- You were doing both acting and singing last year, with your 3rd album ‘Modern Times’ and dramas, YTBLSS and Pretty Man.
"I wanted to show a more mature image of myself in my 3rd album, so I took up many new challenges. While filming for YTBLSS and Pretty Man, I fell in love with acting. In particular, in YTBLSS, I learnt a lot from the seasoned actors. I’m glad to have received a lot of love and support last year and I have a good feeling about this year."
- What plans do you have for the new year?
"I would like to both sing and act as well this year. There are many areas that I’m still lacking as an actress, but I’m going to gradually improve. As a singer, I would like to actively participate in writing lyrics and songs. Due to my busy schedule, I haven’t had the chance to practise my guitar much. This year, I would like to try learning a variety of instruments as well. I want to write songs that express my thoughts and feelings, so as to get closer to my fans."
[TRANSLATION] 140110 Curvism magazine interview with director of IU’s MVs, Hwang Soo-ah
Q: You’ve made many videos, so I’m not sure where to start (laughs), but I shall start by asking you about IU’s recent MV ‘Friday’. What’s the overall concept for the MV?
'Friday' is an original composition by IU and a song that was put into the special album as an epilogue to her 'Modern Times' album this year. I was wondering about what we could do to make it fun and decided to go with a 'One Scene One Cut' filming technique, which was light and could bring out her unique style. Also, a year ago when she was still preparing for this album, she asked me to film it this way if her original composition was released. (Laughs) Actually, we filmed many teasers before ‘Modern Times’ was released and in one of the teasers, we wanted to use a hanok (traditional Korean house) in Seoul to film, but didn’t get to do it. So through the ‘Friday’ MV, we managed to make up for that.
Q: I think it’s really interesting that the lyrics for ‘Friday’ are about a budding relationship between a couple, yet the MV is about a love triangle.
The MV is about a budding relationship too, but we thought it would be more interesting to add another twist. We wondered what it would be like for Jang Giyong, whose relationship did not come true to meet IU again in the present and start their relationship. Then we added Jang Yijung, who was singing the duet part in the song, to have a one-sided crush on IU, and thus developed the love triangle.
Q: Prior to the interview, I watched the making of the ‘Friday’ MV. From the song to the directing, IU was actively giving her suggestions, so what was the atmosphere actually like during filming?
IU’s suggestions are always good and plentiful. (Laughs) I watched that video too and there was a part that showed her giving directing instructions to Yijung. Since we had to have an OK at one shot, I think she was worried that someone might make mistakes along the way, and wanted to play safe. She said there can’t be an NG. (Laughs) Also, to match the tone of the music, she gave a lot of her own suggestions in between and was able to express it well. Since it’s her own composition, she would want to do a better job of the MV too.
Q: What sort of directing instructions did you give Jang Yijung and Jang Giyong?
For Giyong and IU’s scene, rather than doing any special acting, I told them to make it look as real as possible, since it was a scene of them having an affectionate date in a cafe. I told them it would be good if they didn’t do the same actions during every take. They did it differently for every take. They just did the sort of actions and used the sort of emotions that new couples in real life would do. On the other hand, Yijung’s tone is slightly different. I told him to do it with the kind of feel in HISTORY’s ‘What am I to You?’ because the situation was really ‘What am I to You?’ (Laughs) Also, I told him to make it look like him and IU were brother and sister. In actual fact, they’re under the same agency and are same age peers.
Q: After the MV was released, their acting was so real that they actually got themselves the nickname of the ‘ajang couple’, it seems Giyong played an active role in that. He acted in ‘The Red Shoes’ MV as well. (Note: Uhh I think the ajang couple was actually referring to IU and Jang Geunsuk but nvm.. lol)
Giyong had been taking still shots and ‘The Red Shoes’ MV was the first time he acted in a video. I felt that his acting in ‘The Red Shoes’ was really natural and he’s someone that’s rather profound and mysterious. Also, he seems to have good chemistry with IU too. There was a kiss scene in ‘Friday’ and actually there was one in ‘The Red Shoes’ as well, but the emotions then were of cherishing the memories of one another and the atmosphere was such that it wasn’t a must to include a kiss scene, so it was edited out. That was a bit of a pity (Laughs) so this time, we let it all out and included the kiss scene.
Q: Before the repackage album, you worked on ‘The Red Shoes’ MV and previously, you worked on B.E.G’s ‘Abracadabra’ MV starting from the recording process. Did you participate starting from the recording this time as well?
