GQ: They are saying that you are the “man who looks great in his suits”. I think you must be proud of it more than any other expression as a man.
TOP: I think they’re saying it because I wear them many times? *laugh* I like them and I enjoy wearing them. Even in my old pictures when I was 5 to 6 years old, I’m in suits, such colorful ones. My mother said that I was always asking her to buy suits when I was young. I wish that I will get older elegantly, so I’ll always fit my body into suits.
GQ: Well, you can make your suit fit to your body.
TOP: I work out thinking a bit, yet not severely. I also control my diet. It’s just if I get my arms too big or I lose my pec, my body can’t maintain straightly balanced.
GQ: So that was the reason.
TOP: I preferred some unusual outfits from the old times, but now I think classical ones are more difficult to prevent and that’s why they’re more interesting. I also get a bit excited because there are not many friends at my age who are into them.
GQ: In your old days, you seemed like you’re denying it though you look so gorgeous. But then suddenly you came to enjoy the fact that you’re good and you seemed much more confident.
TOP: It was just too overwhelming that I have a career that has to show myself to people visually. I had a big stress after I debuted. I didn’t really like to be in front of the cameras. I was also afraid of people getting to know me so well. Now I’ve given up and lost a lot of things. I mean, now I think I should be a special man, looking good to the fans who like me.
GQ: I’ve seen you a lot saying about the “fear of people getting to know me so well”.
TOP: I don’t think I can do such things because of my personality, but I think I can do something that is out of common sense. I don’t want to be someone whom people think so morally and expect from that. I want to be free and always seem new. I don’t want to be some kind of “Korea’s younger brother”. I have some fear of have a “so good image” so I prefer evading it.
GQ: Is that a reason that you always emphasize the character of “TOP”, not “Choi Seunghyun”?
TOP: Maybe it’s some sort of the rebellious phase that you suffer from when you’re young. Let’s just say it’s a relationship. Don’t you get bored if your boyfriend just simply show you everything all at once? I want to make people become curious rather than being bored about me.
GQ: I think the role of TOP that people want you to be, or the other BIGBANG members want you to be, is someone who is very “manly”.
TOP: I’m not quite manly like you think I am. When people get to know me, they get surprised that I’m so delicate and so funny. I don’t think I am really macho. *laugh* But also, I don’t nag about it. I think people misunderstood me because of my rap style, but it’s a bit manly and also a bit womanly and I’m always wandering between those two. It’s just different from yesterday and will be different tomorrow.
GQ: What do you think of the expression that you look mature?
TOP: No, I don’t like it. Anymore.
GQ: I think you have heard of it a lot.
TOP: It’s just I have too much thoughts, but then I can’t do anything childish later if I have that kind of image. I want to live more young and mischievous.
GQ: You’re the oldest one in BIGBANG, yet you’re still so young socially. Do you have any gap between them?
TOP: I’m not an arrogant person in the team or to adults. I think a wise person needs to know the difference between the place where to show some politeness and the place where it’s intimate. If it’s just a daily life, I don’t have to think that I’m BIGBANG and I’m a celebrity.
GQ: I think there are three ways to meet the younger ones as a senior. To look down from above, to look down to their level, or to close your eyes. Which way do you prefer to your members/dongsaengs?
TOP: I always look down to their level. Each year, everyone’s getting older and becoming an adult. I think the most difficult thing to a man is to be accepted as a “hyung” to others. I just know very well that the more I want to be treated as a “hyung”, the more the younger ones don’t want to treat me like one.
GQ: Are there times that you think the other members are so childish compared to you?
TOP: They probably think that I am the younger one. *laugh* It’s just that we are too different from one another and we’ve already know that. I think that’s the reason why we don’t argue a lot, just respecting one another to work something out.
GQ: On the stages, I think TOP is laughing at something as if he’s trying not to lose.
TOP: I just keep doing that instinctually. If it’s something calculated, anyone will notice it’s a fake. I think it’s just my sensitivity, my color.
GQ: The stage can be a playground to someone and it can be a room to the other. But that face is like someone who’s in a battlefield.
TOP: I usually don’t hang around outside and I tend to evade people. I don’t use that kind of energy in my daily life so I think I use it on the stages. On the stage, there comes out the other me who is so different from my usual self. It’s not that I stand on stages for fun. I just want people to think something like, “Ah, I can’t hate that man even if he makes that kind of face”.
