[Interview] ELLE Korea (November 2013): SOLAR STORM


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.

Photographer: HongJangHyun
Stylist:  GeeEun
Fashion Editor: ChoiSoonYoung
Editor: MinYongJun

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.
Yes.

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?
YG?

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.

Why?
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.
Hmm..

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)

Original scans here.  More unpublished photos on Elle Korea Online (along with the web version)

Translated by Redsun and edited by Silly for AlwaysTaeYang. Please credit if taking out.

71 thoughts on “[Interview] ELLE Korea (November 2013): SOLAR STORM”

  1. Interesting interview. I have too many thoughts and impressions from reading this interview to really form any sort of thought.

    The only thing I know is that I get this sort of sad, resigned, and somber feeling.

    For right now anyway. I need to digest this interview more. Lol

  2. such a great interview and as usual YB’s answers give so much insight to how he is as a person, how he thinks and how deeply he loves music.

    i gotta say i felt guilty that i keep wanting him to do R&B forever. it looks like it’s not the same with him and he just wants to do the music that he likes, whether it be R&B or not. i’m not gonna lie i feel kinda conflicted about this because i loved him for his R&B music. i think it’s a waste that he doesn’t feel that attached to making R&B music the same way his fans and the critics do. but if that’s what he really wants, i guess i can’t blame him for that. it’s his career and he can do whatever with it.

    and that part about YG… it just makes me mad that he’s also the reason for the delay. not only that, i think YB is trying to infer that there are instances that they tried to force him to make his songs more trendy. like what the fuck? you have the right to be stubborn YB. it’s your album after all, not theirs.

    and i guess, him being forever single is finally proven false so people should stop haunting him with that question.

    1. TBH the biggest part that made me so disappointed is that, not only he doesn’t feel like attaching to R&B/soul which used to be his forte and had lots of future prospects, but more so about him not feeling the need to take full charge of his solo album or producing them, and yet having the mindset that artist should venture and try different genres of style and music.
      On top of that he seems like having a tendency to adhere solely to YGE in-house producers and his bestmate GD on their opinions, not the public, not the critics, not the fans, not even other producers or musicians from other labels.

      I simply don’t understand how someone wants to try different genres but not wanting to take charge or control his own album or product. How it is possible? Does that mean he feels more relaxed being a mere puppet in someone’s hands, or to put that in better context, an idol rather than a musician?

      I have to admit, to me, YGE producers especially his bff does not have good taste in music, probably digital music which top the pop charts, but not the good old analog music, or simply music with quality soul and some depth.

      Call me a pressed fan/troll I don’t care, but I have to say, it is obvious he still has the same passion in music, but to me, he has lost his passion in persuing his solo music career, which is, really really sad.

      1. I think YB is more concerned with the overall quality of the album rather than whether or not he wrote or composed the actual songs. It’s not a vanity project for him — he just wants a good album that reflects things he loves regardless of where it comes from. I actually really admire that rather than someone who insists on using his own mediocre song simply because he made it himself.

        As to wanting to try different genres, I can definitely see where he is coming from. He’s met a lot of different artists over the past few years and has a much broader view of the musical possibilities out there for him. He doesn’t want to be put in a box because he’s supposed to be the “R&B guy”. I mean, he loves it but that’s not the only thing he wants to do.

        Especially while there are opportunities to work with everybody from hiphop to electro and indie and rock artists, he just doesn’t want to let other opportunities go by while he’s being stereotyped as only interested in one genre. I think his roots will always be R&B but with so much inspiration around him, he doesn’t want to have to conform to one image simply because he was successful at it at the beginning of his career.

        The part that bothers me the most is that there is so much pressure on him to be trendy and mainstream and commercial… and he sounds so defeated and resigned about it. It’s clear that he and YG have different viewpoints about his music and that its becoming an issue because they pretty much tell him he “can do what he wants as long as its a hit.” And then of course, YG’s idea of what makes a hit song is kind of limited, so they clash on what to put out. Hence where I think the delay is coming from …. YG has a proven formula with Psy and GD and he wants to run with it. YB’s being forced to conform … or if he does it his own way, is reminded that he has to suffer the consequences if it does badly (ie much, much less solo opportunity in the future.)

        I had the opposite interpretation from you about the direction part – he really has his own vision and ideas about how he wants to sound and didn’t want to base his ideas off anyone else’s opinion (“stubborn” as he said.) I’m guessing that GD and his other close producer hyungs (ie Teddy) are just the ones who were able to convince him to see things from another perspective (eg a more public friendly one) since he’s with them the most often, and they would also be the most concerned for him to succeed.

        1. But five seconds of the title track proves nothing but the regular auto-tune dubstep/edm stuff, which has the GD trademark formula composition in it (and later verified by the producer) so is that quality stuff? Or just to catch some eyeballs and top the chart?

