Giriboy (by Hiphopplaya)

Giriboy – ‘Fatal Album II’ Interview with Hiphop Playa

In Interviews, Translated Interviews by Lena

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Read Giriboy’s interview with Hiphop Playa from February 2013 about his ‘Fatal Album II’.

Hiphop Playa (Hip): Hello. Please greet the members of Hiphop Playa.

Giriboy (Gi): Hello. I am Giriboy. Ha ha!

Hip: Let’s talk about your debut first. You debuted with the name Giriboy. What does it mean?

Gi: The name Giriboy means “to see the way”1)in Korean 길이 보이 [giri boi], [implying] that no matter what I do, the things in front of me are bright and promising. If I do anything else than music, for example painting, I want to use this name.

Hip: So when did you first start doing music?

Gi: I’ve always liked listening to music. In my first year of high school I saw [videos of ] people rapping on the Internet and thought “I should try this too.” That’s when I started rapping. At first I made short pieces out of instrumentals, then I wanted to compose them myself and received a software from a friend. I started [rapping and composing] in my first year of high school.

Hip: The name Giriboy was officially know after you debuted with the track ‘You look so good to me’. How did it feel to release a song for the first time?

Gi: Good, of course. It was the first song I released and it was made at the time the album was released, so it contained a deeper meaning.

Hip: Then did ‘You look so good to me’ make you want to do music as your profession for the first time? Or did you already wanted to do so before?

Gi: I wanted to do so before. There was no decisive opportunity that made me start doing music, but before that I was already thinking of making music [as my main profession].

Hip: ‘You look so good to me’ was released in December 2011, but I heard you made that song in your third year of high school. Other than this song, are there any songs you’ve made before, that have been released now?

Gi: Yes, a lot. Nearly half of the tracks on the Fatal Album EP are tracks I made in high school.

MV: Giriboy – You Look So Good to Me (Feat. Swings) [12/05/2011]

Hip: After ‘You look so good to me’ you released ‘한잔해요’ [Let’s Have A Drink] together with Lil Boi. How did you end up working with Lil Boi?

Gi: I’m in the same crew as Lil Boi and close to him so we ended up working together. In the beginning I wanted to make five to six songs with Lil Boi and release them as an album, ‘한잔해요’ [Let’s Have A Drink] was among them. But then the album release failed. Then the CEO of Grandline, Warmman, contacted me suddenly. As a result, it is sad for ‘한잔해요’ [Let’s Have A Drink] but he thinks the track will go well so he said to shoot a music video and just release that song. That’s how we ended up just doing ‘한잔해요’ [Let’s Have A Drink].

Hip: So you thought ‘한잔해요’ [Let’s Have A Drink] wouldn’t go well?

Gi: Yes, I was prepared for a total fail (laughs).

MV: Giriboy & Lil Boi – 한잔해요 [Let’s Have A Drink] [01/25/2012]

Hip: As we’ve already talked about Lil Boi, let’s talk about Do’main. Lil Boi and you are both in Do’main. How was it formed?

Gi: Back in the days there were many crews on the Internet. At that time, [we] five crew members met online but then decided to meet [offline]. So we met, had fun, did a few amateur concerts and that’s how it turned out like this [Do’main was formed]. By the time, the people who we hung out with became more. Geeks were hanging out with us so we said “You, become part of Do’main,” Zico hang out with us so we said “You, become part of Do’main.” Only people who had fun together gathered.

Hip: So, don’t you have any plans of a group work under the name Do’main?

Gi: Do’main is just some people hanging out together, having fun, so there’s no musical thing yet where we say “Let’s do something!” We’re featuring in each other’s songs but I don’t think we ever said to release a compilation under our name. Above all we are having fun as a crew, I don’t think we have a certain goal.

Hip: Let’s now talk about how you joined JUST MUSIC. I know that Swings first offered you to join. Please tell us a bit about that.

Gi: Back then I passed my time just working part-time and working in the studio. I dragged my tired body home when suddenly Swings contacted me, saying he liked my songs. That day we met right away and talked and ate, when he suddenly told me to enter his company. I thought it was just a meeting but when he told me to join his company, I got a mental breakdown. I listened to nearly only Swings’ songs while growing up and liked him the most. I was a fan of Overclass. So when he told me to join his company, that of course gave me a mental breakdown. I could have said Yes right at the spot then but I thought that wouldn’t be interesting and told him I’ll think about it. After some time though, it occurred to me that he might change his mind. I decided “I have to tell him today!” went to his concert, skipping my part-time job, and told him.

