10: So what do you think is your style of music? I’m sure it’s different from that of G-Dragon or Taeyang’s who have grown with YG since they were young.
Seungri: I think I work with a variety of genres but it’s mainly pop. Taeyang does black R&B, Daesung authentic ballad, T.O.P hip-hop but dirty sound and G-Dragon likes an extremely wide range of music. I think my style is closer to white music. I like Justin Timberlake and boy bands like ‘N Sync and the Backstreet Boys. But I’m with YG Entertainment so I sang most of my songs in R&B style. I think a lot of people would have looked the other way if I strayed too far from YG’s style since people have a certain level of expectation for who they see as Seungri of YG Entertainment.
10: Your vocals in particular for this album are different from when you sang “Strong Baby” — even more so for songs “OPEN YOUR MIND” and “I KNOW.”
Seungri: That’s why I asked IU to sing in R&B style as well, different from how she usually sings. The song had to sound like it was done by a YG artist.
10: That must’ve not been an easy environment for IU to work with. How did you get one of the most popular female singers these days to sing with you?
Seungri: I half threatened her. (laugh) I’d known her since three years ago so I told her, ‘I’ve made a sweet duet song for you so come and sing it.’ But honestly, you can’t get singers to sing with you if they don’t like the song but she liked it so we went for it and it came out well.
10: Like you did with the song with IU, you collaborated with different people not only in terms of the composing and producing but also singing. I’m curious to know how these came about and how you worked with the singers. G-Dragon did the rap for “OPEN YOUR MIND.”
Seungri: I was actually going to ask Psy to do the featuring for “OPEN YOUR MIND.” I also wanted to make the song sound sexy by including sounds of breathing mid-way. But I realized that the song may not be suitable for underage listeners if he was saying things like, “Open my window and come in.” (laugh) Then one day, G-Dragon and T.O.P had gotten back all worn out around 5 a.m. after shooting their music video when our boss Yang said, “Then you do it G-Dragon. It won’t take you that long anyway, right?” and went upstairs. I’m sure he must’ve been extremely tired but he got it done in three hours. I don’t know if it was because he was sleepy (laugh) but the rap sounded odd and dreamy. It came out really well.
10: So what did you say to G-Dragon?
Seungri: Man, they don’t call you G-Dragon for no reason. (all laugh)
10: And what did he say to that?
Seungri: It’s me, man! (laugh)
10: Well the album has turned out to be a mix of yours and YG’s style. How has the response been within YG?
Seungri: Mr. Yang was extremely surprised. He usually isn’t the expressive type but after listening the song he asked who made it, so I said I did, then he asked whether I came up with just the lyrics, so I told him the melody as well and he said, “Hmm… hmm… There aren’t any songs that are similar to this, are there?” (laugh) I was scared too because I wondered whether I had unconsciously plagiarized another song. So I checked through applications that look up similar songs as well. G-Dragon was very surprised as well. “Who made this?” “Me.” “This one as well?” “Yes.” “What about this?” “I did…” “This one is good… But I don’t think you made it. Did you really?” was our conversation.
10: For which songs did you get those responses?
Seungri: He asked if I was the one that really made “MAGIC.” Taeyang and G-Dragon listen to it everyday. And they say they like the song but are kind of annoyed because I made it. (laugh) I know what they’re trying to say so it feels good.
10: Have there been times they’ve acknowledged you like that for other things in the past?
Seungri: Almost never. My members and Mr. Yang know how to deal with me. (laugh) They know I’ll cross the line if they acknowledge or praise me too much. After I gave my first performance on television for my new album, G-Dragon sent me a 30-line text message. He had monitored the performance and I’m sure nobody has gotten such a long text message, even from their own girlfriend. (laugh) Anyways, he commented on my expression, my gestures, my gazes, my wardrobe, my walk — it was in extreme detail. I was very grateful and happy. I would’ve stayed a not-so-great singer without it. The people at our agency are actually very cold-hearted in this aspect. They won’t tell you how great or amazing you were but instead tell you that you weren’t that great if you weren’t. And they’re correct.
10: So I’m sure you depend on and lay much faith in such monitoring that’s done about you.
Seungri: I accept most of it. Except for maybe about five out of the 30 lines. Because I have a mind of my own as well. For example, there’s nothing I can do about looking short. I’m born this way. And my face is on the long side so I look even shorter on screen. It’s not an issue that can be solved by inserting extra heels into my shoes.
10: Well such monitoring and feedback on each other shows that Big Bang is more than just a group with brother-like relationships.
Seungri: I guess it would be more accurate to say that we draw a distinct line between our public and personal lives. Our leader has an evident role he plays when it comes to work — he’ll confirm on the opinions the rest of us four share. But I feel comfortable with them when it comes to our private lives. Nobody is as humane as the members of Big Bang. Everyday is like a sitcom. I drink often with T.O.P and G-Dragon and I go to church with Daesung and Taeyang so we study the bible together. But we all stay cool-headed when it comes to work. For example, if T.O.P comes up with a rap that he thinks suits a song better than a rap that G-Dragon has made, he’ll insist on going with his. Then G-Dragon will respect his opinion, try it out, and go with it if he agrees on it as well. I think that’s why Big Bang’s music is about what all five of us really wanted to do and hear.
10: I’m curious to know how such work-related stubbornness and respect will have harmonized in Big Bang’s upcoming album — whether one person will hold the key to it or if it’ll emphasize the intersection the five of you create.
Seungri: There are times when painting red, blue, black, green and purple on a white piece of drawing paper will becomes a work of art. That’s what Big Bang is like. We all have distinctive colors but every picture we draw turns out great.
10: What’s fascinating is that it’s sometimes hard to create synergy with very different people but Big Bang does.
Seungri: G-Dragon is good at harmonizing us. For example, T.O.P has a unique voice so it sometimes stands out too much but G-Dragon will help him tone it down and with me, he’ll help me stand out when I sometimes don’t because of everyone else’s individuality. G-Dragon is good at being the leader.
10: Well, G-Dragon may be the leader of the group in an official sense but you’re the one who delivers the more personal aspects of Big Bang to fans. This was written in your autobiography as well but while the members Big Bang are shy and like to be amongst themselves, you seem to be quite different from them.
Seungri: I’m a star player when it comes to being sociable. It’s because I’m inquisitive. When I meet someone for the first time, I want to start up a conversation with them.
10: In that sense, what do you think about what T.O.P recently said about you on a talk show?
Seungri: It wasn’t too bad. He recently joined our so-called ‘Seungri Academy’ and worked hard on improving his talking skills. G-Dragon also asked when he’ll be able to take a class.
10: What does your agency say about your character on variety shows? You even sang Yang’s song at the YG Family concert and shouted out “Eun-joo [Yang’s wife], I love you.”
Seungri: Well about that, he said, “Seungri, he’s really funny.” And he’ll tell me not to do such things again but he also loves it when I do.
10: In other words, you go for what you think will be funny.
Seungri: I make a lot of attempts and give up on the things that won’t work. Me and Daesung, our personalities are extreme opposites. We were both practicing for our musical “Shouting” when I came up with an idea and told him we should try it out to see what the director thinks but Daesung said it would be better to ask him about it first. I’m the type that makes attempt after attempt and moves forward like a wild horse.
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Reporter : Wee Geun-woo eight@, Choi Ji-Eun five@
Editor : Jessica Kim jesskim@, Lee Ji-Hye seven@