[August 2015 – Allure] Mad Clown, the Sohn Suk Hee of the hip-hop world – Interview

Allure - Mad Clown

Seoul is this interview’s theme, but Mad Clown talks a little bit about his childhood, so I thought it’d be interesting.

Are you a Seoul man?

I was born in the US, but I came back here when I was a kid. Then I lived in Canda, in the US for some time and I’m currently living in Korea. I’m living in Bangbae-dong which is in the area where my agency is.

How’s your Seoul neighborhood?

Bangbae-dong is boring. I used to live in the Kyungbok Palace station area and I liked walking around Samchungdong-gil and Cheongwadae-gil. It’s clean and there are many trees, so it’s nice to take a walk there. I think it’s the only neighborhood with a vibe I connect with. I like this place because I like walking around without thinking.

What’s the Seoul sound for you?

A car sound. The sound of a car speeding down a street and the sound of a honk can be heard sometimes.

Is there a neighborhood you’d like to live in?

When I was young, I wanted to live in Hongdae, now that I’m older, I tend to avoid loud places. I think it’d be interesting to live in Itaewon.

Where’s your favorite place in Seoul?

The Jamsugyo bridge by the Han river in Jamwon-dong. I get on my bike and I often go there. I used to get a road bike and go from Bangbae to the Han river.

Between Gangnam and Gangbuk, do you prefer Gangbuk?

There’s something I felt the first time I went to Gangnam. When I go to a rich area like Chungdam-dong, I get this incompatibility feeling somehow and I think “I don’t belong here”. There’s something that makes you feel small, so I don’t really like it. My favorite place is definitely Gwanghwamun, this neighborhood.

Is there something you wished Seoul didn’t have?

I wished there was no yellow dust.

Is Seoul a city that inspires you?

There’s not one specific thing. That’s why Seoul can be boring sometimes. Books or movies, trivial elements of life, past experiences are the things that inspire me.

If you were to explain Seoul to a foreign friend?

If they insist to come, I’d take them to the Han river, Itaewon, the Noryangjin Fish market.

Your lyrics go “here’s where I dreamed, here’s where my dream came true”. Is Seoul this place?

When I wrote it, the place I was talking about was Seoul because I was in Seoul. However, I’m not the type to give much meaning to dreams. It’s an abstract word, so I wonder if I have something like this. It just feels like I’m doing something like this because I just do something good from time to time. Can it be heard without will?

Don’t you think you made it now that there’s a character called “Giriclown” in “Gag Concert” who parodies your style and your image?

Honestly, Kim Giri and I are friends. However, I haven’t watched this segment of the show. Not even once. I have never watched it, but I think it [= the fact that it exists] is funny.

Your new song “Get Low” is rising on the charts today. It’s been on the top of keywords search all day.

It’s a song I did with Joo Heon from Monsta X who is in the same agency as me. Joo Heon is really a good rapper. I thought it’d be interesting to do something with him, so we worked together and this song came out. It’s only a digital release and there’s no plan for promo activities. He’s very busy, but to be honest when you’re ambitious about something, there’s no delibaration about doing it.

You’re called the most successful rapper from “Show Me The Money”. What do you think of the fact people say you didn’t win but were the biggest beneficiary of the show?

I think it’s right because I received mainstream interest and my character was created. This show was interesting for me. The stand-by time was very long, the recording time was long too and I had a hard time during filming, but I enjoyed it.

You got the nickname “Practice Crazy Jo Dong Lim” and the “Hip-Hop Son Suk Hee” because you truly practiced hard.

Haha. No. It just turned out be this way because that’s how I do things more than because I was rehearsing. It turned out like this because I’ve never rapped without thinking that my pronunciation must be good.

Who’s the musician in Seoul you’d like to work with?

Lately, I think Kwon Jung Yeol of 10CM is nice. I really like the feeling he puts into the lyrics he writes. It’s kitsch and it’s fun. I think we’d work well together. I’m thinking about releasing a mini or a full album this year and I want the album to have the right collaborations.

Do you think musicians must always change?

