What would it be like to live as Big Bang? They have achieved an incredible amount of success, live by dividing the 24 hours of the day to use it efficiently and they always have people’s eyes on them. Big Bang is like a huge vessel in the mainstream K-pop but the destination they have to sail to is a vast sea that could swallow them at any moment. Even if they have a strong basis in the field, you never know when this typhoon will hit them. During their interview with 10Asia, the boys have talked about their happiness and their inner sides, instead of their popularity and other people’s eyes. When everyone told them that they’re at the peak of their career, some members were walking on the rough path of life and some were trying to find solutions of their own to those problems. In the midst of that turmoil, Daesung stretched his fingers high towards the sky while singing “FANTASTIC BABY.” It is impossible for anyone to guess what he was thinking at that very moment. One thing is for sure, he was on stage and really pulled off the song’s highlights. Without stopping, he went on calmly talking about what it has took him to go up on stage and sing out in front of a big crowd.
“My goal is to become ‘a singer that delivers happiness to people.’”
Finishing up the promotion would probably mean more to you than other members. How would you put your feelings in words?
Daesung: So many things happened last year and it’s true that I had a tremendous burden for that reason. I also had a doubt about resuming my activities at this period. But compared to the amount of time and energy spent worrying, I’ve received so much love being in the team. When I look back now, all these events have provided us a chance to create a stronger bond and stand together. So I’d like to say that it has been the happiest time of my singing career during this album’s promotion.
“BLUE” gives off the feeling of a thawing ice. Considering your situation, you must have had a lot of thoughts popping into your mind when singing the song.
Daesung: When I’m on stage, I don’t connect my feelings to personal experiences and feelings. I just follow my duties as a singer. So basically, I tried to deliver the loneliness and solitude that reside in “BLUE,” Instead of revealing my personal feelings. Of course, I could’ve reflected on my own experiences since I’ve been going through a lot and loneliness lately.
Does that mean that you’re now able to just focus on singing when you’re up on stage? You digested pretty well when pointing your fingers high towards the sky and that really caught the attention of the audience.
Daesung: Well I can’t say that I’m cool or calm about everything that had occurred. But I tried hard to be honest to my feelings when on stage and feel the excitement while staying within certain boundaries of my emotion.
So I take that as having another emotional space that’s specifically for stage performances. It wouldn’t have been easy doing that from the beginning of your singing career.
Daesung: When I was performing at YG Entertainment’s 15th anniversary concert before promoting “ALIVE,” I had a lot of concern. I was so scared of everything that I even told the other members that I can’t look straight into our fans’ eyes. I was so ashamed of myself and wanted to say sorry to everyone who came to see me. But when stood on stage and heard people cheering for us, I figured that I should never avoid making eye contact with the audience. It didn’t make sense for me to avoid people who were there for our performance. So I gained confidence that day to reappear on stage. From time to time, I still worry that some people might not be welcoming me so much but I try to focus on my feelings more.
So it’s a matter of finding a compromising point between other people’s eyes on you and being true to your feelings, huh? Talking about it, you must have a better reason to have a strong attachment to a bright track in this album, “WINGS,” other than the fact that it’s your solo song.
Daesung:G-Dragon helped me a lot in the process of making the album. My past solo tunes were more calm and gloomy but I didn’t want that this time. My situation is one thing, but I thought people would keep relating the song’s mood to the incidents that happened to me. Inspiring people and giving hopes through my songs have been my dream as a singer since debuting in Big Bang, since it’s a dream you could always follow. It doesn’t have an ending point. And I had discussions with G-Dragon about me wanting to do that in action by singing “WINGS.” Though I’ve been through a number of events lately, but I was sure to turn those thoughts into action if I had the opportunity to regain my confidence and energy to get back on track. So I did my best in conveying more energetic vocal sound and strong lyrics.
“I found the beauty of stage performing for the first time.”
Is that why your voice sounds firmer than in your previous songs?
Daesung: I was quite intimidated before on stage. Not long after the debut, I pitched wrong tunes on stage eight out of ten times. Back then, our agency was promoting us by saying that we’re highly differentiated from other idol groups that just focus on their looks. I felt like I was screwing everything up and disgracing the company. I got stage fright since then, but during this album’s promotional period, I was more filled with joy and thankfulness than fear. Now I prepare my stage without big worries and have confidence in pitching sounds.
What was it like singing “NO FUN”? It’s impossible to imagine an artist singing that song without confidence?
