In the middle of last January, GD and Taeyang arrived in Paris as soon as the 2014 F/W Mens Fashion Week started. Later, from the apartment in the streets of Champs-Élysées to Palais de Tokyo, to front row of Saint Laurent show. Photographers and fans and their Instagram from all around the world followed these two guys.
GD: Our personalities are total opposites so we get along well. If we were similar, we would have had a lot of conflicts but since we were so different from the beginning, there are some new things that I discover about him although I’ve known him for a long time and we are a good influence to each other.
Taeyang: I think this one word just sums it up. Family.
GD: We talk endlessly. Both of us like to talk and we especially talk a lot about our past.
Taeyang: I think we just talk about so many things. When we’re in a certain situation, we would talk about it like “There were times when I faced a situation like this,” or “Back then, it was like this”. When we drive past a restaurant that we used to go to when we were trainees, we even think about the menus that we used to eat. We sometimes go back there and eat those and even now, it’s still delicious to me. (Laughs)
I read somewhere that the meaning of a man is not in his achievements but is in what he strives to achieve and whenever I look at Taeyang, he reminds me of that quote. Taeyang’s attitude is humble as ever despite those amazing performances that he’s been doing. His head is filled with only the passion and plan for his performances. So instead of enjoying Taeyang’s stage relaxed, I tend to sit up straight and concentrate. But his song RINGA LINGA which was like a preview of his 2nd solo album completely overwhelmed me and it felt more relaxed.
Taeyang: “I thought about that part a lot as well. I also know that a lot pf people like it when I make a performance that is highly focused and prepared. But in order to make my music and my stages appear closer to the audiences, I felt like the audiences should be able to enjoy it and play with it as well. ‘RINGA LINGA’ stages were made keeping those things in mind.”
Taeyang, unlike people who are extroverted and seek for inspirations from someone or else or from the world, learns a lot from his inner self. That’s where his stubbornness comes from. “Honestly, my every day is very, I hate to say this but I have so many troubles and worries. The vibe that I give off on stage, ‘is it relaxed enough? Is it powerful enough?’ I don’t know the right answer to it. But thankfully, I used to have a hard time when I was young because I didn’t know what exactly it was that was causing those inner conflicts. But now that I’m starting to get older, I think I know what it is and I can see how I will be able to resolve the conflict. But I think I still have to fight through it. If it’s short, it’ll take 5 years, if it’s long, it’ll take 10 years for me to make myself more solid.” That’s why they say that the true golden age of your life is in your mid-thirties because you’ll be able to see good results from the battle with yourself at that age. “I’m certain that I will be able to do music that’s more like me as I get to know more about myself. I think that is an artist’s fate. You have to keep trying to find your own world and express it”
The inspirations that Taeyang gets from the world might be a little different from other creators of his age. He gets inspirations from the ancient ruins of another culture, nature and universe and those influences are shown in his music and image. “Last year, I got the opportunity to go to many different countries as we were doing our world tour. During that time, I got a lot of inspirations from looking at the lives of people who are from the different cultures. Plus, I also rediscovered some things that I was interested in but forgot about. When I went to Peru, I went to see the sites of Incan civilizations and I went to their market where they sell hand-made things made by the natives and I thought it was really awesome. I liked symbols or accessories that were traditional to the indigenous people. And I also get hairstyle inspirations from animals. For example, I once did a scorpion hairstyle. (Laughs)”
Taeyang is a perfect person to sit down and have a conversation with. He is serious and full of thoughts. Taeyang also suddenly likes to hum a song and dance out of nowhere. Taeyang is someone who worries that if he uses his overflowing talents on playing, there won’t be any left for stage. “I wouldn’t say that I worry about it but I think it’s best that I use my energy on stage. If I like playing more, then I would start pouring my energy on playing. But I am happier when I’m playing on a playground called ‘stage’.” I think what he said is right. At the Bigbang concert that was held only two days after he got back from Paris, Taeyang’s talents became a golden arrow that was shot to the audiences.
