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(INTERVIEW) [Idol Maker] Pdogg Producer | Making Music that Considers the Stage

By 5:17 PM , ,

The interview below is with Pdogg, who works at Big Hit Entertainment and has been producing music for BTS since their debut. This interview was given in July 2013, just after BTS' debut. The interview itself is long and interesting, but I have translated only the BTS-related parts below.

CWJ: How did you become connected to the BTS project?
PD: Around 2010 I was drinking with Sleepy, we're kind of close... Sleepy said there was this kid who was just an incredible performer, 17 years old, first year in high school. He asked if I wanted to listen. So I listened and it was killer. So I said to Sihyuk hyung that there was this kid, and it all kind of fell into place from there, no? The project started that way.

That friend was Rap Monster, I met him first and in the middle I met Beenzino and Basick. Other than them, I also met other friends from the underground, but they had other things going on so it didn't work out.

At that time, the direction that BTS would go in wasn't fixed in detail, it was just like, "let's make a team with the basis of hip hop." Between 2010 and 2011 we had nationwide auditions and Suga came in, and it developed that way. At first we wanted to make a hip hop group rather than an idol group.

CWJ: What was the reason for that plan arising? Because you wanted to do hip hop?
PD: No. Rather than that it was just like, we can't bury kids like these. The friends Rap Monster had around him were all born in 94 and 95. But they all did really well. I was like "wow, there are kids who can do this well," and then I found out that he was even friendly with Block B's Zico. It was like that. I saw all these talented kids and said as much to Sihyuk hyung. At first we called them the Bangtan Crew. Then after they gradually started to change direction towards idoldom, we re-organized them, and dance and performance aspects started to come in, and we re-organized the kids who were having a hard time again.

CWJ: Whenever a new team comes out, there's some worry about what market they'll aim for. In the case of BTS, it seems like people talked about "do they have marketability as major hip hop?"
PD: Is that so? I don't know about Sihyuk hyung, but for me, when I think about BTS I think primarily about how they have so much talent, and how I want Big Hit to contribute to that talent to make a kind of musical synergy. Also, from 2010 to recently the trend was electronica, but from the beginning of last year, there seems to be a reason why music with a hip-hop base has suddenly popped up. When I see artists like A$AP Rocky or Kendrick Lamar, or rookies like Logic, I strongly feel that hip hop is returning, in particular that the music of the 90's is coming back. It was the same when I first heard The Game around 2006. As soon as I heard it I was like 'wah, this is exactly the gangster style I wanted.' Particularly Kendrick Lamar, he raps well and makes music that really modernly releases a feeling of the late 90s to early 2000s. It's nuts. I think this must be a generation that wants hip hop.

[ ... ]

CWJ: Then is it a very different feeling, being in charge of main producing for BTS?
PD: I just introduced the kids to Sihyuk hyung, but I think he entrusted more to me than just that. That time was difficult for me, musically. I was thinking, "What do I have to do in this company?" It was a period of being lost, but while we worked on the BTS project, Sihyuk hyung opened up this path for me.

CWJ: In that case, I'm curious about what kind of process a single idol group undergoes in order to debut, in detail.
PD: First of all, we went through about 30 trainees. Also, although it'll never be released, there are a lot of things that we worked on together. We worked on songs and did recordings and saw each other's reactions that way. That period lasted for about 3 years, and the ones who remained afterwards were Suga, Rap Monster, and J-Hope. I have all the things these three made still on my computer. The kids made an average of at least one song per week, and there were also times when they had assignments. When there were a lot of people we'd split them into teams and have some of them work with foreign pop and some of them work with hip hop. Like, reinterpreting things in a hip hop manner. And when we felt that the number of people was good, we'd re-organize the members.

We'd also split up the kids who were good at performance and the ones who weren't. Through that process, they took a direction in earnest for more than a year, and I thought a lot as well. We also had a ton of meetings. After checking everything from the kids' fashion to their condition, their rap, their singing level, we started working in earnest from November or December of last year. From that time a lot of talk came up. They operated their own blog, and the kids found a direction by choosing the songs or cover songs to upload there, but for me, the thing that was most difficult was having to make music that would be accepted by the general public. In the Korean major music scene, hip hop is just telling love stories through rap.

Or having swag like YG's style. But honestly, ultimately if you want to be like that you have to do well and have a lot of money and you have to have something to brag about, and we have nothing. Honestly it's not something that people will acknowledge.

CWJ: If you go out into the field, people make comparisons.
PD: Well, there's that, and other limitations. First of all, for the debut single, if we wanted all seven members' voices to come out, each rapper had to have 16 lines, but we couldn't do anything other than share around eight lines. Within that, it's difficult to make lines that people are able to sing along with. So at first, we tried to make soft music that would be generally accepted, and then we tried music that sounded like YG style, without discriminating. So really we just climbed this mountain and that mountain.

original post: here

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  1. thank u so much for transalting it .. I felt so emo reading this
    but seeing bts today makes me soo proud

  2. thank you for translating we really appreciate it TT

  3. 30 trainees were on the Bangtan project? that's insane and also really sad cause you know that 23 kids didnt make it to the cut.

  4. This was really interesting. Thank you!

  5. thank you so much your input to the armys is appreciated

  6. Okay so the BTS we know made it because they worked hard to get the spot, except for Joon who was literally the reason to start the project. And the whole process of selection lasted 3 years, so the members were under a lot of pressure because of the elimination process. I always found those comments on YouTube videos annoying stating how someone was lucky to be somewhere that's how they got into the team. The luck factor doesn't last forever and it is disrespectful towards a person's hardwork to chalk their success to being a chance event. Even tho those unnecessary forced nostalgic comments won't stop appearing, I won't feel as angry as earlier. I hate those comments saying "Jin who was casted on a street because he was handsome and V who was just there because of a friend". Those comments spread misinformation among people who are just checking in. I'll keep a link to this so that I can at least tag people to see the actual article.

  7. This is great to find now. I'm new to BTS but I feel like PDogg is basically the invisible 8th boy. LOL I love that in this interview you can see that he has the mind of music producer but he also has the soul of music educator. Everyone remarks about how the boys collaborate with each other and manage to keep their egos out of it and I feel like right here we see who was leading that by example from the beginning. Thanks so much for translating this.

  8. thank u for translating this!

  9. Thank you so much for the translation. It made me the proudest Army and the article gave a deeper appreciation of BTS journey and the people around them especially to Bang Sihyuk and PDogg....such passion on great fashion