UNDER COVER; G-DRAGON
Before the shooting team arrived, there was already another shoot going on. G-Dragon was shooting pictures for the jacket of his first solo album. However the scene where white gowns and needles were scattered was quickly clean up and started the cover shoots. G-Dragon's face was darkish. His new concept for his solo album is his blond hair, but since he wanted to keep it a secret until the release; he said that we wore black hats even on the very hot days. He was quicker and calmer than I thought, and he enjoyably posed various poses so that the photographer didn't even need to order him around. He was the first male model decorating the cover for so make-up artist Im Hae-Kyung wanted to give a strong feeling. "Since G-Dragon's eyes aren't that big we always pay attention to his eye make-up and this time he's the cover model so I paid more attention to his eye lining to give a more stronger feel. The key point of his look today is the blond hair so I barely put any color on his lips." I asked G-Dragon if he wasn't hungry and tired because of the shoots since morning without eating. G-Dragon gave us a manly answer "I have a lot of energy and I think of photo shoots as playing- I enjoy it very such so it's not as tiring for me as the people around me are concerned about.", and moved places saying he had to go do some recording for his album.
THE SUMMER BIRTHDAY BOY
He says don't make a big fuss about it like kids do, but you can't deny that you're hyper and also empty at the same time. 22nd birthday. Your solo album you've dreamed of since you were young is coming out. In that there is a boy and a male celebrity. on a very hot day, we met him who had the same birthday.
If we look at your past pictures there were many bold ones. If you look at those pictures do you think that they look like yourself? Do you try to not look like your normal self.
Its not that I try to not look like myself, but I try to take in the feedback and show many sides of myself. Look angry then smile. I think of taking pictures as playing. I just do anything.
You also posed a pose like you were pottying or made your hair like dragonball.
Yes, I try to free myself when I'm shooting.
I'm wondering about the clothing you're wearing right now.
The black beanie is from Chip Monday. The red badge on the hat was on these nice pants I bought in Japan. This saw I received from a pretty store that my friend's friend owns when I went to London with 2NE1's stylist Seungho and Jieun nuna(Bigbang's stylish). This vest is from Ann Demeulemeester. It's a really old piece of clothing. This was the most expensive piece of clothing i bought when Bigbang first started. These yellow pants I first saw at the John Galliano store in London and bought it then. The shoes are from Vans. I like the vintage style shoes these days so I've been wearing them a lot.
Kwon Jiyong that wears the most standing out clothing in Seoul prefers comfortable clothing?
I wore my clothes small and wore a lot of clothing that stood out. Haha. The same in my normal everyday life and on stage. I always dress up head to toe then change many many times before I go out. Even when I go to the supermarket.(laugh) These days it needs to be comfortable. Now looks hip-hop fashion is coming back in the fashion area. Like Givenchy's collection, everything was a little oversized. I'm welcoming this trend.
I heard that you also don't really care about wearing women size clothing if the clothes are nice. I felt this at our shooting scene today too, but you don't look like you intentionally make yourself look cool and handsome.
It's because I'm not handsome. TOP hyung is handsome. Our Bigbang members are more friendly looking than being really handsome. To Daesung I tell him right in front of him "I'm not the best looking, but you aren't handsome." Daesung knows that he's not the best looking. We don't care about our faces. In fashion shoots there's always a concept; I follow the concept that the staffs give me, I don't try to make my face come out nicely or anything- that makes the picture and the outfit die away. Before I wanted to look good in the pictures, but since I'm not the best looking it doesn't come out like that. Like exaggerating everything to look nice doesn't really suit me.
What's your favorite brand these days? Do you think you could wear only one brand for the rest of your life if someone told you to do so?
I've been loving Givenchy these days. If I had to wear only one brand on stage then I would wear John Galliano; but for everyday life I would like to wear Givenchy. Actually I like classic clothing like Givenchy.
How much clothes do you have? Do you organize your clothes so well that you would know if a piece went missing?
I have a lot of clothing right now too. But I'll have even more later since I'll keep buying more.(laugh) Actually in our house I have two rooms just for clothes. Winter clothes I separate them and put them at my parent's house. Right now there's not enough room for my summer clothes so I've folded some and put them somewhere else. I'm really good at organizing things. Whenever I do music or anything else I can't concentrate if something is out of order(changing the direction of the recorder on the table). This is bugging me a little too. It was a little crooked.
Haha. You're a neat freak.
(Putting the recorder back to how it was crooked) I’m a little paranoid. Its okay if it's someone else's but my stuff all has to be in the right angle. My friends are always surprised when they come over to my house.
I thought that you wouldn't wear the same clothes twice since you have so many.
