This issue includes exclusive interviews with Akdong Musician (AKMU) and WINNER.
Noisey: So what have you been up to here in New York?
Kang Seungyoon: We came here—it’s been about a week—to shoot our first album jacket cover. We’ve been shooting from early morning to night, and all around different locations, Central Park, Soho. New York City is so beautiful—like, we don’t even have to do much, and the pictures turn out great.
How’s the new music sounding?
KSY: We’ve recorded all the songs—the harder songs, the slow songs, all of it—it’s really in the final stages of production. You know, just little editing, producing… just like, “it could sound even better like this.” We keep getting inspired. So we really want to tweak it to make sure it’s the best that we could put out.
What kind of release will it be?
Lee Seunghoon: We’re still deciding.
KSY: We don’t know yet if it’s going to come out as a full album, mini-album, or even digital single. It really depends on the quality of the songs, after it’s all done. We’re going to work with our boss Yang Hyun-suk [founder and CEO of YG Entertainment], and he’s going to help choose and really see what makes sense. And kind of cater it to how well done the songs are.
What’s something you would say makes Winner different from other groups?
KSY: We all participate in producing, working with the songs, and we really put it out there for the group to decide, say, if a song is one we want to release. We incorporate our honest feelings and thoughts—the depth of it [is different] if someone else makes your song for you, versus being involved yourself as a writer. You can really relay that message, and people around your age, or people who share the same kind of emotions or feelings—whatever they’re going through, they can really gain from that, and feel encouragement from that. So, what makes us different might be the fact that we’ve been producing songs, writing songs, making music. We’ve been putting ourselves into it.
I’ve actually always been impressed by your songs—I watched WIN as it was happening, and even though it’s not officially released yet, I rated “Smile Again” as one of the best songs of last year. So I’m curious how long Seungyoon, Minho, and Taehyun have been writing.
Minho: I’ve loved music since I was young, so I started around 12, 13. And then, since then, I would just write things here and there, until I went under YG to practice. That’s when I really started trying it seriously again.
Taehyun: I’ve always liked music, with or without lyrics—like electronic music, and house, for instance. It was maybe two years ago that I started with electronic music, making beats. But in terms of making full-out songs, with lyrics and everything, that was about a year ago.
KSY: As for me… I used to make songs on my guitar as I strummed, around age 16, in the style of music that I liked. Acoustic, folk, just jamming and writing. In terms of pop music and different genres, it was after we [Winner] became a team [in summer 2013, as Team A, on YG’s WIN reality program], working as a team. That’s when I started seriously.
What are some of the folk and acoustic artists that you liked?
KSY: Jason Mraz is an obvious one; a lot of people like him. [Ed. note: Mraz has long been a favorite in South Korea, even having appeared in a sketch on SNL Korea last year.] But I really like when heavy rock and metal groups take their style and do an acoustic number, like on an album where they’ll have maybe the last song like that. I like taking the heavier stuff and making it acoustic on its own.
How did you guys start making beats and producing? Was that independently, or did YG’s team teach you?
Taehyun: I really liked electronic music and DJs, so I just did that on my own, and moved on from there to writing lyrics. I always did it as a kind of self-expression, so I don’t feel like I necessarily got specific teaching.
KSY: But as we entered the company and started making our own songs and producing, we got to share rooms with other producers. Just watching YG’s in-house producers, in terms of their sequencing and what they were doing, gaining inspiration from their sound and the way they go at it—we felt a lot like, “oh, I can use that technique too,” or “oh, so that’s how you do that.”
I was really impressed by your choreography on WIN, Seunghoon—I thought what you did with “Don’t Stop the Music” was beautiful. Will you continue to be involved with Winner’s choreography in the future?
LSH: Not even just the choreo, but really the overall stage presence, everything going on, the little details in the live production—I’m really into that. I’m hoping to learn more about it as time goes on, so we can really focus on the overall now.
It seemed like the WIN experience was really arduous and challenging. I was wondering what lessons you learned from that hundred-day stretch.
KSY: One of the first thing that comes to mind is the fact that it was a huge rivalry, a battle with Team B. Through them, and through that healthy competition—that’s how we really grew as artists. If it wasn’t for them, I don’t think we would’ve been able to put our best forward. It’s really that healthy competition that helped us to go above and beyond, and always grow. It was also the first time we developed as a team, officially, so it helped us to gauge and use the best of what we have, and to develop good synergy and work amongst ourselves to make the best teamwork possible.