I don’t really want to see GD in a drama or a movie. Instead of acting out a certain character in some scripted work, watching GD’s simple and symbolic acting with his songs are much more interesting. GD on MBC <Infinite Challenge> is a very interesting subtext about GD. Whether he’s doing music or whether he’s on variety shows, he becomes GD who is acting out the character of GD. GD:”When I first joined YG, I was 5 years old so I was really young. Since then, I went to YG like it was my school and I wrote rap lyrics and practiced. And I always tried to copy the rappers who have their own distinctive ‘swag’ and that was studying for me. The biggest word that represents my songs and my actions are ‘gangster’ and at first, I probably just copied our senior hyungs. But at one point, it grew on me and as I started to seek for my own style, I developed my own pose. Whether it’s on stage, in my music video or a show like <Infinite Challenge>, some people will think that they see the ‘real’ GD and some will think that they see the fake GD. But how I feel nowadays tell me that I’ve always been myself and I was ‘real’ every moment of my life.”
Being a GD fan is not easy since it requires good information sources and passion. Various different songs from the 2 full albums and 1 mini album that were released so far, constantly changing music videos and fashion style, his ways of promotion that are totally different from other singers, and GD’s interests that are shown through the SNS are hard to keep up with for his fans. GD once said that he understands the reason why Kanye West compulsively tries new type of music. GD was almost like Kanye because he also likes to do something that is more challenging. “It has to be like that because, all this is about ‘Narcissism’. This has nothing to do with being humble. I know what I’m the best at. But I still want to do something different because it’s fun for me. Even though I’m really good at something, it’s boring for me to do the same thing every time and it’ll be boring for people who are listening to me. Every time I work on something, fun comes first. Whatever it is I think if you have fun doing it, the other things will follow. Albums sales or ranking on charts aren’t important. People only look at the score and think like, ‘He’s done now”, “He went too far” but I bet Kanye doesn’t even care. That’s the same for me. When I release an album, I won’t have any regrets if people don’t like it. Because I did what I wanted to do.”
Artists in the modern world consider their attitude and pose as their work of art and it shows that he’s definitely an entertainer and an artist who is carrying out those things like a genius. GD tries to make his actions, feelings, passion and even his existence into art. Every moment, he becomes new and unfamiliar. It’ll forever be impossible to understand GD fully. Every time you think that you know everything about him, he’ll appear with a completely new side. This fantastic guy’s charm is that he is always inventing new things about himself.
WE OWN THE NIGHT
On a chilly night, we met GD and Taeyang in the car that was passing through the giant entrance of ‘Les Invalides’. We could say that this was the highlight of Paris Fashion Week. GD was very excited to see Hedi Slimane and Saint Laurent show that has influenced him for several years and Taeyang was singing some song as always. Glass of champagne after champagne, people were talking excitedly at the shows. The two greeted Pierre Bergé who was Yves Saint Laurent’s partner and Carine Roitfeld, <BAZAAR>’s global director. Then they sat on the seat that said ‘Monsieur G-Dragon’ and ‘Monsieur Taeyang’. After the show, GD and Taeyang went backstage to meet the designers. We could meet them again at a nearby restaurant, with Samgyubsal (Pork belly), Dwenjang-jigae (Soybean paste soup), Soju and Bokbunja-ju (Blackberry drink).
“Wasn’t it so nice?” said GD as he drank his shot of soju. “As always, he used ‘real’ rock band music that aren’t really known and slim and slightly bent models that are actually musicians. Retro, Rock chic and Punk! It made me think that’s why he’s called ‘The King of Cool’.” If GD has Hedi Slimane, Taeyang has Rick Owens. “Whether it’s a designer or a musician, I think the most important thing for people who express things are to be unique. There should be something unique only to them. In that sense, I think it’s really cool that Rick Owens always trusts himself and shows his determination in his designs. People also tell me that I’m stubborn and now that I think about it, I think when you like someone you try to find something in common with that person and then you like them even more.”
