Hiphop Playa (from now on Hip): Hello. This is your first interview with Hiphop Playa, please greet the fans.
Crush (from now on C): Hello. I’m called Crush. Haha!
Hip: How did you come up with the name ‘Crush’?
C: I came up with the name when I was in my freshman year of middle school. Actually ‘Crush’ seems like a name that would fit well with a rock band. If you literally translate ‘crush’ from English, it can mean ‘to break down’, ‘to smash’, and on the other hand can have a completely different meaning. Like in ‘Crush on You’ it can mean to have fallen for someone. Because of that ambivalent charm [of the name] I’m using it.
H: How did you start making music?
C: I never had music lessons but I started making music by composing and rapping in my freshman year in middle school. At that time, I rapped and wrote lyrics along with my neighborhood friends. Back then, I thought having a good reputation as a producer would be extremely helpful, so along with rap I began composing music with a sequencer called FL Studio. As for singing, I’ve always liked singing and my father who used to do music also influenced me a lot. At first, I didn’t sing professionally but just at karaoke. Thus, you can say I started making music through rap and composition.
H: However you’re more known for your singing compared to your rapping. When you had activities with ‘Masterpiece’ you were a rapper. We’re curious as to why you changed to being a vocalist.
C: I’ve been rapping since I was in middle school but there were a lot of talented people around me. After seeing Swings-hyeong and Dok2-hyeong, I decided that I shouldn’t rap. So I thought I should properly start singing, which I’ve always liked.
H: So you haven’t been doing official activities as a vocalist for very long?
C: My first official activity as a vocalist was through ‘Red Dress’.
H: What music or which musicians influenced you when you first started music?
C: First off, my father influenced me the most. It’s a fact that people who like African-American music cannot deny [liking Stevie Wonder], and just like that, my father really likes Stevie Wonder a lot. I also like Musiq Soulchild, because I really like Neo-Soul. Then I also received a lot of influence from Donny Hathaway. In addition, I really like the soul music of the 70s and 80s.
H: Did your parents object to you doing music?
C: My father had been doing music until high school and couldn’t continue due to my grandfather, but he treated me the same and strongly objected to me doing music. In my father’s eyes I’m not talented, and I always was a target of his criticism in which he compared me to my sister who sings extremely well. Thus there was a lot of opposition a first but somewhere along the way, I think I proved myself to them. Now they’re my biggest supporters.
H: When talking about ‘Crush’ we can’t leave out the crew. How did you join the VV:D crew?
C: I joined Vivid last year in October. Honestly, I knew Zion.T-hyeong and Gray-hyeong but I didn’t really know much about the crew called Vivid. Then I ended up going to the Grandline Party that was held at Q-Vo on 7th October. At that time I had been given the unexpected opportunity to do ‘Red Dress’ along with TakeOne-hyeong, and before that I didn’t know him well, I wasn’t close to anyone in the [music] scene. I knew who they were but they didn’t know who I was. In that type of situation, I went to the Grandline Party and listened to music and played by myself until by chance I saw Zion.T-hyeong. So I thought I should let him listen to my songs. At that time I was working on a lot of R&B tracks. So I went up to Zion.T-hyeong and said “I’m doing R&B, please listen to my music” and Zion.T-hyeong replied “Ah, R&B is hard for me.” So I just asked him “Oh, why?” and hyeong said that he’s doing hip hop. We had small talk like that, then Zion.T-hyeong told me to send him my songs to the e-mail address that’s on his Twitter profile. So I went home and sent him my songs. At that time I sent around three songs and after three to four days I got a reply from Zion.T-hyeong along with his contact information. So I contacted him and we met up. In addition, when I was active in ‘Masterpiece’, there was a song I had been preparing by myself. I wanted to ask Loco-hyeong to feature in it and met him. So I went to Loco-hyeong’s studio and by chance all of the hyeongs from Vivid were there and I let them listen to more of my music. Like that we kept getting along well and had a good balance, thus I ended up joining the Vivid crew. We could communicate well through music. That was the first time I got along so well with anyone.
H: I’m sure some people don’t know the VV:D crew well, could you introduce the crew?
C: VV:D will become a crew that’s really not common in this scene, it’s becoming that right now too. There are five crew members including myself: Zion.T-hyeong who is the leader, GRAY-hyeong, Loco-hyeong, and Elo-hyeong. Zion.T-hyeong is well-known and famous for being an ‘alien’. He’s really skilled, without any doubt. GRAY-hyeong has a strong image as a producer but I feel that he’s good at doing all things. I heard him rap and he’s really good at it. GRAY-hyeong also has been doing musing for a really long time and he is really handsome. It’s like that feeling where although there’s five people, one person’s face shines more than the others? Anyways, I’d like for no one to ever doubt GRAY-hyeong’s musicality and skills. He’s a hyeong that still has a lot to show in the future. Loco-hyeong already proved himself through appearing on ‘Show Me The Money’. The first work I did as a part of VV:D crew was Loco-hyeong’s song ‘No More’. I really respect Loco-hyeong’s style and I think he does really well. Lastly, Elo-hyeong released a single album not too long ago, I also think Elo-hyeong can become a really unrivaled person. Elo-hyeong does so well that I’m a bit cautious around him and he around me. However, there’s a well-intentioned competition between us and I think Elo-hyeong will do well, which is also a bit scary for me (laughs).
