“I would be doing my makeup and look at Soo Joo’s and be like ‘Oh, oh yeah, that much glitter…’” says Desire’s Megan Louise as she and the synth-rich band’s new keyboardist Soo Joo Park laugh on the line. “We did everything ourselves, there was no team, there was no makeup artist, there was no assistant.”
Such was the DIY beauty approach for “Zeros,” Park’s music video debut directed by Kirill Nong and assistant director Polina Pierce. Filmed over 48 hours in Palm Springs, “Zeros” takes viewers on a neo-noir trip featuring a landline, a hardware store, a pickup truck, and a shovel-wielding pair played by Park and Louise. “It was instinctive for me,” Park admits of using the beauty tricks she’s “absorbed through osmosis” over years of modeling. “Desire’s persona when she goes on stage is like Jem and the Holograms in electroclash world, and I wanted to be a character that would be friends with her,” she says of her vampy, bleached-blonde, smokey gazed role. “The characters in the music video are like an alternate reality version of ourselves. Would we be burying a bag in the desert?” she asks. “No,” Louise responds. “But we would be burying our baggage of 2020.”
Park’s move into music, after modeling since her twenties, has been brewing for a while. “Music is something that I love and it’s my true passion, next to fashion, and I couldn’t have thought of a better project than to join Desire,” says Park. “I mean, ‘Under Your Spell’ is an anthem for so many people, myself included, it was such a pivotal song and important time in my life,” she shares of the band’s track that became its own cult classic floating over Ryan Gosling and Carey Mulligan’s performances in Drive. Park has long counted herself a fan of indie record label Italians Do It Better, founded by her now-bandmate Johnny Jewel. “The fact that their sound is distinctive and their visuals are extremely important and they have full control on their creativity, I was really drawn to that as well—being able to contribute in a creative way, while having full control,” she says. Jewel and Louise started Desire after the two met in her hometown of Montreal, “fell in love, wrote ‘Under Your Spell’ and never looked back,” the frontwoman tells me. The label also oversees bands like Chromatics, Glass Candy, and Mirage. Jewel, the owner, contributes to all of the projects while Louise, its president, has helped run behind the scenes for a dozen years. Their fashion collaborations sent them orbiting around Park, in a way.
Before modeling, Park experimented with music, but her editorial trajectory, demand on designer runways, and ambassadorships with brands like Chanel and L’Oreal Paris meant delaying the inevitable. In February of 2018, Jewel had scored a Bottega Veneta campaign that resulted in a trip to New York Fashion Week where he and Louise spotted the Korean-born, So-Cal-suburb-raised supermodel. “She was DJing at a party we attended that night and playing Glass Candy and Desire,” remembers Louise of seeing Park off the runway and on the 1s and 2s. Park recalls the moment as “these two people with like, raven jet black hair” strolling up to their song. They exchanged contacts and kept in touch for Chanel’s FW 2018 Haute Couture collection, as Louise was in talks with sound designer Michel Gaubert and partner Ryan Aguilar about playing the new “Blue Girl” and “Black Walls” Chromatics tracks at the Grand Palais. “I send them all of our music ahead of it being released,” Louise explains, noting that this time she included Park, who had a front row seat, in the preview listening party in case it was useful for any Couture Week DJ sets. “I went backstage and talked to Michel and Ryan about it and I was like ‘oh my god it’s gonna be so good,’” says Park of tracks that ended up accompanying one of Karl Lagerfeld’s final shows with the house. She and Louise continued communicating, from respective east and west coasts, like pen pals via extended emails and packages of merch before deciding to collaborate officially this fall.
“This is the first time we’re introducing Soo Joo as part of the band, and she’ll be touring with us and also developing her own project throughout being in Desire. She’s playing keyboards in ‘Zeros,’ and the next single she’ll be performing entirely herself,” Louise shares of the album Escape. For the band’s next single, Park will be performing in Korean. “She has an amazing voice,” says Louise. IDIB’s projects are notorious for their long-game release strategies, often rolling out over years instead of one square, cinematic course. “Zeros” is the first of a series of music videos to come, and Park and Louise are treating it like the passion project that it is, texting stills from Thelma and Louise and Glitter Force back and forth, virtually shopping Park’s closet for costumes (the black buckled heels kicking up sand are, of course, Chanel) and borrowing beauty notes from editorial experience.
“That’s just a vintage Harley scarf that I bought in a vintage store in Taiwan,” says Park when I ask about her desert headgear. “It wasn’t intentional, I wanted to wear this long blonde hair wig that I had.” After a shoot where Park was outfitted with extensions, she loved the look so much she asked hairstylist Eric Williams to make her a 25-inch lace wig, which she brought to Palm Springs. “I’m not like a professional hairstylist, so I put it on and I was trying to flatten it down while we were on set, traveling through the desert, and I used this headscarf to keep it laid right and then it just kind of ended up being part of it,” she says with a laugh. Louise opted for a black beret topping the quarantine haircut she did herself. “I call it The Ponytail Method,” she explains. “Basically, you tie your hair in a ponytail and chop it off. It’s fun, I even do my bangs that way.”