We never had a chance to translate this interview back when it was first released in 2010 since it was so long (though we did post Daum’s summary article based on it along with the superb photographs.) There’s a lot of interesting little details for fans in the original interview though. Daum had gathered questions from fans and picked 30 of them for this informal interview which covers everything from the personal to the professional. I loved the way it gives a glimpse of the more casual and human side of Taeyang. Enjoy!
YOZM: If there is a chance to meet your fans for a day, what do you want to do? (Actually they would already have a long list^^) It’s not easy to meet them outside of stages.
Taeyang: I really want to go camping with them for few days. Like rent a bus and go all together.
The funniest behavior in your life…
I do silly things a lot. I like hiding somewhere and then showing up all of a sudden. (*Actually he was hiding behind the sofa when we arrived at the interview venue.) If there’s a closet in the waiting room, I hide in there all the time. I like those things a lot. I found more and more people understand and enjoy my humor nowadays. So surprising….
Recently I was exhausted during work. I was working on Bigbang’s Japan music video that day. The place the music video was being taken was Paju Book city. I was working hard until the previous day so I was very tired. I had just woken up and found myself already there. During the filming, I did a lot of thinking. I was really tired, and didn’t know what I was doing then. And If you’ve been there then you’ll know, the place is really different from other places, so I thought If I run away from here, no one will find out. So I really ran away. After my scene finished we needed to move, but I didn’t take our car. I told the manager that “I’m done for today. I’ll go now.” Then I really left.
At first they didn’t figure out what was going on, but then they found out that I really left alone, so they were very shocked. I really intended to leave, so I ran. Then I found a bus stop. And surprisingly, there’s a bus line to Hapjung where my office [YG] is located. So I decided to take a bus, but I had changed my clothes for music video and I had no wallet and money plus I looked exactly like ‘Taeyang’. A girl came to the bus stop and was surprised because of me. I said hello to her, then she asked me why I was there. So I told her ‘I’m so tired, so I’m going home now’. She asked me where I was going, I told her ‘Hapjung’, and she told me that she was going there too. So I told her ‘I don’t have money at all’, and she offered to pay my bus fare, so I thanked her and we waited for a bus together. I was about to take a bus, then my van just came and picked me up. I apologized – I always do when something goes wrong.
What is your most precious thing?
Nowadays, it’s my puppy, Boss.
Then when is the best time with him?
He’s always with me. Keeps waiting for me. Always.
What do you do in your free time?
I love leisure sports very much. I don’t have time nowadays, but when I have several days free, I go wakeboarding somewhere like Chungpyung. I love it.
I think you are very passionate about music. What do you need to become the musician you aim to be?
I still have a lot of improvements to make. I need to be more involved [in all production aspects] to show my musical color [even more] clearly. And I think I am not very relaxed and spontaneous/intuitive in my music and my stage, so to do that, I need to have more stages, a lot. (Translator’s Note: He wants to be perfect, so he doesn’t have a space in his mind when he sings and performs, and he thinks more experience on stage can give him a more relaxed space and composure.)
Then do you want to write your music and lyrics and make your stage and choreography all by yourself?
I don’t want to control everything though. Actually I prefer collecting people’s opinions and combining it to make good music.
Who was the most supportive one among Bigbang members on your first solo performance?
GD has been my oldest friend, so he always helps me when I release my solo album. He does producing, so if there’s some part that he can help, he tries to help me. And the others come to cheer me up on my first day on stage. And I don’t fit in with variety show alone very well, so Seung-ri joins the show and helps me.
Do you ask Bigbang members to monitor your music?
No, I actually don’t. I’m a little shy. I could let them listen and ask ‘How is it?’ but the situation itself is embarrassing for me.
How did you go about releasing your international solo album?
Actually I was going to release a repackage album after SOLAR. Since I had to choose those songs that have similar color for my full length album, there were some songs which were left behind but I couldn’t give up, so I was going to add them to my repackage album. But SOLAR became popular abroad unexpectedly, so we decided to make our repackage album as international version, I sang those released songs and new ones in English.