          It might be me viewing solely from the indie/underground/non-mainstream point of view, but unless someone is as musically established as a multi-instrumentalist or has ample hands-on experiences in the entire production process (not just writing, but from recording arranging mixing etc) as well as sound knowledge of different music cultures and background, claiming the interest of trying different genres but not getting involved in producing sounds just like the average…..pop idols and singers want to do.
          For instance, it will be exciting if he feels like trying out punk or grunge, but will he be able to deliver that accurately? And not getting himself into another cultural appropriation whirlpool? Especially when some underground folks has been following him for some years and viewing him not just an idol but as a possible musician? And of course, I would definitely be more than happy for him to prove me wrong.

          Your part of him being defeated and resigned about commercial is just spot on, that is the main reason behind my entire rant. I just find it too foolish yet pitiful of him being brainwashed until the extent of transforming his entire self into GD no.2.

        2. It’s premature to draw any conclusions about the song, much less the album, since we haven’t heard either. And just because GD has tried a particular genre doesn’t mean that YB can’t give it a shot too in his own way right? Who knows, we might be pleasantly surprised by all his experiments.

          As to his role in his album, he’s obviously immersed in it and is serious about it reflecting his own vision and color so how much actual mixing/writing/composing he has to do to be considered an artist depends on who is looking I guess. He’s going to do as much as he wants or needs to be able to come out with a product that he loves. His hope of course, is that other people love it too, but I’m sure he’s realistic enough to know that he can’t please everyone.

          As to compromise, we all know that he still has to please YG to be able to release anything at all. That’s a problem he has had to deal with ever since and its obviously much worse now since YGE is now a listed company. The irony of course is that YG will only let him do what he wants if he is a huge success, which means he has to try to become more popular and less niche. Such a dilemma…

        3. hmmm… you do have a point @dexterkeys. but i’ll wait for the album (and the credits) to judge if he really has gone to that pop star route which i was very worried about these past few days.

        4. @bluemaid As to compromise, we all know that he still has to please YG to be able to release anything at all. That’s a problem he has had to deal with ever since and its obviously much worse now since YGE is now a listed company. The irony of course is that YG will only let him do what he wants if he is a huge success, which means he has to try to become more popular and less niche. Such a dilemma…

          damn. makes me wish YB doesn’t renew his contract in YGE so that he can make an album without having to compromise. then again, where the hell in South Korea can he find such freedom aside from being indepent/underground. :/

      2. I’ve had the same qualms about YGE’s reluctance to work with professionals outside of the company (It’s most likely a Company Pride thing, YGE’s whole idea of, we produce our own music), but I simply can’t say the same for YB. Despite a lot of YB’s works being the production of Teddy/GD under YB’s guidance, YB has made the effort to work with Producers/Artists outside of YGE.

        From working with Rappers outside of the company like ‘Big Tone’ (Who at the time was not with YGE, I think he is now though) and Underground Rapper ‘Swings’, to working with outside of the company Producers/Writers like Jeong-Goon & Choi Gap-Won(I Need A Girl & You’re My) along with Cat@lyst(Played a part in making ‘Take It Slow’ with Taeyang), YB has had plenty of experience with working with people not name GD/Teddy.

        As to wanting to try different genre’s and not having control of his own product or as you put it, being a ‘Puppet’, I don’t see it. We’ve only gotten details to one song, not the entire album, for all we know, YB could have Written/Composed half the songs on the album. And even if he didn’t, he said himself in this interview that he worked alongside these producers. So it’s not like he’s just sitting there waiting to be given a song to sing, he’s right there throughout the entire process most likely guiding the direction of whatever new sound he wants to pursue.

        I completely understand your worries though. But I think calling him a ‘Puppet’ for merely wanting to venture out with the guidance of those who have experience in doing so is inaccurate.

      3. i also don’t think he meant that he doesn’t want to take full responsibility of producing his album rather he just doesn’t want to be limited to his own ideas because there can be better ideas than his own. he prioritizes quality over self-gratification. that doesn’t mean though that he’s becoming a puppet because he clearly has a vision or a direction for what his songs are gonna sound. like what he said, he is stubborn when he has something he wants to do with his music and he is very reluctant when people try to “put a different color” into his songs.

        i’m with @bluemaid. it really bothers me that YB was being forced to make trendy music. why can’t YG just let him do the music that he wants to do? for a company that boasts of artistic freedom, he sure is very meddlesome. that’s why i think the album was delayed so much. it must have been a very long tug-of-war between YB and YG this entire year. there must have been a lot of instances where YB was almost done with his album but when he presents it to YG, he is sent back to the recording room because the songs aren’t “trendy” enough.

