Round 3 from the slew of press conference interviews during Ringa Linga’s launch. This is the full interview from Star News published on 131112 (other translated interviews from the same period here and here.) As with the rest, there is some overlap with other publications but some new bits as well.
(Star News Reporter Lee Ji-Hyun)
Forget about the sexy guy that sang ‘Look Only At Me’ and ‘I Need A Girl.’ A different Taeyang has risen. Returning as a solo artists after three odd years, Taeyang sounds out the music scene with a song that incorporates colors intrinsic to Korea in the soulful ‘Ringa Linga.’
‘Ringa Linga,’ which was released on the 8th at midnight, is a song written and co-composed by Big Bang’s leader, G-Dragon. It’s a full on hip-hop song that showcases powerful rapping.
With this pre-release song, Taeyang has revved the engine to begin his full-fledged solo comeback. His second full-length album will officially be released in January of next year. Fans will be treated to approximately 10 songs, including ‘Ringa Linga.’ The album’s particulars have not yet been finalized, and it is in the final stages of production.
In the second half of the year, Big Bang continued to promote domestically through solo releases from Seungri in August and G-Dragon in September. Taeyang is sallying forth as the third batter. Could Taeyang feel burdened by the members’ success? On the afternoon of the 11th, I met with Taeyang at a Seoul Seokyo-dong café to talk about his thoughts, his album and other various subjects.
Leading up to your second full-length album, you pre-released a song. How do you feel?
Good. It’s a relief. With this pre-release, I could finally visualize the release of all the material I’ve prepared. I feel like I’ve reached the finish line.
The album was slightly delayed.
The original plan was for me to release my album before the other members. Due to various circumstances, it was pushed back slightly. Because I needed to come out with a good product… There was some conflict between what Mr. YG had in mind and what I wanted to do as an artist. But, ultimately, that kind of conflict creates a good finished product. To tell you the truth, I think the timing of a comeback is destined. I wanted to fill the album with music I’m drawn to, even if it meant the album had to be delayed. There is a little overlap with Big Bang activities, but I think that someday these things will help me.
The period of non-activity was somewhat long. What has changed [in that time]?
My musical color has become clear. I have an unwavering will about the music I want to do. I no longer have any doubts about the kind of music I can really do. And because of that, I feel I’ve changed and matured.
G-Dragon took part.
Actually, this song was the last one I worked on. Originally, another track was going to be the pre-release song. But not long after the decision had been made, ‘Ringa Linga’ came about. Ji-Yong came by while I was discussing the album with Mr. YG. He heard the beat and said it would be good to borrow the “ringa linga” part from the children’s song ‘Dungeulgae (Round).’ Mr. YG agreed with the suggestion, and so we began working on it. We recorded in a day and finished all production within two days. It progressed smoothly over a short period.
Seungri and G-Dragon had solo activities, and G-Dragon, in particular, was very successful. Did it create any burden while preparing your album?
There was nothing like that. Contrarily, I hoped they would do [well.] Since G-Dragon did well, I hope my album that follows won’t compromise that. I hope not to bring down the group. A big significance of Big Bang’s solo activities is to keep the interest up until we come back as a group. It’s to give a new sensation as a solo artist and, again, a new sensation when we return as Big Bang. The various images and activities of the members are ultimately something that’s needed in order to bring attention and focus to Big Bang.
I get the sense that you and G-Dragon lean on one another.
It’s true. We have a special relationship. We’re a match made in heaven, to the point that I think, if I were to marry, it should be with someone like him. (laughs)
You seem to have totally opposite dispositions. Is there a reason you get along so well?
I think that’s why we admire each other. Ever since we were younger, Ji-Yong and I were very little alike. Our dispositions are definitely different. But we see what the other has and admire each other for it.
The teaser photos and music video left an impression. Did you come up with the ideas yourself?
The concept for the photos and the idea of the music video were all my suggestions. I got the overall concept for the teaser from another country. I travelled to a lot of different countries while on the Big Bang world tour. Each country had a different culture, and I was very inspired. The symbols drawn on my body were inspired from what I saw of the Inca civilization at the historical sites I visited in Peru.
The music video was produced with the “ringa linga” refrain in mind. The refrain has a very Korean feel, so I wanted that to be expressed well. And the feeling of “Let’s all have fun together.” I thought it would be cool to incorporate our own culture into the video as well.
Can you give us a hint about this second solo album?
With the pre-release ‘Ringa Linga,’ we went for a different musical feel because I wanted it to be different from the previous album. You’ll probably feel it when the album comes out, that the overall composition and colors are different. Before, there was a lot of music with emotional melodies. I could have done that again. But I felt this is the time to show more different sides of myself, so the songs comprise a lot of different genres. My color remains untouched, but you’ll also feel a stronger energy.
‘Ringa Linga’ is quite different from the sticky love stories of your past songs.
