Online Interview

VIPs were also given the opportunity to participate in an online interview with questions geared toward their experience as BigBang fans. Whale, a VIP, wrote about the criticisms about BigBang as well as the group's status as an idol group.

One of the most frequent criticisms of K-pop groups is that they are manufactured, fake and/or lack talent.  What do you think about these kinds of criticisms in relation to your bias/favorite group?

Big Bang is definitely manufactured to a certain extent (as all idol groups/boy bands are).  You don’t really see it because YGE tends to champion ‘freedom’ and ‘individual creativity.’ But, considering how most of the songs are co-written (not written by GD only) and how there is usually a big team of stylists, directors and producers working with them, I don’t see Big Bang as the most unmanufactured or talented group in the K-pop music industry (as much as many Big Bang fans may say otherwise). There is also always a level of ‘fakeness’, as long as there’s fanservice going on, or as long as they are a group managed by a company who receives some (maybe not all, but definitely some) directions and guidance from YG himself.  That’s not to say that they are not creative, or have individual taste, but I do avoid putting them on a pedestal because even those positive labels can be a product of corporate branding.

The masculinity or femininity of a group is often the topic of conversation in relation to K-pop groups. Some think female groups are too sexy, too cute or too scary. Others think male groups are not manly enough.  What do you think about the image of masculinity this group reflects? 

In general K-pop male groups tend to not reflect the traditional image of masculinity and I think there’s a mixture of both (the traditional and the androgynous) in Big Bang which makes their style and clothes (or lack of) fun to look at. There’s Taeyang and Daesung with their hyper-masculinity and then on the other spectrum, there’s G-Dragon with his bold, often androgynous style (the hair weave, wearing skirts). And then there’s the typical eyeliner and bright neon clothing that probably would make people question their degree of masculinity and their (stereotypical) sexuality.

Some believe that K-pop groups borrow too much from other cultures (i.e. Native American, African American, etc.) without having respect for them, while others like the use of other cultures and genres (i.e. R&B, hip-hop) in K-pop. What do you think about your favorite group’s use of multiple types of music and/or use of other cultures?

To be honest, I’m rather sick of the cultural appropriation in K-pop music debate, mainly because I’ve read so many discussions about it.  Most of the time, they come off as being too critical. I do not see why a certain culture ‘owns’ a certain genre of music.  R&B and hip-hop has been around for ages and music is prone to influences and change. As much as it is a political genre with its own history, you can say the same for many other genres of music and I do not find it disrespectful to sample it or mimic its style. While Big Bang does appropriate certain elements of the culture for their own creative or production uses, it seems to be a genuine appreciation and love for the African American hip-hop culture (especially for Taeyang) as much as it may turn out stereotypical or superficial sometimes. There may be a lack of understanding but I don’t think there’s mockery involved.  I belong to a minority group myself (though not Native American nor African American), so my arguments hopefully do not come off as being insensitive due to my ‘white privilege’.

What makes your bias/favorite group different from other K-pop groups?

They have better live performances because they have so much charisma and confidence and can command the attention of their audiences. I like their songs better and they have a fantastic style that stands out from the rest.

What do you think about BigBang being classified as “idols”? 

I don’t disagree; they are an idol boyband with choreographed moves, synchronized clothing and fanservice. They are treated as idols. For example, YGE produces merchandise with their faces printed on it etc. Fangirls choose their bias in the group and go crazy over them. It doesn’t matter though, I don’t see that as an issue, at least for myself. 

Online Interview