Tuesday, 8 December 2009

Exclusive: Double Dragon talks music and Rain

K-popped! stumbled upon Double Dragon Productions, the company that translated Rain's Rainism and Love Story into English. Liz hunts the Korean-Canadian brothers down to ask about their production company, working with Rain and…err, Rain’s Magic Stick (whee!).

Tell us about Double Dragon Productions.

Double Dragon consists of Elmo & Roy Chong. We are ACTUALLY brothers and not two guys who are just good friends.

Like almost every other Asian kid, we grew up playing classical instruments: Roy on the violin and Elmo on the cello. Our mother was a piano teacher, so we grew up doing dorky things like playing Christmas carols as a trio at home. In retrospect, these were some of our fondest memories.

Double Dragon consists of brothers
Elmo (left) and Roy Chong

In highschool (Burnaby South Secondary), we were introduced to a composition class that taught one how to compose music with a computer and a midi keyboard. For you music nerds out there, we started on Cakewalk 1.0 and a Korg O1/W (I think that's dating us a bit).

After having an "ah-ha!" moment we realized we could make the same kind of music we loved to listen to. We were huge Boyz II Men fans so naturally, we started our own harmony group and did some local talent shows for fun.

After graduating from business school, Elmo and I both realized we could actually make money composing music for artists. We decided to quit our jobs and compose music full time.

After many years of traveling back and forth, failed projects, ramen overdose, and a whole lot of debt, we FINALLY landed a spot on Drunken Tiger's, 1945 Liberation with a song called, 손들어! (Put Your Hands Up). This led to us working with a whole slew of artists in Korea, while at the same time we expanded into the US and Canada.

Which artists have you worked with?

Drunken Tiger
Yoonmirae (T/Tasha)
Rain
Lee Ssang
Yang Dong Geun
Bobby Kim
Buga Kingz
Dynamic Duo
Double K
Bizzy B
Lady Ann
Roscoe Umali
Nas
Swollen Members (Canadian hip-hop group)
Souls of Mischief (LA hip-hop group)
Da'Truth (Christian hip-hop artist)
Buckwild (Producer for Nas, Jay-Z, Biggie)

How did you end up translating and recording with Rain?

A hyung (big brother) of ours introduced us to one of Rain's managers in Korea a while back. We stayed in touch and one day got a call to translate two of Rain's singles. We jumped at the opportunity and over the following 4 days wrote the English version and demoed up the song as well.

What are the challenges when translating a song from Korean to English?

The biggest challenge when doing a translation like this is to make sure that everything matches syllabically. In the case of Love Story, the rhythm of the translation had to match the way Rain sang the original.

Essentially, the English version is a re-written song based on the concepts and ideas that Rain had in the original version. (Note: Check out the ORIGINAL direct translations of the lyrics and Double Dragon’s re-written version that was recorded by Rain here!)

Our friend Paul helped us with the direct translation. We used that as a guide for writing, then listened to the Korean version syllable by syllable and wrote new lyrics that married everything together – it was a very time consuming process.

Roy (pic above), the elder of the two brothers, did a demo
of Rain's Love Story in English for the superstar. No, you'll
NEVER get to hear it.

We then had to record a demo of what we wrote in order for Rain to have a vocal reference to practice. Due to a time crunch I (Roy) had to demo up the vocals myself - that version is staying in the vault though (laughs). Every time I picture him (Rain) listening to me singing his song and imitating my pronunciation, I laugh to myself.

How do you respond to:

a. people saying that the English version of Love Story is one of the better Korean to English-translated songs around?

We're definitely thankful!! No one really pays attention to what goes on behind the scenes so it's nice to see some interest in it.

I think it was helpful that we are producers/writers to begin with. It allowed us to offer more to the project than just translating. I also realized how much fans in other countries need good English versions of their favorite Korean songs. (Hear! Hear!)

b. questions like “What on earth is Rain’s Magic Stick”?

Haha... I guess that one will have to be left up to one's imagination.



Do you think you will collaborate with Rain again in future projects?

Yes, we're planning on working with him when he starts on his next album.

Of all the projects you’ve worked on so far, what (and with whom) is the most memorable one, and why?

For sure working with Rain was a great experience for us. Mostly because of the magnitude of his success and presence in the entertainment industry. He was also personable. He asked us about our life in Canada and we got to share our backgrounds a bit.

Double Dragon with Rain at Velvet Studios in Gangnam

We also enjoyed working with Drunken Tiger and Yoonmirae. They are professionals and extremely creative. We feed off people that are always being creative. It motivates us to continue stepping out of the box.

Could you please tell us what we should look out for from Double Dragon Productions?

Right now we're working with Yoonmirae, Bobby Kim, and a new group signed to MC Mong.

The MNET Asian Music Awards featured our song Pay Day which was performed by a slew of Korea's next generation female rappers - including Yoonmirae.

K-popped!’s fave holiday is just around the corner. What would you like to say to our readers for the holiday, and the coming New Year?

Have a blessed Christmas and New Years!! *Ba rump pa pa pum ^^

Check out Double Dragon at:
YouTube: www.youtube.com/user/DoubleDragonMusic (commentaries & latest works)
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/doubledragonproductions

Tomorrow:
A behind-the-scenes look at recording Love Story with Rain ;-)

Related:

Rain's original Love Story translation

6 Comments:

Wawa said...

wow... this is cool! i love reading this interview... ;)

Liz said...

Yay, glad you enjoyed reading it Wawa. This was the little somethin' I was working on for the past week.

I finally managed to complete it. Look out for tomorrow's story as well.

Serene said...

Thanks! I've always wanted to know who translated Love Story. At the back of my mind, I'd always imagined some american-korean bloke, now I know it was two blokes!

Good that u gave them exposure too =)

donnachen said...

Great interview!! Loved the details :)

Orchid said...

Thumbs up Liz!

usafangrrl said...

This was a really interesting article. I never knew how much work it required to revamp a song into another language. They sound like they had fun working with Rain (referring to second post :D) and I look forward to seeing more from them in the future.
Thanks for sharing this!!

 

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