        also, that part of the interview where he mentioned that Wedding Dress didn’t chart well enough makes me think that YG was using that to blackmail YB whenever he tries to insist what he wants. Where U At and Wedding Dress were both co-composed by YB so YG must have told him that he’s responsible for how it charted. connecting that to the I Need A Girl issue, where GD was shoved in the title track even though the song can do without the rap and his part didn’t do the song any favor. and now we get Ringa Linga which GD had a hand in writing and composing. i’m pretty sure this is YG’s way of attracting attention by using GD’s name. ugh. remember when YB tweeted GD that he was only waiting for his song for his album to be done. that must have been the time when YG decided he needs GD for his title track because the rest of the album doesn’t smell like a ‘hit’ for him. i don’t hate GD and i love his album Coup d’etat but it pisses me off that YG doesn’t feel at ease unless GD is involved in YB’s promotional singles. i swear if i ever see him in person, i’ll just tell him to “fuck off!”

        i just really hope that Ringa Linga doesn’t have dubstep in it as some people are suspecting. i won’t mind GD composing as long as the song is good and not some ‘trendy’ shit that YG wants his songs to be. i still have faith since After You Fall Asleep is one of my favorites in SOLAR and GD had a hand in composing that song.

        1. I think they may have wanted an upbeat dance type song for the Dome tour since YB doesn’t really have any “big” or “anthemic” type songs that are for stadium concerts. I really think it will be a trap step type thing , but hopefully reinterpreted in Taeyang’s style. (Think of how Boyz Noise got reinterpreted for a Bigbang song.) it would be great if its something he can really cut loose with and get everyone dancing along too. Fingers crossed that its good.

        2. meh. i think YG just wants to ensure a hit. i still don’t know how to feel about YB and trap/dubstep. i guess i’ll just have to wait and see.

  3. Good interview..I think Taeyang is a honest person..He’s also a hardworker and stubborn person to get what he wants..aahh..can’t wait for the next week.I think it’s gonna be the longest week for me.Good luck for your new album,Tey.. Fighting!

  4. would call bullshit on him not knowing about fans not liking GD in his albums cause it was mentioned in one of his interviews but they worded it as traces of big bang so I guess it’s different. sort of still bs though.

    1. Yeah, they keep on having different versions of how that came about. I call shenanigans and just want to move on since its over and done with. It’s obvious GD and him are closer than ever and are going to be working together regardless of how fans feel, so my only hope is that whatever they come out with is good and reflects YB’s musical sensibility and color well.

  5. “Is there anyone you annoyed during the making of this album?”
    YG?

    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.

    Q No. 1: FUCK YOU YG
    Q No. 2: Are you still have a feeling with Sandara Park or Lydia Peak ???

    Seriously Taeyang, let Seungri helps you find a girl that suits you as Girlfriend

        1. and yet….
          “Q No. 2: Are you still have a feeling with Sandara Park or Lydia Peak ???

          Seriously Taeyang, let Seungri helps you find a girl that suits you as Girlfriend”

          ?

  6. Great interview, his answers are always a pleasure to read because he always responds in ways that lets us know where he is as a person right now. I especially loved the part where he says something along the lines of not wanting to achieve his dreams, but stay in a life long pursuit of music.

    After reading that, I understand much more now why he wants to experiment and branch out to other genres. To me it suggests that he doesn’t want to be a singer that is pressured into a particular/single niche (RnB), but rather an artist that can pursue every aspect of the craft (different genres). So knowing his thoughts now, it’s easier to accept that his following album and songs may be a little different to the YB I’ve grown accustomed to hearing.

    I like the idea of not producing an album and its songs to fit a single concept either. I feel by doing that, it restricts what the album can offer. So by just making songs through time and compiling the ones he likes to create an album, I feel like we can get a taste of what type of songs YB himself liked or was into at the time he made it. Considering his three years absence, we’ll be seeing 2-3 years of musical taste.

    Onto other parts of the interview. I’m not going to lie and I won’t hold back either, but my frustration with YGE continues to grow. He mentions something along the lines of there being times where he was satisfied with an album and wanted to go on ahead with it and release it, but it’s YG always telling or preventing him from doing so for whatever reason.

    And also the fact where YG/YGE tries pressuring him to go in a particular direction and the fact that they made him aware that a particular ‘single’ of his didn’t do as well as they had hoped, just seems unnecessary to me. Why put extra stress and burden on YB’s mind when you know he’s the type to over think things? If he wasn’t aware of how well his single did, it’s probably because it didn’t matter to him, but by telling him his single didn’t do well, what good does that do? You’re just putting unnecessary pressure on him to do well, when it seems like he doesn’t really care and just wants to release music.

    Also, for a company that prides itself on giving its artists musical freedom, this interview strongly suggests that it isn’t true. In fact, I remember Tablo telling a story during a show saying something along the lines of, he was going through some songs with his wife and his wife suggested he should do this song and Tablo responds, the label wouldn’t like this, nor would they allow it because the material is too strong.

