How CIX Is Navigating The Complicated Twists And Turns Of Love In Their New EP, ‘OK Not’

What do you do when that love is half-hearted?

As they share in their interview with NYLON Manila, CIX is ready to show a more mature side of love, Ferrari concept and all.

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Among the many words you can use to describe K-pop boy group CIX, which stands for Complete in X, half-hearted is not one of them. When the C9 Entertainment-based group made their debut in 2019 with Movie Star, CIX shook many with just how polished they were. Slowly but surely, CIX was replacing their reputation as just the new group of former WANNA ONE member BAEJINYOUNG to a competent boy group worth the stan. Thanks to releasing a string of bops like Cinema and Jungle, the group, composed of members BX, Seunghun, BAEJINYOUNG, Yonghee, and Hyunsuk, have built a following as a 4th gen boy group that can consistently deliver on the visuals, music, choreography, and production.

SPEEDING THROUGH LOVE

This focus to detail and touch of quality has never left the group since their debut, and in fact continues to grow stronger as seen in their latest comeback, the EP ‘OK’ Episode 1 : OK Not?. Not only does this mark their first Korean comeback of 2022, but it’s also the first episode of the OK series since it began with the prologue through their first studio album, ‘OK’ Prologue: Be OK in 2021. “We wanted to express the ego that matures through the conflict between instinct and reason,” shared BX during the group’s interview with NYLON Manila ahead of their comeback.

For this new era, the boys get more mature as they discuss a deeper side of love and the concept that “a person who is making desperate efforts to win their lover’s heart, a person needs to face oneself in the conflict between reason and instinct, and sometimes the need to break the rules.” The four-track EP touches on the pain, desire, patience, emptiness, and multi-faceted side of love as seen in title track 458. The electro-hip-hop song starts of relatively tame enough before it releases its full speedy potential in the chorus. The members channel their inner race car drivers (458 is in reference to the Ferrari 458 sports car) as they share a story of a conflict between falling in love and controlling that strong desire.

“We’re trying to show how we’ve improved every time,” said Hyunsuk. It seems quite clear that they are succeeding on that front as not only do their fans, called FIX, have new music to enjoy, but one that’s more mature, dark, slightly haunting, but still hits in all the right places. Read on below for our full interview with CIX where they talk about their new EP, meeting fans, getting ready for a new era.  

What is the concept behind ‘OK’ Episode 1 : OK Not?

BX: This album contains worries to find the essence of love. We wanted to express the ego that matures through the conflict between instinct and reason or through various emotions derived from love. That’s why we came back with an intense and sexy concept!

How does this new EP differ from your past releases?

BAEJINYOUNG: In the last album, if the overall story of youth was the main focus, we wanted to show the mature side through the love experienced by youth and the various emotions derived from love.

Could you share the story of how 458 came to be?

SEUNGHUN: We wanted to express the keyword “instinct” in various ways through this title track. When we think of the word “instinct,” it’s easy to think of a wild, speedy concept. We eventually came up with 458, which is the representative number of an Italian sports car brand Ferrari, because the brand was the background for our concept universe as well. This number also aligns with the last three digits of the speed of light. It’s an energetic song that represent speed just like a sports car.

How do you guys determine if a song is worthy of being made a title track?

YONGHEE: We had a lot of thoughts about which song to select as the title song. But, we thought this song is a strong song that goes well with this summer, so we chose this song as the title song. We also think we’ll be able to show various charm of ourselves, CIX.

The EP marks your first Korean comeback of 2022. What do you hope fans take away from the new album?

HYUNSUK: We hope our fans can feel our different charms through this album. We’re trying to show how we’ve improved every time. But this time, members took extra consideration into small details, even each other’s hair and styling. Since it’s been a while since we released an album in Korea, we hope our fans can also relate to our hard work!

What can fans expect from CIX coming into this new era of yours?

BAEJINYOUNG: We want to show various concepts and stories about our identity concept that we haven’t shown yet. Also, we want to repay our fan’s love as much as their support for us.

Given that this is your fifth EP, how do you guys still manage to bring that sense of excitement and freshness whenever you work on a new project?

HYUNSUK: Every time we prepare an album, it will be the same; the members are doing their best and putting in a lot of work to make one album. Every preparation is not easy. But, if we think that we can show great performances to our fans, we practice harder and come up with new ideas for our new album.

You recently completed your first US tour, as well as your first concert ever in Seoul. What was it like seeing your fans in person?

SEUNGHUN: There were so many unfortunate times because we couldn’t meet our fans due to COVID-19. However, it was an unforgettable time for us because we were able to meet our fans around the world and made such happy and warm memories. We can’t wait for the things to get even better so we can meet more FIX from all over the world!

You have fans all over the world. With that being said, does it ever cross your mind whenever you make music how you think your non-Korean speaking fans will react to your music?

BX: Whenever we release an album, FIX from many countries send us support and love. Although the physical distance is far away, we feel thankful for all our fans because they seem to recognize our sincerity for preparing hard for them.

What is something that you guys haven’t done yet that you would love to do?

YONGHEE: We want to make more opportunities to meet our fans more freely and more often. If we have a good opportunity, we want to try anything! We also hope to have a chance to have a fan meeting with our fans in a wider space!

What do you think it is about CIX that helps you stand out from the crowd?

BAEJINYOUNG: I think our strength is the performance that can fill the whole stage with just five of us. All five members are very serious about our performance.

What is one thing about CIX that you wish more people knew about you?

BX: There are so many charms that we haven’t shown yet. We’re planning to show various sides of us through our upcoming albums. We want to show CIX’s infinite charms within our future steps.

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