TaeYang is a man who wants to be remembered for Music. He is a man who burns himself to give impressive music. TaeYang is back. TaeYang’s stage will rise again.
Fashion Editor: ChoiSoonYoung
How was the shoot with ELLE?
I liked it. And the concept was good too.
You are going to release a new album.
I ended up preparing this album for a long time. I wasn’t inspired enough to make another album after my solo album 3 years ago.
You mean your last album, <Solar>?
Yes. I had a very difficult time during the making of that album, and maybe because of that, I thought I would not do it again until I could really enjoy it or really wanted the next one. I didn’t even think about making an album at all. That’s why it took so long. I just travelled and met artists and producers l like and worked with them without particular intent. It wasn’t for my album, it was more like – I was just happy to be working with them. And as I completed one song, two songs, I was able to build an overall concept for my album.
You received quite good reviews.
That made it harder for me. I was pleased at that time, but I felt I was constricted by those reviews. It felt like I had to keep doing that kind of music forever. Nobody set me up to be that way, but I still felt that I had fallen into a rut.
You mean you were compelled to make music for the sake of recognition, not the music you wanted to do.
Do you think your last album is not fully your own then?
It was what I did, so it has to be mine. It’s just that I started to think about what people would like and whether it would be musically recognized – I hate myself for making music dependent upon other people’s thoughts.
I wonder how you organized your songs.
I put various kinds of songs in my album. Typically I used to create an overall concept and tried to improve the quality of whole album, but this time I tried various genres of songs, and put them in the album. So I don’t think you will get bored listening to them.
You were producing with Teddy for the last album. And I heard you produced your album this time again.
Hmm.. I chose those songs that I can do or I wanted to do for the last album, and I think they considered that as part of the producing job and included my name. Actually even as I participate in producing, I can’t control every single track. And I don’t want to. I would feel more responsibility then, and I don’t think it’s desirable in raising the album’s quality either.
Is there anyone you annoyed during the making of this album?
In what way?
Because I can’t release my album without his backing.(laughing) I kept pushing him once I thought my album is almost completed.
This album is quite delayed from the estimated date, like your last album.
My albums seem to be delayed a lot.
If I have to say why, I think I’m too stubborn. My world seems to become too strong. Especially during this album’s production, if there was something I wanted to put in my music, my urge to get it exact kept getting stronger. So if other people disagreed with my opinion and tried to put a different color into my songs, it took a really long time before I could accept it. Making my album as I want doesn’t mean that it becomes a good one. I knew that, but it took so much time for me to accept it. Actually, I don’t have any sense about music trends. Maybe it’s because the music I like is mostly dark and gloomy. I listened to my members who know me the best, and producers who have known me since I was young. I guess, right now, I need someone who can guide me in the right direction.
Recently you were mentoring Team A in the survival audition program <WIN> on Mnet. I would think you had a lot to say to them as you were also a trainee before.
I certainly told them a lot of things. I recalled old days while I watched them. I also had been in an intense survival competition, so I know exactly how they feel now.
Exactly how long had you been a trainee?
About 6 years with G-Dragon.
It must have been a really desperate 6 years for you.
I was desperate from the moment that I decided to do music. When I declared that I would do music my family opposed me, so from that moment on, I was fully accountable for my life. At the time, I also appeared on the survival show to debut as BigBang. It was really a desperate and hard time, but now that I come to think of it, it was also the happiest moment for me. I had the purest passion those days. So when I see those trainees now, I feel good. I can see their pure passion.
Is there a kind of satisfaction during your solo activity that you can’t get during group activity?
Before, I wanted to do solo activity because I could show the things I wanted to. And when I came back to BigBang, I felt less satisfaction, yes. But I like working as BigBang more now. I learned something significant from the past 2 years, when the members were involved in various kinds of issues. I am happiest when I am with the members, and BigBang is what made me who I am today. With them, I laugh the most, and I feel like I can achieve things. Whether it’s BigBang activities or solo activities, I’m ultimately doing the music I love, so I just hope to be happy during those moments.
The words ‘maturity’ and ‘change’ come to mind.
