EXCLUSIVE | BTS: ARMY are the most important and precious people to us
BTS — these three letters have transformed into a phenomenon that’s sweeping all across the world, turning all the members of the K-pop boy band sensation into global superstars. Now, the pop icons of the 21st century want to give back the love through their music and performances.
It was in 2013 when BTS, an abbreviation of Bangtan Soneyondan, or Beyond the Scene in English, made their debut, and embarked on a journey of making history and breaking records. They have a lot of firsts in their ride to success, from being the first K-pop act to get a Grammy nomination to being the first K-pop group to debut at the top of Billboard’s Hot 100.
As the South Korean septet, RM, Jin, SUGA, j-hope, Jimin, V and Jung Kook, continue their world domination, they confess they’re hoping to come to India to celebrate the music and fandom. Excerpts from an exclusive interview with BTS members.
Your track, Butter, has stayed on No. 1 on Billboard Hot 100 for seven weeks in a row. How do you celebrate these special moments?
RM: First thing we do is to celebrate with ARMY. When we topped the Hot 100 chart for five weeks in a row, we did a livestream to celebrate this special moment with our fans.
Over the years, you’ve established yourself as the 21st century pop icons with so many accolades. What dreams did you start off with when you walked into the music world?
SUGA: When we debuted, our dream was to have our own concert. But thanks to the love and support we received from ARMY, we’re where we are today. So, we want to give back that love through great music and performances. That’s exactly what artistes loved by so many people should do, no matter it being called a role or responsibility.
You’ve been paving your way to world domination. What has been your way to deal with the ups and downs?
j-hope: Now that I look back at the journey, it was just us delivering music and messages that we wanted to deliver and ARMY listened to them. So, all of this has been possible thanks to ARMY. We’re deeply grateful to them.
The lyrics of your songs reflect reality, or touch on the themes of mental health, troubles of school-age youth, anxiety, and various other conflicts. Does delving into such personal emotions take a toll on you, or is it more relieving?
SUGA: We value sincerity when it comes to music, so we talk about our personal stories through music, and naturally touch upon various topics. For me, personally, as time goes by, delving into those emotions is getting less hard. Releasing music also helps me relieve those emotions.
At what point, did you decide to pick your real life stories and narrate it through music? Has it helped you form a stronger bond with fans worldwide?
Jung Kook: From the very beginning. Also, these thoughts aren’t limited to those who live in Korea, but something that can be shared across regions and generations. We’ve expressed these emotions, stories through music, performance and many other channels. That brought us and ARMY closer together.
What sort of pressure does global fame come with while making music?
V: It’d be untruthful to say that there’s no pressure. But as always, we’ll focus on what we like and can do. Then, I’m sure everything else will follow.
Your fans say, ‘You came into our lives when we needed you the most’. What do you have to say on that?
RM: We always make music and create such content with the hope that it’ll be of little help to someone. So hearing words like these, we feel grateful and humbled, and motivated to do better.
What role does BTS Army play in your life, and in the music making process?
j-hope: ARMY are the most important and precious people to us. When we create music, we think about what ARMY would like to hear and we try to prioritise that.
There’s a huge BTS Army in India as well. What’s the message that you want to send to them?
Jin: We cannot be thankful enough for you listening to our music. We truly hope that the situation gets better soon. Please stay strong and we hope you get some energy from listening to our music!
Any plans to come to India for a live show?
Jimin: If we can see each other safely and the opportunity comes, we’d of course like to perform in India.
How do you think the post-pandemic world will look like when it comes to the music tours, and concerts?
Jung Kook: Due to the pandemic, people are trying new things. Virtual concerts, and the technologies and platforms to support those have developed rapidly. So, of course, in the post-pandemic world, concerts where artistes and fans see each other in person, will be resumed. But, I also think virtual events will still go on side by side. It’ll almost be like the festive season where fans and artistes can finally meet after a very long time.
Did the pandemic influence your music in some way?
Jin: Delivering our stories through music has remained unchanged. But lately, we do focus more on music that spreads energy and positive vibes. We, more or less, adapted to the new reality but we miss our fans so much and can’t wait for the day when everything returns back to normal.
Amid these times, how important is it for you to stay connected with your fans through virtual gigs or social media?
Jimin: It’s the most important thing for us. Due to the ongoing pandemic, we haven’t seen each other in person for more than a year, and we know that the fans are having a hard time. Therefore, in times like these, we need to do our best to keep showing them our performances, whether through live gigs, and give them the energy to navigate through this.
What are the themes and emotions you’re exploring in upcoming music?
V: We just released our new CD single Butter that includes the new song Permission to Dance. It’s a dance pop song that tells listeners that you don’t need permission to dance to your heart’s content. We want to dedicate it to anyone who’s having a bad day or is discouraged in the face of reality, and hope this tune gets you up on your feet and makes you dance.
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