this is my fucking favorite thing ever i love it so so so so much i cnt even explain its just s o goo d
Lydia Paek - Cuvism (2013 July) Magazine Interview!
Hello. Please introduce yourself.
Hello. I’m Lydia Paek. Nice to meet you.
You’re currently a YG producer. You were a member of a US dance team at first. When did you start dancing?
I started dancing when I was 15 through the Step Off Church dance team at church. After that, dancing became a serious thing when I joined the Quest Crew and Boxcuttuhz (Lando Wilkins).
Was there a particular occasion for you to get into dancing?
I simply like music, so I was by myself and I wondered what I could do and I started dancing. At that time, there weren’t many female breakdancers, so it made it kind of more attractive for me. You can watch differents things on Youtube now, but I could sometimes researched on how to make a movement at that time.
You mean you learn dancing by yourself?
I learned breakdancing on my own. After that, I joined Quest Crew and I learned a lot by asking the oppas from the crew.
What do you think makes dancing so charming?
When you listen to a song, anyone can get to imagine something that matches the lyrics. I think dancing is the same. I think dancing can convey what music says. I think it’s even better that you can show it in a direct way.
I’m curious to hear how you got in touch with YG.
My friends Shaun Evaristo and Aimee Lee Lucas were dancers for Youngbae. We’ve known each other since we were in the US. One day, they told me they were working with YG and they introduced me to YG because they liked my voice. Then, YG got to see my Youtube videos and this is how the connection was made.
Were you contacted for your vocal skills?
They watched the covers I uploaded on youtube and their offer was from the vocal side indeed.
So I’m curious about how you began to compose songs?
When I was in Korea, I went to Teddy-oppa’s studio and Yang Hyun Suk-sajangnim came in. He asked me which song I was practicing these days, I sang while playing the piano. He listened and suggested that I try to compose a song if I was able to write a melody. From that moment, I started being serious about composing.
What was the first song you worked on?
It was Park Bom’s solo song “Don’t Cry” that was released in 2011. Teddy-oppa wrote the lyrics and we worked together on the melody. I feel like it didn’t take too much time.
Where do you mainly find the inspiration for your work?
I think the inspiration comes when I hear a track for the first time. From that moment, I think about an emotion and I start working on the lyrics and the melody.
Was there a song it was hard for you to work on?
Lee Hi’s song “It’s Over” from her first full album had this jazz feeling, so it wasn’t easy. So I kept praying/trying everyday and it came out well in the end.
[t/n: “praying” and “trying” are two different words, but you can use the same word in Korean and she’s religious, so I don’t know which one to use in English.]
The first time your face was known through YG was for G-Dragon’s music video for “One Of A Kind”. How did you get to be a part of it?
When GD-oppa’s album came out, he asked me if I could dance in the music video. I said of course I can do it. (laugh)
What do you think when you watch the music video?
Others might feel the same way. When I look at something I do, I’m embarrassed. (laugh) But when we were filming, I was really pulled in. When I’m praying, I always think “Lydia! let’s work hard because you were given a great opportunity”. So I think I was able to do it with confidence.
At that time, you showed a live performance for “Missing You” in “GD Friends Live”.
This was a suggestion from Sajangnim. It was a very good opportunity for me.
G-Dragon’s solo album was a hot issue. Which song(s) do you like?
From the lyrics, to the melody and the producing, I really like GD-oppa’s solo album. My favorite songs are “That XX” and “One of A Kind”.
After that, a lot of people were curious about you. What were the reactions around you at that time?
My friends enjoyed it and congratulated me. Sometimes, there were people who recognized me. It seems that my youtube fans liked it.
How do you choose the songs you cover and upload on youtube?
After finding a song I like, if I find the instrumental on youtube, I download it. I film the video with my iPhone. Sometimes, I only record the audio and I upload it with a picture when I’m running out of time.
I wonder if you practice before uploading your covers on youtube.
I sometimes practice for the songs I knew from before. If it’s a song that was recently released and I like it, I sing with the emotion I feel after listening to it for 30 minutes and memorizing the lyrics.
Do you have a favorite song among the covers you did?
I’d pick “Pusher Love Girl” I sang with Crush and “Suit and Tie” I sang with Tablo-oppa. I think I remember them more because it was fun to work with them than because the covers were good.
You also sang BIGBANG’s “Bad Boy”. When did you get to know BIGBANG?
At first, I was curious to find out about them because my friends worked with them. Once I started working for YG, I got to know them and we became friends.