That’s the case for IU and B.E.G. When Cho Youngchul producer does the producing, he plans for a whole team including the composer, lyricist and me. We start discussing the concept and style of music from the initial stages. Of course, it was the same for ‘The Red Shoes’ this time as well.
Q: How did you feel when you first heard ‘The Red Shoes’ during the recording?
I liked it. I was also really looking forward to it. How to transform IU’s image was a task not just for the producer but for herself too, but she isn’t a female singer to take on a sexy concept. I felt that it was a song that maintained IU’s original appeal yet balanced that with transformation to some extent. Also, it’s an album with mainly songs with jazz as the base, so I pondered for a moment if it would suit IU’s style, but she managed to pull it off in her own style.
Q: When you produce MVs, do you follow the song and ensure that it suits the overall atmosphere, or develop the concept verse by verse? How was ‘The Red Shoes’ MV produced?
Umm, how do I do it? There’s a lot of stuff so…. (Laughs) Before ‘The Red Shoes’, there were many teasers. The reason being that we intended to show image transformations through the teasers, and show a more familiar image through ‘The Red Shoes’ MV. There was a period of vacuum for IU as a singer, so we felt that showing her existing image would be more well-received. Actually, our goal this time was to break free from that ‘fantasy’ concept we’ve been doing all this while, but eventually, it became another fantasy. (Laughs) But if it has been a fairytale all this while, this time we planned for a fantasy for adults. Feels like it’s not just all pretty stories anymore. More like a cruel fairytale. Also, in ‘You and I’ and ‘Good Day’ MVs, IU is left alone by herself. So this time, even within the fantasy, we created the image of her setting foot on the world. Also, the biggest concept was that of seeming carefree. In terms of her image, there are several factors holding her back, but we really wanted IU to be carefree. So we had the gypsies (in the MV).
Q: There are many different interpretations of ‘The Red Shoes’ MV. I’ll ask some questions that everyone has been curious about. (Laughs) Firstly, could you tell us how much of Andersen’s ‘The Red Shoes’ motif did you use in the MV?
Whether to call them ‘Bbalgan gudu (red shoes)’ or ‘Bunhongshin (pink shoes)’, starting from the naming of the song, we faced many issues. (Laughs) Apparently when Andersen’s fairytale was first translated in our country, it was titled ‘Bunhongshin’. So although it was a dilemma we faced, we separated that from our initial planning. The original piece was titled ‘Bbalgan gudu’, but because ‘Bunhongshin’ sounded better, we chose that as the song title. As for the meaning behind the two pairs of shoes in the MV that many people have been curious about, the ‘red shoes’ represent IU’s fate in the show business. She wants to take them off but she can’t. In the performance scenes, she’s wearing them because of the same reason. In between, Giyong puts on ‘pink shoes’ for IU and that’s the relationship he wants to have, you can see it as a romance. In the later half of the MV, she’s wearing ‘red shoes’ again. That’s her fate as a singer, who has no choice but to wear and dance with the ‘red shoes’. The part about wearing the ‘red shoes’ again is slightly different from the motif in the original fairytale.
Q: I see. There’s a scene of Giyong editing a film at the start of the MV, there were different opinions about that, such as to show the time period, or that he is editing his memories of IU.
That was something that was deliberately left open to interpretation. Expressing the time period is correct to a certain extent, but it’s hard to pinpoint exactly when it took place in the past. He is watching IU appearing on the screen, but only has a vague recollection of her. He’s sort of thinking to himself, ‘I’m sure I’ve seen this person before somewhere.’ It wasn’t our intention for the memories to be pieced together differently (Laughs).
Q: I have a final question. (Laughs) What was the purpose behind the black and white vs the colour scenes?
The past and the present, reality and imagination. On the whole, most interpretations are correct. Not everything is about complicated symbols . (Laughs) Before the song ‘The Red Shoes’ was out, it was already decided that the song would be of a jazz and swing genre. The rough concept of the MV then was ‘IU in a black and white movie’. The plan was to have IU come out into the world from a black and white movie. In the second half of the MV, IU enters a black and white world again, and that’s the world that she belongs to. The colour scene is the world that she wants to go to. That’s how we differentiated between them.
Q: I see it as the contrast between the black and white scenes and the colour scenes culminating in the final scene.