Hip: Have the songs you let Swings listen to back then been released?

Gi: Yes. ‘한잔해요’ [Let’s Have A Drink] and ‘얼굴에 다 써있네요’ [It’s Written All Over Your Face]. There are many others that haven’t been released yet.

lets have a drinkAlbum cover: Giriboy & Lil Boi – 한잔해요 [Let’s Have a Drink] [01/26/2012]

its written all over your face

Album cover: 얼굴에 다 써있네요 [It’s Written All Over Your Face] [03/02/2012]

Hip: When introducing Giriboy, one can’t not talk about a fusion of several genres. Which musician inspires you?

Gi: A lot of people. For each genre, there’s one musician I like. The one I like the most is Pharrell [Williams], I think I get most of my inspiration from him. To be more detailed, Pharrell’s band N.E.R.D has an album called “Seeing Sounds” and just its title has swag. While I thought “A visible sound!” I thought “I have to make an audible film!” Other than from music, I get lots of inspiration from romantic movies. I like Korean romance movies. I sometimes make music by taking just one line of a film and unpacking it.

Hip: So you don’t limit yourself to the hip hop genre?

Gi: No, I don’t but I like hip hop the most so I try to do hip hop. Using hip hop as basis, I want to express myself in various genres.

Hip: Then do you feel any pressure regarding the challenge of the genre?

Gi: Lately, I am feeling a bit of pressure because of that. Still, I like it and I think that’s why I keep challenging it.

Hip: On to the first question by one of our members. You said you make songs of the conversations in movies. Is there anything else that inspires you? (ID: oo4444)

Gi: There are several other things besides movies that inspire me. I hear a conversation in a movie and think “Ah, it would be fun to expand this [sentence/thought/idea]”. At other times I pay attention when talking to my friends – especially when we’re out for drinks, that’s when I get the most inspiration. For example, my friend says “Let’s go for a second round!” and I think “Oh, second round sounds good” and then I write it down every time that happens. I also receive lots of inspiration from gag programs on TV. Several things came to me during this interview now too. Ah! One incident happened recently, at a bar in Geondae. There, the phrase “It better not be cold, I will buy clothes to wear and buy alcohol to drink” came up. I thought “Oh, that’s good too” and I’m planning to write a song on it soon.

Hip: If there is a song on ‘Fatal Album II’ whose inspiration you got from a movie, then please introduce it to us.

Gi: The title ‘내 몸이 불타오르고 있어’ (My Body Is On Fire) comes from a horror movie. There is a prank call scene in it, which contains the line “My body is on fire.” I used exactly that line.


Hip: Let’s officially start talking about the album now. Why did you name it ‘Fatal Album’?

Gi: I could have also named it ‘Good Album’ but I was searching for an attractive term, when I thought “Fatal is good!” and named it that because I like the term itself.

Hip: Then did you think of other titles than ‘Fatal Album’?

Gi: Totally, a lot. If I made lots of songs with electronic sounds, ‘Electrically Shocked Album’, and ‘Horny Album’ for a collection of erotic songs (laughs). Well, that’s the pattern.

Hip: So the album title was planned to a certain extent?

Gi: Yes. I could have changed it but it had been planned to a certain extent.

Hip: Let’s talk about your album again. You released ‘Fatal Album I’ and afterwards ‘Fatal Album II’ as an extension. Did you plan that beforehand?

Gi: I didn’t release ‘Fatal Album I’ because it was planned to be an extended album from the start. While playing video games, [I realized that] Diablo has a sequel and StarCraft has Brood War. Seeing that, I thought it would be fun to release an album like a game, so I put in a few more songs and released ‘Fatal Album II’.

Hip: Is there possibly a theme that connects the whole album?

Gi: I don’t think there’s one exact theme for the whole album. When I released it, it simply contained music of the style I like.

Hip: In ‘Fatal Album I’, ‘계획적인 여자’ [Calculating Woman] is the title track and in ‘Fatal Album II’, ‘다른꼴’ [Different] is the title track. Is there a reason they became the title tracks?

Gi: I think the right answer is because I like them the best. First, the most important thing is that I like them, then that they have popular appeal and people can listen to them easily. That’s why they were made the title tracks.

Hip: You briefly mentioned popular appeal. While preparing the album, did you try to make a song that appeals to the masses even if that isn’t your style?

Gi: Not really. I’ve always liked pop music so I think I’m making songs that do appeal to the masses to a certain extent. It rather happened that some of my songs were too close to pop music, so I had to change them afterwards. I don’t try to make songs that appeal to the masses.

