[December 2015 – Elle] Psy is Psy – Interview [2/2]

Read Part 1

There’s no star who receive backlash from the public and love at the same time as much as you do. I’m curious to hear about how you approach this unspecified opinion called “the public”. What does it mean to you? It’s complicated. It’s like being treated well, after being close then feeling we’re not close, that we’re far apart. When I was overseas, I received questions about K-pop’s competitiveness, so I talked about how careful and fierce it is. Because the public is strict. They’re quick to hate you. Compared to the size of the market, they have really great expectations, so if your name becomes well known, you must be very careful about every move you make. If we make a comparison, some Korean singers are like children receiving the Spartacus education, others get educated by getting into trouble? As for me, I was the kid who got suspended but didn’t get kick out of school. And a kid like me managed to take the number 1 spot of the entire school. What’s for sure is that I was number 1 in getting suspended, so I’m very thankful toward the audience. I think I received a lot of forgiveness.

A side of you might probably feel victimized? I always say that feeling victimized is what puts you in a coffin. People never want the Psy who feels victimized. It’s my personal opinion, but I think being an entertainer is a job in which you must bring happiness, energy and satisfaction to the people who go through hard times. Personally, going on TV to say “I’m also having a hard time, I’m human too” isn’t something I like. Of course, in private, I sing a lot that I’m having a hard time, when I go through one (smiles).

You have twin daughters. This image of you as a family man, a husband, a father, feels quite unfamiliar. It’s not supposed to match, right? It should never match. That’s why, as Psy, I don’t talk about my family. The me who is doing this interview is Psy (smiles). I think my job itself brings harm to any of my loved ones. Me talking about them is another form of harm. I hope Psy would be just Psy.

When I look at your past hits, aside from the dance songs, you also have many emotional tracks. When I listen to songs such as “Paradise” or “What Would Have Been?”, it seems that these songs were made by a man who knows about love. I compose my own songs so they match the Psy style. I think I just wrote lyrics mostly based on my direct life experiences. So I have emotional tracks and “What Would Have Been?” have suggestive lyrics. There’s no other option but going for a suggestive concept because there’s no more romance for me. There’s also a song like this on this album because I can’t start dating just to make another song (smiles).

There are sexy women with a nice body who appear often in your music videos. I feel it’s a bit too obvious and repetitive. Among the abilities my parents gave me, the one I’m the most thankful for is “knowing how to stay in my lane”. If I dyed my hair and pierced my ears, I would be like Pigsy. That’s the reason I stick to keep my hair black and to wear a suit, because this look is better for me. The fact great-looking men and women appear in my music videos displays the fact that I’m sorry for being unable to provide nice visuals myself. For instance, fan service? It can be obvious, but if you put it that way, then everything is obvious. It’s kind of an annual thing for me, so I can’t just suddenly make a ballad my title song. Just like Sung Si Kyung can’t choose a dance song as a title track. The public assigns duties and responsibilities through the awards. It’s a good thing if you do well. So in that way, it can be nothing but obvious. Like BMW dashboards always light up in orange.

Do you have the desire of wanting to be sexy when you’re in front of women? Wow, I do. It’s the roots of how I ended up doing this job. From my school days until now, I hope most of women would like me a little. Just. You know, it’s nice. If I brushed up my skills to do that, I knew ever since I was a kid that I wouldn’t win with my visual because I stayed in my lane. There’s the kid who is good at sports, the one who is good at studying… There’s the category of the popular kids. As for me, it wasn’t my league, so I decided to go for good talking skills. I almost became a loser. Fortunately for me, these things I did became the great foundation of the career I followed.

It turns out that there are no creator as hard-working as you are. You create your own songs, you perform on TV and on stage. You created your own content with your own style.

I honesly think about this every day. When I’m inspired, I can create something really easily and fast, but that’s often not the case. I’m very inconsistent. That’s why I end up dividing the work as I keep going. When I get inspired, there are many experts by my side for every aspect and to help me out. The theme of this year’s concert is “GodPsy Concert”. The word “God” is written on the poster. The reaction I love the most is when the industry athletes/players acknowledge me. I care about making them find a copy worth to make them sigh and smile each time.

Is there an advice you often give to the artists younger than you? It’s what I mentioned earlier, but “stay in your lane”. I’ve been a singer for 15 years and to be very honest with you, I never thought, not even once, that I’m charismatic. People who aren’t charismatic but pretend to be don’t stay in their lane. It did happen that I thought I’m “cool”. I think someone cool is someone who is specialized in a field and work hard until they sweat. In Korea, we use the term “stay in your lane” in a negative way, but I think it’s very important. If you’re good in what your lane is, there’s less chance to be disappointed and your strategy stands.

You’re the biggest beneficiary of new media. But you said you knew nothing about youtube. Indeed. When the staff told me they had uploaded the “Gangnam” video on youtube, I said it’s a site for people who live overseas so why they uploaded it there. They said that Korean fans watch a lot of videos on this and there was the probability that BIGBANG’s or 2NE1’s fans watch it, so that’s why they uploaded it on youtube. It wasn’t a case of a fool rushing in where angels fear to tread. I just didn’t know the nature of what there was to fear (smiles).

“Gangnam Style” has more than 2,4 billion views. Won’t you be sad if you lose the number 1 spot? I’m actually hoping that someone will take over this spot. I think it will set me free. It’s a score that I will never be able to surpass in my life. It’s the end game. I think that it will be a success for me if the song I released this time reaches just 200,000,000 views. If it’s 500,000,000 views, Korea will go hurray. However, there might be people who will be disappointed if the result is lower than 2,4 billion. What was better before “Gangnam” was that I had no ranking. I was just a singer who was just unusual and had fun performances.

Do you think being an entertainer is your vocation? Being on stage is my vocation. This is something that has always been clear to me ever since I was a kid. If you ask me when I’m happy, it’s when I see other people happy because I make them happy. That’s why when I’m doing a concert, my happiness is extreme because of the countless happinesses that I make happen.

Do you ever think about until when you will keep going on stage? It’s something sad to talk about, but I want to quit before I hear that I’m past my prime. Compared to acting, I think singing is a job when age is a bit more of a limitation. Actors naturally move to roles matching their age. No matter how old he is, an actor can also play a lead character. However, us singers, we either huff and puff on stage or our vocalization isn’t like what it used to be. Time effect goes faster for us. The part of our body that ages the faster is our vocal cords. And there’s this one word in Korean that has no equivalent in any language. It’s “주책” [t/n: joo-chaek; he’s right. It’s one word to describe a situation where something makes no sense, it’s senseless, “silly”… it’s complicated to explain]. The fact that the word itself exists, in other words, if you look from the world’s perspective, it seems that it’s appropriate for you to do certains things only at a certain age. The word “joochaek” can give you some freedom to sing and dance on stage until you reach a certain age.

Won’t you, Psy, raise the age group of singers in activity? I think that way too, but I think it’s wishful thinking and I think the public will know and give me the cue. When that moment comes, I hope my exit will be awesome just like my entrance seemed to have been. On my way here, I tweeted “currently thinking about which female singer choreography I will parody” and articles were uploaded on portal sites. I read the comments and netizens giggled as they recommended me to do “Up & Down”. Even if it’s just a little, it doesn’t seem that joochaek time is here yet.

Elle
Translation: @thesunnytown – thesunnytown.wordpress.com

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