What’s been your favorite part of your debut preparations?
LSH: Really, up until debuting, we’ve been spending all our time in the practice rooms—we didn’t really go anywhere else. All our memories together were in the practice room. So it’s great to go travel abroad, like as guests on 2NE1’s tour: we went to the Philippines, and all over the place. The world is so broad, and there’s so much to gain inspiration from, so we feel like we’re taking all that in. It really helps us as artists—just the little things, even, like hanging out in all these different cities.
What kind of group would you hope to be five years from now?
KSY: In five years, we want to be Winner. And in five years, we want to be a group deserving of the name Winner. Hopefully we’ll be in the middle of our own world tour, so that when we come to New York in five years, we’ll be having an interview about that.
Who are some of your biggest inspirations as sunbae [seniors, or role models]?
LSH: I’d like to point out Taeyang [YG solo artist and member of Big Bang]. In our second battle [against Team B] for the show, he actually produced and really helped us with our performance. He gave us a lot of good advice and shared a lot of wisdom. We feel like we gained a lot from that, and from there things started working out really great.
KSY: We were also guest performers on 2NE1’s world tour, and at the YG Family concerts we got to be on stage with a lot of other YG artists. So through our performances, a lot of the older artists, the sunbae, would teach us different parts, and give us pointers and tips. They taught us a lot. Even just watching them from the side of the stage, we’d see, like, “oh, yeah, that’s really effective.” Also seeing that fan engagement, and seeing how much the crowd loves it, and really gets into the music – that kind of connection, we learn a lot through that.
I wanted to end in asking if you guys have any favorite memories of Team B, or things you most appreciate about them.
LSH: One of the greatest memories so far since the program is that we were recently on the YG Family tour, and Team B participated in that too. We got to perform together at the Tokyo Dome, and seeing them – you know, there’s really that emotional aspect, because we really practiced together and helped each other grow so much. I just hope we can do that in the future, and that we become fellow artists. We always gain energy from each other and help each other out.
No stars just drop from the sky. This applies especially to a K-Pop star whose stage is the world. To become a star, they spend 3 to 4 years of patience and hard work. Training in teenage years is harsher than anything. During these years of training, countless youths quit, being unable to handle the merciless pressure placed upon them. They tuck away their dreams, half willingly and half due to tough reality.
The same harsh years were placed upon TAEYANG (Dong Young Bae, aged 26) the lead vocalist of BIGBANG. As a trainee, he fought against himself at the YG Entertainment Headquarters in Seoul Hapjeong for 6 years—that’s 2190 days, or 5256 hours. He chose this path in 6th grade, when he could have spent the years hanging out with friends or doing mischievous things. That’s why he was even more determined. He never tried to cheat, and his 6 years were filled with honest hard work. And his hard work paid off. In 2006 he made a debut as a member of BIGBANG, and now he stands at the top, shining bright.
The hero of this week’s “Star Timeline” TAEYANG’s “time slip” location is the old headquarters in Hapjeong where he fostered his dream. The new one was built in 2011, but the old one remains as the “dream fosterer” for trainees. The place with bittersweet memories also remains the same way to TAEYANG, who recently unveiled his 2nd full album “RISE,” as his “growth stimulator.”
Looking around the old headquarters on June 15, TAEYANG comments, “This place has changed a lot. But what remains the same is the humidity.” Like someone visiting a childhood playground, TAEYANG seemed like he was transported back to 12 years ago. He began pouring out the stories that were kept in his heart.
#1. What the 13-year-old TAEYANG said changed his life forever: “I want to be a singer”
-Since when did you want to become a singer?
“I loved music since I was little. But I didn’t express it since I was too shy. When I was in 4th grade, going to acting academy was in. My family was having financial difficulties so I was sent to my aunt’s and I tagged along my cousins who went to the academy. YG was choosing a children version of Jinusean so I auditioned for it. And I appeared in Jinusean’s music video. I encountered hiphop for the first time, and I wanted to become a trainee there.”
-Did you tell that to YANG HYUN SUK yourself?
“Yes I did. After working with Jinusean, I had to go back to my old life. But I didn’t want to. I went to YANG and said, ‘I want to become a singer. Let me train here.’ And he goes, ‘Ok, let’s do it.’ I think he liked how determined I was at a young age.”