    But that’s enough venting on YGE, despite my dissatisfaction with how the company handles itself, I just can’t picture YB in any other company.

    1. And also the fact where YG/YGE tries pressuring him to go in a particular direction and the fact that they made him aware that a particular ‘single’ of his didn’t do as well as they had hoped, just seems unnecessary to me.

      $$$

    2. I think taeyang needs to learn how to persuade/deal with YG to release his albums etc from seungri, lol *desperate*. Somehow that kid (seungri) always gets what he wants frm yg, even a personal album release before gd and taeyang and all that.

  7. Too many things come out to me in this interview… I will have to come back to this again with a more clearer head to write my response.

    However YB as always gives insightful interviews and responses that give you a picture of where he’s at at the moment. Each year as been different, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012.

    1. OK, so I’m back and reading the interview again. I like that he’s always been open and honest in these sessions. Even like the part about being annoyed with YG he still puts it in as much of a nice way as possible.

      Although like some of you have said, I’m sad that YB has felt the need to compromise so that he can release an album. I really don’t want to hate on GD since GDYB are best-budds-4ever in real life but at times like this I feel YG relies heavily on GD’s name and ‘genius’, much like how they’ve relied quite heavily on Teddy before.

      I actually like the fact that YB has actually made the effort to go out and work with other producers. I appreciate that in an artist, willing to experiment and try out different genres and not stick to one niche because “it works” for them.

      And like what @jessica said, it might give us a feel of what he has been going through in past few years. Since this is just an interview and we’ve only got a teaser for one song, I’ll leave my judgement of the album/songs themselves once it actually drops.

      For me, I’m willing and actually quite interested, to see how his album sounds like. I’ll admit I was quite hesitant at first because I’ve grown so attached to his RnB sound and SOLAR album, but knowing YB and his ‘stubborness’, I believe this new album will still have his own unique sound to it. Maybe that’s naive and expecting too much but considering the changes in YB himself and his friends since 2010, it’ll be interesting to see how this is reflected in his music.

      YG seriously give GD and Teddy way too much work (give them a break!). While it makes the sound of YG artists distinct, they all sort of blend in with each other after a while…

  8. Nice interview and very honest.

    I’m not worried at all with the “new” Taeyang, I mean he never left, he just seems to have a broader sense of music that is different than what people are accustomed to. I notice that whenever something is different, or their is change from what people are used to, in this case Taeyang being familiarized with R&B, it’s usually a negative thing to some people. Different is not negative, I think some fans are just afraid of change so they shun it at first, although some tend to accept it eventually.

    I’m probably just being a big fan here but whatever, I don’t care. I remember seeing a fan say that because of his hair he wasn’t going to listen to Taeyang’s music. Hair…really? When has hair become so important in music? And I don’t see how he’s some G-Dragon 2.0. Sure maybe his sense of style is influenced that, but he doesn’t seem the type to go into a full-on transformation into another G-Dragon. I don’t understand anything in K-Pop now days. I don’t know, I’m probably just naive and I want everyone to get along.

  9. I always enjoy Taeyang’s interviews. His honesty and sincerity always have a way of coming across during them. I am excited to hear his upcoming music and see him tackle a different style.

    I don’t really undertand why people are so fearful of this new direction.
    Change is not necessarily a bad thing. As we grow up our style changes. I don’t even eat some of the same things I used to faithfully three years ago. I don’t know why it is okay for everyone else to experiment except for him. Let him try out new things if that is what he wants to do.

    And just because GD has tried a particular genre doesn’t mean that YB can’t give it a shot too in his own way right? Who knows, we might be pleasantly surprised by all his experiments. @bluemaid-I completely agree with this sentiment.

    I am kind of over fans comparing everything he does lately to GD. I like GD just as much as the next person, but this belief that every time someone wants to experiment with music or fashion they are trying to be him is getting a little ridiculous and annoying.

  10. To be honest you can’t please everyone. And if he is gonna do what he wants then there are gonna be some people who love it and some people who hate it. As ‘fans’ I think its a bit selfish of us to say, you should only do this type of music or stick to this genre. I personally prefer his RnB work, but like I said, we can’t expect him not to try knew things and grow as an artist/person.

    In regards to YG, I’m annoyed too. But if you think from a business perspective, at the end of they day most businesses main objective is to make a profit. Without out it there would be no long term future. So yeah YG is being a bit of a pain, but on the other hand you can’t blame them for spend millions on an album, MV etc. without risk proofing it, in the sense that it matches trends slightly. And I don’t see Taeyang leaving YG anytime soon or ever for that matter.

    Anyways who knows what the album will be like. I hoping there will be a few RnB tracks in there, but if not, oh well. He’s just doing what hes doing and you can’t judge him for that.