If you see the recent collections there are a lot of collections that reinterpreted the 80's fashion style. I mix in the old clothes. My mom was a smart dresser. She bought me a lot of clothes so I always went to the department store/mall with her a lot. Maybe that's why I like clothes so much; my mom's regretting right now since I buy too much. My mom also used to make clothes for me. She made rips in my jean jackets and patched my jeans. We also went to the Peace Market(place to buy clothes) a lot. I bought a lot of clothes from my grandma's clothing store in Hwanghakdong. Like this vest I usually don't throw away the clothes I buy. It may seem like the trend's past but I could wear it and make it look nice. I think it depends on how you wear it.
But do you try to wear the latest clothing on stage? I heard that when you shop you call your stylist and ask 'Is it too late to buy this'.
I don't know if I'm the only one that thinks a lot about this, but for stage outfits I try to show everyone the newest stuff. I also don't like wearing the same stuff as someone else. If it's been a while since the design's come out then that means someone could've already wore it. I try to find it before anyone else does.
Maybe because you're one of the most influential style icons?
It's embarrassing to say 'style icon...'. (laugh) I just like clothes; those words are quite overwhelming for me.
I though you somewhat enjoyed it but I must've been wrong.
Because of that I constantly think "Do I have to wear this first?"
When Bigbang first came out I was really surprised when I saw everyone wearing the same stuff. How did you feel when even little kids started to wear what you did?
It was surprising. But I'm still embarrassed when I hear the word 'Bigbang style'. For example when they call the sunglasses TOP hyung wore TOP sunglasses, the hair I did as G-Dragon hair. I'm still embarrassed when people say that. When I'm on the internet there are a lot of people like me. Haha. To be honest it is not easy to wear the clothes I wear on stage for everyday life. It was quite surprising when I saw people wearing that. It's good that I've been a tad of a help to them but it's still awkward. Words like style icon.
You were criticized a lot when you wore the t-shirt that had the word 'sex' on it. Did you think that they were over-reacting?
I'd been wanting to wear that shirt for ages. I tried to find it for two or three years but it was impossible to find. But on the day of that awards ceremony Jieun nuna(stylist) bought it from this second-hand shop. I was so happy I wore it right when I got it. When we wear something we usually don't read all the writing that it has. Honestly I didn't see what it said on the shirt but if you look at it as a picture you get to read it. It was my fault that I didn't think of that and I have to apologize because it made the people watching feel uncomfortable. But to be really honest I didn't really understand them.
If you had a change to perform with Lady Gaga who wears even more shocking clothes than you, what would you wear?
I think I would dress neat and modern. If we both dressed like that then we would probably look like aliens.
On the day this magazine comes out your solo album is also coming out. You said that you wanted to do all the music you wanted to do- then what is it?
On TV I look quite 'strong', right? 'Craziness'? I guess that was my most confident side on TV. But since I'm alone this time I wanted to show everyone a different side of myself. There's this song that I sung calmly while playing the guitar. This album is the album I've prepared for since I was 13. There are some diary entries from when I was a kid. If you listen to the album you would be able to know how I've lived and what I'm thinking about without talking to me separately.
Did you do everything by yourself? You're the producer of this album, right?
Yang Hyunsuk CEO just put me in charge of everything. I did the album design, pictures, concept, outfit, choreography and even the music(not all by himself though). But I didn't compose all the songs by myself; I mostly worked on the songs with someone else.
Are you satisfied?
I'm not sure since it's not all over yet but I've worked hard. When we were doing our Japan activities if I had time even for just a day I came back to Korea taking a morning flight and worked on it the whole day then came back by night. I had to not only do the recordings, but also had to do the music video meetings, album outfit meeting etc. I did so many meetings that my nickname right now is Kwon bujang. (*bujang- manager)
There were articles of how you had depression while preparing for your first solo album since it was so hard. You know that right?
I'm not the type of person that explains everything so I just passed by it but I'm not the type of person that would go into depression. I was quiet for a while because I was a little overwhelmed to prepare everything. Maybe that made me looked like I was depressed...
For some you're a person that has a lot. A lot of talent and you've met a lot of good people. You were born in the right era so you could show off your talent. Because of that there were many negative rumors about you such as the depression, composing etc. These rumors because of your popularity, aren't you mad?
It's not like that they'll believe me even if I explain everything; I hope that sometime later they'll acknowledge me as a 'person that works hard'. I think it'll be solved then so I try to not care about it. It's quite disappointing though. Even though I may look like a flippant person on TV but I work hard. When everyone else is sleeping I write songs. I barely even sleep. I mean why, what do they hate about me so much. Since I'm still young and I still do get hurt.
What efforts have you made?
