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  1. New Musical Express Interviews with BTS ... aka suga not sugarcoating anything again
  2. BTS ON WHY THEIR MUSIC SPEAKS TO YOUNG PEOPLE AND THEIR COLLABORATIVE CREATIVE PROCESS DURING AN INTIMATE Q&A IN LOS ANGELES, THE SOUTH KOREAN BOY BAND SAY THEY WANT TO 'REASSURE' YOUNG PEOPLE THROUGH MUSIC 12-09-18 By Joshua Calixto By all accounts, South Korean artists BTS are already on top of the world. Fresh off four sold-out Staples Center performances and yet another Billboard chart-topping album with Love Yourself: Answer, the group has nothing left to prove to its fervent ARMY fan base, which seems to grow in numbers and intensity with every new release. Still, despite BTS' remarkable talent for amassing what has been called "the largest, most enthusiastic niche audience in the country," the group is still technically catering to a niche. Even now, as the group continues to break sales and engagement numbers, it's remarkably difficult to find mainstream spaces that take the group as seriously as their fans do. Luckily for the 200 fans in attendance, Tuesday night's "A Conversation With BTS" event at the Grammy Museum in Los Angeles, broke that mold with series of questions that dug deep, covering the group's artistic intent, their collaborative tendencies, and what drives them to keep moving forward. The event was full of sights we rarely get to see in the group’s North American tours: not only was the ARMY audience near-dead silent throughout the discussion as a show of respect, but even BTS themselves looked completely at ease, with pensive rapper Suga stepping up to tag-team questions with fellow emcee (and then-birthday boy) RM. Moderated by Grammy Museum Artistic Director Scott Goldman, here's what we learned about the group and their creative process during the revealing discussion: The group's founding principles BTS were quick to credit BigHit CEO and producer Bang Si Hyuk, better known as "Hitman" Bang, with defining the group's authentic vision. "He always emphasized that we should sing about our own experiences, our own thoughts, our own feelings. That has always been at the center of the music that we made," rapper Suga said, addressing the intimate crowd of U.S. fans via a translator. "When we first started out, some of us were still in our teens. I was in my early twenties. We talked about the issues that we faced, and that's made BTS what it is today." "We wanted to be a method of help for the world," leader and rapper RM added. "Mr. Bang wanted to make his music and his artists like that. We wanted to try to use our abilities and our skills and some of our inside inspirations to help the world." Why their music speaks to young people around the world Suga elaborated on the group's core goals in 2018 — to make deep, personal music with the intent of healing the younger generation. "When I think back to when I was a student, I listened to a lot of music, and it was a way for me to escape and to reassure myself," Suga said. "Nowadays, teens, people in their early twenties, listen to music, but we felt, and I feel that really, there wasn't a lot of good-sounding, healthy music to listen to that helps them — that there was a lack of that that we could fill." And these themes are universal. "I don't think it's just limited to Korea," he added. "Young people all over the world face these similar pains, sorrows, problems. That's why our fans and our listeners can relate to our music." The meaning behind "Music & Artist for Healing" At the start of every BTS video, there's a simple message beneath the BigHit logo: "Music & Artist for Healing." According to RM, the significance of that bold statement goes back to the group's pre-debut days. Think of it as a promise. "What we promised were two things: We have to talk about what's really inside us, and we want to be helpful to the world... to say and speak and show something that this world needs," RM said. "Life is supposed to be very ironic and unstable, and in teenage years and in our twenties, it's more and more. We doubt ourselves, sometimes we wanna live, sometimes we wanna die, and it changes day to day — even hour by hour." So that slogan, RM said, is a promise to talk about "what's inside" and to "be a help for our friends and the world." Their songwriting process For BTS, their artistic output and production process aren't just limited to music. "It includes the choreography, the styles, and a lot of different things that come together," Suga said. For a corporation as massive as Big Hit, you'd imagine that the most of the production process would take place behind closed doors. Not so, added Suga, who repeatedly compares the company’s songwriting process to a "year-round song camp" where members submit their song ideas to Bang and input is provided on an ongoing basis. According to Suga, Big Hit's production team is relatively