K-pop is an entertainment wonderland. From music to dance and visuals, all the bases for creating a compelling pop scene are covered. Recent years have also seen an increase in K-pop content strategies. K-pop groups are stepping up their storytelling and range of fictional content to inform and accompany the music. Stories offer more entries for new fans. But also, the content is more likely to keep fans engaged for longer because there’s so much to pay attention to.
BILLLIE is part of a generation of K-pop idols for whom transmedia storytelling is just as important as music and dance. They bring a world of symbolism and stories of their own, displayed through music and film. Their mystical story is the backdrop to their message: to embrace the strange and extraordinary that lies behind the ordinary. They’re like the quirky supporting characters who stole the show in a film about everyday life and are now the stars of a new film where their stories are explored in greater depth. “Our conceptual story and universe feels like a clash of realities, fantasy meeting the mystical world,” says Siyoon de BILLLIE. Pop Matters. “It’s not just in the music, lyrics and videos; there is also a set of contents with messages inside.
Even the name of the group is part of their set of meanings. It is inspired by the name “Billie”, but with an additional “L” symbolizing the extraordinary. “BILLLIE” also recalls the pronunciation of “believe”. This similarity is underscored by the vocalists in tracks like “Believe,” where they sing, “Even though I’m a little clumsy, (…) would you believe? “. The message, however, is clear: there can be something special about acknowledging the weirdness that exists.
Formed by Moon Sua, Haram, Tsuki, Haruna, Suhyeon, Siyoon, and Sheon, the girl group released their second EP, The Collective Soul and the Unconscious: Chapter One, in February 2022. If the title sounds like a book of Jungian analysis, it is because the lyrics draw on themes such as coincidences, deja-vu, signs of the universe, the relationship between the inner world and exterior. It’s lighter than it looks, though. Symbolism is just one motive for BILLLIE to develop his fictional storyline through The Collective Soul and the Unconscious: Chapter One. The music stands on its own.
The lead single, “GingaMingaYo (The Weird World)”, is a soaring EDM introduction to the world of BILLLIE. But BILLLIE’s esoteric aura feels more at home in electro-R&B songs like “a sign ~ anonyme”, “overlap (1/1)”, “MN palace” and “believe”. These songs have just the right combination of mystery, elegance and energy. The last title of the EP, “believe”, is suitable Chapter One in the way it sounds like the ending theme of a teen adventure movie. It’s no coincidence, there is a dramaturgical side to BILLLIE.
Before the release of The Collective Soul and the Unconscious: Chapter One, BILLLIE has released their concept film story, What’s your B?. The 11-minute production featured many firsts for the members – Sheon’s first time performing, Moon Sua’s first time riding a motorcycle. What’s your B? adds to the BILLLIE lore and completes the message in their lyrics.
BILLLIE members don’t sing What’s your B?but there is music: the film features instrumentals that allude to the Chapter One tracks, as well as tracks from their previous works. They are interspersed with arrangements that range from dance music to jazz and classical music. In an innovative gesture, a soundtrack for What’s your B? was released on music streaming services. This is a genius piece to showcase the versatility of BILLLIE’s melodies and spark interest in BILLLIE’s music.
As a product, the OST for What’s your B? is for fans who savor and consume every bit of their favorite artwork – like older fans of the Harry Potter saga, who were eager to buy the official soundtracks of the movies. The BILLIE soundtrack also serves to shine a light on some of K-pop’s invisible heroes: songwriters and musicians.
As for the members of BILLLIE, they also come from various experiences in the K-pop industry. In addition to music, some of them have also worked as models and actresses. For example, Suhyeon was in two popular survival music shows on Korean TV: Produce 101 and New mix. Sheon was on Girls Planet 999. Moon Sua was on Not Pretty Rapstar 2. It’s easy to assume they’re used to being in the spotlight. Still, they admit to feeling nervous when performing in bands and they are constantly learning more about their profession. “Even before our debut, my perception of being on stage hasn’t changed much, as we are still nervous and excited to be on stage,” Sua shares. Her brother (K-pop star Moonbin, of boy group ASTRO) is one of her sources of support.
BILLLIE’s music, performances and content make for an engaging and intriguing blend of entertainment. “We will continue to release different things within our universe and different content that we can enjoy with our fans,” Suhyeon said. Pop Matters.