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BIGBANG’s TAEYANG Keeps Things Down To Earth In His New Solo EP

After releasing VIBE with BTS’ Jimin in January, the BIGBANG vocalist is back with his solo EP album, and ready to work even harder.

Just three months after VIPs (BIGBANG fans) were vibing along with TAEYANG and his long-awaited comeback single, VIBE (featuring BTS Jimin), the BIGBANG vocalist has returned. This time, with a six-track mini album, showcasing his smooth, soulful vocals, and versatility.

Clearly, VIBE was but a mere taste of what was to come with his new solo EP, Down to Earth. And VIPs couldn’t be happier.

Reiterating his desire to start afresh with his music, TAEYANG shares in this exclusive interview on what Down to Earth means to him, his inspirations behind its title track, Seed, and his plans for the future.

#1 What’s the concept for your newest comeback, Down to Earth?

TAEYANG: My new EP contains a lot of the emotions and thoughts that I’ve experienced in the past. It’s an album with my stories melded in an honest and composed manner. For the fans who have waited a long time for my album, I hope they’d be comforted and create more of the moments that they’ve dreamt of through it.

#2 Why did you choose the phrase “Down to Earth” as the album title?

TAEYANG: The overseas staff whom I’ve worked with for a long time through my tours and such, often tell me “You’re so down to earth!” when they observe the way I work. This left such a strong impression on me. While it means being humble, when you look at the phrase in itself, it describes the act of coming down.

The phrase really resonated with me when I was serving in the military. Back then, I was going through a series of very frustrating moments. And to overcome this frustration, I would run around the training ground after the work day was done, because that was the only thing I could do. One day, as I was running, I noticed the sun setting. This truly beautiful sunset just unfolded right in front of my eyes. And the thought that crossed my mind was that the sunset was greeting the night, and not a new morning. Despite repetitively greeting the night, the sunset has been doing its job faithfully and beautifully without any complaints. Similarly, I also didn’t have anything that I could do at that moment, but endure the time by dutifully carrying out the little things that I could do. That’s the thought that came to me, and so I decided to use the phrase “down to earth” as the album title.

#3 Tell us more about the album’s title track, Seed.

TAEYANG: It’s an extremely slow ballad. Personally for me, I find that the most beautiful period in K-Pop history is probably in the 1980s and ’90s. I see it as the golden era of K-Pop, where the music was the most pop, but was well-understood with Korean sentiments and expressed through the most beautifully written lyrics. So I thought that if I could reinterpret the emotions and feelings of that time in a more modern way, it would be most meaningful. And wouldn’t it be the kind of sentiment that I could express the best?

With this inspiration, the song that actually came out first was Still Life. And because it was done together as BIGBANG, I believe that it was able to receive so much love from many people. But honestly, after its release, I wondered and worried if I’d be able to create another song with the same level of emotion. Thankfully, Seed was born, not even two months later. So if you listen to it, the many emotions and thoughts that I had during that period have been conveyed well in the song.

#4 Why did you name the title track, Seed?

TAEYANG: I want to welcome a fresh new start through my music. That’s why I put Seed as the English title of the song. If you translate the Korean title into English directly, it’ll be “In my heart”. But I felt that it wasn’t enough to fully communicate the meaning that the lyrics hold, so I chose to give it the title “Seed” instead.

#5 What was the first song you completed for the album?

TAEYANG: When I was trying to work on the album, I had a very difficult time starting it. I had unintentionally taken a long break from making music. I contemplated a lot on the direction of my music, so I was stuck on it for an extremely long period of time. But one day, the producers at THEBLACKLABEL and I were fooling around with tracks and music, and it became a continuous festival of jokes. We’d throw lyrics at one another, and with those lyrics, we’d try to compete to see who could make it funnier. It went back and forth, and just like that, the first verse of the song got made. So, the first completed song on the album was actually Shoong. And with Shoong being made, it set the wheels in motion for the other songs in the album.

Fun fact: Shoong is a song that TAEYANG wants to recommend people to keep listening to, even a decade later.

#6 BLACKPINK’s LISA is featured in Shoong as well. How was it like working with her on the track?

TAEYANG: When LISA first had her YG Entertainment auditions, I was actually there. The way she sang was just so beautiful and I remembered saying, “I think she’ll do really well” and “she’s really great”. And it just so happened that I got to work with LISA on Shoong. It’s a song that hits differently. The person I’ve seen since she was young has grown up so magnificently. When I see her putting on these truly incredible stages, I feel so proud as if I was the one doing it. As for the song that we did together, just the fact that we were able to collaborate is truly such a blessing for me.

#7 Are there any other B-side songs from Down to Earth that you would like to recommend?

TAEYANG: Honestly, I hope that many people will listen to all the tracks. But if I had to choose one, it’d be the last track, Nightfall. All the thoughts I had, the emotions I embraced whilst watching the sunset, as well as the notes I wrote as I was making this album, have been organized into this song. The title is a combination of the words “night” and “fall”. In short, the night is falling, so there is no more darkness. The message I hope to convey is kinda like “I hope this sunset will be the last sunset”. And if you listen to the chorus, my thoughts and feelings about Down to Earth, the things I want to share with the fans are expressed really well, so I hope you’ll listen to it.

#8 What’s next for TAEYANG?

TAEYANG: I’d like to make more great music to share with everyone sooner and meet all of you on many occasions. If I have a wish, I hope that this album and its songs will become small seeds that can be raised into one healthy tree.

VIPs will have to wait just a little longer to meet TAEYANG in person. But till then, you can check out all of TAEYANG’s hit songs in Spotify’s This is TAEYANG playlist.