Hip: A music video has been released for ‘다른꼴’ [Different], in which you personally acted. What are your thoughts on that?

Gi: I am just very greedy .. so I also want to keep acting more, that’s all.

Hip: So you decided to act in it?

Gi: Yes.

MV: Giriboy – 다른꼴 [Different] (Feat. Crucial Star) [12/04/2012]

Hip: Is there any song on the album – regardless their popularity – of which you think “I really like this one”?

Gi: I like all, so it’s always difficult to answer such a question. If I have to choose one, I like ‘내 몸이 불타오르고 있어’ [My Body Is On Fire] best. Because I think the melody and the lyrics match in it the most. It has something. A feely feeling.

Hip: Let’s talk more about ‘내 몸이 불타오르고 있어’ [My Body Is On Fire]. Compared to its title, this song has a fresh and not stimulating atmosphere. But the cover version which Swings released is rated 19. As the original composer of the song, what do you think of the cover?

Gi: Honestly, I didn’t like the cover song but they said the reactions to it were good. I didn’t like it that much though. The charm of that song is that it has erotic lyrics but its atmosphere isn’t erotic. Changing that directly gives a bit of a different atmosphere than I had intended.

swings on fireAlbum cover: Giriboy – 내 몸이 불타오르고 있어 [My Body Is On Fire] (Feat. Swings) [11/29/2012]

Hip: We can’t not talk about the featurings on your album. Zico featured in ‘계획적인 여자’ [Calculating Woman] and Beenzino featured in ‘You’re A Chemical’, which became a topic. What is the most important thing for you when choosing someone to feature in your songs?

Gi: The most important thing is that they do well. Someone who does well and who can relate to the feeling of my songs.

Hip: Then what do you think are Zico and Beenzino’s advantages?

Gi: First of all, I think Zico raps well. And ‘계획적인 여자’ [Calculating Woman] is a song that curses a woman who uses me. But Zico has kind of a bad guy and scary image, so I thought it would turn out scary if I’d work with him, and that’s what I did. His bad [guy] image and his skills matched [the song] so we worked together. Regarding Beenzino, I really like his album. Because every single track has a distinct topic. Plus he raps well. I aim to have distinct topics [for my songs] and I felt that my aim and Beenzino’s aim match so I worked with him.

Hip: Is there a musician who hasn’t participated in your album this time but who you want to work with later?

Gi: Pharrell (Williams)! Pharrell and Kim Dong-ryul (laughs)? Limited to hip hop musicians, I want to work with everyone who is skilled. I especially want to work together with Verbal Jint. Everyone wants to work a lot with a variety of people.

Hip: It’s not a featuring, but many people are curious about the dialogue of the woman in ‘얼굴에 다 써있네요’ [It’s Written All Over Your Face]. Is that person also a musician?

Gi: No, she isn’t doing music. She’s my girlfriend. I needed a female voice so I asked her to do it.

Hip: There are also the unfamiliar names Choi Danbi and Lim Sunghyun, please introduce them.

Gi: Choi Danbi is my friend, she plays the piano. She played it in ‘내 몸이 불타오르고 있어’ [My Body Is On Fire]. She cannot sing well, like me, but she tries. In ‘내 몸이 불타오르고 있어’ [My Body Is On Fire] she played the piano so I told her “Hey, you played piano so you sing, too.” That’s how simply she was featured. Lim Sunghyun is the vocal teacher who Swings assigned to me when I first entered JUST MUSIC and really couldn’t sing. As an introduction I can say she appeared on Superstar K, she has somewhat of a soulful voice and .. she sings quite well. Every time I have class with her, she sings me the song I have to learn and she makes me think “Yeah, she does sing good!”

Hip: Since you talked about your vocal teacher, let’s talk about your vocals. You said you sang so bad that Swings assigned you a teacher, but in your album there are many songs in which you sing the main vocals. Do you like your singing?

Gi: I don’t like it yet. But my vocal teacher said that my charm is that I cannot sing so she won’t teach me. Thinking about it, my style would become boring if I could sing as well as a vocalist, for example Kim Bum-soo, so it’s rather a good thing that I quit my vocal lessons. I am satisfied with my singing skills but I think I have to do a bit more than slightly better for live performances. So I’m always practicing tunes.


Hip: I will now ask another member’s question. To match the song’s concept, do you intentionally try to lay the focus on your vocals’ individuality instead of on your skills? (ID: p190208)

Gi: That’s not the case. Since I’m not singing professionally it turns out that way. I don’t plan on being as good as a [professional] vocalist, so I’m satisfied. If I did as well as a professional, I think my charm would sink. So I try my best to save the song’s atmosphere instead of singing well. I think my singing has to fit my song but I don’t think it has to be as good as Mariah Carey’s.

