After seeing Dok2 and The Quiett perform in Toronto last December (check out my review here), I was excited with the chance to sit down with them to ask a few questions after the K-pop Night Out showcase press conference at Canadian Music Week (CMW) earlier this month. They have so much energy and charisma on stage that it’s impossible not to get swept up in their music. But enough about my excitement, let’s get onto the interview.
Editor’s note: one of my friends (Eunice) who writes for KOFICE asked to sit in on my interview and asked a couple of questions. The questions that were during my interview are included and are differentiated from mine by her name (and being in italics).
The Interview with Dok2 & The Quiett
Welcome back to Toronto. Can you please introduce yourselves and 1llionaire Records to those who may not be familiar with you?
Dok2: Hello, this is Dok2 from 1llionaire Records and I’m one of the CEOs with The Quiett. Yeah, he’s The Quiett.
The Quiett: I’m The Quiett. We made this label together, like four years ago.
Dok2: 2011, January 1st.
That actually leads me into my next question.
Dok2: Oh yeah.
What made you form your own label?
Dok2: For him, he’s been through the whole underground Korean hip hop path. He did that way before.
The Quiett: Yeah, I was in an independent label so after that, I wanted to make my own label. So, at that time Dok2 was free. He was doing it independently so I told him, like let’s do something together.
Dok2: Yeah. For me, I’d been always with a big company. Not that big of a company like SM or YG, that type of thing but a pretty big label.
The Quiett: Major label.
Dok2: So I was kind of tired of that system so when he asked, I said yes! [laughter]
Eunice (a friend from KOFICE who sat in on my interview: I worked with Jay Park when he was here for the Unite the Mic concert and when I was talking to him, I could tell he was more free than when he was with a big label. How do you feel about having your own company? Is it better for you to do your own music?
Dok2: Yeah, we always say that in our interviews. Like with money, we don’t share with nobody, we get 100%. [laughter] And we do our music so free, you know if we make music today, if I want to release it tomorrow, we just release it tomorrow. You know, if I want to release that music as a free download, we do it. With big labels and big companies, we got to wait for our turn and you know, the season and all that. We don’t have that kind of thing. We just do anything that we want, yeah.
Eunice: I also know that a couple of my husband’s friends went to Korea. Is there anything you can tell Toronto Koreans, Canadian Korean people…. is there any encouragement that you can tell them from your experience, any advice?
Dok2: So, the people that want to go to Korea and do it? I don’t know, just do your thing. [laughter]
The Quiett: There is nothing special, just keep doing it. Keep their game up, keep it popping on the internet or something.
Dok2: Be smart.
The Quiett: Yeah, let people know more.
Dok2: These days we have a lot of plugs, like Show Me The Money and a lot of hip hop audition programs, that really helps a lot of young rappers to be popular. So you could be on that or you could be independent. There’s a lot of ways so it’s up to them.
You were just in Toronto last December, how was performing here different from in Korea? Or was it?
Dok2: It was pretty similar because a lot of Korean people came too. We were really surprised that a lot of foreigners came and sang to our words, our lyrics. You know that was pretty awesome. Yeah.
Is there anyone – Korean or Western – that you would like to collaborate with in the future?
Dok2: Oh yeah, in America. In Korea, we don’t really have anyone. We already did with everybody, almost everybody so. In America, we’re trying to, this is kind of secret because we’re working on our solo albums right now, we’re trying to work with a lot of American hip hop artists too. So, that’s a secret. [laughter]
If someone wasn’t familiar with your music, is there a song or album you would recommend they start with?
Dok2: Actually we have a lot of albums, I’ve got like 14 CDs and he’s got like 12, 13 CDs but like, most importantly, we’ve got our label album called “11:11 1llionaire Time”, that’s the package. So if you’re not familiar with our music, you can just listen to that album.
It’s a good album. I have it.
Dok2: Yeah? Thank you.
The Quiett: Thank you.
Do you think Korean hip hop should be classified as K-pop? How do you feel when you’re called K-pop artists?
Dok2: Oh, I don’t know. [laughter]
The Quiett: The K-pop label is so narrow because basically K-pop stands for idol music but we have a lot of types of music in Korea, like band music or hip hop music like us. So I think we can make other words for our thing.
Dok2: Yeah, we don’t really want to call it, we don’t want to put “K” in front of the hip hop or pop or R&B. Hip hop is hip hop, you know. It’s all connected.
The Quiett: We just want to be international.
Dok2: We’re not just like Korean hip hop artists, we’re just hip hop artists, you know.
The Quiett: Just from Korea.
Dok2: Yeah, just Koreans.
You’ve both been performing for quite a while, having started at a young age. How would you say your style and music has changed over the years?
Dok2: He changed a lot. [laughter]
The Quiett: Because hip hop music changes every time, all the time, every year and every month. So I try to change my style because I follow the trend and I’m changing right now. Every album, every song, I want to do different things so I just want to try to get better.
What inspires you guys, what inspires your music?
Dok2: I don’t know, like our life. We get inspired by our lives. That’s it. [laughter] That’s hip hop, you know. We tell our own stories, we don’t make up stories. So we get inspired by our own life, lifestyle, what we do, what we think, yeah. That affects our music.
Your performances are quite high energy, has anything interesting, unusual or fun ever happened to you on stage?
Dok2: Unusual things happened, I don’t know. [laughter]
The Quiett: There’s nothing that special happen in Korea because Korean people, they’re so kind and they’re so chill, so they don’t make accidents or something.
Finally, my last question is what are your plans for the rest of the year?
Dok2: This year? Oh, as I said, we’re working on our solo albums. Yeah, and a lot of shows coming up. We got to go back to Korea and do a lot of shows, like two or three shows in one day, you know. [laughter] We’re really busy. Thank you.
1llionaire Records Online
Huge thanks to Dok2 and The Quiett for taking the time after the press conference to answer our questions. It was lovely chatting with them as they both seemed quite genuine and friendly. And of course, it was fabulous seeing them perform again in Toronto later that night (review and all our photos will be up tomorrow). If you haven’t already, check them out and remember what Dok2 said, their label album is the best place to start (I second that, it’s a great hip hop album).
Did you see their show at the K-pop Night Out showcase at Canadian Music Week? We’d love to hear from you!