You seem to have been brought up well and have a harmonious family. You talk so well and…. How are your parents? What about your brother? Tell us their characters and influences on you. And is there any pleasant episode with them?
Of course I was a much loved child, but I don’t have a lot of memories with my family. I was preparing to become a singer since childhood. We weren’t that badly off, but when the IMF crisis occurred -I was very young- our family was split apart. My parents had to work, so I stayed at my aunt’s house mostly. Maybe because of that, I don’t recall memories with my family a lot. Looking back on it now, I feel sorry for that. I have to change my attitude to them. I’m not very affectionate towards my family, so my parents are sorry for that.
To explain my family, my mother is a family-oriented type. My father is a very abrupt man and is very strict, conservative character, very. So I couldn’t wear earrings and raise my hair even though I loved hip hop. My brother is an opposite to me. Very active, bright and very sociable.
Then your brother is a businessman?
No, he acts in a musical show, and is playing in a movie now. Has a similar job (with me.)
We can’t fix our habits easily. Do you have a habit that you want to overcome or are trying to fix now?
My habit is spinning my ring like this.
Then don’t you have any habit you want to fix?
I don’t know why, but I pick at my hands like this. Not biting, just with fingers.
Maybe it’s because you are very pensive.
Yes, I do it when I have many thoughts in my mind.
Do you have any TV shows that you want to visit?
For variety show, I like ‘Radio Star’. And I think I can show my music well in ‘LaLaLa’. And I love animals, so ‘Animal Farm’. I think Radio Star is really funny. They are very direct and frank.
What is your priority on your upcoming solo concert?
The first one is music. Of course music is the main thing in a concert – what I mean is, I made a big effort to make a musical balance from start to finish. The part I took the most care is…. actually my music doesn’t very fit very well as live band music. But except for one or two songs, most of songs will be played by a live band.
It was so difficult. Not many musicians understand my music and most bands play Rock, so arranging for the band was really hard. But I found very fine artists who can express my music as I want, so practicing with them is my focus now. I think it’s my challenge as well. It will be no different from the last one if I don’t do it [this way.] I insisted on using a live band so that the audience can feel my show as a context from the beginning to the end like a movie or drama. I hope I am right.
How do you feel when you dance to the band’s music?
It’s really different. It’s more “alive” somehow. Music itself feels more live and I match my dance to it. It’s hard for me to express the feeling, but it feels more natural.
The live band is a new challenge for you but it might be your taste too…
Yes it is. That’s why I thought about it a lot. “Analogue.” Actually my taste is very analogue, and it becomes so more and more. There’s so much digital music nowadays too. To listen and sing, I feel more comfortable with analogue music than digital music.
Do you have any surprises planned for your concert?
You won’t know till you come to my concert, I am going to show everything I have this concert – Actually I always do. In music of course, song and stage. I am even working out hard to show my body this concert.^^ If there’s someone who want to watch me with full energy, just come and see me.
What is the first thing you do when you come back home?
I take off my clothes first. I change shorts and sleeveless shirt. It’s comfortable. Sometimes I open fridge before I change. Want to check what is in it.^^
What is your favorite song in karaoke?^^
Ah, it’s been a long time since I went. Since I became a singer, I’ve been once or twice? I think I was bored so I went there with members. I sing pop songs a lot. My favorite song is not a funny song, “Lately” by Stevie wonder, and more like “Incomplete” by Sisqo. Those kinds of songs.
Is there any member who sings funny song?
We all do. Like Clon’s songs. Actually we don’t sing funny songs often. Among us, we do, but we do it more on company dinners, or company dinner with boss.
About girlfriend, fashion and hairstyle, news about Bigbang… You must be sick of those kinds of questions. Do you have any questions you want to answer, and the answer is?
Ahhh, that’s difficult. After interviews, I regret like ‘I had to say this!!’ sometimes, but when the interviewer asks me that ‘if you want to say something, tell us.’, then I can’t remember anything.
I heard you read a lot. What type of books do you read most?
Before, I read autobiographies and books about people a lot. I’ve been reading them since I was young. And I found out they are all essentially similar. So I read the Bible most nowadays. I think even not including religious values, the Bible has everything in it. About life and love.