flat in structure, with producers and BTS members working alongside each other and acting as "equal partners" in the process of creating music. As for how the group divides the work, rapper J-Hope said that all seven members "try hard to do our roles, whether it's writing lyrics or writing songs." He added: "Our participation in the process makes the music more sincere." There's also a healthy amount of competition between the members of BTS and their production team. "In tracks, melodies and lyrics, we try to compete. If somebody comes up with a better one, we use that," RM said. But according to Suga, there's no hierarchy in their creative process. "If there was a barrier between our production team and us, we wouldn't be able to make the kind of music that we can." How they conceptualize their albums It's easy to forget that Love Yourself: Answer represents the end of an era for BTS — an era that's arguably brought the group its most significant success. To commemorate the moment, RM took some time to recap the many series the group has created up until this point, and to talk about Love Yourself's place in the larger BTS canon. "Five years ago, in our debut, we talked about schools," RM said. "We talked about schools with three albums. And then we talked about youth with three albums. And then, folks grow up, right? We're not going to school anymore, and our attitude to life changed a little bit. What we could talk about now, and the story the world needed most was love." So the idea for the group's record-breaking series was born out of this admittedly "very abstract" idea of love. "Many people mistake love with being in love, falling in love. Young people fall in love very easily," RM said. "But if somebody doesn't love themselves, then they can love nobody." From there, the group and their creative team conceptualized a four-part series — three albums and one video — about love, loss, and acceptance. "We've been doing [the Love Yourself series] for two years and a half, so it's really risky... Thanks to our fans — they reacted to us, they felt us, and they told us that they came to love themselves even a little more thanks to this album." Choosing the perfect title track According to singer and eldest member Jin, the "title song will be the song that we feel reflects the unique color and message of the album, so if you want to see for a particular album what the key message is, you can watch the music video for the title track and see." So it makes a lot of sense that Jin's quietly powerful ballad "Epiphany" and the loud, colorful anthem "IDOL" kicked off the Love Yourself: Answer era, as both songs speak to the idea that a healthy, happy foundation starts with truly loving yourself. Resolving conflict within the group With seven personalities in one group, it's only natural that there would be disagreements, but the members of BTS encourage open, honest dialogue between themselves and their production team. As the group's resident optimist, it should come as no surprise when J-Hope steps in to handle the first big question about these kinds of creative disagreements: "If we think something is not good, we’ll openly say it," he said. "If there's choreography, for example, and it feels like it's going to be too taxing on our physical resources — as I said, we’re not getting any younger — we'll say so, and then we’ll make those changes." What's perhaps less expected, though, is the passion with which other members step in to get their own thoughts in. The moment J-Hope finishes his sentence, Jimin jumps in to tack on some new ideas of his own: "A lot of evolution takes place in the recording booth too, when we're actually recording a song. Lyrics and melody that may seem okay, once when we actually start recording it, we may identify some problems... we'll come together, we'll discuss it, then discuss the changes we can make." According to Suga, it's that "mutual respect for each other" that keeps BTS on track and moving forward. K-pop as integrated content When asked if they viewed K-pop, or Korean popular music, as a genre — specifically, if there were qualities that set it apart from other types of music — Suga was hesitant to label it as such. "I'm a little bit careful to talk about K-pop as a genre because I don't want to be defining K-pop as a genre, so I'm a little bit wary of that," he said. "But rather than approach K-pop as a genre, I think a better approach would be the integrated content. K-pop includes not just the music, but the clothes, the makeup, the choreography. All of these elements amalgamate together in a visual and auditory content package that sets it apart from other music or other genres." Their relationship with their fans It's only fitting that the conversation would end with a brief, poignant message to ARMY, who have helped propel a group from Seoul to U.S. airwaves and a sold-out stadium show in New York City. "The fans gave us the wings that allowed us to be where we are," vocalist V said. "So we're always thankful, and we know we're here thanks to our fans." Following that up was youngest member Jungkook, who wrapped things up with a final set of thoughts on the group's recent victories. "[Our success on the Billboard charts] shows us where we are as a group and the achievements we've made, and I think that makes us think more about our responsibilities and how we should act—how we should make our music. It makes us think more deeply about what we do and how responsible we should be." source