GQ: You mean some kind of vicarious satisfaction?
TOP: Yes exactly, the vicarious satisfaction. I think what the public wants is someone who is confident on stage. They get comforted by that confidence. When I was young, I got some vicarious satisfaction from the stars from overseas. Sexiness is that kind of thing. It can be a bit selfish, but rather thinking that I want to show something to people during the time, I think that the time will be left in me for the rest of my life whenever I’m on the stage or filming a movie or a drama. I’m doing it by my name, so if I don’t do it to my best perfection during the time, it becomes no more than a fool. It’s my stage, so I should be the main character.
GQ: Do you think you’re taking responsibility of yourself and have an objective view of yourself? We call that
kind of person an adult or a man.
TOP: I tried to always be objective and be responsible for my words. I see myself don’t speak that much as time
passes and as I get more popular and more people noticing me, at that moment, I would just spit out some jokes,
but being careful with my words.
GQ: I think we can say it like this about a boy who started his social life in an idol group, growing up to an adult who has reach a certain level of society. Started working a bit earlier than others, but he just stays at a certain level. He has some limit and he can’t experience various situations and know/reach people and I think many are frustrated because of that reason.
TOP: I really feel like I’ve grown very fast, but I don’t think I want to be more mature. I’m not afraid about how my look will change. I mean I want to stay with this teenage sensibility. Maintaining this innocence, I think that’s where the good artistic things come from. On the other hand, I think the most difficult thing is to be aged as I get older. We can’t act more mature than our age as well as we can’t act so childish than our age either. I just want to be the most awesome person among my peers.
GQ: So you’re saying that it is important to live a life while aging?
TOP: Well, can we? For example, I can’t just hang out with my friends drinking outside. It’s not quite right
behaving as the oldest one in BIGBANG. If there’s a rumor saying someone saw TOP somewhere, that doesn’t mean
he/she saw TOP. It means that he/she saw BIGBANG.
GQ: This BIGBANG album seems to be a little stepped back compared GD&TOP’s album which was much more classic. I thought it (BIGBANG’s album) was a bit flat.
TOP: We did everything that we really wanted to do making GD&TOP. We wrote what we want, made what we want, but as for BIGBANG, the public expects something different from GD&TOP’s concept. For example, let’s say there’s a commercial film director who tried making an art film. I think there will be very few people who would like the color of the film. If the director is expected commercially by the public, I think it’s also his responsibility to make an effort to show them what they want.
GQ: I won’t deny your position and your opinion, but I was just expecting more, thinking it’s BIGBANG, right? And it was after I listened to the members’ solo albums, thinking that they can be more powerful, more different.
TOP: Well, I had a different thought. When GD&TOP’s album was printed out, I first checked the credits and the lyrics that I’d worked on and right when I saw it, I felt relieved. I did everything that I could with
BIGBANG’s album, knowing that it will be looked upon among the mass public, so I just thought that it was ok. GD&TOP is made of two people who have very, very different colors, so it doesn’t have an effect no matter what they do or how much they stand out. But when it’s BIGBANG, if there’s one person who stands out much more than the others or we can’t get together, then I think that’s the our weak point. Too many strong personalities.
GQ: Many people are now accepting that BIGBANG is not our usual idols; however, other idol communities are saying like this about BIGBANG, “Idols should show themselves on TV a lot more and release their albums more. That’s what makes them artists.” Well, in fact, the best idol groups in Korea are like that right? Do you think BIGBANG is now growing up to be an artist?
TOP: Yes. Say that BIGBANG is the senior, we must be different blueprints setting up a new path, making our juniors dream of doing what we’re doing some day. I don’t think that something bad may happen to BIGBANG, but who knows what’s going to happen. If that kind of thing does happen, we want to be a wise team which has never existed in the past and be above it. It’s not we’re ignoring today’s idol seniors. We’re just saying that we can make it better.
GQ: Are you disappointed if we call today’s BIGBANG just idols?
TOP: No. I like to be called an idol. I’m now 25 and when I’m 30, I won’t be able to be called like that. *laugh*
GQ: Wishing that you want to live like your age?
TOP: In fact the word is good. I always want to be someone’s idol, but I just hope that it’s not the image of what Korean people think.
GQ: Your actual aim was not the idol.
