GD and T.O.P. have been very busy lately with their album promotions and have also managed to sit down for some interviews during the holidays. 10Asia spent three days watching GD & T.O.P. perform during Christmas and also got to interview them.
WARNING: HUGE text post.
First up is an exceprt of their interview with G-Dragon:
10: You have returned to living a busy life. I know that you enjoyed some free time after your solo activities.
GD: I partied hard for about a month or two after receiving permission from the CEO of YG Entertainment [Yang Hyun Suk] as soon as I finished my solo activities. (laugh).
10: Was it the first time having free time since making your debut? What kind of effect did that time have on you?
GD: It was tiring and difficult when we [Big Bang] had a busy schedule but it all disappeared when we were done. (laugh) I think it was a similar feeling to that. Everthing from the past seems like nothing. That is why I had plenty of time to prepare myself for my future activities after figuring things out. That one year, after finishing my solo activities was the first time since making my debut that I got to prepare something. Whether it was to rest or think, I was able to work on something in a leisurely manner during the past year instead of rushing through everything. That is why my confidence for the next album and meeting people grew.
10: I can’t find the appropriate word but I guess I should say your attitude has changed?
GD: Yes, my attitude has changed a lot. I became more placid and I feel that I try to understand things more. The CEO told me that I shouldn’t always think of myself and that I should try to put myself in the other person’s position as well. I began to understand most of everything much better after he said that. Before, whenever we had a busy schedule, I’d say ‘Why do we have so much on our schedule’ and get irritated about it but I know now that even the smallest things are important. One could say that I am like someone who just recovered from a serious illness. That is why I’m in such great condition and am looking forward to what I’ll get to do in the future.
10: It seems like you’ve achieved a sense of liberation. (laugh)
GD: My mind has become a lot more at ease because I feel that this is what I am supposed to do rather than call it liberation. Others might say that I have achieved huge success but to me it became my stimulus and the process of how I developed. And now, instead of being burdened about how others see me, I want to present them with what I can give them.
10: So does that mean you had cared what the people thought about you?
GD: In the past, I changed many things including the tone of my voice because I was conscious about my job when I was in front of others. Also, I had a different image in front of others versus my friends but now I feel they’re becoming similar. That’s why I’m more afaid of doing interviews now. I think that breaking that line between myself and as an entertainer and the real me is good but it can become a dangerous thing when doing interviews in Korea. (laugh) Other than that, I don’t feel that there is anything to worry about how others see me. It is who I am and I think that the people like me for it and I will continue with it in the future.
10: I think that is why the lyric “Even though I’m short, my girlfriend is tall” in the “Intro” track of the new album is quite memorable. It seems like you didn’t want to drag on about what happened in the past and just cleared everything up by saying “Ah, I’m just like that.”
GD: It cleared up many things. When I made my debut I was younger and I don’t think I thought about what kind of image I was portraying to others. And I began assessing who I was after I released my solo album. I experienced a lot of pain and it was even scary to wake up every morning. When I wake up something happened and another thing would happen. I think that’s why I was quite broken then.
10: How did you overcome that?
GD: It takes time. As time went by I realized that I’m a pop singer so whatever my intention was, what the public perceives of it is my doing so it’s my fault if I give off the wrong intention. And I thought that it’s no use to talk about every little thing that has happened. I wanted to show it coolly through the next album or through words and I just remained quiet because the way I wanted to express my feelings, such as through writing or talking about it, wasn’t acceptable. That is why during that time I did my best in what I was doing and put in all my efforts to give a good impression. I now see more people who support me. I think that is how I should go about things from now on.
10: Have those inner changes had influence on your music? The track “Baby good night” from the new album is unlike the other style of songs from your previous work.
GD: Of course. It’s because when you break away from the mold the possibilities are endless. While, the artist will produce the same music over and over again if they decide on the style of music. You can say that is the problem of all idol stars and it will continue to become a problem if it’s not broken and worsen if they release album after album without resting.
10: That’s true. The artist will just coast along if they don’t have the time to think.
GD: Yes. I think that the right kind of music is not made once the artist feels that music is work. On the contrary, I will be able to enjoy making music if I am given a year or three months time. I feel that when one is working on music, performing or just having fun that it directly influences the music.
10: So it will be harder from now. You were busy making track after track since your debut.
GD: I lost my confidence during that time. I thought to myself that I can always do my best and I was in a slump once I locked myself into trying to form my own style of music. I heard that rocker Seotaiji and other singers said that they go through torment thinking about their next album. I haven’t gone through that phase yet and it may seem pretty cocky to say this at a young age but there was a time where I thought to myself, thinking that there is no guarantee for the next five to ten years if I thought I have come with everything that I can.
10: That was why I felt bad about “Heartbreaker.” While you did a thorough job on perfecting a single idea with “Lies,” that same process was missing in “Heartbreaker” giving a likely reason to doubt even if it wasn’t a plagery. I wonder if things could’ve turned out different if you had more time.