That’s right. In the second half of the MV, when IU runs off, the ‘red shoes’ come out from her wardrobe. Eventually, the screen gradually becomes black and white.
Q. The shoes, typewriter, feathers flying, the English words that appear on the film monitor and poster at the start, with all these fine details, it seems there were various interpretations.
I guess so. Actually, the singing and dancing scenes took up more than half of the 3 minute plus song and the remaining drama scenes aren’t enough to explain the story. So we had to add in artistic devices and props. This way, more people would read into these and come up with richer interpretations. It wasn’t like we intentionally went ‘interpret this’, but sometimes there are people who think it’s there to be interpreted. (Laughs)
Q: It was amazing to have Yoo Heeyeol take part in the the filming of the MV. (Laughs)
IU always has a difficult time whenever we film MVs. She’s the kind to ask when it’ll end, while looking at the time the moment she comes in. (Laughs) There’s a timetable for the staff at the filming site. Usually, people don’t pay much attention to it, but the person who looks at it the most is IU. When we were filming the ‘You and I’ MV, IU fell asleep while waiting for her scene. She was resting her head on her hands and sleeping. (Laughs)
But this time when we were filming, that didn’t happen at all. She seemed to be having a good time too. She’s usually alone by herself, but this time, he was around during the waiting time, so she kept laughing. Yoo Heeyeol was supposed to be the king of the gypsies, so he worked hard during the long period of filming. There’s a part where IU changes into different clothes. The sound from what was being filmed would not be used, so they started making slanderous comments as well. But I didn’t expect him to dart his tongue out like that. (Laughs) Also, the Peppertones members were really fun. It was the first time that I saw this as well, but Yoo Heeyeol was wittty and the filming atmosphere was friendly. To the extent that IU couldn’t stop laughing throughout. (Laughs)
Q: Just listening to you, I think I can imagine what it was like at the filming site. (Laughs) IU’s MVs tend to use a lot of props too, what was it like preparing the props?
Careful attention has to be paid to the props for it to be IU’s MV, right? (Laughs) In particular, during the filming of the ‘You and I’ MV, since the story was about time, we really needed a lot of clocks. During the preparation process, we had a team in charge of the clock-related props. Apart from the clocks, creating the time machine in the MV was challenging too. Not only was it huge, it had to be such that one could enter it. So when we filmed the MV, we had a time machine artistic team, film set team and a clock team. After the filming of the MV, we left it temporarily at the front yard of the LOEN office and reused it a few times later on. During the filming of the Japanese ‘You and I’ PV, during the comeback stage broadcast, and finally during IU’s encore concert as a photobooth. After that, the gears all fell off, so I guess it’s reached the end of its lifespan. (Laughs)
Translated by squishy with love
[TRANSLATION] 131114 Melon Music Awards Red Carpet Interview - IU
It’s really the nation’s little sister. There’s no way for you to not love her. The well-loved top singer in Korea, IU! Not just as a singer but also as an actress, she’s showing a new side of herself. Through a variety of genres in her new album, IU has also become more mature in her music. Yes, IU wears red shoes to perform on stage, but today, she opted to accessorise with a red rose instead, while wearing a black dress. She looks really beautiful, doesn’t she? It’s an outfit that really matches the red carpet. That’s right. Alright then, IU could you come over here for your interview? IU-ssi, I really wanted to meet you. Welcome! You even came here holding a rose.
Actually, although you came for Melon Music Awards today, but you’re not only a singer but an actress as well. When do you think you might win an acting award? Well… I’m not too sure.
You’re holding a rose too. Did you perhaps intend to give this to someone or is it part of your concept for today? On the way here, a fan gave it to me so I just accepted it.
Your outfit really suits the occasion today. I’m curious about what kind of performance you’ll bring for us later on. I’m going to perform “The Red Shoes” but it’ll be a slightly different… performance on a larger scale.
From the nation’s little sister to your sexy concept and becoming an actress, you’re a really versatile Ivy, sorry I mean IU. Alright then, this is IU. Can we look forward to better performances from you? Yes, I’ll continue to work hard. Once again, let’s give a warm round of applause to IU. Thank you. I was really looking forward to meeting IU. Yes.
Translated by squishy with love
(Park Juwon composed ‘Love of B’ and ‘Walk with Me, Girl’ on IU’s 3rd album ‘Modern Times’)
Q. The song you composed, ‘Love of B’ is the first track on IU’s album. IU mentioned that she felt honoured to be able to work with you.