  3. j-hope of K-Pop Sensation BTS Has His Own Story to Tell on New Solo Mixtape By RAISA BRUNER 5:02 PM EST Allow j-hope to introduce himself — and to welcome us to Hope World, the K-pop superstar’s debut solo mixtape. J-hope, 24, born Jung Ho-seok, is one of seven members of BTS, one of the most popular boy bands in the world. But the release of his independent project doesn’t spell any kind of end of the BTS reign. In fact, he is the third member of the group to put out an individual mixtape, giving their army of global fans a taste of his own artistic vision — without fracturing the boy band unity. “The team always comes first, so I focused on our projects as BTS and tried to make time in the hotel room, on the airplane, and whenever I could find a few minutes,” he says of the two-year-long process of developing Hope World, which he considers “my calling card to the world.” Best known in BTS for his rapping and his background as a former competitive street dancer, the young star was discovered by BigHit Entertainment’s founder and CEO Bang Si-hyuk thanks to his sharp moves. On Hope World, he gets to flex his own voice, crafting a set of songs that fans of rap and pop can enjoy even if they don’t speak a word of Korean. The mixtape opens with an adventure inspired by Jules-Verne, then delves into his personal reflections on fame and success, anthems for positivity and party tracks, all layered over a mix of instantly catchy trap, dance and tropical beats. Here, j-hope shares exclusively with TIME the stories behind this collection of solo tracks, whose messages — despite the language difference — certainly don’t get lost in translation. TIME: Why did you want to release a mixtape? What sets this apart from BTS music? j-hope: My fantasy had always been making a music video and performing with music that I had created. I also wanted to put my own story to music and share it with the world. [BTS members] RM and SUGA releasing their own mixtapes was the motivation for my own project. I have been and continue to be deeply influenced by them, from the day we began to where we are today, and I always thought it was awesome that they were telling their own personal stories and making music in their own styles. I started dancing first, but felt I could also tell my story through my music. There are elements of trap, EDM, Caribbean beats and futuristic funk-soul mixed together across the mixtape. But most of all, you’re clearly leaning in to all forms of rap. What artists and sounds inspired you most? I actually don’t preoccupy myself with “I’m going to do this kind of rap in this kind of genre” kind of thinking when I work. I went with and got my beats from what appealed to me, what drew me in and what felt good. The way I work is very on-the-spot flow, and I write the rap and the music as I feel them coming. I drew inspiration for this mixtape from artists like KYLE and Aminé. I also have to mention the heavy influence of Joey Bada$$. These are all artists I highly respect, and I’d love to do projects with them in the future. The first song, “Hope World,” opens up with a water splash sound, and the lyrics mention being under the sea. What’s the journey you’re taking? I remember being captivated by Jules Verne’s Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea when I read it as a kid. I think I took myself back to that place for new inspiration and brought back a part of it as the motive to start writing Hope World. It’s an introduction to people who are brand new to [me] with me as Captain Nemo showing you around just as the submarine in the book cruised around the world’s oceans. I know this might sound really corny, but I invite you to pretend to be Professor Aronnax as you listen to this song and take a journey through my world [laughs]. What does it mean to be a “Piece of Peace,” which is the title of one of the songs? I thought it would be hugely meaningful for me if I can become, like my namesake, hope for someone in the world — not even some grandiose peace but just a small shard of it. I first started out by thinking, “It’d be fantastic to become a part of someone’s personal peace through my music,” and while working on the beats thought about the kind of message I can send out to my own generation living with their worries and burdens. I wanted