I know what is important to me now, and, in that sense, I feel I clearly have become more mature and changed. Before, I was so young that I always thought in a self-centered way. I also victimized myself, because I thought I was working harder than other members. Actually they were trying their best too, but I was too young to realize that. The last 3 years, I’ve come to realize a lot of those things.
In a past interview, you said you have never had a romantic relationship, and it was quite an issue. That question has followed you all the time since then.
I didn’t want to talk about it again. And I was very conscious of that image. So at that time, in my naïveté, I thought I really shouldn’t get into a romantic relationship. I don’t have a lot of interest in relationships now either. It doesn’t mean I’ve never dated anyone. It’s just… I haven’t loved anyone deeply enough to consider it a relationship.
Any specific reason?
I think I’ve mentioned this once before, that I had a first love. It was really intense for me, and I find I can’t open my heart to someone if my feelings are not as powerful as they were then. I know I’m expecting too much.
How do you feel when people keep asking these kinds of questions?
Like I’m being swept away? I have my own standards and my own situation, but people make broad interpretations based on the one answer.
But people could see you as a single-minded person.
Actually I am not. I like to have fun, too. Of course, for me playing is… I don’t really do anything besides music. I lock myself up like that. I’ve gotten better than before though.
Nothing but music?
Of course I eat.
Everybody eats to survive.
Who do you usually hang around with?
Mostly with the members, or with their friends.
Do you drink?
Only with the members.
You must really feel comfortable with them.
With them, I am really funny. For real!! (laugh) I don’t know how they feel, but I think I have more wit these days. I like teasing them, too. Actually, I am a very joyful person.(laugh)
I think you are a thoughtful person rather than joyful one.
I think a lot when I’m alone. When I start to think about something, I think about it until I find an answer. But since 2 years ago, I’ve been trying to think less. I discovered that the more I think, the less things turn out the way I thought they would.
Too much thinking disturbs sleep.
I had insomnia before, but I cured it in natural way. I sleep well.
When G-dragon featured in your solo album’s title song before, your solo fans were upset that even your solo album had to have traces of BigBang. Solo fans and BigBang fans were arguing about it in a fan club community. How do you feel when you see the conflict between BigBang fans and your solo fans?
I didn’t know that. I just heard it from you. I thought it was a good thing that the song became better with my best friend GD’s featuring. (Those conflicts happen) because they love us in their own ways. I love my fans more than anyone else. I want them all to be happy. But it’s sad that they have such conflicts. It’s not something we can solve for them. We can’t listen to everyone’s opinion.
You have many foreign fans now. You said once that your dream is to enter the US market.
Maybe it was when I’d just debuted. I cringe a little thinking about it now. I don’t feel that way now. I just want to express what I like, what I feel is awesome and cool. I don’t think it’s cool to set a huge goal and try to make it happen.
It’s just past 1 am now. Are you usually awake at this time?
I am normally at the studio at this time.
Are you a night owl?
The producers and engineers usually work at night, so I need to be there then if I want to work on something.
How do you want your new album remembered?
I put every kind of music I can do in this album. So I hope many people like it. Actually, the single I released before my first solo album didn’t chart very high. I’m not one to care about that kind of thing, but now I know it’s my responsibility.
Was it that bad?
[They] say it should have done better. I only found out recently.
You realized now you have command responsibility?
Yes. I am responsible for it myself.
Am I being too naïve if I say I hope Taeyang will always do what he wants to do?
I will keep doing what I want to do. If I can’t, it’s because I am not good enough. It’s my fault I can’t make my music, with my thoughts and my colors, in a way that people will want to listen. That’s why I feel affection for my upcoming album. I tried to show what I wanted to do with higher quality in this album. I think it will be a good one. For real.
You must still have something you want to achieve.
My dream still is to be a singer. I still have so much music I want to do. I want to be someone who is free in this world called ‘Music’. I don’t want to achieve my dream. I just want to pursue my dream until I die.
That’s a long-term dream. What is your immediate goal now?
For now, I hope many people can get good inspiration with the album. And I hope I can continue to make music. Of course I will. But, right now, when I’m in my best condition, I want to fully concentrate on creating something, without bothering with other things.
I think you really are a single-minded person.
I’m telling you, I am really joyful! (laugh)
Translated by Redsun and edited by Silly for AlwaysTaeYang. Please credit if taking out.