H: Now we’ll move on to the topic of your music activities. You did official activities together with Cheetah as ‘Masterpiece’. How did you end up working together?
C: I dreaded joining a company so I was working alone. Like that I was working along and entered college focusing on music and I was contacted by a composer hyeong who’s working in the field of K-pop and who I know. He suggested that I try auditioning once but I said I wouldn’t do it. However, that hyeong told me to first meet some agency’s director. So I first sent my demo to the director to listen to and he asked to meet. So I went to meet the director and Cheetah-nuna was also there. The director had a lot of plans and suggested that we collaborate. However at that time I had nothing to lose and I was really thankful so I decided on doing ‘Masterpiece’. People around me ask ‘Isn’t it a bad past?”, but if I hadn’t done my ‘Masterpiece’ activities at that time, I wouldn’t have been able to find my own colour and do music right now, so I don’t think of it as a bad past. In addition, at that time I only did music that fit my vibe so I definitely don’t regret it. Although it’s evident that we officially disbanded, even thinking about it now I’m very thankful.
H: Masterpiece’s album was your official debut album and you also composed all of the songs, which seems meaningful. Did you feel burdened by composing?
C: A lot. The songs included in “Rhythm Genius” were all songs I made while attending university. I was living alone attending university in Cheonan. Thus I didn’t have a room for work and I secretly hid in lecture halls, making those songs by myself. I did feel burdened but the president [of the company] left everything from the concepts to the styles of the songs to me, so it was a really good experience. Since I did all the producing, I think it was a very good experience.
H: You said you were dreading joining a company, don’t you want to do activities with a major label even now?
C: There are good points and bad points to dividing into major and underground, but fundamentally the most important thing to me is music, so as long as I can make my music I don’t care whether I’m underground or with a major label.
H: It seems that the name ‘Crush’ was officially known through releasing the song ‘Red Dress’. What type of song is ‘Red Dress’?
C: Firstly, my father really likes this song so I wanted to introduce it in my first single. In addition, although I made this song last summer while working as ‘Masterpiece’, I didn’t have the objective of making especially cool music when I made this song. At that time I just thought of what music fit me best and made it. The contents of the song are based off my real story. Isn’t it a bit perverted? It’s the content I once dreamed of.
H: TakeOne featured on ‘Red Dress’. How did you end up working together?
C: When Cheetah-nuna was on ‘Show me the Money’ I saw TakeOne-hyeong by chance and because I wanted to work with him I let him listen to my songs. He listened to them through earphones. When I first met TakeOne-hyeong, I was worried since I had often heard that he’s an introverted person but he listened to my songs and said they were interesting and right away he said that he wanted to work with me, so we worked together.
H: After releasing ‘Red Dress’ you released ‘Crush On You’ with Swings. How did you end up working together?
C: In Swings-hyeong’s interview he also talked about it but he gave me his hearty permission. Ever since Swings-hyeong first appeared on the scene, I’ve always been envious of him and yearn to be like him so I really wanted to work with him once. This song was completed and came out really well, and it’s probably due to him doing so well so I’m really thankful.
H: Through releasing ‘Red Dress’ and ‘Crush On You’ you’ve gained a lot of popularity, how do you feel?
C: To be honest, it feels surreal. Classmates from elementary school who I wasn’t really close with suddenly contacted me, saying “We’re close, right?” but even so these are all things I’m thankful for. It was a really hard time for me. It was some kind of transition. It hasn’t been a long time since I started doing music but I had been in a slump for a long time even before I properly started doing music. Because I kept doing it by myself I was really lonely. Thus the hardship I went through and the growing pain I had through ‘Masterpiece’ at that time were like a step to prepare who I am now. So I’m going to work harder. Although it still hasn’t really sunk in yet, while walking around I hear the songs I composed playing and it’s really amazing.
H: You did the producing and composing for ‘Red Dress’ and ‘Crush On You’. We heard that you have a prolific style.
C: I work hard to make a theme each day. For example I’ll do it like “I have to finish the first verse until the chorus!” Of course there are times when I can’t keep up with that goal but I think of it as a promise to myself and work at it. I have once seen an interview with the question of how long I can keep sitting down in my chair as a person who makes music. Of course I think it is important to sometimes gain inspiration from playing or watching movies, but I think as a person who makes music it’s important to work hard in making music every day. That’s why ever since then I’ve always kept this promise to myself.
H: Then when you make songs, where do you get the most inspiration from?
C: I’m the type that gets a lot of inspiration while listening to music and also even with daily life. I’m an extremely sensitive person so I may make dozens of goals in a day which I give up on a lot of them. Thus, I make an effort to put that all into music.
