currently taking on Europe, performing favourites such as ‘HEYA’ ‘I AM’ and ‘BADDIE’ to huge crowds. Debuting in 2021, Gaeul, Jiwon (Liz), Leeseo, Rei, Wonyoung and Yujin have never been to London before, but they already seem to have an affinity with the UK, especially with some of Britain’s finest girl-groups. The K-Pop group perform covers of The Spice Girls’ ‘Wannabe’ and Little Mix’ ‘Woman Like Me’ as part of their set, which will surely hit differently with the UK DIVES (the IVE fanbase name) in London. The O2 Arena, with a capacity of 20,000, can be a tough venue to fill, but IVE’s concert there on Sunday has all-but sold out, which is an impressive, but not a surprising feat form the group. IVE are no stranger to big numbers, whether it’s streams, sales or crowds. They’re often compared to the revered Second-Generation K-pop groups, with catchy songs, and music videos with fully realised concepts and storylines. IVE have even managed to go viral on social media when their song ‘After LIKE’ became a much-coveted Tiktok sound, being attached to the iconic ‘Lisa Rinna M&M’ meme. A debut world tour is a steep, yet exhilarating learning curve, but one that the K-pop group seem to be relishing. We talk to them, ahead of their London date, about tour life, Big Ben and who the group would like to collaborate with in the future. 

You’re currently in the middle of your first world tour. What have you learned from it so far? What has the highlight been? 

Wonyoung: I think we all learn how to really perform in front of the crowds, 

We’ve been doing a US tour, and I thought that was really different from performing in Korea, so that was a huge experiment to six of us. Visually for me, the best highlight was seeing all the light balls and all the US DIVES (the IVE fanbase name) in front of me. So they were really great and mesmerising memories for me.

How has it differed from performing and travelling to shows and performances in the past?

Gaeul: So, we found that in each country, the audience, our DIVES have very different styles of enjoying the performances. We found that it’s really fun to watch them all! 

Which group member is best at keeping the energy and the mood positive whilst on tour/travelling? 

Wonyoung: For me, I think is Gaeul, because she has really great and very nice manner at all times, and all day. Not like high and low, she just concentrated on herself. I think that’s the best- so I’d like to choose her! 

Gaeul: Thank you! (laughs) 

Have you discovered any funny travelling habits from the other members? Or are you used to spending this much time together already when rehearsing and being trainees? 

Rei: (Usually) We are living together in a dorm. So, we always spend a lot of time together. But during the World Tour, we’re always together, all day, so we learned even more about each other. For example, we found that Yujin loses a lot of her things easily! So, in each country there has been something that she’s lost, so it was fun to try to find it together.

Do you have a favourite song to perform on tour? 

ReiDuring the encore we perform ‘All night.’ We always like to repeat it during the encore and DIVE doesn’t know how many times we’ll be repeating it. So, the DIVEs are always wondering like ‘when is it going to be over?’ They’re not sure. So DIVE also has a lot of energy and they really dance and enjoy the last encore part! 

You perform a few covers on your tour. How did you decided which ones you wanted to do? Who inspires you? 

Leeseo: I picked ‘Woman Like Me’ by Little Mix, to perform with Yujin. We wanted to show a very performance-focused song, and we were able to show a very cool and powerful dance through it too. Little Mix are popular in Korea, but I personally really respect them as artists too. 

IVE (Image: Provided)

Do you have a dream artist you would like to collaborate with on a song? 

Rei: I have a lot of artists that I dream of collab’ing with but especially with SZA! I wants to collaborate one day because it’s one of my dreams as an artist and I really love the R&B genre.

Do you have anything that’s essential to take with you on tour, that you can’t do without?

Gaeul: I always take sunscreen with me when I’m going abroad, because lots of the countries abroad have very nice sunny weather, but I don’t want to get burnt, so I always make sure I have sunscreen! 

Do you have any superstitions or traditions you do before or after a show? 

Gaeul: We members don’t really have any superstitions that we follow but before we go up on stage, we always make sure to warm-up our vocals.

Is there anywhere in the world you were/are looking forward to performing at in particular? 

Wonyoung: I’m really looking forward to performing London because I have never been there before. And it’s not just the stage (there.) I really want to see Big Ben through my own eyes and it really by experience the country. Including London, all the other countries we’re really excited to visit all the other cities and countries and performing there.

What artist would you like to see try the ‘Heya’ challenge on tiktok? 

Yujin: Everybody! (laughs) 

Rei: We’d be very honoured and thankful if anyone and everyone just loves it! 

And who in the group loves doing the Tiktok challenges the most. 

Rei: Most of the members are very similar, but the ones most interested in making Tiktok videos are Gaeul and myself. 

Ive are performing at the O2 Arena on Sunday, June 16th.