“In order to convey an old-fashioned image, uncool-ness is needed too”
Topp Dogg will hold “ToppDogg ‘ANNIEVERSARY’ Concert ~ANNIE~” on January 6th and 7th at Zepp DiverCity in Tokyo. In preparation for that, the four members P-Goon, Kidoh, Hansol and B-Joo came to Japan for promotions. They talk about how they want to aim for the “only one” instead of “number one” and how, with this mindset, they can afford to be the top!
- In celebration of your one-year anniversary, you released ‘Annie’ in October; a song of thankfulness dedicated to your fans. This song is also the title of your performance in Japan. The sound and outfits are inspired by figures such as Vanilla Ice and MC Hammer. They ruled the times before 1990, but none of you actually experienced those times right?
P-Goon: No, I know [about them]. When I was young, I saw videos and learned of them.
- When you first heard that this was going to be the style used, what did you think?
P-Goon: Personally I like 80s and 90s songs, so I happily agreed.
Hansol: For me, when a certain concept is given to us, I really like researching it! This time also, I was able to study the music from back then and had fun.
- Honestly, didn’t you think that a style from 25 years ago was uncool?
P-Goon: As for that, I did think so a little bit (laughs). But, in order to convey an old-fashioned image, uncool-ness is needed too. Instead of uncool, it’s tasteful.
- And the coolness that added to that taste was ‘Annie’?
P-Goon: That’s exactly it!
- Vinyl records are used for ‘Annie’ and fans are used for your January 2014 comeback ‘Arario’. For these ideas, is everyone’s opinion taken into account?
B-Joo: Yes. When the company presents us with a concept, we add our own ideas.
- For example, the idea of the fans?
Hansol: Previously, we choreographed a dance called “dokkaebi” (monster) and used fans. Our choreography teacher for ‘Arario’ evaluated the dance and decided to use the idea.
- What is the dokkaebi dance like?
Hansol: It has the base of modern dance and the concept is a monster who enjoys the night life. ([Hansol] stood up and performed a graceful and fun dance!)
- When members express their opinions, are there ideas that get rejected?
P-Goon: I have a lot [that were rejected].
Hansol: For example, for ‘Annie’ too. This time, it’s an 80s 90s concept right? So I suggested “How about we mix those times and a modern [concept]?” to the company, but they said “We need to present the color of those times for this” and it was rejected.
- It’s been a year since your debut; is there anything that made you think “No matter what, we won’t lose to other groups in this! We’re the best!”?
P-Goon: The number of members.
P-Goon: Other than that, performances as well. We won’t lose against other groups!
- With 13 members, has there been anything particularly difficult?
B-Joo: When there’s this many members, we don’t have much of an opportunity to speak in interviews, and we can get confused in the conversation. But since there’s only four of us today, each of us needs to talk a lot. It’s a good thing!
- Using “so and so is number one in _____,” please tell us about the members that couldn’t come for promotions in Japan. Starting with yourself!
Hansol: I’m “number one in eating snacks/candy.” In Japan too, I ate a Doraemon snack [T/N: probably a normal snack with the character Doraemon on the package]. It was delicious!
P-Goon: I’m “number one in aegyo.”
Kidoh: Aren’t you number one in age too?
P-Goon: For that one, no!
- That’s true, Jenissi is the same age as you but he was born a little before you.
B-Joo: I’m “number one in sexy lips!”
Kidoh: I’m “number one in being skinny.” Even when I eat I don’t gain weight so I’m a little worried (laughs).
- What’s your body fat percentage, roughly?
Kidoh: The average sports athlete has 4%, but I have about that much even if I don’t do anything. That’s why I’m worried.
- Then, please tell us about the rest of the members in order.
Hansol: Since they’re not here, can I talk bad about them? (laughs) A-Tom is “number one in sexy appearance.” But he’s actually “number one in being dirty” (laughs)!
- He’s rougher [T/N: As in, not precise or particular about details] than he looks.
P-Goon: As for Jenissi umm, I’m actually not that close with him.
Kidoh: That was a joke (laughs). They’re actually roommates.
P-Goon: Yeah, Jenissi is “number one in self-respect!”
All: Oh~ true!
- As expected of a roommate. Everyone’s in agreement!
B-Joo: Hojoon is “number one in being fashionable.”
Kidoh: Gohn is “number one in eye-smile.”
Hansol: Xero is “number one in black.” Xero is always dressed in black from head to toe.
P-Goon: Nakta is “number one in height.”
- Nakta’s height of 185cm is number one in the team! Next, B-Joo please tell us about Yano!
B-Joo: I only get the weird ones (laughs). Yano is probably “number one in squishiness of the face.”
Kidoh: But recently, he dieted and lost weight! Sangdo is “number one in beautiful skin.” It’s a healthy color and has elasticity. And Seogoong is “number one in gluttony.”
- Kidoh composed and arranged the song ‘Salieri’ of the mini album AmadeuS, and members, including Kidoh, participated in writing the lyrics. The lyrics of this song are not focused on being number one. Do you ever feel that you don’t have to be number one, as long as you become the only one?
Kidoh: Yes, I do. I actually made this song with the image of Topp Dogg in mind, and instead of being obsessed with being number one, there is meaning in expressing our colors. I think, rather than just being number one, trying our best and becoming number two fits us better.
- But the ultimate goal is to reach number one right?
Kidoh: Of course, in the end we will have to come in first place. But there’s no such thing as a time limit. We believe that if we keep working hard and continue on with our music, it will be valued someday.
- What do you think is needed in order to become a top-notch artist like producer Cho PD?
Kidoh: When watching CEO Cho PD, he comes to work earlier than everyone else and stays later than everyone else. In other words, he’s always at the company. Even on Christmas, you know? Seeing that, I sincerely felt that if I don’t work hard, I won’t be able to become top-notch. I think a requirement for being top-notch is sincerity.
- Please tell us about the one at the top, the king, that you all admire.
Hansol: For me personally, the champion is the rock singer P!nk. I think it’s cool that she turns everything into her style.
P-Goon: For me, it’s Chris Brown. Everything from his fashion to his music is cool!
B-Joo: For me, it’s Michael Jackson. I can imitate Michael Jackson’s vocal hiccup, and do the dance perfectly!
- So, B-Joo is “Topp Dogg’s Michael Jackson?”
All: That’s right! (laughs)
Kidoh: I am Hanamichi Sakuragi of ‘Slam Dunk’!
- Lastly, you sing about making history in the song ‘Top Dog’. What kind of history would you like to make?
Kidoh: Since we’ve started promoting in Japan, our goal is to perform at the Tokyo Dome!
Produced by Cho PD, they debuted in October of 2013. They’re self-producing idols and promote separately as four units; Dragon, Knight, Wizard, and Lion. Along with the four members that came to the interview, Seogoong, A-Tom, Yano, Xero, Sangdo, Nakta, Gohn, Hojoon and Jenissi make up this 13-membered group. For their performances in January, all the members will be in Japan together for the first time.
"History maker, that is me We work in our own way
Others shine for a moment and self-destruct
I know, I’m a flower that bloomed from the mud
I’m writing history, I’m a living fossil,
I create something every night
When I write the diary that you write,
history, they call me genius!”
Q4. Apparently you really like B-Joo; what do you like about him? Even for girls, is someone like B-Joo your ideal type? A4. B-Joo is very cheerful; it’s fun being with him and I can laugh. I originally have a very selfish personality, and even though we’re peers, it feels like I have a son. But, if B-Joo was a girl, it would be gross. Fun girls are my type, but if they were a silly child like B-Joo, it would be painful (laughs). (x)