[INTERVIEW] Hallyu UK’s exclusive interview with Agon Creative
Here at Hallyu UK we’ve been hard at work to bring you exclusives and fresh news. The first of which is BIGBANG related and we think our BIGBANG followers will enjoy.
We have been able to get in contact with Agon Creative, the awesome team behind BIGBANG’s ‘Blue’ and ‘Bad Boy’ music videos. They kindly agreed to let us interview them regarding the video, the boys and the fans. Justin and Jesse (the founders of Agon Creative) provide an insightful look into the video creation and the shoot whilst also being witty. They have also provided us with never-seen-before behind the scene photos at the video shoots!
The interview was conducted prior to the release of ‘Blue’ however at YG Entertainment’s and Agon Creative’s request we’ve waited until today to post it which is also the release of the ‘Bad Boy’ music video. The ‘Alive’ album also dropped today and is available to download on iTunes and we think it’s definitely a worthy purchase. Their long-awaited comeback will not leave you disappointed and each track is sure to be a hit!
You can read the full interview after jump!
Hallyu UK: Agon Creative was founded in 2008 in New York, for your new fans and followers can you tell us a little bit more about yourself and the company?
Agon Creative: Both of us (Justin Noto and Jesse Roberts) were working together for many years prior to forming Agon. It felt natural, starting a company, because of the strong demand we were getting to produce content in collaboration with each other. We’ve had the opportunity to work on a wide variety of genres and types of projects including TV shows, commercials, web spots and music videos for clients big and small. Our connection to the industry in New York City makes it possible to handle any project which is why we’ve been lucky not to get cornered into a specific format or niche of media as most companies do.
HUK: YG entertainment are no strangers to hiring American creative input for their artists. Looking at the Agon Creative website it’s no surprise why YG chose to work with you, but the question on our lips is how and when Agon Creative were approached?
Justin Noto: Thank you for the compliment! Jesse had worked on the Korean TV Drama, “The Lobbyist”, back in 2006 and one of his colleagues from that came to him when YG hired his company, OZCam, for the US production.
HUK: When you were approached did you know who BIGBANG were or what YG was prior to working with them?
Agon Creative: Actually, we had not been exposed to YG or Big Bang prior to this video. We’re so glad we were not only turned on to them (and K-Pop in general), but also given the opportunity to collaborate on such a big project.
HUK:As a director/producer what was your initial reaction to the song and group?
Agon Creative: The director Han Samin has directed Big Bang videos before this one so he was already very acquainted with the group.
Jesse Roberts: From a producing standpoint, however, my initial reaction was how talented Big Bang was and how catchy and good the songs were … This struck me a lot, as this style of music isn’t exactly what I usually prefer and I knew I wouldn’t understand the lyrics – but all of my prejudgment’s were wiped away when I got to hear the music and see them perform.
HUK: Did yourself and the team face a bigger challenge in producing and co-ordinating a video for a song with lyrics you didn’t understand? Or does the adage, “music is a universal language” hold true?
JR: I guess it’s a “music is a universal language” thing, because, I didn’t feel any challenges by not knowing the lyrics. Once the Director expressed his vision and relayed what the message of the music was, everything just fell into place.
HUK: A question most BIGBANG fans will be desperate to know the answer to, is what the members were like to work with?
AC: They were all so nice and so much fun to work with! They had that perfect balance of goofing around, laughing and having a good time, but when it came down to business, they were super focused and professional. On the next one- it would be great if there is more time to really hang out and get to know everyone in the band and from their crew on a more personal level.
HUK: New York is pretty big place, how was the location for filming decided?
AC: First the director came to us with storyboards with the look and style he wanted and then we did our
best to match the exact location or if something wasn’t available we matched the feel and look as best as possible.
JR: Being a lifetime New Yorker helped a lot, but it was really our great Locations Department managed by Beth Avery who did most of the work- they did a great job finding the perfect places which there were a lot of and they did it with a really short deadline.
HUK: Looking at Agon Creative’s previous work, they’re all so individual and original in their own way. As a result, we have no idea what to expect to see for the final product. Can you give us a clue?
AC: Tsk tsk, we wouldn’t want to ruin any surprises. We can’t give anything away yet, but we know the final product will really impress the fans.
HUK:What other artists have you worked with?
AC: We’ve been very interested in getting involved with the music industry. Prior to the Big Bang collaboration we began aligning ourselves in that direction by producing promo content with artists like Raekwon from Wu Tang, Meek Mill, Lloyd, etc. We have also produced a PSA with Snoop Dogg and have done and are working on some more music videos for a lot of New York City based artists.
HUK: We really enjoyed the ‘Who Dat?’ music video you directed, can you talk us through how you usually collaborate with artists and clients to foster and stimulate creative ideas?
JN: Every project is different but ultimately it’s all about having a common goal. Collaboration can be difficult because you’re dealing with different minds and different tastes to come up with one unified concept that everyone has to get behind. It’s important to approach collaboration with respect to that. Coming to an initial agreement on the key elements of the project makes it much easier to develop a concept with a team and let creative ideas grow from there. Collaboration is very rewarding when you approach it with a clear objective.
JR: What Justin said.