Daesung: There’s no fixed rules for this song so it’s better to leave it to each artist’s opinion to express the tune in their own ways. In fact, we only had set dance moves for the chorus. So we added everyone’s opinion to the main theme but when you look closely, it’s totally messed up. (laugh) After all, it’s more fun to watch such a freestyle performance.
Isn’t that what makes Big Bang more attractive?
Daesung: All Big Bang members have strong personalities so our interpretation of each song varies as well, which makes it fun to work. When artists are enjoying themselves on stage, the audience can also enjoy their performance. For us, doing things in freestyle fit us better but to be honest, we always remind ourselves to work on group dance moves before starting every album. (laugh) And we thought it was about time to show our group dance but in the process, we ended up improvising our choreography ‘again.’ But I’m glad that people us better being natural.
It looks like that you guys have earned through this album is getting back on feeling the beauty of stage performances.
Daesung: Actually, I found the beauty of stage performing for the first time. I was afraid of going up on stage before. The fact that a lot of people are watching me on TV and that I have to do my best was like squeezing my neck and I was afraid to know that this is going to be my life as long as stay in this field.
You probably had the most pressure for this album, knowing that people are watching you.
Daesung: I’ve been thinking a lot about what I should do if I were not able to go back as a singer. And you know what? There was absolutely nothing. I didn’t study harder than other people and I didn’t do well in playing sports either. That’s why I was more thankful to be back in this business and able to forget about other concern.
Is it different when performing abroad?
Daesung: Yeah, I brainwash myself before going up on stage, telling myself that nobody here knows what had happened. I’m pretty much simple-minded so that works for me.
“It’s good to be a mediator in the group”
You’re receiving positive feedbacks from overseas fans and critics. Do you feel that Big Bang’s popularity has expanded into other countries?
Daesung: Well, those reaction doesn’t really affect our mindset (to be humble and aiming to try harder). My answer might sound cliche but regardless of who are listening to our music, our job produce the best outcome. Our performance could be different depending on which country it is and what kind of environment it has, but our voice will not change. We’re just happy to show what we have and see our overseas fans enjoying Big Bang’s music. This year’s world tour was an awesome opportunity for us in all aspects, in terms of the band session and other factors as well. Apart from receiving favorable reactions from the audience, we are having a blast promoting ourselves abroad. When thinking about our performances, I can’t wait to travel to another country and stand in front of a crowd.
It’s interesting that you used the term ‘travel.’ It gives me an impression that it’s an important time of your life to be certain about your happiness than success.
Daesung: Whether it’s a happiness or love, it’s good if anyone who has it a lot of it could share with others. I read from a book before that you need to love yourself first to love others. I wasn’t that type of a person and I was more like playing down my role and lowering myself. I kept pushing myself and at one point, my confidence was gone. Now I’m starting to learn about love and happiness little by little.
Did you start loving yourself through this album?
Daesung: I wouldn’t say ‘love,’ but this has been a chance for me focus on myself. I restored a certain level of confidence.
People who saw you on variety shows think you as a bright and positive person. It’s surprising to know that you’ve been in pain for such a long time.
Daesung: Including the stage fright I had since my debut, my parents have been telling me since I was young to be humble all the time. So when cameras were off, I was always intimidated. Hearing not to brag over and over again, I even told myself not to brag about getting complimented by teachers at school.
Isn’t it difficult for a person like you to harmonize with other Big Bang members who have strong personalities?
Daesung: It took me some time to adjust to their characters, especially Seungri. (laugh) Out of 100 percent he had 100 percent of confidence, which is totally the opposite of me. I think that’s why people have been telling me that we don’t look awkward when being together on TV. Me and Seungri are like brothers and we learn a lot from each other too. I realized that I have to learn certain qualities that Seungri has. Slowly, I’m finding a compromising point between us and without him, I wouldn’t have been able to come back to the music scene.
Not just your attitude but your personality in general would’ve changed. How much gap do you have between yourself now and you back in 2006?
Daesung: I was a dark kid six years ago. I first learned how to dance after coming to YG Entertainment and I was always busy catching up with other people. Plus, I had no confidence at all. Even now when I’m with other people, I feel like I’m losing my identity. You could say that I’m not voicing out my opinion or easily get swayed by other people, but I like who I am in this way. All the other members have strong personalities and it’s good to be a mediator in the group. And I have so much laid ahead of me. I’m sure they know how much they mean to me even if I don’t tell them in words.
So what does Big Bang mean to you?
Daesung: We just… harmonize and bond so well. It’s like a group of five guys who truly enjoys doing music. Now I feel that the members are closer to me than my childhood friends. I’m really grateful that I met them and I doubt if there could be a team that could share one same goal for over seven years like us.