-That wouldn’t have been easy for a 6th grader to say.
“Asian financial crisis hit my family hard when I was in 4th grade. I didn’t understand what was going on. On one hand I hated that life, but on the other, I thought I should find something I am good at and help my parents out.”
-What was your first impression of your boss, YANG HYUN SUK?
“I thought he was ‘really huge.’ Back then, it felt like he was the largest and bulkiest man I have ever seen so far.”
-Your parents must have been very concerned.
“At the beginning, yes. But they gave me one condition: ‘You are doing this on your own will. Do not ask for help. You must get good grades at school.’”
-You met G-DRAGON for the first time around then?
“Ji Young was part of an underground hiphop group back then, until he was chosen by YG. We sometimes fought after becoming trainees but we only had each other. We were unable to have a normal school life, so all I have of my childhood memories is with Ji Young.”
-You must have also seen him as your competitor?
“Back then, YG already viewed Ji Young as a trainee and an artist. I was a trainee who walked in to the building on my own will. I did feel that I was treated differently to Ji Young. So I wanted to learn more. Of course, I partly did see him as a competitor.”
#2. Dong Young Bae’s teenage life: Precious moments with Kwon Ji Young
-How was life as a trainee?
“It was like I was part of the real world. Since I was thrown into the real society after only spending time at home and school, I had a difficult time because I didn’t really know all the social etiquettes.”
-It must have been really hard.
“It was. Especially because it took so long to get there from my house, which was in Euijeongbu. I finish school at 4 and leave for Hongdae on a bus. I arrive at 6 and train until 11, and run to the bus stop to catch the last bus. It would be 1 am when I arrive in Euijeongbu, and I had to walk half an hour to get home. And then I do homework, and go to sleep after 3 am. My daily pocket money was 2000 won, and I would be left with just 400 won after all the bus trips.”
-What did they teach you at the agency?
“The current trainees are trained under a systemic structure, but back then, watching over the shoulders of more experienced dancers and singers was all we got. But we were able to learn how to be a person before becoming a singer. We start by cleaning the agency. Hon Pyo, who is the head of the department, was like the strict watcher back then. He would check how we cleaned, and if he finds a piece dust, we would have to do it all over again.”
-Were the more experienced artists friendly and did they teach you techniques?
“It was hard to talk to them. They were already stars. They weren’t that warm to us. I was so jealous when members of 1TYM displayed on the floor their newly bought outfits from the U.S. for their 3rd album, and it filled the huge room. Ji Young and I told each other ‘When we become singers, we can wear outfits like them.’ Teddy was my favorite. I always told myself I would become a rapper like him.”
-When was the hardest time?
“I could laugh about it now, but it was when YG Family’s 2nd album came out. Ji Young was singing the title song “Fly Gentleman” with other artists, and I was lucky enough to record one of the tracks. YG Family won an award on Music Awards, and I was watching it on TV with my mother. Sean, after receiving the award on behalf of the group, was naming all the artists involved in the album. I never expected him to name mine, but he really ended up not mentioning me. My mother asked me why my name wasn’t called despite getting involved in the album. I felt so bad, and I wanted to hide.”
-Your dream was to become a rapper, but now you are a vocalist.
“One day boss asked me if I have friends who are good at music. So I introduced T.O.P to him. The moment boss saw him he asked T.O.P to sing. He was a rapper. Because R&B was more in than hiphop back then, boss asked everyone to sing first. After much hesitation T.O.P sang R. Kelly’s ‘I Believe I Can Fly.’ And I think he was nervous, he stopped in the middle. It was so awkward that I continued singing. That was the turning point. Boss told me, ‘You can sing as well. Practice singing more.’ We talked about why I became the vocalist amongst ourselves recently and remembered this story, and we all laughed our heads off.”
-Any memories outside the training room?
“Ji Young moved to Ilsan so we went to La Festa a lot. Back then an online community messaging was popular among high school students. When there were rumors of a ‘pretty’ girl, Ji Young would send her messages and actually meet up. We would eat out and go to karaoke and stuff. But the sad part is, most girls were just really photogenic. Haha. Ji Young made possible to do all these things that I would never dream of. I sometimes want to go back to the old times when Ji Young and I hung out in Ilsan.”
