For Musician BIBI, 'Life is a Bi...'

South Korea’s rising artist spills the details on her latest EP.

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Life can be a real b*tch whether we like it or not, according to South Korea‘s rising musician BIBI. Just in time for the release of her sophomore EP Life is a Bi…, we caught up with the artist to talk about the creative process and inspiration behind the five-track album.

“Life is an endless loop of happiness, sadness, difficult times and more. When life hits you hard, sometimes you just want to blame everything on someone else,” explains the 22-year-old, who has become one of the most sought-after artists in South Korea following the release of hits like “cigarette and condom” and “BINU.” Instead of lighthearted subjects, BIBI deals with an overarching theme of life this time around. “People with negative thoughts live their lives in their own beautiful way. I’ve tried denying the fact that I’m a depressed person overall. It’s much healthier to just accept yourself for who you are,” she adds.

Continue reading for HYPEBEAST KR‘s interview with BIBI on her latest EP Life is a Bi… , as well as the things that keep her going as she marks yet another milestone in her career as a musician.

It’s been two years since your last EP, The Manual for people who want to love. What was the conceptualization process like this time around?  

I’ve been writing these tracks one after another since 2018. It was around 2019 when I realized that I should start rolling those songs out. At first, I just wanted to get them out but throughout the process, I learned to look back on myself and my life thus far. I didn’t put all of my efforts into this just because it was my second EP — I just ended up doing so.

You’ve been releasing new music almost every month, although this is just your sophomore EP. What was the creative process like? 

It took longer to write the lyrics than to come up with the actual songs. I also gave my all in making sure everything from conceptualization to production was perfect. It might be just me, but I really love this album. I love all of the tracks on the list.

What was the inspiration behind the title? It does seem like it’s influenced by NasLife’s a Bitch

There isn’t a big connection, really, since I didn’t grow up listening to Nas’ music. The title comes more from my personal thoughts and experiences, which made me realize that life really is a b*tch.

How did you select the tracks to be featured on the EP? 

I think I mainly focused on the order of the tracklist. I kept telling myself the EP would have five songs in total.

What’s the first track “Umm… Life” about?

Life is an endless loop of happiness, sadness, difficult times and more. When life hits you hard, sometimes you just want to blame everything on someone else. This song serves as a way to explain all of that.

The last song on the list must connect with the concept of life as well. 

That’s right. “BAD SAD AND MAD” is about trying to enjoy the bumps and hurdles life gives you. It encourages people to overcome anxious feelings by thinking that we’re all going through the same things.

On the other hand, “PIRI the dog” is about surrendering to the harshness of life. It was inspired by a moment when I felt that life was really being a b*tch to me. I always wonder if I’m an animal and if that’s the case, it means that I’m just a pet abandoned by life. So this fourth track is all about wanting to give up.

But you overcome everything in the final title, “Life is a Bi… .”

I believe that life is hard not because of me or anyone else, but because of life itself. We’re just getting punished for being alive, which leads me to say, “Life is a Bi… .”

This ties back to what you previously said about the lyrics being closely connected to your music. 

If you read the words, watch the music video and listen to the songs, it’ll all come together like a puzzle. You’ll also realize how similar your life is to mine.

What was the inspiration behind the “BAD SAD AND MAD” music video? 

It started from the idea that life is a struggle. When I make music, I tend to mentally beat myself up a lot. I stress myself out by thinking that I need to experience every little bit of my emotions and thoughts, which makes me extremely depressed and consequently physically drained at times. It’s funny that our bodies get tired just from all of the stress caused in our minds.

Another point I was inspired by was how adults will tell you, “What you’re going through is nothing. It’s all in your head.” I find that these words can act as a form of mental abuse. It made me realize that we still consider emotional and mental mistreatment less of a priority than physical violence. These thoughts are what created the entire concept.

Will you also be releasing music videos for the remaining tracks? 

Each song will get its own music video following “BAD SAD AND MAD.” This EP is a representation of everything going on inside my head.

Why did you choose “BAD SAD AND MAD” and “Life is a Bi…” as the two title tracks? 

At first, we were planning on going with “PIRI the dog,” but quickly realized we wouldn’t be able to perform or play that on mainstream channels because of all the cursing. I also did end up liking “BAD SAD AND MAD,” as well as “Life is a Bi…,” so that’s why we went with those two.

You’ve also been delivering an all-English version of “BAD SAD AND MAD” on live performance shows. 

To be honest, I don’t think a lot of my fans in Korea watch live performances on television. I’m doing these shows mostly for my supporters overseas.

Is that why most of the lyrics on this EP are in English? 

I think I ended up using more English just because some of the expressions I wanted to use would come across as too aggressive in Korean. If I write any love songs in the future, those will probably be more in Korean than in English.

It seems like some of the lyrics were intentionally written to be grammatically incorrect. As you may know, Korean listeners can be quite sensitive when it comes to this. 

We had Mirae (who is fluent in English) go through all of the words during the making process. If there’s anything that is grammatically incorrect, it’s intentional. Some of these lyrics are reworded so that they don’t come off too strong. It’s poetic license, basically.

If you had to choose, which would be your favorite track from the EP? 

I think “PIRI the dog” is the perfect reflection of this album. I was going for a sad, funny but cute vibe – something that seems like a comedy from afar but is actually a tragedy close-up. If you listen carefully, you’ll hear actual dogs barking, which is funny and cute. But this dog would probably have been in the worst possible situation after being abandoned by its owner.

You’ve also rolled out some merch.

We’ve prepared a lot of goods including apparel, accessories and phone cases. I hope those who are able to really connect with my music purchase these products. I would love if people who haven’t even listened to my music could feel some sort of connection just by reading the text on the items.

A lot of your fanbase comes from your live performances. How are you navigating this time when in-person shows are not possible? 

I’m actually really bad at performances. I used to get stressed just from the thought of having to sing something live. I know this makes me sound like I’m an extremely stressed person overall, although it is true that I’ve been stressed to the max lately. I’m the type of person that needs to meet others face-to-face, perform live and witness people listening to my songs, so it has been frustrating.

I can tell from numbers on platforms like social media that I’m being loved as an artist, but that’s not enough for me. It feels like eating like crazy but not being able to poop. I believe I’m one of the healthiest artists out there and if I’m feeling this way, I wonder how frustrating it must be for others.

You’ve previously called yourself a singer that can’t dance or sing. What do you think of this statement now? 

I think I’ve gotten a little bit better, but I still don’t consider myself the most talented in singing or dancing. As an entertainer, I think all I need to do is create content in my own way for others to enjoy. I’m not a special person. I just tend to get energized by watching people have fun. I also want to mention that I, too, am someone who’s just busy doing her work.

Do you believe that there’s a “Manual” for those having a hard time?

I want to tell anyone out there that needs to hear this, to not be sad because you’re not a positive person. People with negative thoughts live their lives in their own beautiful way. I’ve tried denying the fact that I’m a depressed person overall. It’s much healthier to just accept yourself for who you are.

What keeps you going? 

It’s not necessarily happy or positive things that keep me going. Sometimes, thoughts like, “I can’t fall behind that b*tch” are what motivate me. I have some sort of instinct flowing in my blood that tells me I don’t want to leave my family behind in this hell-like world. I’m just born like that, and I like that I can accept myself the way I am. These are the things that keep me going.

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Woomin Lee
Yeeun Kim
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