Source W magazine
Translation keurimjanee @ icaruswalks
please credit when re-translating/reposting
Q: Epik High’s 9th full album is out on the 23rd of October. That’s the day of your 14th anniversary. If you were to pick one thing as the secret to keeping your team going for this long, what would it be?
Tablo: We have the same aspirations. Over-all we agree on the things we want to try for and the things we don’t. Out of all the currently promoting hip-hop teams, we’re the only one of which all the members are married men. You could say that when we each leave Epik High, we go home to our own separate groups in our homes. Also, there’s no main character in Epik High, so when we gather, it’s like 3 supporting characters meeting.
Mithra: Nobody in our team wants to stand out. We all tend to think that breaking out of the fence of “We should work hard at what we’ve always done” can be a bit dangerous.
Tukutz: Even if someone does stand out, he doesn’t push it.
Q: Hearing you talk about being married men, I remembered something Tablo said when we met after he just got married in 2010. “The greatest artists on the face of the earth are all married.”
Tablo: I said that? (laughter) I must have said that under self-hypnosis… Even as recently as back then, there were almost no married couples among the people I knew. When I told people I was getting married, a common reaction was that making music would become more difficult, or that my talent would crumble. Those words felt like a type of violence to me. So I think I said what I said to you out of fear, because I wanted to deny and defy those words. I wanted to focus on artists like John Lennon, who kept expanding their dreams even after they got married.
Q: So since Mithra was the most recent member to get married, what do you think?
Mithra: It’s true that my freedom and time to myself has become limited, but I think that’s not related to our music. I remember lots of other factors getting in the way of our music in the past as well. Since the only thing I can do by myself now is composing, I feel that my ability to concentrate on our music is better now. When you’re married there is both the time you spend together as you live in the same space, and then there’s the time you spend away from that, which is the only time you can do “your own” thing, so you end up working harder when you can.
Tablo: Many people say that when you grow up, get married and your responsibilities multiply, it becomes difficult to achieve the things you used to dream of. But marital status aside, I think nobody has enough strength to fulfill those dreams in your early years when you don’t have a lot of responsibilities. It causes you to waste a lot of time. Since the time you can waste is limited when you have responsibilities, even if the time you can work is also limited, the density changes.
Q: That sounds logical. Do you think you’ve become more of an adult?
Mithra: It’s more about changing with your given surroundings, I think. Though of course we do feel a greater sense of responsibility now.
Tukutz: I think it’s difficult for men to grow up. Don’t we all just live our whole lives pretending to be adults?
Tablo: In our case, I think it’d be difficult for us to become adults since we’re still holding onto our childhood dreams. Regardless of gender, there will come a moment when anyone who wants to become an adult will feel that they have. But I don’t think it’s wrong for people to not want to grow up no matter how old they get. To be honest, I’ve never even thought about this until I was asked this question. When I do interviews after continuously composing and living my family life, I feel like I’m suddenly awakened from some sort of intoxication. The people me and Tukutz interact with the most in our daily lives are between 2 and 8 years old. They are a lot younger than what most people refer to as ‘young’, so there’s no real reason for us to be adults, either. My best friend is my daughter Haru. And I’m hers.
Q: When Tablo spoke with us along with Gallant and Eric Nam last year, you said that “I don’t have the same greed for working hard and releasing the result as I used to”. I was curious if you thought about that in greater detail and discussed it with the other members.
Tablo: Lots, of course. I wasn’t aware of this, but this new album was released after our longest hiatus yet. I mean, even if we’ve gone longer without releasing an Epik High album in the past, there were always solos or some kind of release in the meantime. We’re the happiest when we work on our music. It’s okay to make mistakes during that time, and it’s okay to fail and feel distressed. Our work gets closer to completion the more we experience those things. But the moment we put it out there, those things are no longer allowed. It feels as if we can’t utilize mistakes or distress in the same way after that. Even so, for me the one and only reason to make an album is that there are people who want to hear it. That’s still amazing to me. If I didn’t have that reason, I could get by with just composing for the rest of my life (and never releasing anything).
Q: Excluding artists who “must create something in order to stay alive”, it seems artists often go from wanting to show their work to the world, to working for the sake of people who rely on it.
Tablo: I’m surprised and thankful that there are people who still want us to make music. We rose to fame through songs like ‘Peace Day’ and ‘Fly’. Even back in those days, we would often run into people on the street who told us that our music gave them strength in hard times. As far as I remember, this description of “though not a love ballad, it’s mainstream and exciting, yet a color of music that gives comfort” was not common back then.
Tukutz: You could say that those people are the driving force Epik High’s growth.
Q: The title of the new album is ‘We’ve Done Something Wonderful’. Does ‘We’ refer to Epik High and your fans?
Tablo: It’s up for interpretation, but we used ‘wonderful’ instead of ‘beautiful’ or ‘special’ for a specific purpose. If you’d carry around a camera and make a movie out of anyone’s life, it would be wonderful. A person’s happiness and misfortune, hope and sadness, successes and failures are all wonderful things. Because even existing itself is a miracle of beating tremendous odds.