#3. 23-year-old TAEYANG, hit by a crisis and another opportunity
-How was BIGBANG created?
“I thought Ji Young and I would be a duo. But boss was planning to make a boy group. First, Hyun Seung (currently a member of Beast) joined us and we used the same dorm from when we were 17. Then he left, and T.O.P, DAESUNG and SEUNGRI joined. Back then, Ji Young and I didn’t want a boy group. We knew T.O.P well but didn’t know the other two at all, and their roles weren’t clear either. I didn’t know how I would get along with them. But after training, we realized that we connect really well.”
-BIGBANG wasn’t very successful at the start.
“That’s true. ‘Pretty’ boy groups like TVXQ were in. We weren’t tall, nor did we dress pretty. People just thought, so there’s a group like BIGBANG. That’s why we continuously released singles. We released one a month, and during the preparation period we went to different newspapers for interviews. We would go on TV once the album was out, so we didn’t have time to sleep.”
-And then “LIES” became a huge hit, like a lie.
“Originally that song was Ji Young’s solo. But boss thought it would be better if BIGBANG did it together. Our music changed from hiphop to electronic. But the outcome was great.”
-And thus the heyday of BIGBANG began.
“After that one hit, 4 songs “Haru Haru,” “Last Farewell” and “Sunset Glow” in a row became huge hits. And we started receiving grand prizes at music awards. But that was just work. We didn’t get one day of break. No time to celebrate. We wondered if we would be able to eat a meal. After the success in South Korea, we were told to ‘start from scratch’ in Japan.”
-BIGBANG had its ups and downs.
“For years all we did was work. The workload led to some invisible cracks among the members. We were exhausted, and we became edgy, but we had to see each other everyday. While doing solo each may have thought a group is not needed anymore. So we became nervous. I thought, are we going to end like this? I agreed back then that idol groups do not last 5 years. And just like that, bad things started to hit us. Members went through ups and downs, and it affected all of us for a while. I was heart broken. I wasn’t the one going through it all, but someone so close to me having a hard time was very difficult to watch. I was pushed to the edge, and then I thought, I do not want this to end. I do not want to be separated from the members.”
-Do you still have personal plans that you want to pursue?
“The things we went through affected all members a lot as well. People say solo promotions are for the group’s benefit. But being human, people tend to focus on themselves more. But we are different. We realized that without BIGBANG, we couldn’t do what we want to pursue.”
-Have you ever fell off track?
“I once fell off track big time. The four of us filmed a beer commercial, except SEUNGRI who was underage, and we thought after filming it, let’s drive far away in DAESUNG’s car and hide for a week. We would get caught if we used credit cards, so we even thought about withdrawing huge amounts of cash. We were going to do this when the manager drops us off at the dorm, but he dropped us off at the office. Boss wanted to talk to us. We were nervous, and soon found out he knew about our plans. SEUNGRI told on us. Boss was kind though; he asked us what was giving us a hard time. So we thought, instead of losing our direction, we should talk it out.”
(*NOTE: This story was told before, after the discussions all schedules were cancelled and everyone was given a 2 month break)
#4. Heart-breaking first love of 21-year-old TAEYANG
-What was your first love like?
“I am deeply wounded by it. I started liking her before my debut, and I started seeing her after the debut. But because I was so busy I couldn’t confess my feelings, and we spent years just having a crush on each other. I had an important task of making a debut, and I couldn’t date her. But I did see her once in two months. The power that love gave me was infinite. She made me think I should become the best. Her presence was bigger than work for me. That’s why I could hold on despite not being able to see her often. But it wasn’t the same for her. I couldn’t get in touch with her for a while so I was getting anxious, and later found out there was someone else. Everything lost meaning in my life. Everything felt futile, and music felt like work. If this kind of love cannot have a happy ending, I wonder what real love actually is.”
-Are you dating anyone now?
“I didn’t date often, but I did date. But I am too busy to see anyone, or have the opportunity.”
-You said you want to become an artist that touches people’s hearts. Now that you have become a singer, do you have any other dreams?
“Not much has changed. I still want to become an artist. I don’t think my dream is complete yet. What I pictured in mind was becoming like Michael Jackson. Singing on stage in front of tens of thousands of people while inspiring them. I have much more to do. There is so much I want to show.”
-You must have created a lot of great memories with BIGBANG members while you were on World Tour.