  11. In other news, I’m glad this site is livening up again after 3 years in sleep mode. At least we have news to rant and discuss about again xD

  12. It’ll probably never happen, but I wish YGE would allow its artists to release free online mixtapes like American artists do. Like in the case of YB, how he’s come out and approached YG about a finished album, but YG himself was not satisfied with it or whatever so it never reached circulation, what’s the harm in compiling songs YB himself is satisfied with and releasing them online through a mixtape?

    If anything, it’ll do tons more good than harm, if any harm at all. It could be a ways for YGE artists to express their artistic side with no commercial interferences what so ever. Earn credit through music critics by releasing songs outside of the company books that have little to no commercial influence (creating songs that don’t fit the Idol mold – songs that possess stronger material) etc. etc. ultimately expanding their brand/work/product.

    IMO, by releasing mixtapes, you keep yourself relevant for say a 3 year absence whilst gaining fans outside of the ‘Idol’ audience and when the time does come to release an official Studio Album, you’re releasing it to a larger market.

    1. Mixtapes would be amazing… especially to tide us over during the long wait in between album releases. A few songs now and then wouldn’t dampen fans’ appetites for his commercial releases – if anything, it would probably make them more eager.

    2. oh. yes. that would be freaking awesome. all those unreleased songs. his scrapped album ‘Real’. songs that didn’t make the cut for the album. aaaaaaaaaaaaaaah. thinking about it just makes my mouth foam with excitement. if only YG is clever enough to think about this…

  13. This interview has me conflicted. So much good and bad in it.

    With regards to YGE and being commercial, I’m on both side of the fence. At the end of the day, YGE is a business and isn’t here for some vanity projects. Producing an album (esp one where you work with outside producers) is expensive and they want to make sure they recoup their costs. However, YB and BB have brought in enough money that they should be able to have some leverage. From reading other BB members’ interviews, this isn’t a problem that only YB faces. I’ve heard the same from Daesung, TOP and even GD about not being able to release the music they want because the public wont like it.

    As for trying other genres, he’s young and he should be able to experiment. If you don’t like the music, that’s fine but fans shouldn’t force him to do R&B anymore than YGE should force him to make poppy commercial music. SOLAR was very R&B and maybe he wants to move away from that a bit. Hopefully I’ll like his new album

  14. BAD NEWS guys… Taeyang album will be delayed

    According to information that Star News acquired on October 31, Big Bang is now planning to start working on a new album in earnest. They have already completed the framework for their new songs.
    Originally, Big Bang was to release new songs in the form of single album, at the end of October or early November this year, since Big Bang is scheduled to hold six dome tour concert in Japan from mid-November, which is the first case of such a concert by a foreign singer (band) in Japan.
    However, as Taeyang paid extra concentration and care for his new solo album, the release schedule for his album has been delayed, then the schedule of the release of Top’s solo album has been put off as well, to mid-November.
    Taeyang releases his new solo album early in this November. Therefore, the release of Big Bang’s new songs has also been put back than the original schedule.
    Big Bang plans to release those new songs as soon as possible after Top’s comeback as a solo singer. Considering Big Bang’s reputation for and pride in their high-quality concert, they do not want to just perform existing songs in the six dome tour concert in Japan.

    OH CAME ON YG:

    Don’t show Taeyang’s album delay as an excuse for the delay of other things. As a professional company listed on KOSDAQ you need to have plan A, B, C, ….X, Z, Y..for the worst case scenario but YG has none..Everything looks so sloppy and random…Get some advice from YGEX !!!!

    (P.S: oh yeah Taeyang’s album delay is also the cause of the delay of 2NE1’s singles, album, and the debut of so called new YG girl group and many things..LMFAO…)

    1. To be honest, YG’s press releases (“media play”) don’t have that much credibility with both the fans and general public so I wouldn’t worry about it too much. We pretty much figured out that Taeyang’s album would be delayed till next year, its just a matter of how many singles we would get this year. Blaming all of the late BB releases on YB is stupid and reaching and is just typical YG spin – we all know who really calls the shots over there and it certainly isn’t YB lol.

  15. First off, I have to say how exciting it is to see these long posts/comments on ATY again. And I’m not surprised that such an interview as this one provoked such discussion. It is very much a #TaeyangFangirlProblem 😉 (Not to say fanboys can’t have these problems.)

    And I’m not surprised that a majority, as far as I can gather from skimming these comments, of us are frustrated at the same things regarding YB, in general, and his solo career specifically. I, for one, as a long time fangirl, carry the same sense of defeat and reticence as YB in this interview in the context that his album has been and being delayed. To know that he has had to compromise his music, for better or worse, is a little disappointing given what he has said in the past. I’m regretful that he has had to succumb to the pressures of making a “hit” and selling well with his album. While I understand the bureaucracy of this industry and that ultimately, money talks, I still mourn it. As a well known artist associated with a wildly popular act that is Big Bang, Taeyang was refreshing because he was the most down-to-Earth and “real” artist. I pray that he doesn’t lose this quality and it will be reflected in his upcoming album. I however am oddly hopeful because I admire YB’s process of making music. He is careful and detailed, and organic in the whole process – recording when he finds the time and inspiration. It doesn’t feel manufactured as (ahem) the rest of YGE’s products.

