LIVING LIKE THE SUN
Source : GQ Korea
It is not living in pajamas in a big, neat house with a garden like in “I Live Alone” but living in the midst of music with the recklessness of the word “Passion.”
GQ : I’ve read all of TAEYANG’s [past] interviews with GQ. I noticed that you spoke about your future plans in most them. You said you would fall in love, would do a world tour, and would release a song with just vocals. You accomplished all of them.
T : Right? haha. I was a bit surprised when you mentioned that. I said those things at that time…
What is left (to accomplish) now?
Considering my music, I finally reached the conclusion that the music which reflects my life can make others relate more (to the music) and my sincerity. The more I do music, the more I feel – I am not sure if it’s right expression – I think my life is the priority. I feel I can do more authentic music when I feel and learn and become inspired by various circumstances of my life. I do not know if it is right for musicians, but I want to be a very mature person. I feel my life is reflected in everything I express.
You weren’t like that before? In music for example, you were acting in a way which fits for a certain type of performance?
Work came first, and releasing a song was the priority in the past. I rushed to release something rather than to reflect my personal opinion. Though if I wasn’t like that before, I would not be the man I am today.
You never tried to be a suitable person for variety shows but you became a person who is not awkward in those shows. I think that’s who Taeyang is now.
Yes, I might have been better at those shows if I was the same person as I am now. But it is also because of the time period. Older variety shows had to exaggerate and embellish things. It was such a big burden because it is not suitable for me. But nowadays people want to see things as they are. I can now do variety shows because of ‘Observation variety shows’. [reality shows]
There’s more though – around your second full-length album [RISE]? I felt it was then Taeyang turned to your current stance. In BigBang’s stages, you are so different from before. It looks like you are really playing on the stage.
Exactly. I had been trying so hard to show my real self and I changed naturally. I don’t want to mention age but I can’t ignore time as well. My thoughts became more simple and it became clearer about what the core is.
I vividly remember when Taeyang wanted to do some things but your company opposed, so you had to fight and persuade. Has that changed as well?
It took 4 years to finish my second full-length album because we had the worst conflict at that time. So I couldn’t show what music I really pursued. I changed my mind a lot after ‘Eyes, Nose, Lips’. My musical style kept coming into conflict, being delayed and then falling apart so I was thinking about what kind of music can I do now and then the song came out when I decided to tell about myself and not considering any musical genre. So many people loved the song so I thought really good music comes from sincere stories.
Then the third full-length album, WHITE NIGHT , is more of yourself?
It would be different from every viewpoint. But I think this album contains what I feel and love right now, almost all of my identity is in there. I did whatever I wanted to do for this album. Almost 99 percent. I learned how to do it through my second full-length album. The thing I regret the most was relationships. I realized the most important thing is relationships after all. Relationship with people, relationship with the company. My attitude with people has changed. I was such a closed person, but (after) I opened my mind, meeting people feels more natural (for me).
I am not sure it is that easy a thing to be accomplished. I think having a relationship (with people) also is a kind of talent. How was it possible for Taeyang?
If I express what I feel, I am born again. haha
If someone asks you ‘Have you changed?’ then what would be (your answer)?
There are things that have changed, I can definitely say it is good change (for me).
In my opinion, one of the things that has not changed is that you are a person who uses the word ‘Sincerity’. I think Taeyang has longed for pure passion like a child and still does.
I think I wouldn’t be able to do music anymore if that changes. It is not possible for me to do something if I can’t accept it wholeheartedly or if it is not (something I am passionate about).
Recently you were looking over trainees who are appearing on Mix Nine. How is it? Your participation is really brief and the show only shows your cheering speech, so I don’t really know how you felt.
I also was desperate when I tried to be a singer and that’s how I became a singer. They are really, really desperate. For example, I doubted myself like ‘why is it so important to me to become a singer that I have to do this much?’ One more thing is, it would help if they design their dream specifically, but mostly it’s vague. They just do their best as they have learned, they just work harder unconditionally. They don’t reflect or be ready for the struggle (fight) – what kind of singer they are, what kind of music, what kind of stage it is.
You used the word ‘Struggle’ so I want to ask you this, I think the person who has energy for pure passion also has a lot of anger. But I’ve never seen Taeyang angry up to now.
That’s really odd. I have that side of me, but it was never broadcast. I don’t get mad but I am really a direct person. I am the one who says bad things the most to staff among the members. Which can be really cold. I also spoke (to people) that way on TV but it was edited out. Only warm words have been broadcast. Staff before could feel difficulty working with me, but now I know how to fix things while speaking nicely.
WHITE NIGHT also sounds like that. Even the most powerful dance song also feels soft.
I guess it could feel that way. It contains my present color anyway.
Which song is your favorite in this album?
I really love them all. haha. But if I have to choose, Intro – like my 2nd full -length album. I always try to show the album’s overall theme or color in the Intro. I think (the intro) shows White Night’s image the most in this album.
In addition, the last song is as important as the first song in Taeyang’s album. Last song always contains excellent singing.
I think so. I always want to put an image of when the sun is the hottest into the last song. I never compromised on the first song and the last song in my second album so they contained the color of the album.
People pointed out this album is too short, like the last album, considering it is full-length album?
I agree. It should have had contained 10 songs at least.
You took some (songs) out as well?
I took some (songs) out in my second album, but I made this album just like this. As a creator, I am satisfied I made 8 songs and put in all of them. It would have been good if I put more songs, but if I did, I couldn’t release it this year. I started early this year and I made a song per a month. (I) almost didn’t take a break.
You used to polish and refine a song but now you quickly move on to next step.
Considering my career, if I don’t do it this way, I think it will take too much time to reach the point I am satisfied. I took so much time for my second full-length album, so later I got tired of listening to those songs I made at the beginning? I asked myself ‘Is it ok?’ and I realized this kind of struggle is not good for me.
How do you feel about the fact this album was better received in foreign countries than Korea?
Well, I’m happy it was appreciated abroad? Haha. But I would like a good reaction in Korea. Because I am a singer who sings in Korean.
(I think) Taeyang is a singer who has niche taste but wants to reach the mainstream. On that point, does it matter to get a good response from Korea?
It is not important where (my song is loved), but my strength is I sing in Korean. My voice has a good point that it doesn’t feel awkward to foreigners when I sing in Korean. I was growing up listening to foreign music but my emotion is based on Korea. It will be harder but it is the right and cool way that I show it with good balance so (my music) is recognized both here and there. Actually foreign fans sing my song from the beginning to the end even though they don’t know the meaning of the lyrics? I hope the song I sing in Korean gets good recognition.
You always have your eyes on a Korean singer. Whose (music) do you listen recently?
Senior YouJaeha’s music, and I want to express this kind of music in recent trend. When I listened to his first full-length album, it’s really pure, and it’s been quite long time but the lyrics still feels 100% relatable. It’s the power of the song that it can evoke this much empathy and I am amazed he did this kind of music at that time. I think K-pop might have been really different if he went on to this day.
It is interesting the singer evaluated as the best singer now highly appreciates the singer whose song was banned because of ‘lack of singing ability’.
Really? To think of it, it might be so by the standard of those days. But it feels the real music for me now. Actually, this (music) is beyond evaluation. You just can’t attach a standard of singing ability. You understand what I mean, right?
Editor Kang Ji Young, Jung Woo Young
Photographer Hyung Sik Kim
Stylist Ji Eun
Hair Kim Tae Hyun
Makeup Lim Hae Kyung
Translated by redsun for alwaystaeyang.wordpress.com. Please credit if taking out.