“After the concert in London, we went to a club. We were the only Asians there. I think people were intrigued to see Asians enjoying the music dressed in cool outfits. Local people approached us asking what brands we were wearing, and added us on their social media. “GANGNAM STYLE” was in at that time, so people asked us, ‘Do you know PSY?’ I like explaining things, so I told them we belong to the same agency.”
-What does YG mean to TAEYANG?
“It’s my youth. I am 26 now, and I spent half of my life at YG. I will spend more of it here from now on. The agency became huge now. Artists became more diverse. The old headquarters is the same. When I first walked in, I thought everything changed. But the humid smell is till there. Back then, everything happened in the basement—from recording and practicing to management. I think it was most “YG Family-like” back then. The agency is too big to be called a family now. It’s like a YG Town now.”
Translated by: YG LIFE
[아이즈 = 강명석 기자] A man named TAEYANG crouches in the dark. And then, he slowly walks out. This is what his title track “EYES, NOSE, LIPS” is like, from his new album <RISE>. Even his M/V takes him in an extremely close-up and then moves away to show his entire body. The song takes us through a very detailed and slow journey, one that guides us to slowly reach the feeling instead of immediately to the emotion. There are no high notes in the melody, but instead reaches the climax very slowly. The beat that was glued as one becomes separated in more details as the melody goes on. The journey that could seem too slow is the bitter journey the singer had to go through. When the song ends, the man leaves the darkness of his heart and into the light. Leaving out all techniques and performances, TAEYANG became an ordinary man who sings about the long-gone love with his heart instead of his voice, getting out of the shell of a big star. This is the journey the star walked on for the last 4 years, producing this album. He embarked on a journey when he began preparing for the album, and now I am here with him, who returned with the new album. What kind of a person did he become, after the years of his journey?
How does it feel to release an album for the first time in 4 years?
TAEYANG: It is actually going really well, but it doesn’t feel real. When someone congratulates me, I feel like I should be congratulating an artist called TAEYANG. (laughter) Before I released it, I wanted to unveil it as soon as possible and move on to the next one.
In 2012, you said your album was nearly ready. It took you 2 more years.
TAEYANG: Back then I strongly wanted to dig my passion deeper. Back then, in the U.S., the medium-tempo R&B reached its peak and the direction became unclear. I encountered new R&B like that of Frank Ocean and The Weeknd. They are mainstream now, but as they were underground musicians back then, I had to look for mixed tape to listen to them. I wanted to be the first musician in South Korea to try the genre.
To put it precisely, what you wanted to do is PB R&B (mixture of Electronica, Rock, Hiphop and R&B). I can see some traces of it in “LOVE YOU TO DEATH.” Why didn’t you try it fully?
TAEYANG: What I had in mind was completely opposite to what the agency had planned. I felt like this genre could become a new trend, but the agency thought it is too deep and unfamiliar to the public. So we tried to convince each other. At first I found it difficult to understand. As a member of BIGBANG I am already doing mainstream music, and what meaning does it have if I do it again on my own? I try something no one has, and try it no matter what the outcome is? So it took me a while to understand and decipher the intentions of the agency.
So you understand them now?
TAEYANG: I am still a little saddened by the fact that the album did not follow the exact blueprint I had designed. But looking at it in a radical perspective, I could not have completed the album perfectly enough to fully convince the agency to let me do what I want.
What made you think that?
TAEYANG: I really enjoyed the time when I was eager to do what I want to do, or searching for my passion. That phase continued for 2 years after I released my last album. I just loved doing that. And I loved the music that was produced then. But I wasn’t being radical. My dreams became too big, and when I showed my music to others, it wasn’t good music. And then I lost my direction from there. But I am back to what I am good at, what I am supposed to do and what I can do.
That’s how strongly it stayed with you.
TAEYANG: That’s right. I travelled often—for my music, but in search for myself as well. People ask themselves about who they actually are. Since the debut, I worked without taking a break, half willingly and half by force. So I forgot what I loved to do, what makes me happy and what my hobbies are. The journey was to find those again.
Did you find them?
TAEYANG: I think I did. And I am happy. I didn’t know what made me so uncomfortable and upset. It was about who I was, but I only thought about what happened. But now I know who I am better than before. I also know that I get more energy when I follow my passion freely.