I guess that YG producers usually give each other a lot of feedbacks.
We always give and receive feedbacks. If I’m curious about something, I ask about it to Teddy-oppa and GD-oppa. They’re always nice and answer to my questions. It’s not just about producing, their style, their personality are good too, so I’m learning a lot. Besides, YG people are overflowing with energy, I think it’s a great inspiration for me.
Recently, you made a fun cameo in CL’s music video for “The Baddest Female”. Is there an anecdote you can tell us about?
I was chewing gum while the filming was on standby. Chaerin told me to play the role of the one combing her hair in the beauty salon scene. But I’m not really good at acting. (laugh) Because it would have given this bad look if I was suddenly chewing gum, so I chewed gum when they filmed us. (laugh)
You did manage to look “bad” like the title of the song. (laugh)
Doesn’t each person carry this kind of image? (laugh)
It was your first attempt at acting, how did you feel about it?
I had never really tried acting before, so I just did it. My scene was short, so I was able to enjoy it with no pressure.
I saw the picture you uploaded on SNS with you and Mademoiselle Yulia. Did you become close while filming the music video?
We did. That day was the first time we met. I was introduced as Chaerin’s friend. She’s very talented and she’s vey nice. She also knew dancers I’m close with, so I had been wanting to meet her even before that.
The first time Cuvism met you was for the ALEA Playground Renewal party. You said you were there to watch Crush’s performance. What did you think of Crush’s stage?
Very charismatic. It was my first time seeing this kind of underground performance in Korea and it was great.
We had an interview with Crush. He said you suggested that the two of you work together after you heard Crush’s song.
By chance, I was at the Illionaire Records headquarters to chill and I heard Crush’s song through Mina-unnie (Mina Kwon)’s recommendation. I thought he was good. He’s young, so that was very surprising to me. We found out that we had similar tastes in music. I thought it’d be fun if we work on a song of the genre we enjoy, so I made him the suggestion. That’s how we ended up singing “Pusher Love Girl” together.
It wasn’t just singing, you also filmed a music video.
A lot of people helped us out for this song. Crush did the arrangement for the song. Yoon Suk Chul did the piano session. Park Ji Min and Irene made the video with us. Irene-unnie has always been interested in directing. Thanks to them, we were able to have a good result.
If you had to choose an artist you’d like to work with, who would it be?
Among foreign artists, I want to work with Jamie Foxx and Stevie Wonder. In Korea, I want to work first with YG artists and the VV:D crew.
I wonder if you have plans for a solo album.
There’s nothing set yet, but I’m thinking about it on my own. Because I’d like to release something like a mixtape.
What kind of concept should we expect if you release an album?
If it does happen, I want to do things my own way. I want to create a picture that people will see through my music.
Do you have a goal as a musician?
In Korea, there are singers who want to have activities in the US. However, I don’t want to work just in the US, I want to work all around the world. If I find success through my music, I want to help a lot of people. If I find success, it means the number of people listening to my music is growing. If it happens, I also want my songs to bring comfort and support to people. This is my dream.
How do you usually spend your days?
I’m working on songs in my spare time. When I have time, I meet my friends or I exercise. Recently, I’ve been going a lot to a place called Brown in Hapjung-dong. I like it because they play soul music.
Do you exercise with Hwang Ssabu-nim (YG resident trainer)?
Ssabu-nim usually finishes his work in the evening. He’s been busy lately because he’s doing the world tour with GD-oppa. So he allowed me to use the gym and I work out on my own. I also have a weird schedule, so I work out at dawn.
You usually go to the VV:D crew’s concerts, don’t you also want to be on stage when you see them performing?
I really want to go on stage.
You went on stage for the latest Alea Playlist Vol.2 party
The atmosphere was really good. I like being goofy (laugh). I think that’s why I did this freestyle dance.
We’re holding the interview at the TwoSome studio and I know you’re a regular customer. What do you think make this place so great and unique?
First of all, the music is great. The ambiance is great too because there are Mina-unnie’s pictures on the wall. And the yogurts and the sandwiches are delicious.
How often do you come here?
I can’t come here often. If I can, then I come here a lot. It’s close to the company, so I can meet my friends here.
We also had an interview with Sunwoo Jung Ah. I heard the two of you exchange a lot about music. What kind of musician do you think Sunwoo Jung Ah is?
In one word, I think Jung Ah-unnie is a genius. Every time I see her performing, I’m really speechless. I think there are no other singers like Jung Ah-unnie.