to talk about peace even though I knew that it was a weighty topic, and I tagged on “pt. 1” to the title because I want to keep talking about it. The voices of the other BTS members appear on “Airplane.” Did they contribute in other ways? It was so special. I felt that group vocals for “Airplane” coming from all the BTS members who’ve been together through this journey would create an even more heartfelt song. I first asked our member and my friend RM to do the hook for the song. He agreed and worked really hard to make the recording, but we kept talking and came to the agreement that building the hook with just my voice and ending the song on it would create a deeper emotional impact. I could see it too, so unfortunately our leader’s voice had to stay behind in the editing room. I want to take this chance to thank once again [RM] and all the members. I have the gang vocals and RM’s rap on my phone, and I can’t wait for a chance to put it up on social media and share it with everyone! Also on “Airplane,” near the end you brush off the haters: “Don’t give a damn, I’m just happy / I made it.” Do you feel that you’ve “made” it as an artist now? I think “making it,” as you say, means different things to different people. I was sitting in an airplane when I was writing these verses, a first-class seat no less, and it dawned on me that I was in the airplane, in the seat and living the glorious life I’d only dreamed about when I was young, and had somehow gotten used to now. But then and now, I’m still the same person, the same j-hope. My thoughts on life haven’t changed very much. But my world has gone through incredible changes. I think it was that experience of being with my fans around the world and stepping back on Korean soil that it hit me, “Man, I think I’ve made it…” For me, the joy that I have right now and the amazing love I’m getting is how I define my success. “Base Line” is an intense rap track that sees you flexing over record-scratch sounds. What does this song mean to you? What is your “base line”? To be honest, I didn’t expect a lot from this track. I was thinking in terms of an interlude between songs, and I think I was as relaxed as I could be writing this song, but then I heard the mix master track and it floored me. It might not be all that to anyone else [laughs]. I just wanted to give a story about how I started, the “baseline” of my life. People don’t really know how I got into music. These days, the baseline that’s behind my life is my deep gratitude for my life and my work. You can see that too in the lyrics. Everything I am comes from this deep gratitude I have. “Daydream” seems like a particularly personal song — but it’s also a fun beat to dance along with. What story does it tell? People know me, and I know I’m a person in the public’s eye. I wanted to show that behind this public figure is an ordinary guy named Jung Ho-seok. I wanted to use this as an outlet to talk about the desires and wishes that every person in the world has but that I have to hold down and cover up because of having chosen this line of work. Daydreaming is, of course, dreaming while wide awake about things generally outside our reach. But even if these dreams might never become reality, lining these dreams up in my head still gave me comfort. I thought expressing this topic in the wrong way might make it way too heavy, so I wanted to put it to something bouncy and fun. You’re now the third BTS member to put out a mixtape after RM and SUGA. Who’s going to be next? First, it’s such an honor to have the opportunity to make this mixtape. All of our members are interested in creative work and have the deepest passion for music, so I wouldn’t be surprised if we see a mixtape from anyone. Right now, we’re all focused on the new BTS album. We’re always working on and creating new things, and I hope you can continue to show us your love and stay with us in our exciting journey. source
  4. BTS "TOPICS THAT WE ADDRESSED THROUGH MUSIC; HOPED WE COULD WORRY/THINK ABOUT TOGETHER"② source: http://www.yonhapnews.co.kr/bulletin/2018/01/27/0200000000AKR20180127003600005.HTML?input=1195m Intro translated by u/diminie from r/bangtan and Q&A portion translated by @leece ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------ If one had to choose one particular thing that makes ‘the BTS class’ something different, the answer would be music that they themselves create. They reveal what their contemporaries lack and worry and comfort them with sympathy. Their tone is sometimes mature like an older person’s and sometimes straightforward like a friend’s. To the youth hoping the tomorrow would be different from today, they say ‘we were idols from small company with nothing special that used to be cut from broadcast, and there is despair where there is hope (Sea)’. They cheer them up by saying ‘stop trying too hard, it’s okay to lose (Fire)’. And they shout out