Hip: A characteristic of your songs are the conversations in between. How do they come about?

Gi: Sometimes I think of them beforehand while making the song, at other times I think of them while recording. If I think “Ah, I have to put this in!” while recording, I immediately record it. As I said before, I want to make an audible film, so I keep thinking of conversations.

Hip: In the titles ‘얼굴에 다 써있네요 나무ver’ [It’s Written All Over Your Face Tree Version] and ‘시간이 날 기다려 낙엽ver’ [Time Waits For Me Fallen Leaves Version], the use of the words ‘Tree’ and ‘Fallen Leaves’ are impressive. What is the background behind them?

Gi: I rearranged ‘얼굴에 다 써있네요’ [It’s Written All Over Your Face] and ‘시간이 날 기다려’ [Time Waits For Me] with a fall-ish feeling. So while listening to them, I thought they had a feeling of trees and fallen leaves, and named them that way. In the beginning I had planned to call the Tree Version ‘Acoustic Version’ but that was too ordinary. I wanted to use more interesting names so I used ‘Tree Version’. That’s more interesting.

Hip: ‘You don’t look good to me’ is the opposite situation from ‘You look so good to me’ and its atmosphere changes from the latter half on, which was impressive. How did you make that song?

Gi: First, the song ‘You look so good to me’ was extremely dear to me. Because I made it for the entrance examination with the plans of going to university. But as I released ‘You look so good to me’ first, as my debut song, I thought it was just a feeling that would pass by. It’s a song I really treasure so it felt a waste to just send it off like that. That’s why I wanted to reinterpret it.

Hip: So you personally thought of creating a twist to the song’s atmosphere?

Gi: Yes. At first I wanted to make a new song out of ‘You look so good to me’ and went to Psycoban. I had planned to make it a slow jam version. I wanted kind of an R&B version of the track. Right at that time I was listening to songs by James Blake, so Psycoban proposed I should do it like James Blake’s songs. “Oh, that’s good,” I thought and the first part of ‘You don’t look good to me’ came out. Afterwards, I took a break from work for about one month. Then I went to Psycoban again, because I had to release the album. Together, we thought about what to do and I suggested first to make it as if it was mixed by a DJ. Psycoban answered he didn’t think of that at all but that it’s good. That’s how the latter half of ‘You don’t look good to me’ was made. When you listen to the song, you can hear rock in the first half. That’s the part I thought of. After that, it changes to Dubstep […] and ends interesting but that’s what Psycoban thought of. He kept thinking he has ruined the album and was worried but I told him that I totally like that style and we made the song that way. I prefer it interesting and funny instead of serious.

Hip: Out of the twelve tracks, ‘밤이 필요해’ [I Need The Night] had the most different feeling topic-wise. While the other songs have relationships and women and men as their topics, this song tells that someone feels that his nice and bright image is burdensome. Are you actually stressed by your nice image?

Gi: Instead of stress, I feel burdened by people who see me as nice and cheerful. I don’t see myself as someone with a nice and bright personality, but when others think so I feel a tiny bit burdened.

Hip: Regarding the atmosphere, ‘이젠안돼’ [Not Anymore] has the most different feeling. What kind of a song is it?

Gi: As this song has a different feeling than all the other songs I’ve released until now, you might think that “Giriboy wouldn’t make such a song” but songs like ‘이젠안돼’ [Not Anymore] used to be my style. I originally made songs with such feelings and because I like it, I made this song. I like English rock and in English rock, they sing a bit strangely. A bit of an “Uhaa~” feeling. Wanting to make something like that, I wrote the song. Its lyrics are good as well. I made it so that even when elderly people listen to ‘이젠안돼’ [Not Anymore], they get the feeling “Oh, so the lyrics are somehow literary.” I don’t know if that turned out well but my mother likes this song. Another thing is that this song can be interpreted differently depending on the thoughts of the listener. For example, if you think about love while listening to it, you hear it as a love story, if you think of your dream while listening, you hear it as a story of dreams. So I’d like people to listen to this song with various thoughts.


Hip: Let’s talk like crazy about the tracks on the album now. The designer Ahn Jungchan has participated in your album design, did you personally ask for an analogue feeling?