It seems that she has a good influence on you.
I think I must work harder when Jung Ah-unnie has something that I don’t have. I really love jazz music, but since I don’t have this kind of voice, I can only listen to it. I think it’s amazing how Jung Ah-unnie’s voice can match jazz and rock. And her lyrics are great too.
When did you start learning Korean?
When I was a kid, my mom and my dad sent me to hangul school and this was when I started studying Korean. There’s usually no school on Saturdays, but I also had to go to my hangul class on Saturdays. I really hated that. (laugh) I’m still studying Korean.
Do you have a Korean name?
I don’t use it often, but it’s Baek So Young. There’s nothing special about this name. Because my family name is Paek, it becomes Lydia Paek when you add my English first name. Otherwise I’m just Miss Baek. (laugh)
You have your own unique style. It seems that you have a lot of interest in fashion.
My mom told me the story of a dream she had before I was born. She said there was a basket with a multi-colored ball of string. So when I said I wanted to embrace the fashion path, she told me about this dream. In the end, I’m making music, but both of my parents are musicians too. My father plays the guitar and the harmonica at church, my mum plays the piano.
It seems that your parents gave you their sense for music.
I have one little brother (Joshua Paek). He’s also good at music. He can sing, he can dance, but he’s good at rapping more than anything else. His lyrics are good too. He has a sensibility toward instruments, so he can handle any instrument. I think he’s more than talented than me.
How do you want to spend the rest of your 20′s?
I want to learn more things. I don’t think I’m perfect, so I must improve more. What I want more than anything is to release my album before I turn 30.
What is dancing to you?
I think dancing is a way for me to express everything about myself. Just like music and acting, dancing is about drawing a picture with your body. When I’m going through a hard time or when I’m happy, I can express everything with my body. There are things very important to me. If there’s only one person who feels the emotion I want to convey when I’m dancing or singing on stage, this is enough for me. If the emotion I feel can be a source of comfort to someone else, this is everything to me.
For our last question, please say something to the Cuvism readers.
If you have a dream, don’t stop and keep trying until you reach your goal. This is what I want to tell you. You must try to challenge yourself. Don’t just dream, make it happen!
Source: Cuvism Magazine
Translated by: onesunnylady@thesunnytown
BIGTONE - Cuvism (2013 November) Magazine Interview!
Hello. Please introduce yourself.
Hello. I’m rapper, songwriter, producer Big Tone. I’m currently working for YG.
Is there a specific meaning behind your nickname “Big Tone”?
When I was working before, people asked me if I didn’t have a nickname, so I made up one. People around me told me my voice was special and my real name is Lee Dae Sung [t/n: depending on the hanja characters “daesung” can mean “greatness” or “loud voice”]. I decided to combine everything and the name “Big Tone” came out. Come to think of it, it’s really connected to my real name and it was also to my taste, so I’ve been using this name ever since.
Let’s start with your childhood, when did you start making music?
I think music has always been my dream ever since I was a kid. When I heard Seo Taiji & Boys’s music, I thought “this is what I’ll do, I’m going to do this”. So I loved everything from rapping to singing and dancing. Back then I had no other way but to watch TV, follow along and memorize the dance moves. This is how I started. Then when I was around 20, I met Pil Kang-hyung in New York while working part-time. (laugh) And we talked. He was composing songs while I was writing lyrics and rapping. So I made melodies on the tracks he had made. We recorded at his place. I think that’s when I began having a real conception of music.
So you really started doing music when you met Choi Pil Kang.
Indeed. When I met him, I felt “ah, I can do this too”. Then Pil Kang-hyung received an offer from Korea, so he went back. A year later, he contacted me and told me to come back too and we’ve been working together ever since. I think it must have been like 10 years now.
You were featured as a rapper on many popular Korean artists like Lee Hyori, Brown Eyed Girls, Mc Mong. How did that happen?
After Pil Kang-hyung contacted me, I came to Korea and I learned under Il Sang-hyung. At that time, Il Sang-hyung was a mega star. He had a large circle of acquaintances, so he received many song requests. Featuring requests also came along and he gave me the opportunity to do it. I did it a few times and the reactions were good, so I participated to other singers’ albums. I felt like I did a lot of featurings at that time. (laugh)
You really seemed to stand out through your rap featurings back then, were you looking for one specific rapping style?
