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