GD came a year before last year, Taeyang came last year but this is the first time you guys came to Paris together. How did you guys plan this out?
Taeyang: We didn’t really plan it out but we just suddenly decided to come here. After coming here once, we both really wanted to come back to the Paris Fashion Week. We usually don’t have time but this time, we both didn’t have any schedule for a week. So we came here.
Let’s talk about all the shows that you’ve been to so far. Some shows that left an impression on you like pictures on Instagram.
Taeyang: First of all, Rick Owens! It was interesting how he designed a head piece that looked like Muslim women’s Hijab. Just like how I used Arabic words on ‘RINGA LINGA’ outfits, I really get a lot of inspirations from things like historical sites from a different culture and nature. So Rick Owen’s show was very impressive to me. Honestly, I like whatever he does. Clothes, furniture, pictures and everything.
GD: Lanvin show also left an impression on me. The Lanvin I used to know wasn’t colorful and bold like that. And whenever I watch a Juun.J show, he makes me feel proud. Last year, all the Juun.J shows Youngbae and I went to were all awesome as well. We actually enjoy wearing Juun.J clothes on a daily basis so we know how awesome his clothes are in the ’real’way.
Taeyang: Every year, it’s a really nice thing to see Asian designers establishing a solid foothold in Fashion Weeks that are directed towards the whole world. It was especially really nice to a lot of Korean models. (Kim Tae Hwan, Park Sung Jin and Park Hyung Sub walked for KENZO. They know many male models and Bigbang’s makeup artist was very happy to see Park Hyung Sub on the finale of KENZO show.)
GD: I’ve always loved Thom Browne’s shows and this time they used music produced by the music director of the movie <Rust and Bone> so it was full of very inspiring moments. Now that we’re talking about it like this, every single one of the shows were very precious. I’m glad I came here (Laughs)
Among all the designers you guys met backstage, who left the strongest impression on you?
Taeyang: For me, it was nice to meet Rick Owens because I liked him for a long time but Rei Kawakubo, who I met at the backstage of Comme des Garçons show, left the strongest impression on me. I think it’ll be the same for Jiyongie too, right?
GD: Her bangs were cut really clean and straight and she had small body and a small voice but I could feel a strong spirit from her.
Taeyang: We didn’t really get to talk much. “How was the show?” “The color, texture and the music were all great.” and things like that… But on that day, Rei was wearing the same leather top that I was wearing. I didn’t realize because I was so nervous but she touched my top and told me that we’re wearing the same top, slightly smiling. Anyways, looking at Rei, I thought “That’s what real charisma is.” (Rei Kawakubo is known to be very quiet and emotionless but she was very happy after meeting GD and Taeyang.)
On every show, you guys sat on the front row and there were so many cameras taking pictures of you two. At the Thom Browne show, Stephen Jones who designed the head pieces for Thom Browne recognized you guys first and said hi to you guys. And the KENZO show room, you met Humberto Leon and Carol Lim and got to look at their 2014 S/S collection. Also, there were so many fans from all around the world that were waiting in front of your hotel. This Fashion Week was a runway that showed your worldwide popularity. Wasn’t it?
Taeyang: Yeah, that’s right. (Laughs) I think it’ll be pointless to be humble about this. So Jiyong and I were both really excited. It felt like we were floating and it felt like we were about to fly. We did notice that we were getting popular globally as we were doing our word tour but Fashion Week was a whole new world. I think we gained more confidence about ourselves. There are people that are celebrities to us too. Now I think we have the confidence to approach those people more naturally.
Honestly, that was an expected result. GD especially is a loved muse for many fashion brands. For example, when Hedi Slimane came to Saint Laurent, he gave the 2013 F/W collection pieces to GD first before anyone else.