    On the same note, though everyone has already expressed my frustrations with YGE in relation to the only artist I really care about front the label, I will only add that YB’s “situation” is somewhat of a unfortunate by-product of YGE’s focus on topping charts and making big statements in their videos and fashion, rather than trying to change the music culture in S.Korea as they did in the past. Admittedly, they have always reduced hip-hop to something more palatable for the Kpop audience and always have been highly commercial. As of late, nothing from YGE has been noteworthy to me. G-Dragon is a trendsetter, but, in Kanye-eque manner, highly derivative of other people and of himself. 2NE1 is not as refreshing as they used to be. I was looking forward to CL’s solo, but that too was overwhelmingly disappointing because she, talented and full of personality, was too reminiscent of GD. They are too derivative and have been iterating what has worked for them in the past. (E.g.: Psy “Gentleman”) It’s not entirely the company’s fault because the Kpop market is saturated and stale. Given YGE commercial success and dominance in the market, it’s even more disappointing that YB still feels this pressure to be a commercial success.

    Finally, this album whenever it comes out, will be very telling of YB as an artist and how he has a solo artist navigated his company and the industry. YB, out of all the BB boys with the exception of TOP, doesn’t release much as a solo artist. At this point, I would be happy just to hear what he releases even if it’s not in the form of commercial album. Mixtapes will be fine. YB just likes to produce music and I’d rather he maintains his integrity than being a commercial success. I’ve, sad to say, given up on this because being his fan and seeing the trials and tribulations that one of his albums has to go through every single time, is exhausting. It can only be worse for him.

    1. “Given YGE” (To put it in greater context, I would like to say) “Given BIGBANG’s commercial success and dominance in the market, it’s even more disappointing that YB still feels this pressure to be a commercial success.”

      I just can’t understand.

      1. honestly wouldn’t that be exactly why he feels the pressures to be a commercial success? As a member of BB he should have a great command of sales and dominate yet he doesn’t (in consideration to the group). Seungri gave the same reason as why he didn’t really want to do another solo after VVIP cause the sales weren’t as expected.

        1. It’s pretty clear from the interview that the pressure for chart success is external rather than from his own desire to sell more. His personal priorities would rather be to do the music that he wants rather than what is popular or expected, and he has his own definition of “success”. It’s been brought to his attention that he needs to consider it though, which is his dilemma right now.
          I think its a pity that they can’t use their solos for more experimental fare since as Toozdae mentioned, it should be the perk of doing more mainstream and commercial work with BB. But post-IPO YG is much more demanding and keeps their artists on a tighter leash it seems. Considering that their recent ideas of what makes a “hit” YG song are hit or miss (and rather lacklustre to my taste), I don’t know how in they can justify knowing what the public will end up liking or not liking. (I think that a large part of their success this year is because of the personal popularity and banked goodwill of the artists rather than the strength of the actual music.) Might as well let their artists try their own thing and find out either way. Yes, its rather like gambling with shareholder money, but that’s the music business for you…

      2. I guess I was clear with this sentence and made a few assumptions when I wrote it. But what I meant that because YB already made a lot of money for YGE and that YGE is so successful, YB shouldn’t have this pressure to be a commercial success to generate more money. If anything he should feel liberated from this to pursue more creative, personal projects. He shouldn’t have to feel this himself or from the company. But that is the business I suppose.

    1. biggest difference is Seungri always only had a 3 weeks to a Month before he would definitely be put on the back burner in YG’s consumer market.

      1. Yes that is true too, therefore it is unfair for YG to expect achievements both commercially and critically from Seungri’s solo projects, hence it make more sense for him to put pressure on the relatively easier path (which is commercial success)

        On the other hand, YB has always been known to take his own sweet time crafting and moulding his solo stuffs ever since HOT (which he delayed for a year dissastified with songs until Teddy came up with LOAM). That is certainly nothing new to YG. YG has always been pushy and YB (and of course other members as well) had always been in that dilemma.

        What used to set YB apart from other solo acts in YGE was, although mediocre success in domestic charts, his solo projects had always been critically acclaimed and favoured. Highly. That was really, really rare considering his MARKETED image of a member from a top idol group who sings and dances pretty well, but doesn’t get involved too much in producing his solo albums (as compared to his fellow groupmates) YG himself should know better than all of us how valuable that was.

        So why the sudden emphasis and pressure for sales and figures? I would stick to BM’s theory for now. YG got listed on KOSDAQ in Nov 2011, that seems logical with the timeline of all the music and style shift within the company.