Change doesn’t happen because I say I must change. I think it’s right to say change is something that you can’t help and happen through a natural process. People all seem to change as they lead their lives. Thoughts keep changing because of the people around you and the time and environmental factors.

What changed the most compared to last year?

Until last year, I was someone who did one specific kind of music and I was greedy about trying to explore this genre deeper. However, now I want to try to do more good mainstream music. I had the tendancy to disregard mainstream music in the past. I thought mainstream music was just a special approach to ordinary stories ordinary people can relate to. I tried a lot to think about the energy that good mainstream music can give to people. That’s why I want to create good mainstream music, I want to create good soongs.

Don’t your fans think you say that because you joined an agency?

Well, there might be different opinions about it. Most of people might probably think this way, but I don’t care that much because changing is something natural.

Is there an object you want to own these days?

The new Nintendo that was recently released.

Which song are you working on?

There’s this particular line in the lyrics, and I made my manager listen to it earlier. “Beep beep love accident”. Everybody laughed, but I’m seriously working on it.

Translation: @thesunnytown – thesunnytown.wordpress.com


3 Comments Add yours

  1. “now that Iā€™m older, I tend to avoid loud places.” it’s not like he became a haraboji xD You’re into hip hop, it’s supposed to be loud!!
    “However, now I want to try to do more good mainstream music.” It’s not like his music was non-mainstream before xP
    I expected him to be more interesting interview-wise, sadly he ain’t. But i still love his music, especially his duets with female kpop artists! They are emotionally charged and have their own aesthetic.
    Thanks for your effort sunny lady lady sun! ^-^

    1. 1sunnylady says:

      i think he’s someone who’d be interesting to interview when the questions are. Because of his image, it’s like he’s expected to have a deep answer for every question. Lol, I like the fact that he’s open to changes, though. It’s always hard for an artist to find the balance between what he/she wants to do and what the audience wants to hear from them. From a Western POV, if an artist says “I’m willing to compromise to be happy with what I do and for the audience to like what I do”, he/she’s considered as a sell-out… I used to think this way too. Westerners have this idealistic vision of the artist as the free spirit who only lives by his own rules… It’s only when I started to read Korean artists take on this and when i started my blog that I changed my opinion. If you “create” something and you share it with people, it’s not for people to reject your creation otherwise you’d keep it to yourself. You like what you do and you hope for people to like it too. If you notice that people like a song or a style more, what is so wrong to try to give it to them if you don’t lose yourself in the process. You can still happy with what you create even if it’s not ENTIRELY what you had in mind.

      I like his music and I think he’s not recognized enough as a lyricst. Image-wise, although his rap can be violent, he gives off this geek vibe so he doesn’t give off this bling bling/aggressive vibe and he can make it big mainstream as a rapper (and not as a rapper with many K-pop artists featured on his songs) if he plays his cards right… Are doing duets with K-pop artists the way to go? Time will tell. If he raps more about social issues that can appeal to older generations, that could help him.

      1. Well, to me if the music gets commercial if it wasn’t in the first place (regardless of quality) it’s kind of a sellout move, especially when the sound direction change is drastic towards an openly for-the-masses approach. If the outcome is good i applaud, if not, it’s ten thousand times more of a sellout XD Music is my illness and deep within, i don’t want artists whose music i love to be SO well known or get sold out and one of them is Matt Elliott, he’s neither for the masses nor he’s a sold out artist! XD I know it sounds kind of elitist, but neither his music is for everyone nor it has to become! XP But i have to agree, the Korean perspective is quite different and respectable too and my general point of view doesn’t apply to it, but i don’t put it into use either to be more precise! Korean music (pop, hip hop, folk, indie, rock) is a different universe for me.
        Yup, he’s got that geek vibe! XD “bling bling” XD His collaboration with Soyu was to die for! šŸ˜€ And the latest one he released with Jinsil which had a Latin American hip hop sound with Korean lyrics lol, but it was an awesome song. Yup, rapping with social concerns is always more intriguing with some sort of food for thought, but then again, he will never reach Tiger JK (nobody will dethrone him in my eyes) šŸ˜€

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