"BIGBANG IS BACK" is how they informed people of their return to the local music scene in two years and three months -- short and concise. But the Big Bang we see today is different from that of two years and three months ago. Every member of the group has pursued activities solo, becoming a group a five stars rather than a group in itself, to become that much more uniue. So how did G-Dragon (GD), T.O.P, Taeyang, Seungri and Daesung create the music of Big Bang we hear today? Below are excerpts from 10Asia's interview with their album's producer G-Dragon.
10: Hasn't it been tough having to make a comeback as Big Bang as soon as you wrapped up your activities for GD&TOP?
GD: Promoting our duo unit album wasn't tough because whether it be with music or when we're on stage, we do everything as if we're playing. That's why other than not getting any sleep sometimes, there wasn't anything we had a hard time with on stage. But with Big Bang, we're making a comeback for the first time in two years and each of our group's members had been going on different paths so I've become very conscious of how everybody seems to be since all five of us have to work together.
10: Really? (laugh) You?
GD: I might have been a maverick in the past and ordered what needs to be done but I've changed a lot because to start with, the members of my group are amazing people in my eyes. It's as if we're collaborating as star versus star or fan versus fan, on top of the fact that they're my juniors or friends. That's why it's both exciting and difficult working with them.
10: But "TONIGHT" is quite an unexpected choice for a major idol group like yourselves to make as the title track for your release for the first time in a while. It contains a sensitivity that is quite different from what is felt in other songs these days. I felt that it's similar to pop music overseas in terms of the sensitivity, not genre.
GD: I had gained more confidence while working as GD&TOP because people liked " "HIGH HIGH" but they also liked "KNOCK OUT." And when we went to the States to shoot our music video, I saw a black woman listen to "KNOCK OUT" in her car. It felt weird but now that I think about it, it's something that can definitely happen. I think our generation is moving into an era where the a sensitivity is felt globally instead of just locally. The same thing applies to us... We may be in Korea but we practically live with the Internet so we listen to and look at music from all over the world. The same goes for fashion.
10: I think where you reached a climax in "TONIGHT" and then went back to the acoustic guitar was a very pop music-like. Weren't you worried about whether such a style would work with your listeners in Korea?
GD: I instead made sure though, that no part of the song would be boring and really be explosive. I didn't want any part of it to go by quietly. "LIE" was about the song being quiet at first and then reaching an explosive point but I made this song in a way that everybody's parts would be explosive. And I was under the determination that I would pull up the emotions from the lowest to the highest point in three minutes and 30 seconds. I actually was quite worried about how we'd perform the song on stage though. (laugh)
10: It seems that you think of a picture for the structure of the song or its visual aspect when you write songs.
GD: I do. I believe that producing is not just about writing a song but also thinking about the choreography, stage settings and lighting. For example, this time, I made the songs for the album after thinking of how everyone would be singing their parts so that it'd be easier for them to follow.
10: That shows how dramatic the structure of the song is but the overall sentiment it expresses is rather calm and plaintive. How did you discuss with your group members on how they should interpret the song's layout?
GD: Well, firstly, I'm grateful to them for agreeing to go in the direction I had explained to them of the songs. They accepted a lot of what I wanted to do. There were times when I wouldn't back down when they didn't do what I wanted (laugh) and everyone usually has quite a lot of freedom when it comes to recording, but I constantly changed a lot of things with "TONIGHT" because there was something specific that I wanted to do.
10: How did you direct the vocals? I think exchanging opinions with the parts for the vocals must've been important because the emotional mood in this song is particularly important.
GD: It was a joke but I said that we should sing like we're more experienced. (laugh) If you take our experience into consideration, it's our fault if we end up looking like amateurs whether it be with our products or performances on stage. And I actually also told them not to try to hard. I told them that I believe we became popular because we have our own style, we do our music and we deliver our unique sense of sentimentality, not because we're the best singers or dancers in Korea. I also said we should make as many songs as possible and sing and listen to them a lot in advance since everyone is always so busy with their individual careers. We no longer live in an era where singers are considered good if they can hit the high notes. I think having groove is what's important. That's why the guys who sang the vocals had a harder time with this song. We made a lot of changes by exchanging opinions and gained a lot from it.
10: Well, what was as important as the vocals in this album was the overall mixing of the sound. A unique quality or vibe is felt throughout the album... What did you focus on in terms of the mixing?
GD: We wanted the songs to sound like pop so I tried to create rich yet clean sounds, particularly with "TONIGHT." On the other hand, I had also tried making the sound dirty with "WHAT IS RIGHT." But more than anything, the voices of all five members of our group had to be carried in the album properly so I paid the most attention to that.
10: It was unique in how you left an adequate amount of space to let each sound ring instead of trying to fill up the song with sounds.
GD: I believe that every sound needs a rhythm. That's why I tried to maintain a sense of rhythm even when there are empty spaces through a variety of effects such as breathing, delay or reverb.
10: But the overall sentimentality or tendency of sounds in "HANDS UP" or "SOMEBODY TO LOVE" that you promoted in Japan seem to stand out a bit.
GD: That's quite true. But they're both songs we value dearly. We have the most fun on stage when we sing "HANDS UP" and I treasure "SOMEBODY TO LOVE" so much that I had always hoped we'd get to promote a more refined version of it in Japan. That's why I changed around everything this time and I'm much more satisfied with it. We wanted people in Korea to hear the song because those of you who didn't know we were in Japan wouldn't know those songs.
10: I think "LIE" to the two songs you sang in Japan to "TONIGHT" shows the changes you and Big Bang have undergone. Your style or aiming point have changed slightly everytime even when you use the same sounds. Does it have to do with the past two years?
GD: I think the emotions I felt then were things I felt in the process of becoming an adult and what I feel now are things I feel as an adult. I'm not saying that I'm more mature now but I think I've come to share my thoughts with more people and listen to what they have to say compared to when I looked at the world and people in an immature way. And in the process, I've come to organize my thoughts and write about the things I realize from those. Before I used to write about the questions I had. But I now write about what I've come to realize... I think I'm becoming more sure of myself.
10: But your solo activities and acting as the producer of Big Bang are different things, just like the music you want to do is different from the music the public wants to hear. How is it having to be a producer that has to take all these factors into consideration?
GD: It's fun in regards to the music but there are a lot of difficulties I face otherwise. (laugh) I'm sure that our group's members are also worried about a lot of things because we haven't been back in a while. But we ourselves are cheering each other on so it's good. We also have more time to talk, about serious things as well, because we've now come to spend more time together. I'd be lying if I told you I'm not worried but everyone is working hard very actively.
10: Well the race has begun. (laugh) How do you want to go about your activities?
GD: Everyone has been saying we took a break although we've been pursuing individual activities so everyone wants to work as hard as they can. It's been two years so I'm sure the five of us will be getting together quite often now. We want to show everyone as much of us as we can... That's why we're back. I'm thinking that may also be what people wanted. I think our activities as Big Bang are on a different level from our activities as solos or duos. I believe that Big Bang is a group that appeals more to the public so we need to be where the people want to see us. Our goal is to be at the center of issues, not create them, and make everyone want to talk about us wherever we go. We're going to compete hard from the very beginning. (laugh)
Source: Kang Myoung-Seok @ 10Asia