        1. YG expected neither from Seungri’s second solo. It was just a put something out and fix/set your image a bit endeavor. Seungri was the one who didn’t want to put out another album cause of dismal sales before.

          What set YB apart was he did well domestically and was critically acclaimed for HOT. Then he did mediocre and was still rated well but not as good as hot as they marked it as a good growth album. The International buzz blanketed it a bit though and YB did nothing with it.
          I mean even fansites were saying how solar songs did poorly compared to what was expected it wasn’t really a sudden emphasis and pressure for anyone but YB and being part of the company and business it’s something he needed to know before the next album comes out. Hopefully he’ll start promoting himself more too cause his 3 show (outsite of music broadcasts) disappear thing did nothing to help him.

  16. @Wakka
    But it was Solar that got him recognized as a true R&B artist, got him chosen as one of the KR&B trinity (I can’t help but start to cringe at how KBH thinks about the new Taeyang….but oh well) and viewed as the hope of bringing KR&B to the mainstream. Solar proved that he wasn’t an one-album wonder (at a musical perspective), which was why they gave him credit for the persistence and growth in style.

    What Im trying to say was, the pressure from sales and business had always been there ever since the first day YG started YGE. YB had somehow managed to get away from labelled as a total flop with critical achievement and recognition. What else could we ask for, despite all the under-the-table disagreements, he was still able to release two R&B albums. Which means there used to be some degree of musical freedom, if someone pushes and fights for it.

    Now, throughout the discussion on the interview most of us had come into a conclusion that the current pressure of this entire YB mess and compromise is external, which means, the company. So if we are blaming entirely on the company, there must be a reason why YGE has became much more demanding that they used to! And being listed as a publicly traded company in 2011 is the only logical explanation.

    1. Hot got him recognized Solar was just as they said the showing of growth and what would be to come (depending on Rise etc may be wrong)

      He wasn’t a Flop with Hot…. he did great with it for that time.. Solar did not. yall are blaming entirely on the company I’m not. Becoming publicly listed is the only logical explanation because that’s all yall have to go on for now.

      Before we thought Taeyang was working on Albums (I mean sure YG’s been saying he was working on solo projects since ’11) but going by what YB says he was just working with producers he liked and seeing what everything had to offer till things fell together naturally. What’s the real truth? etc

      I mean you can keep reaching for whatever answers you want but there’s always 3 sides to a story and we’re only getting 2 and partial bits of those at that.

      1. You seemed to not notice the value of Solar, and flop was just a superficial term of defining plain commercial success, I was using that because of your emphasis on business and sales. I had never thought of Hot and Solar as album flops.

        If you’ve read my first comment on this interview you would’ve known my stand. To me it is simply a 100% internal mess or misguided “awakening” going on. If he himself had enough faith and confidence in his path, he wouldn’t have ended up like this.

        Everyone perceives differently, some perceived this article positively, others (eg. me) sensed something really wrong. And Im just trying to reason this matter from BM’s more of a fanmom approach, before jumping into extreme conclusions like a pressed hater.

        1. No, I can see exactly what the value of Solar is/was.

          “If he himself had enough faith and confidence in his path, he wouldn’t have ended up like this.”
          You’re only saying this because you have made a set path for him in your mind, his path is what he sets for himself if he doesn’t want to follow what he did before, says so, and does so, and fights for it how is that not having confidence in it?

          And I get that you’re trying to reason this matter but you don’t know all the facts so you’re just pulling at whatever seems plausible and would fit your idea of what’s going on.

  17. There’s not much I can say that pretty much hasn’t been said already. At the end of the day, I just hope that YB is truly happy with this album and it’s something that he is proud of.

  18. @Wakka

    What grounds do you have for saying I don’t know all the facts? Or what makes you think you know more that me? Just because I come from a more anti-mainstream/commercialism point of view? Or Im just not a typical fanmom that agrees with every single thing he does?

    The fact that you degraded Solar’s value more than it should have, is just as superficial as accusing me of resisting changes, because facts say otherwise.
    In terms of changes, during his pre-Solar period he was dissastisfied of Hot despite its critical and commercial success, because he did not contribute to the writing or production process. He has always been changing his mindsets and decisions, just like how he is unhappy with Solar now, which Im fully aware and was totally fine with that.
    The part that I said “fight for it” did not imply adhering to his old style because….come on to release a title track wearing huge dreadlocks, mullet and grills, do you think YG would approve without second thoughts? He is still as headstrong as ever! But while being his stubborn self, is he heading in the right direction?

    I have absolutely NO issues with breaking the mould (as I said earlier I would be thrilled if he decides to try punk or grunge or even oldschool synthpop/house) AS LONG he has the right concept in making music, because obviously YGE’s current concept isn’t right. By having the thought of trying different genres BUT not interested in the production process or even doing some research on the music culture only makes him no different than a regular shallow pop singer/idol, where they aim to make flashy music and visuals just to catch eyeballs and top charts, yet not having any basic understanding or depth. To top that more cultural appropriation issues will arise due to the lack of depth.
    He may not realise the consequences since this route is definitely an easier and less worrisome path, but that will eventually lead him to be fully commercialised and losing his identity.