TOP: Yeah, right. There were hard times, but now I think I was rather happy. How many good rappers do you think can get so much love in return? I just think that I’m a very happy man.
GQ: Your aim was not an idol, but you had the exact plan for an idol, losing weight, dancing, and acting. But what do you think is the difference between you and the other idols?
TOP: I want to be called the man who’s doing music, instead of the man who’s a singer for the rest of his life.
GQ: You’re saying that you’re considering more of the big picture, the music?
TOP: Yes. I want to hear more of the man who’s doing music, trying to develop his other abilities by doing acting, instead of he just wanted to get more popular by it. I just want to do what I can do in depth. I want to do something that has a message/meaning in it, not just for popularity.
GQ: For one second, I thought you’re going to say that it’s because you’re doing hip-hop.
TOP: I had that thought when I was young, but hip-hop just became one of my colors because I’ve been
doing it since I was so young. I think you can say you like it or not, but you can’t judge whether it’s good or
bad. That’s just not polite. I don’t want to cover myself saying I’m the best if you’re not seeing me well because
of my appearance. I just think that I can improve as time passes, keep doing my best at it. There’s
always a reason that someone does something for such a long time.
GQ: I think BIGBANG is aiming something different from the success, socially.
TOP: Well, to be honest, it’s not quite smart and not calculated either. I think it’s the self-hypnosis that makes us talk to people more confidently. I do a lot of that. Standing more close to the public, wishing to have some more freedom, I think all of those may be the self-hypnosis. We know if we long for it, we can be like that. We’re not the ones dreaming to have a business or planning to debut in the U.S. It’s enough for us to be confident with our music whether it’s in overseas or in Korea or even it’s to ourselves, but that’s also my problem. I don’t have that much confidence.
GQ: Well, you didn’t look into other people. We have so many things that needs to be slap!
TOP: Having a lack of confidence makes me check myself once more and be able to calm myself down. I’ve never been that satisfied with myself. There are too many things to show you, but I just don’t want to show you all at once. For example, releasing GD&TOP’s album at such a non-expected timing or me acting some kind of a student soldier abruptly. It makes me so excited when I surprise people like that.
GQ: But that excitement is just a second and a daily life lasts very long. It’s not good for you to live most of your life not satisfied.
TOP: I’m always lonely, suffering from the emptiness, but I’ve abandoned a bit of the burden. I don’t think there’s anymore of the “human Choi Seunghyun”. I’ve given up on my private life and I hope my private life doesn’t exist.
GQ: Excuse me? you said that you’re hoping it doesn’t exist?
TOP: Yes, I hope it doesn’t exist. Even when I get older, people become lazy when they have some rest. I hope I’m the one who’s always working. For now, I hope there’s no private life for me for a while.
GQ: I didn’t get to think that the reason TOP looks so confident, not like from the old days, is because he gave up on his private life.
TOP: Yes, I thought so, but I became more positive. People say that I look more brightened and I even think that I
opened my mind a bit more. I think I’ve given up too much of my mind already. *laugh*
GQ: So, now you think you’re great?
TOP: Not at all.
GQ: No way.
TOP: I want to be great. I’ve always hoped like that. I think there’s nothing better than to be told “You’re great” as a man, but I don’t bind myself with that word.
GQ: It’s better than the word itself I suppose?
TOP: *laugh* If that word is the outfit the public wants me to wear, I’ll wear it. If that’s what my career needs, the style, the greatness, then I must willing to be a great person.
GQ: Did you become feeling a little bit of rebellious or feeling a bit skeptical because of the many people around you saying that you’re a wonderful person?
TOP: There are not so many people around me as well as the celebrity friends. I’ve heard it a lot actually, but really is that what they think of me? *laugh* I thought they just say it because they want me to feel good.
GQ: This is the bad thing that the giving up on your private life can give you. That kind of flattery is from your father’s generation.
TOP: If I have a girlfriend, I want to be a proud boyfriend even to her friends. To become a man like that, I think I need more true heart than just using my appearance. I’ve always thought that kind of man is the man who’s great.
GQ: You’re saying that you want to be the man who’s great for having an entitlement to wear a suit, not the man who’s great because he’s wearing one.?
TOP: I always think the heart comes first than the appearance.
Magazine scanned by: Ramel @ DCTOP
Translated by: HuisuYoon @ bigbangvip.net