Tag Archives: Music

INTERVIEW: Bboy Blond, break dancer, part 1

Don’t say we can’t keep a promise! You may have seen out interview preview with Bboy Blond here on Ed and Ruby TV, where we notified you that a very exciting (extended version) was on its way. Well, it has arrived! Below is part one of our chat with the world-renowned dancer. We had such an amazing time getting to know Blond, we’ve had to break our interview up into two parts, so stay tuned over the weekend for more great reads!

Interview: Bboy Blond, break dancer, part 1

Youngkwang Joung aka Bboy Blond

Youngkwang Joung aka Bboy Blond

In the world of dance, ‘Bboy Blond’ is synonymous with explosive breaking moves. The 29-year old Korean break dancer has mastered the art of ‘power moves’ over his 15-year career while he – as he describes it – is simply doing what he loves. Famous for his strength, it’s easier to list the countries Youngkwang Joung hasn’t showcased his dance talents to admiring fans in, rather than detail out the destinations he has!

Together with his bboy group, Extreme Crew, Blond cemented his name into bboy history in 2007 by winning Battle Of The Year; one of the world’s longest running and biggest break dance events, with Extreme.

In recent years, Bboy Blond has moved from Korea to start a new life in Sydney, Australia and it’s here we had the privilege of discovering more about the dancer, including his thoughts on the Australian dance scene, his big move to Australia, and the inside story to his ever-evolving career and personal life.

Originally from Korea, you’ve been in Australia for almost three years now. How are you finding it?
I really like this country, it’s much more relaxed, but the bboy scene is much smaller than what I’m used to back home.

What spurred your move to Australia?
My wife and I just got married and we were looking to start a new life and meet new people together. We wanted a new lifestyle and, at the same time, I could feel my body was tired from dancing, so we thought it was a good time for the new challenge and scene.

I was scared and nervous to move to Australia, but also very excited. I’ve travelled before but never moved countries, and I couldn’t speak English very well so everything was going to be new! I knew no one here, so I was a little scared.

Why did you start bboying?
It was my brother who started dancing first. Being the younger brother, I was always following in his footsteps asking him, “Where you going? What are you doing?”, all the time. Once I followed him to practice and he was doing some waving and freezes, so I tried it and it was fun!

When did dance transition from a fun pastime to professional activity?
I’d never been serious about anything before I started dancing. In the beginning, it was a challenge, but once I tried some new freezes and some power moves, it was like I was in a whole different world! It made me happy every time I learned new moves which made me take it more seriously.

Bboy Blond by Mary Kwizness

How did you get the name Bboy Blond?
When I was young I dyed my hair blonde for fun. All my friends were saying it suited me, so I kept doing it. At a competition one day everyone kept asking who the ‘blonde’ guy was. When I first started dancing, no bboys in Korea had a dance nickname, we just called each other by our real names, when  I came back from the army, everyone all of a sudden  had a bboy name! So my friend Baek told me I should be Bboy Blond, and it stuck. I’m not sure I like the name. At the time I couldn’t speak English and I didn’t think of what the word ‘blonde’ could mean to someone from a different country. When most people think ‘blonde’, they think of a blonde-haired beach girl, not a Korean man!

Tell us about joining Extreme Crew, your first crew and one of the world’s biggest.
I first started dancing with my friends Bboy Blue and Hoti while we were living in Busan City. There wasn’t any real Bboy crews in Busan at that time, there were a few hip hop dancers, but not a bboy team. At one point, other bboys in Busan City tried to organise a big crew of united dancers. At first they scouted Blue and Hoti who I was with, they soon realised I didn’t have my own crew so they said we could all join together. I wasn’t really that good at the time though.

What was it like to be a part of Extreme Crew?
That’s hard to answer because I’ve only ever know two crews, Extreme and SKB. I don’t really know how other crews train and work together. I do know that for both crews it was never ‘work’, just friendship – we’re all family.

In the beginning we had some problems in Extreme as everyone wanted different things from the group. But as we spent more time together, we understood each other more. We knew what everyone was thinking, or what they were going to say. We had to learn to work together to make things easier. You have to learn to understand your crew when you spend so much time together.

Bboy Blond by Mary Kwizness

How much did they help you become the bboy you are?
A lot! Having a crew to help you out is everything. If Extreme weren’t there for me, I wouldn’t have continued dancing after my time in the army, where I hadn’t been able to practice for two years, and had lost most of my dance skills. They said “You are Blond, you are my crew, just come back and enjoy dancing, you have to join us.”

What did Extreme Crew think of your plans to move to Australia?
Extreme is like a family, I spent half of my life with them and they understand why I moved to Australia. In the beginning they weren’t sure. “Why would you move there?” they asked, “There’s no crew there, we are here, why are you going there?” I still talk to them a lot and we still catch up on dancing. They’re happy and I’m really happy, too.

