This is my translated version of Elle Korea’s interview with Big Bang from last September. I said “interview with Big Bang” but, as usual, I translated only YB/Taeyang’s part =). Since this is my first post here, I welcome any comments/suggestions. Thanks!
BREATHTAKING: A futuristic style jumper made with strips of transparent film woven like fine fabric adds drama to Taeyang’s intense stare (below).
Trying to arrange for an interview and a photo shoot with Big Bang for a month or so, I found out how jam-packed their schedule was. It was only a week before the release of their third mini album that I could finally sit them down for an interview at a studio.
As usual, they were insanely busy shooting a music video and doing last-minute preparations for their impending comeback but I managed to snatch a few precious minutes. From anyone’s perspective, it was a killer schedule. But this is what Taeyang said: “We’re happy to be able to work like this.” A 20 year old who gives mature answers, making smiley eyes – his trademark smile that they say wins over female fans of all ages. “Now we get to try a lot of new things. But we all think that it could be now or never. It’s true that we have to manage a hectic schedule but we’re very happy to have all these opportunities.” Another smile. A stock answer but it doesn’t feel like a pretense because we know what they went through up to their debut.
Taeyang has been with YG Entertainment for 9 years now. However, no matter how good you are, being a YG trainee is synonymous with being a candidate who can fail to make the cut anytime. During the chaotic adolescent years when it is allowed to make mistakes and behave immaturely, he must have had to constantly prove himself. What’s known as the “Big Bang Documentary Series” showing the group’s pre-debut days is actually full of evidence for it.
What does music mean to him? Is it really worth all those years of devotion? “You’re right. I don’t know. But there is an upside too. While most kids were wasting time, trying to find themselves, confused and dazed, GD and I could pass through the period relatively easily because we belonged to YG and were doing music and because we knew what we wanted to do for certain. It’s true that our trainee years had been long and hard but we lived through it and as a result we are now much stronger and have the tenacity to accomplish goals.”
Then they debuted as Big Bang and years of hard training has actually helped Taeyang become a member that stood out in the group. Of course, according to him, they haven’t changed – they’re simply doing more things. “It applies to everything – this shoot we’re doing today for a fashion magazine, the music. You constantly change and get upgraded. Just like your taste that changes constantly, we try to listen to and absorb many different kinds of music. Still, the root of my music stays the same – yes, R&B/hip-hop/soul music.”
Recently, Taeyang became the first Big Bang member to release a solo album and held two successful solo concerts. The album’s title song, “Look Only at Me” topped many charts. His wide fan base grew even wider. Doing the music he loves and being loved for it must be every musician’s dream come true. “It’s like all my wishes have come true. Through this solo album, I did everything I wanted to so badly for so long. Yes, I am truly happy.”
His concerts were great success too – in terms of choreography and the decision to use a live band as well as of music. While Big Bang’s concerts depend primarily on MR (music recorded), in Taeyang’s concerts, everything was played live, including his piano performances. “I really had had so much I wanted to show you and I think I showed you all of it at those concerts. Thinking back, I was so happy it almost feels like I had happy dreams.”
He keeps saying “happy” and “thankful,” smiling. For a moment, I was at a loss how to interpret this. As far as I recall, I’ve never met a man who oozes male pheromones yet smiles with such innocence before. From what I hear from people I know who gush over Taeyang, what made him the sexy icon for women older than he is was very clear: his sensual voice and killer body that show what “groove” is all about. But he just smiled an innocent smile, saying he just wanted to make himself more physically fit for better performances on stage and didn’t expect it to turn out to be this good.
He said, “But then my image as an innocent boy follows me everywhere. It wasn’t intended and makes me feel very uncomfortable. It’s almost like, people will get mad at me if I don’t get married to the first girl I meet and fall in love with.”
Watching him get all shy, I was reminded of what GD had told me about Taeyang a few minutes ago during his interview. He argued that first and foremost Taeyang should have a girlfriend. Speaking as a friend of 8 years, he thinks Taeyang is simply too great a catch. His skills as a musician are improving at an amazing pace and it would be perfect only if he met a girl he could fall in love with, GD claimed. He is right. Music does come from emotions and feelings, and Taeyang does do R&B/hip-hop/soul music. Love is actually the best ingredient in “soul.” However, once again, Taeyang tries to avoid the question with his trademark smile. “I don’t know. I’m not really that type of… a little bit later… Besides, I am very busy and you can’t really fall in love just because it is necessary. That’s not right. You know what? I’d love to go wakeboarding, hahaha.”
Photos/Original Text: Elle Korea