PSY - 120813 10Asia Interview (Part 1)!
We all have ups and downs in life but that experience was particularly valuable for PSY, who has been on a roller coaster ride over the course of 12 years.
The artist who instantly caught the eyes of 27.6 million around the world with his music video for “Gangnam Style,” chose to sing Frank Sinatra’s “My Way” at last Saturday’s concert, “Summer Stand.”
No one knows better than him about what came before getting into the international limelight. Making a sensational debut with his debut album “PSY From The Psycho World” in 2006, the artist has gotten himself in a tight spot a few times that eventually led him to an unfortunate period of his life.
With faith, he has maintained a solid identity as a singer-songwriter by holding tight onto his comic choreographies, catchy beat, hard-hitting lyrics and mind-blowing concert shows. And like the lyrics in “My Way,” PSY is back in style with “Gangnam Style.”
Before going up on the stage to entertain 30,000 audience members at Seoul’s Jamsil Sports Complex on August 11, the musician talked about his philosophy of music, life and what was on his way to success.
10ASIA: First of all, congratulations. It’s huge. It’s huge hit not just in Korea but globally. Are you surprised?
PSY: Of course. Not only surprised, but shocked. I was shocked literally. When I saw the [YouTube video] hits reaching like 23 million, I was like what? What’s happening here? I don’t mean that I didn’t expect any response from abroad at all, but I was just thinking to make a huge hit in Korea. That was my only purpose, and that was my only need. So I didn’t expect anything, nor did I prepare anything. Fortunately, I can speak English, so this is nice.
10 ASIA: What do you think it attracts people globally about this song? What is it about the song?
PSY: First of all, I think this kind of phenomenon doesn’t mean that much. Because you know, when people see something funny, something comic, something literally stupid, or whatever, when they see it, if it is funny, [they laugh at it because] it’s funny, right? I think that’s all for now and that’s what I’m thinking right now. I don’t want to expect a lot from it right now.
10ASIA: Why not?
PSY: Because you know, [jumping into the] overseas market is a huge thing, right? And it’s a literally hard and a high-barrier for Asian musicians. Many people have tried it but they didn’t make it. So I don’t wanna expect that much yet. But you know, if I have a chance, I wanna show what Korean music is all about, what Korean shows are all about. That’s what I wanna do, if I have a chance. But, for now, I don’t wanna open up the champagne yet. People react to this song because it’s funny. But the other thing, I still feel proud when I see myself in Korea. I’ve been in this business for 12 years now but still, when I see myself on TV here, I am saying like, ‘what is happening? That’s me.’ That’s what I feel usually. So when I see myself being mentioned in other countries where they have different cultures and languages, when I see them introducing me and my song, I’m so proud [of myself] because they’re pronouncing my name and the title of my music and music video. That’s really huge for me.
10ASIA: The beat and the lyrics are very addictive. For many who don’t understand Korean, would you tell briefly what this song is about?
PSY: ‘Gangnam is like Beverly Hills in Korea. So what this music video is showing is a guy doesn’t look like Beverly Hills, [Q: like you?] yeah, I’m saying myself. [laugh] The choreography doesn’t go with Beverly Hills, and lyrics don’t go with Beverly Hills, and its music video and everything else doesn’t look like Beverly Hills. Yet, he’s insisting that he is by saying, ‘I’m Beverly Hills style,’ so that’s the point. It’s some sort of a twist. If a handsome guy keeps saying that he’s a Beverly Hills [style], people will say, ‘I know you are a Beverly Hills guy, but that’s not my business. But I don’t look like a person who would live in Beverly Hills, and I’m keep saying ‘I’m a Beverly Hills guy, Beverly Hills style,’ and then they are going like, ‘ohhh what is this?’ I think that was the point.
10ASIA: What does Gangnam mean to you?
PSY: I’ve been getting so many questions about Gangnam and I think I deserve an award from the district office. (laugh)
10ASIA: I gotta say the music video is very hilarious. How did you come up with the ideas, you see, it’s so humorous.
PSY: Well, the point of the music video was just [showing what’s] funny. Just ‘fun.’ Without fun, nothing else is left and the music video has no point. That was the very first point. The weather is really hot and the economy is worsening every year in Korea. As an entertainer, I really wanted to entertain people. Just entertaining people. I don’t put a lot of meaning to it by stressing that I’m a musician, artist or whatever. This was just to show what having fun is all about and that’s all. So I suggested the idea to the director. My idea was to show many hilarious situations, actually weird situations, such as [the first part of my music video] where I’m lying on a beach but when camera zooms out, it turns out to be a playground.
10ASIA: And you’re in a public bath!
PSY: Actually I saw Lady Gaga’s video [Poker Face]. She jumps up from the water, and when I watched it I decided to do the same thing. What Gaga had in her music video was huge water, but people see that mine’s a saw sauna when the camera zooms out. That was the point.
It’s like Austin Power, or Charlie Sheen’s movie ‘Hot Shot.’
10ASIA: It seems impossible that you put all the scenes you wanted in that four-minute-long video. Was there a scene you wanted to put in but had to cut out?
10ASIA: Quite a lot actually. We had to go around about 35 places to film these ridiculous scenes. The filming process was like shooting a blockbuster film, though the result was just utterly the opposite. (laugh) But thinking about it, music videos that are being produced these days are all similar to each other. They have flashing music video sets. I had one thing in my mind from the beginning of the shooting: ‘Do not look cool or fancy.’ And the result? It’s awesome. I don’t look cool or handsome at all.
10ASIA: The funniest part for me in this video is the fact that you keep your face so stoned face, while you are dancing the hilarious moves, what goes through your mind?
PSY: I wanna tell you that I’ve never tried to be [randomly and senselessly] funny. I’ve been serious all the time. I mean, really. When I’m dancing, I feel like ‘oh, I’m so nice,’ but people are laughing. But when my face is stoned, that means I’m very serious [what I’m doing]. I’m serious man and I approach music, dance, show, whatever, [in a very serious manner]. The things that I deliver are funny but inside my head, I’m very serious.
Source & Translated by: 10Asia/KSTAR10