You’ve joined SKB crew since moving to Australia. Did this create conflict with Extreme?
Not at all. Originally I wasn’t thinking of joining or finding a new crew, but SKB reminded me a lot of Extreme. We’re all good friends and look out for each other.

Bboy Blond with SKB

How many hours a day do you train? How has this changed since you moved to Australia?
There’s been a big difference in my training since moving. When I was young and in high school, I was training all day. When I woke up, I would go to the studio and practice with others, heading home around 10pm. Since finishing studying, and spending time in the army, I’m noticing that I’m getting older because my body is feeling older when I train. I still pushed hard though, doing approximately four hours a day with one day off a week. Since moving to Australia I’m training two or three hours a day, four days a week. I try to practice as much as I can whenever I have time, I have to train harder with the time that I have here.

What do you think of the Australian dance scene?
Honestly, in the beginning, I was disappointed because the scene was very small. There were no big ‘jams’ and the bboys didn’t train very hard, they would just sit down and think most of the time. I would say “What are you doing? You don’t come here to think, you have to practice!” They’re starting to get there now, they train a lot more and a lot harder, and there are more ‘jams’ and competitions coming up.

A lot of the dancers and bboys here have the wrong idea. They blame the small scene on there not being enough sponsors or supporters. When we started in Korea, we had no sponsors or supporters either. Once we were at a really good level, we got more sponsors because they couldn’t believe what we could do.

Youngkwang Joung aka Bboy Blond

Is this the same for the world scene?
There’s a big difference now. When I started bboying, there wasn’t anything like YouTube which has made a big difference! Back then we had the internet, but not many videos, so it was hard to see what the rest of the world was doing at the time. I remember when I started to practice hopping air flares and I watched a Freestyle Session video with Bboy Ruen, I had never seen him before and I was in shock. This guy was doing the same thing I was! These days, you can watch anything on YouTube and see what this guy or that guy is doing all over the world – it’s easy to get inspired.

What do you think of dancers pushing to get sponsorships and trying to make a life of dancing?
You can find so many good dancers and bboys online. If these sponsors look at them, and then look at you – why would they sponsor you if you’re not at the highest level? Why would they give you money, or products, or clothes when they could give that to someone who can represent them better? Don’t blame sponsors for not supporting you if you won’t improve yourself first. Some seem to think if they got a sponsor they would automatically improve. Red Bull sponsors an ‘All-Stars’ team and you can see why – they’re amazing! A lot of dancers think they’re bigger than what they are.

It’s harder in Australia because we’re not so well known here, but it doesn’t mean you can’t work on your name and image here. Sure it would be good if you can go and represent internationally, but if you can’t because of money or some other reason, then work on your name in your home country. If you’re out there winning every competition, people will know you. I haven’t seen someone like Bboy Rush dance, but he has made his name big here that even I know him.

Stay tuned for part 2 of our interview with Bboy Blond, like us on Facebook so you don’t miss out! We chat with Blond on his time in the army, how he developes new moves, his advice to the younger generation of dancers and even marriage! But for now, enjoy a video showcasing Bboy Blond from our good friend, Frace Luke Mercado.

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Apple’s new iPod family

Did everyone else get the notification about Apple’s new iPods? For those a little ‘out of the loop,’ here’s what subscribers were privy to yesterday: Dubbed their best music line-up yet, Apple’s new iPod touch, iPod nano and iPod shuffle, from the front, showcase the brand’s unwavering appreciation for sleek and sexy design.

The company’s design and marketing genius has produced a rainbow of portable music pieces that will no doubt be on the Christmas shopping list for most. The on-trend colourway and sleek designs are music to design enthusiast’s – and Apple fan’s – ears.

iPod touch
Finished in popping juicy hues, and “engineered for maximum funness,” according to the Apple website, the touch is the thinnest and lightest to date with a superslim aluminium body. It also boasts a 4-in Retina display, iSight camera that also shoots 1080p HD video and 200 new features with Apple’s iOS 6.

iPod touch

iPod nano
Again, the thinnest iPod ever, this latest version features an all-new design with a 2.5in multi-touch display for easy browsing as well as Bluetooth capabilities and built-in fitness with a Nike+ pedometer, too. $169 RRP

iPod nano

iPod shuffle
Big on colour, the iPod shuffle is your portable and wearable playlist with the ability to clip on to garments. A ‘clickable’ control pad makes for easy navigation while a voiceover feature speaks the song title, playlist, battery status, or artist to you. $55 RRP

iPod shuffle

For more details on Apple’s iPod range click here

What do you think of the new iPod family?

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June’s most popular posts

Don’t leave the house – it’s far too cold outside! Instead, cosy up to some entertaining reads and hot news. These were June’s most popular posts on Ed & Ruby. Enjoy!

