The five women of LE SSERAFIM—KIM CHAEWON, SAKURA, HUH YUNJIN, KAZUHA and HONG EUNCHAE—debuted this time last year, and since the very start, they've made it quite clear that they're far from interested in being another cog in the K-pop machine.

In a bold statement, YUNJIN summarized the LE SSERAFIM ethos: "I want to change the idol industry." Now, the New York native has solidified her place as one of the only female K-pop idols to produce her own music. Meanwhile, the quintet all possess at least one songwriting credit in their discography, helmed by songs like "Good Parts (when the quality is bad but I am)," a confident B-side from their previous offering, ANTIFRAGILE, that embraces their deemed flaws. With LE SSERAFIM, there's no illusion that they're untouchable humans as the industry tries to push, but rather five women with a passion for music (who just happen to receive well-deserved recognition). 

Their debut studio album, UNFORGIVEN, extends their unapologetic temperament and manifests as a testament to their expansive range.

With 13 tracks, LE SSERAFIM spans country, rock and funk, led by the titular single featuring legendary guitarist Nile Rodgers. Such a coveted appearance is evidence of the burgeoning K-pop leaders' appeal, placing them amongst elite ranks of Nile's impressive roster of collaborators, which includes Michael Jackson, Beyoncé and Daft Punk. Per usual, their playful but honest lyricism shines through in "UNFORGIVEN" with proud proclamations of villainous behavior over Nile's infectious, twangy guitar.

Elsewhere, "Eve, Psyche & the Bluebeard's wife" unites three shunned mythological women in a metaphor for LE SSERAFIM's desires to live their truth, even when it goes against society's dominion. As their anagrammatic group name suggests, "fearless" is at the forefront of their character, and this state of being "unforgiven" allows them to disrupt the industry together as LE SSERAFIM.

Below, LE SSERAFIM discusses what it means to be fearless, antifragile and unforgiven; and how FEARNOT has empowered them to be the best version of themselves to date.

le sserafim group photo dewy sage

(Photo credit: SOURCE MUSIC)


Sweety High: While UNFORGIVEN unveils a new chapter of LE SSERAFIM, it also acts as a continuation of LE SSERAFIM's story thus far, as music from FEARLESS and ANTIFRAGILE make an appearance. How do the new songs from UNFORGIVEN fit into the broader story of FEARLESS and ANTIFRAGILE?

KIM CHAEWON: From the very beginning of our journey as LE SSERAFIM, we have told stories only we can tell. We want to be fearless, antifragile and unforgiven.

UNFORGIVEN is how we say that we aren't interested in judgment from others because, together, we are fearless and antifragile in what we believe is right. It's not an easy path for everyone, but we will always have each other's backs and FEARNOT with us, so we won't hesitate to move forward in the direction we desire.


Also read about: FIFTY FIFTY Take Love Into Their Own Hands in Dreamy Comeback Single, 'Cupid'


SH: You collaborated with Nile Rodgers on the title track. What was the experience working with someone who has credits alongside icons like David Bowie and Madonna? What have you learned while working with him that you'll take with you in future projects?

HUH YUNJIN: I am personally still in disbelief! We are so thankful for everything Nile has done with us.

We only got to meet virtually a couple of times because we were on the other side of the globe, but I get goosebumps thinking about the moment when Nile grabbed his guitar and just played on top of our track, "UNFORGIVEN."

Nile gave us so much great advice and words to live by, and one of the things I will make sure to remember in all our future projects and life is to do what you feel is right.


SH: The idea for "UNFORGIVEN" came from The Good, the Bad and the Ugly. How did this film manifest into an entire concept, and why did its storyline resonate with you?

SAKURA: Sampling the main theme from The Good, the Bad and the Ugly was an idea from our executive producer Bang Si-Hyuk. He listened to the demo and instantly thought it would be a great fit, so our company reached out to Ennio Morricone's son. He listened to our demo, loved it and agreed to let us sample the music. It is such a great honor, so we tried our hardest to make sure we did the legend absolutely no harm.


Also read about: Meet WVVE, the K-Pop Industry's Newest Ray of Sunshine


SH: HUH YUNJIN, you participated in the production of "FEARNOT (Between you, me and the lamppost)," which is described as a "country rock track." Country music is a territory not often traversed in the K-pop landscape. Can you talk more about how this song came to life for you, and how you found inspiration in the country genre?

HY: I'm actually a big fan of Taylor Swift and indie pop music. I got a lot of inspiration from the rawness, in both the sound and storytelling aspect of the genre when writing this song.

I also worked with JUKJAE, an amazing singer-songwriter that I very much admire, so I think our styles put together naturally leaned into the country rock genre. I felt like it fit the song's message very well. It's my favorite track on the album.


SH: "FEARNOT (Between you, me and the lamppost)" is a dedication to your loyal fanbase. From an artist's perspective, what does your relationship with fans mean to you, and how is that conveyed through the lyrics of this track?

HONG EUNCHAE: We would not have been able to do anything without our fans, FEARNOT. This may sound cliche, but I really wanted to thank our fans for the unconditional love and support. They're one of the biggest reasons why we can stay as courageous as we are now. This was my first time writing lyrics ever, and I am so thankful that this track was my first one.

le sserafim dewy sage closeup

(Photo credit: SOURCE MUSIC)


SH: 2023 versions of "The World Is My Oyster," "FEARLESS" and "Blue Fame" are included on UNFORGIVEN. Now that you are three projects deep into your career, has your relationship with music, in general, changed at all?

KC: I love every single from the bottom of my heart. Like we've stated through UNFORGIVEN, we are moving towards what we believe is right, and we won't regret the chances we make along the way. So, I don't think our relationship with these songs have changed, necessarily! They were a reflection of what we were thinking then and a great start to our story.


SH: One of the lyrics from "Burn the Bridge" is YUNJIN's "I open all the doors, because I know there is a path I long for beyond one of them." Is there a door you're still hoping to open as LE SSERAFIM or individuals?

HY: I think whatever doors are on our way. However challenging it might become, we'll open all of them.

I'm here right now with all our members and our fans, doing everything I've ever dreamed of, because I opened all the doors.


Also read about: TRENDZ Discuss Their Comeback With BLUE SET Chapter. [NEW DAYZ] and What's Next


SH: There are many genres covered in this album—from easy-listening pop music to country rock, Latin pop and funk. Why is it important to show such range as LE SSERAFIM?

KAZUHA: All our members are from very different backgrounds, and we cherish and love that about us. We learn from each other all the time. What better way is there to show our diverse personalities than constantly trying out and challenging ourselves with new things?

le sserafim group photo dewy sage standing

(Photo credit: SOURCE MUSIC)


SH: Do you have a lyric or overall song from UNFORGIVEN that feels most meaningful to you?

KC: "Burn the Bridge." The lyrics are all from what the members have written or said from interviews we've done in the past. I said in one of the interviews that "I have faith in myself. Whichever choice and decisions I make, I am confident I will not regret them." I'm proud of a lot of things on this album, but these lyrics always hit me.


SH: What else are you looking forward to during this album promotional cycle and the rest of 2023?

HE: For now, we really are just looking forward to showcasing our songs in front of everyone, especially to FEARNOT.

We worked extremely hard to live up to what we have done in previous EPs—which were amazing, and we are absolutely grateful for it—but we always want to go above and beyond.


SH: Anything else you'd like to share?

SAKURA: We hope this album can empower you to be you and be the best version of yourself. We really hope you like it.


If you can't get enough of K-pop, click HERE to find out which K-pop songs you should be streaming this spring.