Everything points to “EYES, NOSE, LIPS.” The song is close to PB R&B, but with a complex melody. But it was successful with the public.
TAEYANG: That’s true. Some might view it as a simple ballad, but the beat in the song is something that wouldn’t normally be used for ballads. It is the most appropriate song for me right now.
Your agency seems to agree. It leaves out any performances, which seemed to be your strength, but it was chosen as the title track.
TAEYANG: I worked too hard producing songs up to “EYES, NOSE, LIPS.” I wanted to do the genre that I was attracted to, so instead of focusing on the feelings or sincerity of music, I focused on the feelings I get from the sounds. It was important for me to vocalize something that went along with those sounds. But as time passed and my album release was delayed, I was forced to think more. That’s when I realized music is a medium to convey my emotions. I realized that sharing and conveying those emotions with others can move people’s hearts. That’s when “EYES, NOSE, LIPS” was produced. So it was a song that openly expressed my emotion, and my boss told me the public will find it fresh. He said I never let such details of my voice stand out before, so let’s go with it this time.
Is that why you sang it with such details? Every verse sounds like you are talking. It is like seeing a monologue from beginning to end, pouring out your emotions.
TAEYANG: It’s hard to put them in words, but I think the song was a compression of what I had been through until now. Before, I only tried to convey what I heard. But now when I listen to music, rather than focusing on vocal techniques I understand better the emotions and the feelings. So every time I sing a word it feels different. The intro “RISE” and “LOVE YOU TO DEATH” are quite different to other songs. I wondered if I should sing with my current emotions all over again, but I did think, although I gained more depth in me, the energy I had back then couldn’t be relived. So I decided to keep the past songs as memories.
The melody of “EYES, NOSE, LIPS” changes gradually but continuously, and ends completely differently to the beginning.
TAEYANG: I think it was natural that it happens to be that way, because the song contains elements that have become so familiar to me in the last 4 years. My circumstances led me to make a song like that. I could have exploded my feelings in the song. I could have broken into tears, yearning for the love that’s gone. But for me, tears welling up were what it was. Instead of blowing up an emotion, you try to oppress it, dragging it until the end. Because you don’t release it, there is something that lingers, and that’s what I felt. Just like the emotions linger after letting go of someone you love, I wanted that yearning to linger after listening to my song.
It is very like you, to dig deep into the song and express your feelings with such details. Even upbeat songs like “STAY WITH ME” and “RINGA LINGA” have similar complex structures.
TAEYANG: It wasn’t intentionally done that way, but passage of time led me to this path naturally. Preparing this album, I took more time understanding the sentiments of the song instead of singing it. After fully understanding it, I sang the whole song at once except for the part where my voice overlaps. Before, I would sing the same verse repeatedly to convey emotions better, but this time I would be struck by a certain feeling and would just sing through. I picked the best one out of the songs that were done this way.
Sometimes don’t you want to show a voice that can immediately appeal to the public? You don’t hit any high notes, and even if you did, it seems like you are hiding them they don’t stand out.
TAEYANG: I would do it if I liked that kind of songs, but I am not interested at the moment. Passionate songs are necessary sometimes, but I like touching the detailed emotions now. People might like songs that hit high notes, but as time passes, I tend to catch every little emotional detail of songs.
“RINGA LINGA” and “STAY WITH ME” seem like a transition period. Structure is complex—“RINGA LINGA” is completely different to “EYES, NOSE, LIPS” as it involved a trendy melody and dynamic performance.
TAEYANG: That song definitely has an essence of me as well. It was my first single before my album release, and I strongly wanted to create something that I can showcase. That applies to the performance as well. I wonder what it would have been like if “EYES, NOSE, LIPS” was out first. Going through dance moves like “RINGA LINGA,” I grew fond of free expression instead of a tightly structured one.
The album <RISE> is about the process of starting with “RISE” and returning to “EYES, NOSE, LIPS.”
TAEYANG: No matter what the outcome is, it’s definitely got that process. (laughter) A long journey that holds what I searched, did, and gained in the last 4 years. So songs from different phases are in the album. 4 years ago the Intro was made, and things I felt and had to admit for the last 4 years are in the album as they are. It is far from an album that was created in one set period of time. During the 4 years, I worked on many songs and felt different emotions every time.
Did you want to include more songs? You must have worked on a lot for the last 4 years.
