Sitting Down with David from DKDKTV
The Kraze loves to chat with members of the K-Pop community, and recently we had the opportunity to sit down with David, half of the duo from the YouTube channel DKDKTV. David had a lot to say about life, being a creator, and the influence of K-Pop around the world. Check out our interview below.
Q: Thanks for agreeing to chat with us! First question, how long have you been doing YouTube?
A: Approximately 2 years.
Q: All of that with DKDKTV?
A: I also have an individual channel.
Q: What made you want to begin doing YouTube?
A: First of all, there are two factors, I was working at an advertising company as an intern and I was initially interested in advertising because I wanted to do something creative. I wanted to use my creative thoughts and ideas to produce products. What I expected from the advertising agency wasn't what was really happening. I was mostly doing paperwork or finance and other weird stuff.
[The Kraze : Sounds like intern work alright…]
A: Yeah we were swayed back and forth by the clients orders and it didn’t really fit me. Inside a company, I felt like I was replaceable. [The company] didn't require my [creativity] they just needed my manpower. That made me begin to think. I wanted something of my own that I own that if I grow that it grows with me. That couldn’t happen while I was at a company. It was the reason I stopped working at the company. The other factor was that I had the chance to go on exchange to Singapore.
[The Kraze: Sounds Fun!]
A: Yeah on the campus, I was just walking around casually after class, when I was going back to my dorm I saw this group of students dancing to BIG BANG, BTS, and all those groups, and I was like, “Woah is this Korea?” I wasn't expecting anything like that. So I was like this may be an opportunity. People outside of Korea actually enjoy K-Pop. Why not try merging K-Pop and YouTube and that's how our channel got started.
Q: That’s such a cool story! How has your vision for your channel changed from your original idea?
A: Honestly speaking, in the beginning, we didn't have any goals, we just wanted to get famous and get rich.
[The Kraze: Classic young people thoughts.]
A: My partner Danny, he also had those kind of thoughts. We were like, “Yeah let's go, fighting!” We started with K-Pop reactions because we thought there was a big audience for it. We kept doing reactions until we hit around 200,000 subscribers, then at one point Danny, my partner, said he wasn't feeling enthusiastic about it anymore because there is no input of his own inside the reactions, he also wanted to do something creative, more personal, so that's why we decided to focus on vlogs and the explain series and the street interviews and stuff like that. At the end I think the goal has changed from superficial fame and money to our own name and I don’t know...company?
Q: Building your own Brand?
A: Yes! Building our brand!
Q: Speaking of your series, you have a few! “DKDKTV Asks,” “Seoul City Vibes,” and then the newest “Explained” series. Could you tell us a little more about the idea behind each of them?
For “DKDKTV Asks,” when we were doing reactions we got a lot of questions from our viewers and subscribers that it’s very different from other reactors just by the fact that we are Korean and that they can get the actual opinion of people living in Korea whereas most reactors were all the foreigners and they don't understand lyrics or know the context of the music videos, and we got some insight from that and then we said why not try it at a deeper level into interviews. So we went out on the street and asked questions that the international K-Pop audience would be interested in. We got really good responses from it.
For “Seoul City Vibes,” well we were really surprised. When we first started doing reactions we didn't expect our videos to get more than 1,000 views but our first reaction got more than 40,000 views, and we were like “Oh people are really into K-Pop.” We always thought the media was just portraying K-Pop as bigger [around the world] than it really is.
Q: Oh boy, you must of been surprised!
A: Yeah! So we were like if people are really this into K-Pop then maybe they would be interested in Korea as a whole. So then we expanded from just K-Pop to traveling in Korea to good food to culture, and we thought that people would like to have access to those more traditional videos about Korea and tried to make videos from an ordinary person’s point of view. That's how “Seoul City Vibes” was created.
Q: And now your “Explained” series seems like it has blown up as well! What made you want to go deeper into lyrics and meanings of songs?
A: When we first started our channel we really only had instant reactions like, “Woah his hair, his clothes” and would provide more comments at the end. However, if you look at our statistics, the retention rate in our videos dropped to like 50% after the initial reactions. Not many people stay till the end to hear our comments. Our hardcore fans usually enjoy our commentary; however, we were disappointed that a lot of our viewers didn't stay until the end, that they didn't get the value from the video. And then Danny was beginning to be unmotivated to do reactions, so those two catalysts made us dive deeper into the lyrics and the content and the references. So that's how “Explained” came to be.
[The Kraze: I know I personally love the “Explained” series as it helps international fans find a deeper connection to the songs and further understand the punchlines and wordplay that we often miss as non-Korean speakers.]