HUK: Talk us through your vision and idea for the video. Since the track is called ‘Bad Boy’ did the music and content influence the direction of the video?
AC: The track definitely played a role in the idea for the video. Most all of the vision was that of director, Han Samin, and his team. We collaborated with them to make that vision possible, but they would have the best answers regarding the specific direction of the videos.
HUK: When you initially took this project on did you have any idea just how intense it would get with fans?
AC: No, we had no idea just how big Big Bang really was!! It was quite a shock and we raised our security efforts in response to keep the band and our crew safe from any potential hoards of screaming fans. That being said, when it came down to it, the fans were awesome! The ones that did find out where we were filming couldn’t have been more polite and respectful to the production process by not getting in the way and just hanging out and watching quietly. We were all very impressed.
HUK: Whilst Hallyu UK are not based in New York, we have seen various paparazzi style footage of the video shoot and have heard rumours that Big Bang’s management had requested fans not turn up at the shooting locations. How did you handle this attention from fans and paparazzi and is it something you’ve dealt with before?
AC: It would have been very difficult to make the videos if everyday hundreds of fans inundated our set, but I think a lot of fans listened to the request and didn’t show up – and like I said, in the earlier question, the fans that did come down were super respectful and stayed off to the side. We have dealt with crowds before but never of this magnitude. The NYPD was so worried about us that we had to have a special meeting with them about what our security measures were going to be … plus we lied on our twitter (@AgonCreative) and told people we were uptown and in Staten Island … Sorry about that!
HUK: How did you and the Agon Creative team feel about this level of attention?
JN: We’re proud to be a part of the project so we welcome the attention and are grateful for the respect Big Bang fans and press have shown.
JR: We had such a great response from fans, wishing us luck and giving supporting messages via twitter (@AgonCreative) and on our facebook(facebook.com/AgonCreativeLLC). It really was a great lift to everyone’s spirit on the crew.
HUK: Taking off your director/producer ‘hat’ for a second what do you think of BIGBANG as recording artists?
JR: I would say normally this style of music is not what I listen to at all- I’m a Rock n Roll, Gangster Rap kind of guy- but, WOW, Big Bang is really good! I’m definitely a fan now. The only thing I wish is for them to release some songs in English- they’re so much better than the stuff coming from America right now in that realm.
JN: Blue’ wouldn’t get out of my head for days after being exposed to it, the song really stays with you which is a testament to them as recording artists. Members of the crew were saying how they didn’t mind hearing the songs over and over all day- something that often can get annoying while shooting a music video. They must be doing something right!.
HUK: Was working with BIGBANG different to working with your previous clientele? If so, in what way?
AC: Not being able to verbally communicate was tough (we’re gonna have to get Rosetta Stone: Korean for the next shoot!), but every client is different just as every person is. There wasn’t anything different from a professional standpoint, but I will say they were super fun to be around and we had a lot of great moments with them.
HUK: Does Agon Creative have any plans to work with other YG or Kpop artists in the future?
AC: We’d love to work with YG again! Hopefully these videos will show everyone what we’re capable of and lead to collaborations with other Kpop artists in the future. There’s a lot we want to do and if we can evolve with the Kpop scene we know we’ll have opportunities to do some amazing things and really show off.
HUK: After this eagerly anticipated project, what does the future now hold for Agon Creative?
AC: Since we had such a good time producing these music videos, we’d love to take on more music video projects, which is something we’re currently focusing on. Ultimately, we’ll continue growing our company while getting to do what we love – producing and creating great content. We have some exciting new projects coming up so stay tuned to our website http://www.agoncreative.com and follow us on Twitter @AgonCreative and like us on Facebook facebook/AgonCreativeLLC !
HUK: The ‘Blue’ video was a complete success, racking up over 2 million views on YouTube alone, within the space of 2 days and is dominating all of the Korean music charts. Fans have nothing but praise for the direction of the video, how does this make you feel?
AC: I think it’s closer to 10 million now! And all the praise that the videos have received makes us feel really really proud to have been able to collaborate with so many talented people. The Director and his creative team and the band and OZ Cam and the American crew all combined their talent and experience and worked together so smoothly despite language barriers and tight time constraints – we really got to see the skills of everyone shine through and the end product shows that. Besides us being extremely happy with the outcome of the videos, the true pride comes from how many compliments the fans have been giving about how much like it, and that’s what we all really do this for.
HUK: BIGBANG fan base consists of a lot of females and we’re sure they’ll want to know a little bit more about the casting process for extras. How were the female cast chosen and can you give any tips to our aspiring actresses?
AC: The director had very specific goals in mind about the look and acting ability from the beginning. The casting process was actually very challenging but when we found the perfect girls it was very rewarding.
Thank you once again to Justin and Jesse and the awesome team at Agon Creative! Keep your eye on this creative duo and their team because we’re sure they’ll only have more amazing things to share with us in the future! Remember to watch both the videos on BIGBANG’s official YouTube channel and show your support and be sure to check out the Agon Creative website and follow them on Twitter and like them on Facebook.
n.b: You can also find this interview over on UKBB,who are our good friends and the biggest BIGBANG site in the UK! We’re more than happy for other sites to share excerpts of this interview but please remember to credit us and link back to the full article on our site and twitter.