Sorry for the late post. Enjoy the interview and the additional scans!^^
I heard that you want to use Japanese throughout the interview.
Yes, I will work hard. If there are parts I don’t understand, I can ask the translator, right?
Ok then. Thank you.
For starters, what kind of person does V.I think he is?
Maybe a lot of people think I am always full of confidence but in reality, this isn’t entirely true. I have a fragile heart… very fragile. I don’t like showing my weakness to others so I just practice and practice and act confident. Toward my [confident] self, I am sometimes still bothered when other members say, “Why are so proud?”
Do you ever feel scared?
I’m always scared especially before standing on stage. However, when I’m already there on stage and facing the fans, I realize they’ll accept me no matter what so my fear disappears. What I’m really scared of are activities on TV shows. Since there will be fans of other idols present too, there will be some who are not familiar with BIGBANG. On those occasions, I try to avoid doing things that will give the group a bad impression. I just remember what I practiced and stand there with confidence. If I don’t prepare as well as I should, I might get stage fright and fans will notice that I’m nervous.
Have you always been this careful when you were young?
Well…I am a blood type A person. When I was a kid, I really loved comedies. I tried hard to make my friends in class laugh when I was a student in elementary school and junior high school. So I really thought I was going to be a gagman in the future! (Laughs) However, a dance team came to my junior high school’s festival one day and they surprised me. I wanted to be like them so I started taking lessons from this team. I learned from them for about 2 years. At that time, I began to think that I want to be an entertainer and had the idea that being an entertainer is probably as good as being a singer.
How did you come up with this idea?
I don’t know. (Laughs) I don’t know but I was really serious back then. I wanted to be popular. To be popular, being a singer is the best, I thought. However I was poor at singing. I was only confident in my dancing. I was aware of my poor singing and didn’t like karaoke so much. But I really wanted to stand out.
But you needed to sing~
I was at my wits’ end. At an audition I was told, “Aren’t you unfit to be a singer?” After that, I concentrated on my singing lessons for about a year. I didn’t dance at all. Then, I took an audition when I thought I got in a level that I can already sing in front of the audience. This was an audition held by YG Entertainment. The president said to me then, “I can see your future.”
How did you feel when you hear this?
I was really happy from the bottom of my heart. So I thought, “Perhaps am I good!? I can be a singer!!” That time I didn’t really have confidence so his words really inspired me. However when I got into the office and saw the other BIGBANG members training, I was really shocked. I thought I won’t be able to get over it.
Were their levels that high?
Yes…very high. Our members were very good at singing and dancing since that time. I’m not exaggerating. It’s true. I felt like I lost in all areas. I was poor at everything. Because of this, I went on practicing and practicing…just practicing.
Yes. There were times when I wanted to give up.
Still, you didn’t give up. What motivated you?
My parents. I’m different from other members because I’m not from Seoul. I’m from Gwangju. Its distance is like Osaka from Tokyo in Japan. It is far from Seoul. Most parents may oppose when their 15 year-old child leaves their hometown to be an entertainer. However, my parents supported me from the start. They said to me “If you leave, do your best.” I got encouraged with this words and I went to Seoul. I just can’t give up. In addition, the members helped me. G-DRAGON and SOL have taken lessons as trainees for 6 years before I came to the company. Seniors told me of their experiences. Because of them, I just kept on practicing.
You must be happy to have your role models close to you.
Yeah, I think so too. It was good to get a big shock at first. (Laughs) If I had been in a different circumstance, I may not have debuted yet. Actually, I’m still a poor singer.
You are very modest. V.I is now a vocalist getting a lot of attention.
Thank you. However, my sister who is younger than me by 3 years always tell me on the phone. “You are the weakest member of BIGBANG. Try harder.” I know that myself but I still get angry at my sister for saying that so I tell her to “shut up!” Then she replies, “You are the weakest!”……and puts down the phone!
Your family is severe on you. (Laughs)
She is cruel but I am doing my best.
When it comes to Japanese ability, you are number 1, aren’t you?
I learned to speak Japanese well. With one of the Japanese staff, I go through intensive training everyday for about 2 hours. In addition, I love Japanese dramas and films. For example, Rookies and Crows Zero are my favorites. I study Japanese by imitating their lines. Also, I want to speak Japanese like real Japanese people so I listen to their lines carefully and pay attention to their accent. I just study how to speak Japanese more and more.
So in most events, it was necessary for you to take charge of being the MC.
I was really nervous. I researched on MCs by watching DVDs of various artists. To be frank, the stage in Korea and the stage in Japan are different.
How are they different?
What’s different is the content of what we talk about. In Korea, we greet and just say “Are you getting high?” “Let’s enjoy!” However, in Japan, fans come to our concert looking forward to listening to our talk. It is a must to have a comedy part and some serious parts. This is why you should always have a plan beforehand. For example, I’ll say to audience “Are you ready?” and if the audience are enthusiastic, I ask G-DRAGON beforehand to say to audience “Gentle! Gentle!”
Great! So does V.I decide the flow of talk?
