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[Exclusive Interview] ToppDogg Gives Nod to Tradition but Plays By Own Rules

Rating Rating more Three Stars

2014.03.14 19:00 Mwave Nancy Lee

ToppDogg is at the center of the flux of hip-hop idol groups currently taking over the K-Pop scene, but this 13-member clan isn’t about fitting a certain mold.

Just four months after making its debut with Follow Me, rookie group ToppDogg is back with Arario, a hip-hop track with a traditional twist, and they’re set on introducing global K-Pop fans to a new sound.

[Exclusive Interview] ToppDogg Gives Nod to Tradition but Plays By Own Rules

Mwave’s enewsWorld sat down with ToppDogg for an exclusive interview ahead of its MEET&GREET, where the group talked about its latest single as well as finding strength in numbers.

Arario is a track that contains a lot of Korean elements,” said member Kidoh. “We took Korean and hip-hop elements and switched it up ToppDogg style.”

While the song maintains a hip-hop baseline, the traditional pungmul (Korean folk music) band sound is brought to life through the use of instruments like the janggu (slim waist drum), gayageum (traditional 12-string instrument) and taepyeongso (double reed wind instrument), which are all showcased in the music video as well.

The group added, “We also incorporated a lot of old Korean expressions in the lyrics to introduce foreign fans or those who may not know a lot about Korean culture to it.”

[Exclusive Interview] ToppDogg Gives Nod to Tradition but Plays By Own Rules

When it comes to the performance aspect, while many idol groups make a point of their sharp, synchronized moves, Topp Dogg prides itself in the members’ ability to improvise - in other words, let loose - on stage.

Leader PGoon said, “On stage, we’re all about having fun, so rather than move in a stiff, set way, we move freely, the way we want.”

With 13 boys on the loose on stage, it may be difficult to keep track of all of the members, but the boys are confident that fans can keep up.

“When you watch our performance, each member brings his part out differently with his own feel,” stated the group. “So fans see, oh him moving like that - that’s Hojoon and so on.”

Ho Joon added, “A lot of other groups try to bring out one color, but If you look closely at our performances, in the first part of our performance, there’s a part where B-Joo and and Sangdo overlap, but B-Joo comes in with really cute gestures, while Sangdo comes in looking really cool. I think those kinds of elements make it fun.”

[Exclusive Interview] ToppDogg Gives Nod to Tradition but Plays By Own Rules

Of course, traveling in a 13-member pack has its downsides - going to the restroom, beauty shop and eating meals are no easy tasks - but for rookie group ToppDogg, it’s the greatest weapon.

Kidoh said, “Since there are 13 of us, whether we’re in the waiting room or on stage, we don’t feel small. There’s a kind of security.”

[Exclusive Interview] ToppDogg Gives Nod to Tradition but Plays By Own Rules

Like many rookie groups, a number one hit as well as winning the rookie award are all on ToppDogg’s goals to accomplish list this year, but the group also dreams of showing fans more of the members’ personalities through its own reality show.

But in the meantime, the stage is proving to be a great place to start.

Yano said, “Koreans like to have fun, so we wanted to show that - that Koreans can have this much fun on stage.”

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