  1. Space Furniture announced its latest design collaboration between iconic design house Kartell, and fashion brand Kenzo. Check out the Kartell limited edition Kenzo sofa collection!
  2. To coincide with the recent opening of Levi’s Champs-Elysées flagship store in Paris, the brand has teamed up with French graffiti artist, André Saraiva and artist Shepard Fairey to release exclusive designs for denim enthusiasts.
  3. Singer/songwriter Marissa Saroca launched her latest album Boys Write Love Songs Too in May and, last month, she spilled the beans on her latest loves with an Ed & Ruby Fast Five.

Kartell and Kenzo sofa design

Levis exclusive designs

Fast Five with Marissa Saroca

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Fast Five with Marissa Saroca, Boys Write Love Songs Too

Last month we gave you the need-to-know details about singer/songwriter Marissa Saroca’s album launch here. And today, we’re spoiling you with more! We’ve checked in with Marissa to see what’s on her radar right now, and she’s spilled the beans with our Fast Five.

What are you …

Loving right now: The Hunger Games! Just read it in a day and a half and I want to do it all again, like, now!

Listening to: My Ipod on shuffle. Sometimes I think it’s trying to tell me something with the songs it chooses.

Trying to avoid: Gluten free, dairy free. Dangerously obsessed with Rowie’s Chunky Choccie Bikkies and Macro’s pretend Tim Tams.

Telling your friends about: My new album, Boys Write Love Songs Too. It’ll be up on iTunes, Amazon and other digital stores in a week or two.

Doing next: Music video land! I film Boys Write Love Songs Too in July and putting finishing touches on the Family Man music video for international release.

See more of Marissa Saroca here.

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MySpace to relaunch in 2012

The once most popular social media platform, MySpace is under reconstruction for a much-anticipated  relaunch in late 2012. It’s set to have a new focus on music and entertainment following its 2011 purchase by Specific Media and music star, Justin Timberlake. It was purchased by the duo for approximately $35 million from Rupert Murdoch’s News Corporation, who had originally bought the social media forum in 2005 for $580 million.

Specific Media’s senior communications manager for Europe, Rikki Webster says “MySpace will look to roll out consumer-facing activity towards the end of this year, at which time we’ll most likely undertake a formal pitch, but nothing is happening at this time.”

Between 2005 and 2008, MySpace was the most visited social networking site in the world, helping launch the careers of music artists such as Lily Allen and Sean Kingston. Its user numbers peaked at 73.6 million in October 2008 but have since dropped below 30 million.

“There’s a need for a place where fans can go to interact with their favorite entertainers, listen to music, watch videos, share and discover cool stuff and just connect. MySpace has the potential to be that place” said Timberlake last year.

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Boys Write Love Songs Too album launch, May 28

It’ll be a very happy birthday for Marissa Saroca on the 28th of May. She’s launching her second album Boys Write Love Songs Too before blowing out the candles on her birthday cake. Since her first album, Cheaper Than Therapy, Saroca has racked up tens of thousands of frequent flyer miles, splitting her time between home and touring the faraway cities of London, Paris, New York, and Toronto. Upon each return, she enlisted friends and musicians Adam Miller (8 string guitar) and Adam Morris (drums) to bring her tunes and stories to life. The result: Boys Write Love Songs Too, eight original tracks full of soul, attitude, life, love, and honesty – all showcasing her irresistible voice.

Using Adam Miller as producer, Boys Write Love Songs Too perfectly captures the exciting, raw energy of the kind of live show one can only expect from such seasoned musicians. Saroca’s love for R&B/Soul is still evident, the album’s sometimes-rock edge helping flaunt her new-found sassiness.

Boys Write Love Songs Too
ALBUM LAUNCH
May 28
The Grand Underground
730pm
$25 including Goodie Bag with free copy of ‘Boys Write Love Songs Too’
Presented by NIMA and EAO Entertainment
Tickets available from http://www.stickytickets.com.au/8113
For more details check out Marissa Saroca on Facebook

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R-16 Korea – Urban Arts Festival & World B-Boy Championships

R-16 Korea is an international festival and competition held in Korea showcasing the world’s top-class break dancers. It’s proudly presented by the Korea Tourism Organsation and sets the stage for the world’s top dancers, musical performers and graffiti artists.

Created and produced by Cartel Creative Inc., R-16 began in 2007 as somewhat of an experiment to promote and celebrate the growth and creativity behind the urban youth culture. Becoming a success and receiving an abundance of international attention, R-16 has now become an annual event.

The festival’s main feature showcases 16 of the world’s top b-boy crews battling it out in two categories: best crew performance and best crew battle. Making the selection for the top 16 crews isn’t easy, each group must compete and place at a R-16 preliminary tournament in their region if they’re to make the festival’s cut. During the month of May, R-16 tournaments will be held in West Europe, Thailand, Central Asia, Vietnam, India, Malaysia, Thailand and Australia to unveil the best of each region. South East Asia, the Middle East and North America will follow shortly after.

R-16 World Championships will be held July 6-8. More details closer to the date.

Image: R-16 Korea

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