I’ve been into hip-hop since the 90′s, so I had a strong inclination toward the East Coast style. I had the New York pride. So of course the flow was important, but lyrics were my main concern. I think the crucial point for me was to convey a message through my rap. So it’s something I really wanted to accentuate.
Right now, you’re a rapper and a songwriter at YG. How did you come to work for YG?
I had worked with Pil Kang-hyung on a couple of songs. Yang-sajangnim [t/n: director Yang] heard them by chance and he said he wanted to meet Pil Kang-hyung. So we met because Pil Kang-hyung had mentioned my name. He had said he was working with someone. To be honest, when I went, I was thinking “what am I going for?” because I’m much more of a player than a composer. Besides, YG was more focused on idols and there wasn’t hip-hop musicians from the underground scene at that time. Thankfully, Yang-sajangnim said that even if it wasn’t to compose songs, he still needed someone for his songwriting team. I had gone to there with no expectation and it was YG who held out his hand to me first. I was deeply moved because it was something I would have never imagined.
It was already like this at time, but YG was one of the Big Three, so you must have been worrying a lot. How did you feel after you started working for YG?
After I went in, I think I started having double thoughts. At that time, I was living on my own. All my family was in the US. To be honest, I had to do other jobs in order to live. English was the only thing I could do, so I became an English instructor. I gave rap lessons in other agencies. I lived in Gangnam, so when I was done with work, I had to go all the way back to Hongdae. This was a hard time.
You said you had to have another job after you started working for YG?
Yes. To be honest, music is a job that doesn’t put food on the table. Back then, while I was an English instructor, I also gave rap lessons, and I wanted to keep doing music, so my energy went to ground zero. But Sajangnim held out his hand to me one more time by telling me to move from Gangnam to Hongdae. He said “Forget about your other job, isn’t music the only thing you should do?”. I was deeply moved again. (laugh) “Hey, a music man should only do music. What is he supposed to do if he does something else?”. That’s what he told me. So I shouted again “Sajangnim, manse!” (laugh).
So after much complications, you really went into YG. Which was the first song you worked on for YG?
I worked with Pil Kang-hyung on Se7en’s “Digital Bounce”. To be honest, it’s embarrassing to say I participated because I just touched the lyrics a little. After that, I helped writing the lyrics for 2NE1′s “I’m Busy”, I worked with Choice 37 on “Love is Ouch”. Then, I worked again with Pil Kang-hyung on Seungri’s “What Can I Do?”, I sang as a featuring on Gummy-sunbaenim “Who Are You?”, I did the English rap on Taeyang’s “Connection”.
You were featured on a lot of songs. You said you rapped in English on Taeyang’s “Connection”. I think it must have been easy for you.
Indeed. It was totally easy. (laugh) I went because I had received a sudden phone call. Sajangnim told me to try to rap on this song. I listened to it, I wrote the lyrics right away and recorded it. (laugh)
What is the message behind “Connection”?
It’s a love song. The word “connection” means that you feel connected somehow to someone. It’s like “don’t you feel there’s something like love between us”. To be honest, I was a little bit embarrassed when I was doing this song because the content is a bit light. (laugh) But being featured on a Taeyang’s song was really a good experience.
Recently, you also worked with Choi Pil Kang on Kang Seung Yoon’s “Stealer”. However, when you started working on this song you wondered if it would suit Kang Seung Yoon.
Yes. We worried a lot because it was his first song after the audition program. At that time, he sang songs that already existed, so even if he had managed to put his own style into it, they were still songs of other artists in the end. We thought more and more that we should keep this image but still show Kang Seung Yoon’s unique color. Besides, when people talked about Kang Seung Yoon, he’d be recognized “by instinct”. That’s why we worried a lot about how to break this mold.
How was the reaction after the song was revealed?
People often said that the lyrics were really cringe-worthy [? t/n: the word he uses is more like “give you goosebumps] because Kang Seung Yoon’s own name is in the lyrics. To be honest, the first time I heard the lyrics, my reaction was also “does his name really need to be there?”, but I ended up being okay with it. This is all part of the concept.
I saw on social networks that Kang Seung Yoon gave you a drawing.
Yes. Seung Yoon draws a lot in his spare time. He was bored, so he drew this. (laugh) Then he suddenly showed me his drawing and was somehow proud about it. (laugh) He drew me. It was cute. I took a picture and uploaded it online. (laugh)
Today is THE day. It’s the day of the ultimate battle for the YG rookie group that is currently the biggest issue not only for YG but also in the entertainment industry. You appeared as Team A’s rap instructor in Mnet’s program “WIN”.