GD: That’s when I realized that I will always need much time for preparation. I used to compose songs on the spot, as if pulling things out of a vending machine but now I can’t bear to stand before my fans with music made in such a way, and it also affects my attitude on stage as well.
10: That’s what I thought as I listened to “Heartbreaker Part II” participated by Flo Rida. Part II was created with more understanding toward music than the earlier version, analyzed and re-combined to give a new flow and rhyme. It would have been awesome if the earlier version had come out like Part II.[/b]
GD: Most people turns the conversation to Flo Rida whenever that song is mentioned together with the issue of plagiarism but that wasn’t my intention to begin with. What I had in mind was to show local musicians can stand equal to musicians from abroad just like I was doing rap alongside with Flor Rida in the same track. It’s like what I wrote in the lyrics “I shall not kneel anywhere.” But because of what happened beforehand, the reviews I received at the time, both good or bad, weren’t properly focused solely on music which is quite a pity.
10: The rap at Part II was very interesting, the way you divided its flow in short units and confronted each sound with rap. You created a perfect beginning to end flow within your given part.
GD: I did the rap as fast as I could (Laugh) When I did solo album I took my time deciding on arrangements that fit the role of title track. But this second time, where my part came before the Flo Rida’s part, I decided that I got to show everything within the short time frame so I filled it with strong, diverse elements.
“I wish lyrics alone can sound like a good writing”
10: I believe all those thinking to compose that single piece have helped to widen your horizon for both understanding and composing music.
GD: I gained more freedom in some aspect. But each feeling is different: the times I work as a member of Big Bang and the times I do my solo album. But the more I work, the more I feel like I’m learning and maturing at the same time. I wouldn’t know the consequences of album I produce now but the feelings I gained from this present experience will be reflected on future albums of Big Bang. Because both other Big Bang members and I will notice the way the music matures, this will again be a great help down the road.
10: Your lyrics seem to have changed in part, too. In the recent album I got the impression that you went deeper into yourself rather than expressing yourself aloud to the public.
GD: Just like movies that contain various stories in genres of comedy, thriller, horror and more, I concentrated on the aspect of story-telling for lyrics. I wanted them to sound like an actual story with or without music. I wanted a clear plot for them. I guess it’s the influence of all the foreign raps with stories that I grew up listening to.
10: The track “Nightmare” in the latest album seems to best reflect your point. Just by closing my eyes I can actually visualize a person who runs and then flies during the early part of the song. It has that flow of rise from beginning to end.
GD: That’s right. That’s the kind of impression I was hoping to give to those who listen to “Nightmare” with their eyes closed. I wish to compose a kind of music like shown in the film “Inception (2010)” in which the final part turns out to be either a horror or fantasy depending on the individual. I put particular effort there so the ending could be anybody’s guess.
10: I’m not sure if it’s because this is solo track but “Nightmare” seems to be the piece that makes the most obvious display of your characteristics, the sharp changes between parts. I could detect almost four different levels of changes. The style is similar to that found in “Lies” and “Heartbreaker” whose music both has beginning and end marked by sudden of sound in between. Is there a reason you prefer this style?
GD: It’s one way of showing what my music is like, wholesomely, to the public. These days people can make ring tones out of certain parts of the song they like. Melodies of such ring tones are usually chosen among the song parts that have the strongest impact, which usually happens to be chorus part of the song. And because people these days decide on music just with few listening, the chorus part with strong impact became even more important. Of course, you could say a song is already a hit if many people remember it by its ending chorus alone. But I want all parts of my song to be remembered. This is my way of composing a song that can be remembered wholly, by giving twist and turn at every corner and evoking different story.
“Now is the real beginning.”
10: It seems like you have just gotten over a certain stage in your life.
GD: Entertainers should come forth to address the public. In my case I had to both create and sing the song on the stage. I came this far thinking this is probably the only thing I can do but I guess I was burdened by the fact that everything went public.
10: Last year in particular, no doubt, as everything linked to GD became an issue.
GD: Yes. Under such circumstances I became more wary and lonelier. But after going through all that, doing my music and waking up to new things I believe I can now take things with more ease. I think I can show 100-percent real me through this latest album.
10: It seems like this is the real start.
GD: It is. It also seems like I have been building up on my experience all along and this feels like my true beginning. It is same for Big Bang.
10: So what would you like to do at this point? From the track “High High” you wrote that life is about one lucky shot but in reality it was your consistent effort in music industry that got you this far.
GD: Wait, I don’t think I’ve come across my lucky shot yet (Laugh)
10: Really? (Laugh)
GD: This may sound a bit snobbish but I don’t think I’ve achieved anything yet. It’s still a long way ahead and I don’t think I’ve shown anything of a lasting impact – still in the process of building it up step by step. I’m sure this is what all the other members of Big Bang are dreaming of, too, the opportunity to strike something really big someday. (Laugh).