A: It's so cool to hear that!
Q: What’s been your favorite video to film to date?
A: Favorite video of all time… ooooh, this always changes…
Q: Okay okay, what is your favorite video to film lately?
A: Okay lately that would be the “DDaeng Explained” video. Because first of all, it got a lot of views. I was really happy about that. It was one of our pilot videos for this new format, so I appreciated the attention, also I was really proud; you might know that I am an ARMY myself, and as an ARMY, I really wanted to spread how deep and complicated the lyrics were, and a lot of people only notice the surface level things like the flow and beat. A lot of people watched our video and were like “wow their lyrics really are deep.” And when I saw these kinds of comments I was happy personally that I could play this kind of role, maybe like a small ambassador of [BTS’s] creations, so I was very honored and happy.
Q: What advice do you have to people who are wanting to become content creators on YouTube?
A: Well, there is the marketing advice and then the more personal advice. First of all marketing-wise, as a person who wants to have an audience, it sucks when you don't have an audience and it feels like you are talking to a wall. So the tactic that we use is that we actively try to gain subscribers through reactions. Some people might frown upon people who are trying to just do reactions and that kind of stuff, but I think it’s necessary to gain your audience first if you are going to put out a message in the future. Your word is going to spread better if you have a bigger audience, so I would say to try to follow the trends or the recent music video releases or what other people are doing, because there is a lot of buzz and synergy among other content creators so your content gets recommended as well. To sum it up, I’d say stay updated and stay relevant and gain an audience first. Don't think about the method as long as it's not too misleading, I think that it’s okay, and reaction videos are a really good way to do that. And at an individual level, I would say even when you’re doing reactions or planning your future videos you have to be true to yourself you shouldn't fake anything. You should speak your opinions even though you know it could create negative buzz. You should be courageous enough to just deliver your own opinion as long as you wrap it up in a nicely mannered way. Don't be afraid to talk about your own opinion. I think on YouTube the most important things these days is personality. Character. People want to see diverse people with diverse characters. And for me, if I see someone that has a diverse character that I haven't seen before or is very cute or attractive or any of those kind of traits it just drives more people to you. I think personality and character are the most important.
Q: If you could pick 3 YouTube creators to collab with who would it be and why?
A: Oh man there's so many…. Some people might get hurt. The K-pop community is all linked together because we see each other on Twitter and watch each other’s reactions. So actually we have done a collab with JRE once before and he's like the face of K-Pop right now. It would always be an honor and always fun to have a collab with him again in the future.
As an ARMY, these days BRISXLIFE would be fun, he’s so enthusiastic and he has so much power and passion in his reactions, so it’s always going to be good to collab with him.
Okay, there are two more people that I want to collab with.
[The Kraze: Okay, you can have four of them.]
A: First of all, FormofTherapy. PD, Danny, and I have a lot of talks together, and we have a lot of things going around. It would be good to meet them in person and I heard they were coming to Korea soon, you might expect a collab in the future. It would be a lot of fun to collab with them.
And the last person would be Cameron Phillip. He is the symbol of hype. He is like the hypest person I’ve ever seen. I really like his energy, some people don’t like it but I find it highly entertaining and fun. I just feel like I am getting hyped up while I watch too. So I would love to do a video with him to get hyped up and share the energy.
Q: What's your must-have item when filming?
A: Not really something I have thought about a lot but actually just really prefer to have a partner next to me when filming.
[The Kraze: So that's why you have Danny!]
A: Yes that's the initial reason I have Danny, I suggested to Danny to start a YouTube channel, half of the reason was I was too shy to get on YouTube all alone. I thought having a partner would boost my confidence. And if you go on the street and vlog by yourself it is so awkward and everyone is staring at you. But If you have someone next to you, they can share the awkward. If I don’t have Danny, I try to invite someone along. So I would say a partner is essential for me.
Q: You mentioned you named your hardcore subscribers “ducks”...How did you come up with that?
A: So during our very early era, and we were just doing a casual live stream and the topic that came up were community names, and that if we had a name for our community, what would it be. So we put a poll up and I don't even remember the categories… I do remember Danny suggested d*cks, we wanted something that had D and K inside and I refused d*cks almost immediately. I then said why not change the letter and came up with “Ducks.” So we threw it up on Twitter and Ducks won.
DKDKTV is one of our community members who has made it their mission to help the international K-Pop community gain a deeper understanding of the Hallyu wave. We learned a lot from our time with them!
Check out David and Danny on their YouTube channel!
Follow their shared Twitter at @DKDKTV92
Follow David on Twitter @JustDavid_92
Follow Danny on Twitter @gyumstagram