Yes, I was shown as their rap trainer. (laugh) I’m also a songwriter, though…
Song Min Ho and Lee Seung Hoon, the rappers of Team A, are currently under your rap training. On broadcast, you said that Lee Seung Hoon’s rapping style was countrified. As their instructor, what do you think of their talent?
To be honest, it’s something I had been thinking ever since “K-pop Star”. I’m not pretending to diss him, I am dissing him and he knows it too. When he sang “Mother’s Bean Paste Soup”, he prepared the song with Pil Kang-hyung who felt the same way and told me “help me a little. This won’t work at all”. His pronunciation was shaky and, although he could really dance, there were many problems like his sense of rhythm when he rapped. I already knew that and he started rap training with me from the moment he entered YG. I had thought about it beforehand because I had knowledge from my hip-hop experience. You’ll probably see when you look at him now, but his skills really improved compared to before.
What about Mino?
Mino is already very good because he had activities on the underground scene. This is what I told him. “I know you can rap, but how will you convey emotion to people who know nothing about rap?”. He’s really good at rapping, but he’s no longer on the underground scene. That’s why I taught him how to appeal to the general public a little bit more.
Do you have a goal you want to accomplish as a musician?
Being recognized as a songwriter in YG. I hope songs I work on will keep ranking high in the charts. I think it’s my goal. It’s just that all I hope is the music I help to make do well. And it doesn’t matter whether it’s me singing or the family members of this company.
How do you usually spend your days?
I think I do just what everybody else does. On my off days, I watch US TV shows at home and I like playing games. (laugh) or I often go out and have a drink with my friends at some place or get something delicious to eat. That’s because I love eating, but I have particular tastes when it comes to food. (laugh) I make no distinction, but I do like finding a good place to eat.
When I look at your Instagram account, you do upload a lot of food pictures. (laugh) Is there any food you specifically enjoy?
I think I like everything that’s fattening? (laugh) I love pizza the best. I like Italian and Mexican food. I also like tacos. Come to think of it, I don’t really eat rice. (laugh)
It seems like you don’t really like Korean food.
It’s not that. I like it. I think I just like foreign food more. When I was living in the States, my little brother ate at home and I would go out to eat.
When I look at your Sound Cloud, it seems you’ve been constantly working on your own music.
Oh, you really know a lot about me. (laugh) I also do activities through the site “YEIZON”. There are also Nassun who was featured on Lee Hyori’s “U-Go-Girl” and Kikaflo. The three of us are the rappers, the other members are producers. We love music, so it feels like we’re a crew. When I work outside of the company, I must often find a way to match the other artist. However, when I make music with these guys, we just love music, so it’s a stress reliever.
You seem really passionate about music. What would you have done if you hadn’t worked in the music industry?
Well… I don’t know. I’ve never thought about this. I think I would have ended on a bad path. From the moment I started music until today, I’ve endured everything with the “I will always make music no matter what” mindset. I still feel the same today.
Do you have a driving force for you to keep making music?
My self-confidence because people around me also believe in me. I think it gives me a lot of strength.
Who are the people giving you this strength?
My parents and my friends. Also the people I make music with. When I first came to Korea, I met people who had been doing music much longer than I had and these people praised me. I think it gives me even more strength.
If you have a dream for the future, can you tell us what it is?
I’ve always enjoyed drawing. I’m also interested in street fashion. If I get the opportunity in the future, I’d like to try to have my own fashion brand. To be honest with you, I used to draw when I was at home. If I have the time later on, I’d like to try this.
Who is “Yang-sajangnim” to you?
He’s the person who gave me the chance to achieve my dream. Ever since the Seo Taiji & Boys days, Yang-sajangnim was my favorite because he couldn’t really sing, but (laugh) the way he danced and the way he dressed were just very cool. He has always been my idol. I came to Korea and I saw him. This man only said good things to me and even offered me to work with him. Thanks to him, I was able to achieve my dream. I don’t know how else to explain it. He’s just someone I’m really thankful to.
Please say a final word to our readers.
This interview with Cuvism was really fun. Show YG a lot of love and show me also a lot of love. If you read this and you’re in the music field, I want to tell you to keep striving forward until you make it. This is what I did and this is where I am today. Keep your spirits up! Make your dream come true! Fighting!
Source: Cuvism Magazine
Translated by: email@example.com
Park Han Byul for Instyle (July) Magazine!