When I'm into something I keep on going. When I don't want to do something I don't. For ten years and even now, I'm still into music and clothes. It was since I was in middle schools. I used to buy and make stuff since I didn't have anything else to do. People look at me as Bigbang, but on times when I'm not on TV I have quite a lot of time. I sometimes go out to meet my friends too. At home there's seriously nothing to do. When I work on a number of songs it's just a few that actually go in the albums. Well I don't really have to explain this process. In my opinion I think I have to let the listeners listen to only the good stuff.
How did you start out this process that's totally different from the other idol singers? What made you start thinking about 'making' music.
I liked to dance, but on TV the people who were dancing were singers. I didn't really think singing was cool, but rap where they talked fast looked amazing. In grade 4 my best friend's dad was the music head for MBC. At his house there were a lot of CDs, LPs and tapes. Since I went over to his house a lot I naturally got to listen to a lot of pop music. I was shocked when I first heard Wu-Tang Clan's song; it was a totally different dimension than the songs I've heard. Since then I wrote my own lyrics to MRs and performed them at the school camps. Then the rumors went over to YG which led to making them cast me. I came all the way here by doing what I loved.
But don't you think you have talent?
I do think so because if I didn't have the talent I don't think I would be able to do this stuff. I put in a lot of effort in too, but I think I had a little more talent than everyone else.
Do you have someone that you admire who has talent that you think you can't catch up to?
No one. I'm not saying I'm amazing or anything, but I think that in the end they're all just people and I think that I can become friends with them. I have this DJ that I became friends with during our Japan activities. His friend is friends with Kanye West and Pharrell Williams. If I hang out with them I could get to be friends with them too. I think you can become friends with anyone as you like clothes and music. I don't have a person that I want to be like but there are a whole bunch of people that I think are cool. I think people who enjoy and work hard are the best.
Is KAWS one of the people you think are cool? You said that you would want to work with him.
Making it Louis Vuitton, or even indie bands he scribbles everything out in his own way. I think that mind setting of his is very cool. I wanted to work with him because I think he would work with me with no prejudice.
What is the standard for people that could become friends with you either than liking fashion and music?
They would have to be my friend's friends.
So being introduced to someone by someone you know.
I don't really like meeting new people; I go to places I've already been to. I hope they would be an open-minded person. I don't like people that 'pretend' and be different in the inside. I hope they would be able to say everything in my face- nice or mean. My friends are like that. For them I'm nothing. My friend came over for a little bit during the shoot.
Those people that were in training suits? Friends?
Yes. Haha. My friends. When my friends see me they swear first of all. My friends see me as Kwon Jiyong not G-Dragon. When people regard me as a celebrity I tend to not be able to become more intimate with them.
What song would you like to listen to right now?
Kim Heunggook's 'Yellow Butterfly'. Since I'm wearing yellow pants right now I want to listen to that song; it would be exciting. Or maybe Kim Heungook's 'Raggae Party'?
You have tattoos on your arms and your back. What do they mean?
On my right arm it says 'Dolce Vita' and on my left it says 'Moderato'. Sweetly enjoying life and living at ease. On my back it says 'too fast to live, to young to die'. Sid Vicious said this and it means 'too corrupted to live but too young to die'. It seemed like my story. I usually get a tattoo before I achieve a big goal. I need to do one for this album but I don't know where I should.
Have you thought of a phrase yet?
'Head and thinking cold, heart hot'. This phrase was my motive since I was young.
Oh yes, do you use any eye cream?
No, not yet.
When you see the idol group styling where they make the vest, jacket and trench coat all with the same fabric, even if it may look nice it doesn't really make you want to wear the stuff. Bigbang who wore the clothes we would like to copy had two rules in their styling. One was- styling that you can wear in everyday life and the other was- clothes should be different for every members to emphasize their specialties. According to stylist Jieun, they actually make 70% of all the clothes to make them not look like boys that are wearing their dad's stuff. It may be enough that they've let everyone know that Hhenomenon, Swagger and Henrik Vibskov are fashion brand names not company names.
The most regrettable stage outfits?
Outfits I made them wear during 'Last Farewell'. They were even confusing for me.
Items that represent Bigbang?
High top sneakers and baggy pants. I didn't know baggy pants would become so popular.
What clothes suits each member the best?
For Jiyong skinny jeans. Taeyang New Era hats and white shirts. Daesung rider jackets. TOP suit jackets. Seungri power shoulder jackets.
Member that makes the clothes dirty the most.
wooowwwww. is it a bit presumptuous of me to say that I wish I was friends with this kid? also I would like to apologize to the mods for my somehow always managing to mess posts up.
Original article from NYLON magazine here.
Magazine scans from bbflow.
Scan by 한숨 @ bbflow, retouching by 보니 @ bbflow
Translations by beau @ bbvipz here.