    Im fine if you find me jumping into conclusions, but please don’t say that I don’t know the facts. I definitely know where Im coming from.

    1. Because if you knew all the facts you wouldn’t be looking to theories and would actually know what was what? I don’t claim to know more than you either.

      ” AS LONG he has the right concept in making music, because obviously YGE’s current concept isn’t right. By having the thought of trying different genres BUT not interested in the production process or even doing some research on the music culture only….” umm What? Dude said he went to mesh with other producers to better himself and see what’s out there n get more accustomed to different styles of music etc you’re focusing too much on his statement of YG informing him of his responsibility to be more commercially successful and him saying he doesn’t want to fully write/compose/arrange all of his songs and making it something completely different.

      So in a nut shell you proved you don’t know the facts, are jumping to conclusions and you may know where you’re coming from but have no real idea of where you’re really going

      1. My whole point was about compromising to the Kpop commercial norms and demand of being versatile but no depth. Since when I was dwelling plainly about production?
        And if I’m not mistaken you were the one that started that “It is his responsibility to cater for the market and YGE’s business regardless of his previous and BB’s success” theory because I had always disagree.

        1. lol Going out of his way to work with producers w/o intentions of making a album but cause he wanted to and to get more experience with different styles is of course going into music w/o depth. I pointed this out because you said ” By having the thought of trying different genres BUT not interested in the production process or even doing some research on the music culture only makes him no different than a regular shallow pop singer/idol, where they aim to make flashy music and visuals just to catch eyeballs and top charts, yet not having any basic understanding or depth”

          “It is his responsibility to cater for the market and YGE’s business regardless of his previous and BB’s success” when did I say this? if you’re going to quote me please actually quote me. And he has to cater to the market and yge’s business in regards to previous success of His, BB’s, and even GD’s because that’s what his position is in the company.

          this conversation is getting no where though so I’ll just leave it at this. Hopefully one day we’ll understand each other, though today won’t be that day.

  19. You’ve all touched on many points, and to some extent I can agree with everyone if I’m honest. What I’d like to say is lets not draw whole conclusions on YB’s direction or where we think he’s heading. YB is an artist in a company who have certain objectives. He has to balance the two, be able to express what he wants, but be able to further the companies agenda. Perhaps his struggle now is striking that balance. I don’t know what YB’s ultimate intentions are, but to me it sounds like he is seeking to reach a place where he can gain that creative freedom. No longer chained by public’s perception of how he should be, nor what the company perceives as the only road to success.

    We have this one track we know about so far which might sound to some like he’s ‘conforming to the system/ company’, but we never know what else we might get from the album. In that case it might be a very smart move for YB to get what he wants heard to a wider audience by coming out of the niche and appealing to a wide range of music lovers. He is perhaps making a small compromise out of consideration for what the company desires, but in the end sometimes we have to compromise for our views to be better understood. Just like someone pointed out, the more YB can achieve the companies objectives, the more creative freedom he will get i.e. attain his own objectives. It becomes a win win: do as please as long as we reach a certain outcome. In that sense, I believe YB still very much knows what he wants, but he’s now learning what he’s takes to get it.

  20. @wakka

    Hence, if you find the versatile but no depth trend in Kpop and YGE (eg. 2NE1’s so-called reggae track falling in love which only had 15 seconds of reggae, or GD’s so-called punk rock song Crooked which probably the only punk part of it would be the music video) completely fine, then that’s you choice.
    Because I find it ironic and kinda sad, even alittle deceiving, because these are coming from a company that actually used to emphasize music and hiphop culture more than….high fashion. (Try searching Stony Skunk, an actual reggae duo under YGE with Kush as one of the rappers and you will understand what I’m trying to say)

    As for the business demand theory, I would like to quote taeyangfangirlproblem because she had reiterate it better than I did: ” YB already made a lot of money for YGE and that YGE is so successful, YB shouldn’t have this pressure to be a commercial success to generate more money. If anything he should feel liberated from this to pursue more creative, personal projects. He shouldn’t have to feel this himself or from the company”. That is how a normal music label should function, I’m not just referring to major multinational music groups like Universal or Warner which cater a vast variety of artists from Justin bieber Rihanna to jazz soloists and alternative bands, even with domestic asian labels like taiwan’s HIM, by having a huge girl group and boy group as their major cashcows, they are happy enough to invest on a particular member’s more alternative/non-market-friendly solo releases for artistic purpose.

    This conversation is getting no where because as I said earlier, I’m coming from an anti-mainstream/commercialism point of view. It may look normal within Kpop, but definitely not in a wider perspective. 

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