Gi: Yes. It’s called 8 bits. I like things like that so I told the designer that I wanted such a feeling. I couldn’t tell him that it is 8 bits, so I tried to explain it to him. Then he said “Ah, 8 bits?” and I answered “Ah yes, that’s it!” and he made it. I am satisfied with the finished design.

Hip: Let’s take a question of one of our members. Do you think ‘Fatal Album 2’ was successful? (ID: elf4192)

Gi: Yes. I think it was more successful than I had thought. But it has to do better.

Hip: It’s been about three months since you’ve released your album. I think many people will listen to it again after reading this interview. Please give them a guideline.

Gi: I’d like you to pay good attention to the lyrics while listening.

Hip: Just like we just mentioned about ‘밤이 필요해’ [I Need The Night], the Fatal Album itself seems to be mostly about relationships and women and men. Are you considering other topics?

Gi: I want to make the topics a bit more diverse in my next album. The Fatal Album is mostly about relationships because I started working on it in high school and during that time I liked romance films. When I work, I turn what I’ve seen or what I think of into the songs’ topics. But as I’ve thought other things and seen lots of other things, I think the next album will contain a variety of topics.


Hip: I will now stop talking about your album and ask about mixtapes. You haven’t released one yet, have you?

Gi: No. I haven’t released a mixtape yet, and I am preparing one at the moment. It is planned to be released as an instrumental album. The instrumentals for Fatal Album haven’t been released yet either, because I want to include them in the mixtape too. I can’t say when it will come out but I am continuously preparing it.

Hip: Just now we talked a bit about vocals. You are a multi player who can write lyrics, compose, arrange, rap, sing main vocals and even the chorus. What are you most confident of and which do you think you are lacking among these?

Gi: Except for the main vocals, I am confident about it all. There’s so much to do for me, that I can’t really concentrate on just one thing. The thing I most concentrate on out of them is writing songs, so I am most confident of that. The less I do it, the less confident I am about it, which is the case with vocals. Contrarily, I often write songs and thus am the most confident of it.

Hip: Then I will ask about composing. You composed all the songs in the album. If you have the chance, do you want to receive songs from someone else?

Gi: There are a lot [of people I want to receive songs from]. As people didn’t know me when I made this album, it was hard to ask anyone for songs. But now I’ve gotten close to people and while doing so I want to receive songs from them too, to release an album. The reason for that is that when I do it all alone, the flow of the album might be the same [as this album’s]. I think it would be good if I received songs from others, because that would mix different feelings into the album. So in the next album, there will probably be a few songs I got from others.

Hip: On the contrary, do you think of featuring other people in your songs as a producer and make an album out of it?

Gi: I am thinking of a producer album. It is even in progress. It hasn’t progressed far but I consider making remixes of Swings’ old songs. It won’t be a complete featuring album but I will probably put in some [featurings] into the remix album.

Hip: You once said that you see yourself as a famous composer in five years, are you more ambitious about being a composer than an MC?

Gi: I want to do it all. In Roller Coaster, there’s a person called Jinu. When he was active in a band, he called himself Jinu and during other activities he goes by the name Hitchhiker. He is active in a band and as a composer at the same time, which I think is a good image. Showing oneself as a composer as well as a musician is what I want.

Hip: As shown in the ‘the New Wave’ interview, in which you also participated, many of the other persons that were interviewed with you tend to be young. I think the whole [hip hop] scene is undergoing a shift in generations right now, where the young people are on a rise. How do you see the scene’s atmosphere?

Gi: I like doing things alone, so I don’t know about that well (laughs), but I think the generations are merging well. If I have to choose something I regret, it would be for the veteran MCs to do a bit more with the rising MCs.


Hip: Now to the last fan question: I think you have enough appeal to go mainstream. Are you thinking of doing so if you get the chance? (ID: fuck123)

Gi: Totally often. But I don’t want to change because of that. Regarding that point, I respect Verbal Jint. And 10cm. They are doing their thing and receive acknowledgement from the public. If the chance I am thinking of comes, I want to go mainstream.

Hip: Please tell us about your plans for 2013.

Gi: I am working on my next album, I think it is about 20% finished. So to speak, three albums are in process. While making my full-length album, I think “I should put this track in a different album” but there are no details, I am just making songs for now. I should do a solo concert but nothing detailed is set yet, I am just thinking of doing so.

Hip: In the end, say something to the fans who love your music.

Gi: Thank you (laughs). I will do my best from now on.


Interviewer: Lee Inhye (twitter, facebook)

Photos (and video) directed by: SIN (twitter, instagram)

Related Links: Giriboy’s Twitter | Just Music’s Twitter

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