Even during your solo career, you were managing Bigbang’s Japan schedule, and you are having very busy days now too. How do you manage your condition? How do you manage your strength and voice?
I work out constantly, and rarely miss out. Mostly, I focus on keeping my strength about 7~80% of the time, and also pay attention to my body shape for album jacket and concert.
Then do you control your diet?
Yes, but it doesn’t mean I eat chicken breasts and bananas every day. I don’t eat junk food and oily food a lot.
Do you have special way to keep your voice?
I’m just careful to keep my voice every day. Like when I talk. Actually talking a lot and speaking loudly is the worst for the voice, so I’m trying not to do it. And I keep training when I have time.
Some singers have to turn off the lights when they record their song, and some others can’t even bear the clothes they wear during recording. Do you also have any jinx during recording?
Ah, I am like this. When I enter the recording room and don’t have the right feeling, I quit. I’d rather not do anything on that day. I could manage to do it somehow, but I wouldn’t be satisfied with the outcome. So I try to sing the first part of the song and if there’s no feeling for recording at all, I quit everything and do it on the next day. Actually I have to go on when I’m busy, but for the right result I keep it that way.
What movie have you seen lately? And what was the most delicious food you’ve eaten recently?
The movie was… it’s been a while actually, ‘How to Train Your Dragon’. Actually I didn’t expect a lot from that movie. I didn’t have a schedule, so I went to the movie theater, and that one was the only option. So I didn’t expect a lot, but it was really interesting.
And most delicious one was.. .I’ve had a lot of delicious food.. Ah, I ate ‘fried rolled up noodles with laver’(* Gim-mal-ee in Korean) recently, and it was really delicious. Somehow I’ve forgotten its taste for a while. My fans gave it to me and it was really delicious.
I think you have talent and interest on song writing and composition, do you have certain subject or certain feelings that you want to make a song?
Actually I don’t really know. Love and relationship between couples are the common theme in K-pop and my songs. But I want to write something reflecting our time. About our society and people. I also want to write about relationships around me, and want to show my opinion about social issues.
Do you study words and music by yourself?
I’ve never formally learned. I entered YG when I was 13, and experience taught me naturally. I didn’t take a course or something, but if I have questions I ask my seniors in YG.
Then do you have certain genres that you want to challenge?
Actually I don’t think of it as a challenge. I want to do every genre I can. If it’s not against what I want to do, and if it’s not that I can’t [do it], I want to try and change it into my color.
Your music choice is mostly R&B/Soul…
Yes it is. But I found that the more I listen to R&B/Soul, the more types of music I get interested in. I feel every song boils down to one source eventually. I used to stick to one genre in musical interest before, and that genre is still my foundation, but as I listen to music more and more, good music is born in one source. So I don’t care about music genre a lot.
Do you have any memorable episode during your solo career?
Ah, the i-tunes chart thing. My fan told me the news. At that time I was so busy, so I didn’t have enough time for monitoring. I appeared on a variety show, and there was my fan in the audience. She wrote it down on a banner and showed it to me while I was talking. But I didn’t believe it. Like.. Uh, what’s that? Usually fans are holding a banner with something to cheer their star like “Taeyang, you are the best”, so I thought it was something like that.
When was your best time during your solo time?
I haven’t had my concert this time yet, but I had a concert for the last mini album. My first concert.
Is there any difference between solo and group career? About singing or your feeling.
The mood and air in the waiting room, it’s really different. When I’m alone, I’m very quiet and the team is quiet too. But when we are together, we are really noisy. It’s really funny. That’s the difference. And preparing the stage, I have to do everything for myself, from start to end. Everything is my responsibility.
Do you envy something about a Bigbang member? Or is there something [that you feel] “I am the best” among members?
They all have unique personalities, so everybody has a good point. For example, GD has an open mind for accepting new things since he was young. Daesung is really cheerful. He’s always bright wherever he is. Seung-ri always has very strong self-confidence. And Top’s focus on something that he aims to do. And he has charisma. I really envy that thing. For myself, my strength is…discretion? [sense of caution]
The most interesting episode from this solo activity.