TAEYANG: That was my main concern until the end. We were picking the tracks as the release date was approaching, and we originally wanted to include 13 songs. But in the end we very objectively chose 9 songs. We left out all the songs that seemed like I was trying too hard to show my passion.
But considering what you have been through, didn’t you want to include more? Like, including the not-so-perfect songs? (laughter)
TAEYANG: Yes, it still stands true. I partly want to produce a mixed tape with all the songs that aren’t included. I want to see the public’s response. Even if the unreleased songs were deemed perfect, it will never get a chance. If the public thinks it’s not good, I would also want to know that. I want to actively pursue this after consulting my agency. I can’t tell you the details now, but we are trying to do something interesting. On TV what I can showcase is limited, and the agency agrees with me that we put as much effort as we can when I appear on TV. I want to do a lot of performances and concerts. I would like to continue doing guerilla performances as long as it is well received, and after I am done with concerts in Japan, I will hold some in South Korea.
We hope to see you as a solo more often, because the journey is now over. (laughter)
TAEYANG: For some reason my motto has become “going slowly.” This album took 4 years, so I will still do the next one even if it takes 6 years! Hahaha! I’m joking. I can’t tell the future, but I will search for music that can satisfy both my passion and people’s desire for sure—so that the songs I sing can build people’s expectations.
2014. 6. 19.
Originally posted by: YG Life
[ARTICLE] T.O.P Talks about the “Truth and Lies” Between His Different Personas in Hashtag Interview
BIGBANG‘s T.O.P shared his innermost thoughts about himself through #Hashtag, an interview show that was uploaded on the 1theK YouTube channel on June 10.
In the show #Hashtag, the artists pick keywords about themselves and for this episode, T.O.P has chosen #FROM_TOP, #TwentySeven, #Exhibition, #NewYork, and #ChoiSeungHyun.
He talked about how his photo exhibition, “From TOP,” came about. “I don’t show myself nowadays so I thought it was kind of funny and brave for me to hang my photos for an exhibition. I laughed at this project when it began,” he said.
He also talked about how he chose the photos to be put on the exhibit, saying, “I think a person’s eyes are very important. What I tried to do is select pictures that show different eyes telling different stories.”
He also talked about why the photos were shot in New York and why he had a lot of photos showing silly expressions and showing his left profile.
Finally, he talked about the color that represents both T.O.P and Choi Seung Hyun himself. “I’d say black and white. Both the truth and lies are there. I’ve included this fake persona of mine. Sometimes, I get presented as more than I am, fancier than I am. But really, there’s nothing to me and trying to come to my senses in all that confusion, I think that’s the truth inside me and I tend to debate between the two identities.”
Get to know more about T.O.P through this interview:
Originally posted by: SOOMPI
CL may be a member of 2NE1, but the leader may have her very own album out in the near future.
Recently, CL conducted an interview with Hypebeast TV regarding 2NE1's, and her own, musical projects.
"We worked with [YG producer] Teddy," said CL regarding 2NE1's newest album, "Crush." "He makes most of 2NE1's music, and I made three songs."
"It's my very first time putting my songs into 2NE1's album. It was fun when we recorded, just the four us. It was more like a party than a recording session."
Reportedly, CL composed the lyrics and co-wrote the music for the songs "If I Were You," "Baby I Miss You" and the title track off of "Crush." She also co-wrote the lyrics for the song "MTBD" with Teddy.
"The lyrics [are] deep, in a way," added the 2NE1 leader. "It's very honest, and it's a message I would love to share. But, it's…maybe, like, easy to listen to?"
After CL's foray into music producing for "Crush," her next goal is to release a solo album.
"I would love to put my own album out, of course," admitted the 23-year-old rapper. "I don't know when it will be, but I'm working on it. I'm writing songs, trying to cut demos, everything. Hopefully I can soon."
In fact, YG record label founder Yang Hyun Suk affirms that it is entirely possible for Blackjacks to see another 2NE1 album in addition to a CL solo album before the end of the year.
"The long preparation time means there are many songs besides the ones included in the 2nd full album," said a blog post on YG-Life, "so other members’ solo songs initially planned to be included in the latest album are currently put aside for the next album."
"And as we expect CL to be more actively writing and composing, there should be no problem in releasing 2NE1’s next album and CL’s new solo album before this year ends."