G-DRAGON: "I've worked on this album as if it's my last."
The K-POP superstar gives a rare interview on stepping out as a solo artist, and more importantly, why you should check out the ACT III, M.O.T.T.E tour!
The concept for this tour is ACT III, M.O.T.T.E (Moment of Truth the End). What do you want to show your fans from your show?
I approached working on this album a bit differently from the rest of my albums. I realised there are so many things I don't know about myself - things I never got the chance to find out about myself and memories I've lost over the years. That is why I've spent time looking over my past albums and thinking about my past years. Since the end of last year, I've been writing down words that come to my mind, which I've incorporated into the lyrics and the overall concept of my world tour. I've turned thirty this year and am going through an important phase in my life. Instead of focusing on showing a trendy, new look and sound, I've worked on this album as if it's my last.
When you first announced this tour, you mentioned that you will show the 'Moment Of Truth The End’ – the moment of truth, truth itself, loneliness and anguish hidden behind the glamorous life following the massive success and will present act III of your life: 30-year-old Kwon Ji Yong, 3rd stage of your career. You've spent 11 years as an artist, when was the most difficult time, in particular, feeling lonely?
This year, I’m having a hard time and feel lonely every day. Before, I didn’t have time to think about this. I was so busy that I was in another country and I felt like I was moving to another country if I closed my eyes. I enjoy a more stable life than others and feel loved wherever I go, but I have a lot more to lose. So I feel a lot of happiness, sadness and loneliness. It’s not necessary to show this part of me to other people and I don’t want too either. It's so personal.
You were on the tour from 2012, 2015, 2016 as a member of BIGBANG and this tour is your second solo tour after your 2013 solo tour. What is the biggest difference when you are on stage with other members and on stage alone?
The biggest difference will be stamina. Instead of having five people performing for two hours it's now one person performing for the same time. I feel a bit lonely but it also becomes a factor to concentrating during the show.
You must have prepared a lot for this tour, is there any special part you really focused on? How do you relive your stress when you are stressed?
I am usually positive and optimistic. If I get stressed or the result is not so good, I let it go by thinking “Oh well, it can be better next time”. I don’t worry a lot, in other words, I don’t be serious on every matter. Everything must have freedom, in music too, or maybe I just have self-confidence.
Is there a reason fans should watch ACT III, M.O.T.T.E?
It might be the first and last show to show myself as Kwon, Ji Yong instead of G-Dragon.
What would be the difference in between G-DRAGON and Kwon, Ji Yong?
G-DRAGON is a fancy person. People don't expect the upright image of G-DRAGON, so I’ve less pressure on what I can do and can act freely. That’s what I’m good at, and that’s the image people love about G-DRAGON. On the other hand, Kwon Ji Yong is an introvert, and has lots of things going on in his head. I have been hearing about how I am different from on-stage to off-stage. It was my first time to show Kwon Ji Yong to the public and felt that G-Dragon’s image has a lot of difference from the person, Kwon Ji Yong.
It has been four years since your last solo album, what is the biggest difference in between G-Dragon now and G-Dragon four years ago?
Until last year, I didn't feel the need to take full responsibility for every little detail, but rather thought “if I do well, then everything else will just fall into place.” With this kind of mentality, I actually did enjoy working a bit more than when I faced hardships and obstacles. Unfortunately, hardships led to negative thoughts. I can't say for fact that having negative thoughts necessarily meant I'm getting more mature, but I really am thinking about things now that I've never thought of when I was younger.
Out of all the songs you have released, which one is your favorite?
I’ve been asked this question numerous times but it’s always a hard one to answer. I really do like them all – that’s probably why I released them, right?
You’ve spent a lot of time preparing for your solo tours and albums. How do you find your balance between work and leisure?
I’m the type that commits to the fullest to whatever I’m doing, that being working or just spending time on my own. I’m not too sure if I’m keeping up a good balance though. I haven’t been getting much sleep and have lost a lot of weight preparing for this new album.
As a solo artists and leader of BIGBANG, you have visited and performed in many countries. What are the biggest differences between Korean fans and overseas fans? When you went on your first world tour, did you expect to see many excited fans overseas?
There isn’t much of a difference between the fans here in Korea and fans overseas. No words can describe how thankful I am for their support. I gotta say I was really surprised at my first World Tour. It was amazing to see what we’ve always dreamed of, right before our eyes. It was an amazing experience overall to realize we have fans supporting us from places that we visited for the first time.
As a leader of BIGBANG, what is the reason of having the group last for 10 years? What does ‘leader of BIGBANG’ mean to you?
When I recall the times, BIGBANG always did their best to bring out the best result every moment. We have achieved a lot of work, concerts, albums, TV programs, commercials….a lot of work. Especially, all of our members are really ambitious in a musical aspect. That’s why we worked hard for the best outcome, even though it took a lot of time.
You have gained success as both a group and as a solo artist. Did you feel a lot of pressure preparing your album?
I worked carefully and seriously for this solo album. BIGBANG are 5 members and it's already been 10 years so we have a certain frame to work with. I couldn’t think as an individual as we have to think together and write songs for BIGBANG as a group, not just myself. It’s also a group that shouldn’t be personal. BIGBANG is a much more popular group to audiences. Therefore, we had to write songs that can gain sympathy from the audiences, which was easier to me. This time I was really worried as it is my personal album. It was fun but difficult job
You have just kicked off your second world tour. How do you feel?
People who have been watching me working on the album say that they feel relieved after the album is released. However, I strongly feel that I’ve just started with the result that I’ve been preparing. It’s the beginning of the World tour, which is the extension of the album. Everything has a heavy meaning especially the aim of this solo album which is to show KWON JI YONG, not G-DRAGON.