There are people who felt it was different or were even a little disappointed. Of course, love songs are great, too. But that kind of genre is something I already have, so I could show it again at any time. I wanted to try more things while I’m young still. I don’t know how people who want the old feel will feel about it. But the album has a variety of genres so I think they will still find something to their taste.
You’re famous for your dancing. Does the choreography this time have a particular point of interest?
Before, the choreography was often detailed and true to the lyrics. At the time, that was the trend. These days, the choreography I find cool are those of freedom and abandon. The choreography for ‘Ringa Linga’ is very hip-hop and cool overall.
There has been a lot of talk about the performance music video, too. How did you come to collaborate with such talented dancers?
Because I like to dance, I seek out and pay a lot of attention to what kind of dance or concept is popular among dancers these days. The dancers leading the trend these days don’t merely film the choreography – they film with a clear concept. I watched the videos on Youtube and picked the best one and showed it to Mr. YG. He liked it. He told me to go work with her and bring back a video of the choreography, so I abruptly went to the US. I learned the dance as soon as I got there and filmed the video the following evening with the dancers there.
You look like you’ve lost a lot of weight. Did you exercise a lot in preparation for the comeback?
Since my debut, my lifestyle has become increasingly busy and irregular, so I take care of my health. I’m more mindful of it. My weight naturally dropped because I seek out food that suits me and avoid unnecessary stuff. I used to do a lot of weight training, but these days I do a lot of yoga and pilates.
Are you considering going on variety programs during your solo promotions?
I don’t have any plans yet, but I’m thinking I’ll have to for the album’s sake. Though there is the Big Bang dome tour in Japan as well, so I’m not sure if I can. I think it’s destiny that I can’t do it even if I want to. (laughs)
Any variety program you would like to go on in particular?
I’m not the type to watch a lot of TV. I’m not sure because I don’t watch a lot of programs. One show I enjoy watching on occasion is Daddy, Where Are You Going? But I can’t go on that unless I become a dad. (laughs)
You and all the members of Big Bang are in the spotlight as fashionistas. Do you have a lot of interest in fashion?
I do. Among us, Daesung used to never go shopping. But I think we’ve rubbed off on him recently. (laughs) Seungri enjoys shopping though he goes on his own. TOP likes it, too. Jiyong and I shop whenever we go out. We just really like clothes. Even if something doesn’t suit me, if it’s nice, I buy it. It’s a worry, actually. Shopping is my only expenditure, but I think I have to cut back.
The Big Bang members seem especially close. And I feel like your role in the group, rather than to shine, is to be its strong center. Your thoughts?
What’s more important than music are the members. I believe the people around me are who made me. I started thinking that about a year and a half ago. My feelings about Big Bang have become central. I think I try hard to help the members shine. Before, I thought, “Taeyang in Big and Taeyang as a solo artist have to be different,” but I don’t feel that way anymore. Big Bang Taeyang and solo Taeyang are all the same. The fans who look only at me may be sorry to hear it, but this is my role right now. I’m certain that, in the long run, it benefits both Big Bang and myself. Even if I don’t shine brightly right now.
You don’t seem the type to enjoy the spotlight.
It’s true. Not only am I not the type to enjoy it, [I don’t get the spotlight] often. I sing because I love music. I don’t think I particularly like the feeling of drawing attention or setting a trend.
You appear to have a quiet personality. You have an image of a model student. What are you really like?
You’re right. I have a calm and even temperament. I don’t really express pleasure or joy in words. If I feel good, I dance in the streets. I do have a bit of a model student image, too. In a sense, Big Bang had a lot of issues and controversies over the last few years. And I think that’s why I got this image. I’m seen as leading a model lifestyle, but I don’t think a model image is particularly beneficial to an artist.
What’s your outlook on music?
To do what I want to do at the moment. And [what I want to do] changes. My sincerity is always there, embedded, so I do whatever music I feel like doing. I try not to listen to what too many people say. I don’t check [my music’s] reception much either. All it does is shake me. It doesn’t change my outlook on music much. I know very well what I want right now. Because I listen to my own mind well, I pursue the music I want to do.
Do you have any requests to the public regarding your album?
It should be released early next year, and, listening to it in full, I can say the care that went into it is immense. I think more care went into it than it takes to make sand lance fish sauce. Haha. What I’m saying is that it is that rich/flavorful. The listeners will decide whether or not they like it, but what I felt was that a lot of care went into it.
Anything you want to say to the fans who have been waiting?
Because of the album’s delay, there has been a lot of conjecture, and fans are very worried. When I see that, it concerns me. I’m sure it’s because they care about me, but I want to ask them not to mind the circumstances and just look at the music. As for the end product, those who enjoy it can enjoy it. And those who are unsatisfied can look ahead to the next one. And they can curse me, too. I hope they will focus on the music.
Translated by Silly for alwaystaeyang.wordpress.com. Please credit if taking out.