GD: I’m really thankful. Coming to fashion week, watching designers’ shows and meeting them backstage even for a short time are really precious to me. It’s the best way to really understand that brand. And meeting them face to face with them sometimes helps you to be friends with them so it felt like I was making valuable, new relationships with people who share the common interest and love for fashion.
Wasn’t it hard to change outfits for every show? Not only your outfit, but you also had to change your hairstyle and make up constantly. Photographer Hong Jang Hyun shook his head and said that it’s almost like labor if you don’t enjoy doing those things… (laughs)
GD: Why, it was a lot of fun. It was kind of hard when we couldn’t eat because we had to change outfits and get to the show in time. But other than that, it wasn’t tiring at all. (laughs) You can’t even imagine how fun it was to mix up the designer clothes we already had and the clothes from the new collections that we got in Paris. And the reason why the trip to Paris was so much fun this time was because I didn’t constantly play or work. I watched, played and worked and those activities were blended together. So it wasn’t tiring and it was actually really fun.
Taeyang: It really was. We have to go back home soon and I’m so sad. I want to get an apartment near the Seine River and stay a few more days listening to music all day long. (laughs)
The first person or situation that made you grow your interest and passion for fashion is?
GD: I think we can say that it started from when we started liking Chrome hearts. To us, our company is our school. We didn’t go to school since we were young and we practiced, ate and hung out all day at our company. CEO YG was like our principal, stylist Ji Eun noona was our teacher and Jinusean, 1TYM hyungs were our seniors. In YG there are popular trends just like any other schools do. Since we were young back then, we knew what the trend was but we couldn’t afford any of them so we just dreamt about it and we had to be satisfied with the gifts that we got from the hyungs. To sum it up, I think our interest in fashion started as we started thinking like “When I earn a lot of money later, I want to try this and that.”
Yesterday I went to the A.P.C Presentation and Kanye West explained the A.P.C X Kanye West collection himself. I heard that you two also get a lot of suggestions about fashion. You have been collaborating with some brands like AMBUSH and Chrome Hearts but do you guys have any plans of making a fashion brand or starting any serious business relating to fashion?
GD: I can’t really say that there are specific plans yet. But if there’s a project where we can really pour our passion into, we’ll try our best to do it.
Before I even realized, empty soju bottles were filling up the side of the table and GD was busy offering drink to everyone. He’s a Leo who is bright, leader-like and spritely and he is the type to turn an awkward, calm atmosphere into an energetic atmosphere. Taeyang who doesn’t enjoy drinking is reserved but has an explosive energy stored inside him. He’s a Taurus and he has an outstanding and critical talent. GD and Taeyang who have been together for over 10 years as hip-hop kids, as YG trainees and as friends believe in their special senses.GD: “Sometimes Youngbae goes ‘Ah, I feel like something is going to happen. Let’s be careful.’ and when he says that, you really have to be careful. He’s like a psychic and he has that ability to sense those things.” Taeyang:“When there’s a girl that we’ve never seen before at some place, Jiyong would ask me, ‘What do you think about that girl?’. His ‘senses’ are the most useful at times like those. (Laughs)” Before they left to Paris, I was excited to hear that they might promote as a unit this year. If GD & TOP are like the cool kids who know how to really enjoy a party, GD & Taeyang will be like the hip-hop kids bringing back the golden era of hip hop.Taeyang: “There were plans but I don’t really know anymore. I think it’ll probably be delayed a little.” GD: “We haven’t really talked about it seriously yet but there is something certain about it. I’m somewhat certain that Youngbae is thinking the same thing as me as well.” These two had to leave, leaving us with curiosities about this new unit. They had to leave because Hedi Slimane has invited them to his after party. The night has just begun for these two guys who know how to party. And those nights and the days they spent in Paris will be shown in the photobook that will be released in May by YG.
[NOTE] Stay with us for more updates.
Source: @HarperBazaarkr//@Translated by @bigbanggisvip + @Scans by @Joey_GD
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