Yes, I’m the director of the MC part. (Laughs) Because I know well what fans want, I think it is my role to tell the members. I want to be the middleman who’s in between the fans and BIGBANG. This role is same whether in Korea or in Japan. I’m the only member who updates the blog.
You are like the publicist of BIGBANG.
That sounds right. (Laughs)
The tour was successful especially since you are the MC
I was really happy. It was fun~ Until last year, Japanese fans were shy in my impression. However, this time was wonderful. Like…we enjoyed being together. Not only did we perform on stage and audience was screaming… Ah, how should I say this?
You felt connected, right?
Yes, I think so! Connection! Same feelings on stage and in their seats.
How is the atmosphere in the dressing room before performing?
Of course, we’re nervous. SOL often goes to the bathroom. (Laughs) G-Dragon talks to the members and ask their condition. He tells us, “Are you ok? Any problems?” Things like that. He’s really worthy to be our leader. I usually observe others’ behaviors carefully.
Ah, unexpectedly, the youngest are the cool ones, right? They see older people’s success, failure and other things~
Yes. I’m surrounded by older people so I learn a lot from their words and behavior. They taught me a lot of things. At first, I was poor at almost everything but because of their advice, I’ve changed. Also, the youngest member doesn’t just have a cute side but also an adult side, right? (Smiles)
So you’re saying that V.I. is more mature than them?
But my heart is vulnerable.
How is your heart vulnerable, specifically?
I can’t get angry that much. Even when I should get angry, I don’t express it and just leave it in my head because I am a blood type A. I get away from the stress by driving at high speed. Boom boom boom!
But you don’t hide what you want to say, right?
Yes, when it is about BIGBANG, I express my opinion. For example, “I think…” “I think this isn’t good” and “I prefer…” I convey my opinions like that in front of the members. The great thing of having G-Dragon as a leader is he draws a conclusion only after listening to the opinions of all the members. So BIGBANG’s decisions all comes from all the members’ opinions and feelings.
I really think we are a good team. We’ve never fought. Everyone has a different character but what’s common with our personalities is we are serious… especially SOL. Super serious. I haven’t truly understood D-Lite’s personality yet.
I don’t know what he does during his private time at all. Though I know about the other members, D-LITE is really mysterious. He is like an alien. In addition, despite his happy appearance, he’s really shy. (Laughs) While T.O.P, even if he’s the oldest and I’m the youngest, we can easily communicate with each other. But he’s scary. Type B’s are very scary. You should be careful when you interview him. (Laughs)
Yes, yes, once in a while. When he scolds me, I reply “Yes, I’m sorry, I’ll be careful…” Boom boom boom!!
And you run away driving? You are a sad blood type A. (Laughs)
Yes, damn type Bs!!! (Laughs) But of course, our different characters make BIGBANG fascinating. No one is like the other.
V.I is also a university student, right?
Yes, I entered university this year. I feel a sense of fulfillment. Because I have worked since I was a kid, I don’t have friends outside the entertainment world. Now, I made some friends at the university who I can understand and be my best friends. I like listening to different people with different values. I learn a lot from them.
I heard that you are studying acting?
Yes. In Korea, singers also act in dramas or movies. When singing, I think acting is also necessary. It is important to convey your feelings about the music to the audience, isn’t? Like when I sing a happy song, I have to sing it happily and when I sing a sad song, I have to convey sadness. You can convey what you feel with your facial expressions so I want to learn more about this. I want to try various fields in the future. Also, I want BIGBANG to be loved for a long time like SMAP in Japan and to be known as a solo artist too. I want to have a style like Justin Timberlake and I also want to challenge myself in movies, musicals and in business.
I’m interested in a lot of things. (Laughs) I always want to do something. I love to work. I am a kind of person who feels anxious when I have a free time. Maybe I am greedy.
But being greedy makes you work hard.
Maybe. But also, I can do these things because of BIGBANG. BIGBANG is like the joker in my life. I feel freely and that I can be strong… I feel like I can go anywhere and do everything by having it (BIGBANG). The other members make up for what I lack. The other members probably feel the same because we are a team.
Yes, I think maybe it’s destiny so I won’t relax. We are of different ages and I’m the youngest but it doesn’t matter at work. Each of us has the same responsibility. For BIGBANG to become “bigger”, each of us has to continue trying hard.
I am half-serious. (Laughs) I think I need to study Japanese more so I can be more funny when conveying my thoughts.
Your Japanese ability is already great.
No… I think fans will get more attached to us if I speak Japanese more fluently. But sometimes, I think it may have an opposite effect because it looks like I’m the only one who tries hard in speaking Japanese and this makes the other members look dull. To everyone who read this interview, when you send fan letters, please tell also the other members to “Study more Japanese!”
I can’t because I’m the youngest.
You said that difference of age doesn’t matter at work. (Laughs)
I just think that they will try harder if it is asked by Japanese fans. (Laughs)
Source: Electric Love Tour Photobook
Scans: Tisya @ www.bigbangupdates.com
Translation: J-Lene & Noriko @ www.bigbangupdates.com