That is the hardest question. Actually nothing special happens during album preparations. I could say, I stuck with Teddy, who produced my album for almost a year and half. It was like, I was with him at office while working. And after, I went to his house, instead of my house. He slept at his room and I was in his living room. It was like that for more than a year.
You look very close to your dance team, is there any interesting episode?
I’d love it if there were, but no.^^;;
How much do you participate in your choreography?
Of course I hire a choreographer. We start to design the whole story first, and we talk through each other’s opinion and concept. He makes movements, but I get involved in the composition and the concept.
Most embarrassing moment recently?
Ah, I had a lot…
You think too much; People who concentrate on music seem to not easily come up with answers about the other things.
Ah, so it’s not just me, right? [he’s relieved.^^]
“I’ll be there”’s choreography is quite unique. It needs not only dance skill but also acting ability. Is there any part that you can’t express well?
The whole concept is like a musical. I tried a new concept because I’ve been showing stages with song and group dances. So I put more story line and acting parts to express my music.
Your facial expression is quite good, like you’ve been practicing acting.
I didn’t practice acting particularly. I just expressed my emotion as music flows
Do you have any plan for changing your hair? I love your unchanging hairstyle, but a new hairstyle could be good on you too.
Actually I didn’t have time to change. And I think if I change my style, resting for a while and come back to public is the best timing, but Bigbang hasn’t rested yet. We haven’t had schedules in Korea recently, but we continuously have international schedule- so I didn’t have a space to think about new styling. And, I want to have some time to look for a new style that looks good on me first. So if there’s new style that’s better than now, and that feels cooler than this to me, I want to do it too.
Do you have any plans for drama or musical act?
No, not yet. I could act on stage (with music) but acting as a real actor with lines? I’m not that good, so I need more time. Maybe if there’s a good role that fits me well later. Not for now.
I think if you release a song with well harmonized female featuring, it’ll be more popular. Do you have any plans for female featuring in your next album?
I once listened to a song and thought ‘oh she’s a good singer’- of course there’s lots of good singers- I watched TV by chance and I saw a female singer named ‘ALI’. She sings very well. She was really good.
Solar album is not only being well received in Korea but also gets a good response from abroad. Do you plan for more active overseas expansion?
Actually there’s nothing to tell yet. We just released the international album on i-Tunes. I had Korean albums only before that. So it’s step by step. There’s no further plan yet.
If you enter the American market then, what kind of song do you want as your first showcase?
It should be my music, I guess. I have many foreign musicians who I love and have many songs that I can sing well, but it’ll be my showcase, so It should be my music. My song.
You sing stably during performance, do you have any know-how for that?
Thank you. I think it’s because of my consistency. It’s awkward to say ‘I’m this much good.’ But the reason that I became as I am now is because I practice consistently. I exercise because I don’t want to be exhausted on stage, not to show my body shape to public. It is a very obvious thing to say but I think that has made a good result for me. I have been training singing until now, also dance training. I always sing with microphone when I practice dancing as if I am onstage. At that time I dance and sing as naturally as I can, and try not to look tired as much as I can.
There’re many celebrities who express good feeling to you in public, like IU and Seo In-young , how do you feel about that?
Of course I feel really good. But actually it hasn’t really sunk in to be honest. I don’t know. I really thank them for their mentions but I don’t take that seriously and don’t think over what they saying.
Then what is your type of woman?
I don’t stick to a type. I think I just like the person who I like. I don’t know exactly which part attracts me. Anyway for sure, I don’t fall in love with someone’s appearance only. Ah I like that kind person. I like someone who appears to be a good person. Really good people show their personality into their faces. I really like those kind of people.
You’ve been performing ‘I Need A Girl’ awhile – then the girl described in that song is not your type then?
It’s not perfectly matched for me, but when I read the lyrics,-‘cause I’m a man too,-I think ‘Wow I must love this kind of girl’ too.
Then do you have any place that you want to go with your future girlfriend?
Yes, I go to Samchung-dong with my team because there are many restaurants with good food. And the street is very pretty, so I think even just taking a walk in the street would be really nice.
Original interview: YOZM Translation by redsun of YBMania. Please do not remove credit if taking elsewhere.