H: Is there any music that has been inspiring you lately?
C: I’m a hip hop musician so I obviously listen mostly to hip hop music. However, lately I don’t really have any specific preference. I’ve been listening a lot to mixtapes such as YG mixtape, Juicy J, and Drake’s mixtape that came out recently. In addition, the musician who has been inspiring me the most lately is Masspike Miles, I listen to his mixtape a lot.
H: While doing vocals, you also have the abilities to rap, compose, and write lyrics. Which one do you find the most interesting recently?
C: Recently, singing above a bass beat has been interesting for me.
H: Recently you featured in Supreme Team’s ‘그대로 있어도 돼’ [Stay the Way You Are], how did that come about?
C: When I did ‘Red dress’ in December, Simon D-hyeong had a lot of interest in me and gave me a lot of support. I’m really thankful to him. Simon D-hyeong has discovered artists such as Beenzino, Ugly Duck, TakeOne, Zion.T, so it seemed like he had acknowledged that my level is equal to theirs. I was really happy and we started communicating with each other like that.
H: So Supreme Team were the ones who suggested working together first?
C: Simon D-hyeong told me that Supreme Team was going to have a comeback and to give them a good song if I had one. So for one week I stayed at home, making nearly ten songs and let him listen to them. However, maybe because the style didn’t fit, all those ten songs weren’t used. I was upset and then we promised to work together when they were doing their full album. Not long after, Simon D-hyeong asked me if I had made another song. The song I sent him at that time was ‘그대로 있어도 돼’ [Stay The Way You Are]. Originally this song was meant to be sung but Simon D-hyeong liked the song when he heard it so we started working together.
H: Are there any interesting episodes from when you were working with Supreme Team?
C: There were! In this song, when I was recording my part, I heard that the part was high so I decided the sing the song one key lower. However when I went to Amoeba Studio and sang it in a lower key, I couldn’t sing it. So Simon D and E-Sens-hyeong teased me a lot, telling me I couldn’t sing. Thus we raised it one key higher again and I easily did my recording.
H: You were able to perform ‘그대로 있어도 돼’ [Stay the Way You Are] at the Amoebahood Concert, how did it feel to be on a big stage?
C: It was great, I was really thankful to everyone. Although I once felt I didn’t deserve it at that time, when I got on stage reality hit me. I thought ‘I guess I’m doing well now’. I’m really thankful.
H: Although it hasn’t even been a year since you released your first song, you already worked with such people as Supreme Tem and Swings. How does it feel?
C: I’m really grateful. I really didn’t think things would advance this quickly. The people around me felt that way too. There are surprising things happening daily so I’m actually very scared. Because I feel that I can’t fall behind, I’m working even harder to get better now. I don’t like haughtiness, so I will never be arrogant, and I’ll have to work harder to get ahead.
H: Then are there any musicians that you want to work with in the future that you haven’t worked with yet?
C: I want to work together with Big Bang’s Taeyang. Some time ago, he mentioned me on Twitter and I was really happy. Since a long time ago I’ve liked Taeyang, I sang his songs a lot at karaoke and so I’d love to work well together with him in the future.
H: Some people compare you with your crewmate Zion.T, how do you feel about this?
C: That’s expected. I feel that it’s obvious that we’ll be compared, and Zion.T-hyeong and I, we both very well know the differences between us so I don’t really worry about it. Zion.T-hyeong thinks the same.
H: All musicians are probably like this but your affection for your crew members must be something special. What type of existence are the VV:D members to you?
C: Family! Home? Relaxation? I really like the hyeongs. They’re all really nice, do really well, and are cool. We always try to solve our worries and we often think of how to develop. Because of that, they are really comfortable beings to me. In one word, they’re beings that can become my haven to rest.
H: Then if you were to discuss the charisma of hip hop as a hip hop musician?
C: I think that hip hop music in itself is music that you show yourself in. The charisma lies in the point of being able to truly represent yourself.
H: Then what type of musician would you like to become in the future?
C: You know there are situations where it’s like ‘Ah for this type of music, there is this person’ or ‘for that music there’s that person’. Like that I want people to think of me when someone says ‘Ah this music!’. ‘For this type of music, it has to be Crush!’ My goal right now is to have this type of modifier when I’m mentioned because that’s proof that my music exists. As far as my attitude goes, I want to keep my attitude of not falling behind. This is different from humility. I think it’s important to have an attitude that isn’t lazy and falling behind.
H: Please tell us about your plans for 2013.
C: First off, I hope it will be a year in which I work harder at making music. Precisely, I might have a full album or an EP, either way the album will be out around May.
H: Lastly please say a few words to your fans who are reading this interview.
C: Since there still are a lot of people that don’t know what type of music I do, I think I have to show them. And because musicians create something, I think it is right to show results and I also want to prove that with my music. In the future I will show what music I do and prove myself so please be on the lookout.
—[ Source | HIPHOPPLAYA ]