loud, full of spirit, ‘break the glass ceiling that traps you (Not Today)’. They also talk about the problem of educational system characterized by excessive competition for entrance exams, sampo generation that suffers from tough reality, passion pay, and spoon class theory, all of which are distanced from typical idol music. The words in their lyrics such as ‘YOLO’ and ‘tangjin jam’ also reflect social phenomena, making them easier to be absorbed by listeners. ‘Who made us a study machine? / We are labeled as a failure if we are not the best (N.O), ‘I like beef jerky*' so let me be the generation that gives up 6 things** / The media and adults say we don’t have will, condemning us like stocks***(Dope), ‘We get passion-paid at part-time jobs, …, this isn’t normal (Baepsae)’, and so on. *: (diminie note: beef jerky is 육포, pronounced as yook-po) **: (diminie note: 육포세대 is a variation of 삼포세대 (sampo generation above), and 육포 here is an abbreviation of giving up six things as 육 is six and 포 comes from 포기하다, which means give up). ***: (diminie note: it’s a wordplay as 매도하다has two meanings: (1) condemn and (2) sell (stocks)) Until they made that ‘difference’, they had constantly releasing unofficial tracks on soundcloud for the past 5 years, learning the joy of creating and deepening the meaning of lyrics. Sometimes they got inspirations from literature. Having that as a stepping stone, they have brought up ‘issues’ by releasing the school trilogy and youth series with a solid storytelling. And in the album they released last year, LOVE YOURSELF – HER, they suggested that we look for ways to love oneself together. BTS, who we interviewed recently in Nonhyeon-dong, Gangnam-gu, emphasized that they want to open up a discussion of how one can be happy and love himself or herself and that they wish many people can altogether reflect on this.. RM, the leader, talked about the message they want to carry in the next album. “We want to find our own conclusion from ‘Love Yourself’ and we want to get closer to the way of self-loving while being faithful to the sentiment.” -- Over the course of 5 years, you’ve released a large number of unofficial music via Soundcloud, your “consistency’ seems to differentiate you from some other idols. Suga: Consistency is fascinating. There wasn’t a specific plan, it’s that we like music and releasing it was fun. In that way, you can understand our unofficial releases. If a producer were to work on it commercially, it really wouldn’t make any sense. We heard ’Why is this being released?’ a lot but there’s only one reason, because it’s so fun. Making it, releasing it, then receiving feedback, while sometimes it’s difficult to express some messages and sincerity through [written text], we can express them through music. We’re a team that express ourselves often and they say we make good use of SNS but the unofficial releases are another method [of expression]. It’s not an easy choice to release [an album with] 10 tracks each of original music, we can only express it by saying, we do it because we want to. This type of process helps us when making our albums. I have a bit of a personal regret with unofficial tracks that were released awhile ago because they were from a time when I had many thoughts and angular corners (t/n: harsh, unsociable) but thanks to those tracks, it feels as though my sharp corners have been smoothed down. It was one of the turning points in my life, I think I’ve developed more, musically. -- Before the album about the Youth series, “Hwayangyeonhwa” came out, I heard you had many worries about your musical direction. Whether there was trial and error, through what process did you find your direction? RM: Even without considering entering Billboard charts and ranking on Melon, there are always musical trials and errors. If the trial and error of our past was “How can we appeal to the general public and our fans while protecting our identity?,” presently it’s wrestling with what title track should follow ‘DNA,’ now that there are many people listening [to our music]. As there was great tangible outcome through big and small trials and errors, the next title track will also go through countless trials and errors. Four years ago, our song ‘Danger’ entered Melon at 54 and ‘charted out’ in one day and didn’t return; because we remember that time, we are deeply moved and we must continue to go through trials and errors, going forward. J-hope: While active as BTS, we are, also, studying. When I have a topic in mind, I worry a lot about how best to convey my own personal story. --If you take a look at all the albums you’ve released so far, the themes are all different but there is continuity in that they contain messages that your peers can relate to. In what way do the seven members collect their different thoughts? Suga: Our work process is for everyone to participate with one topic and beat. There needs to be some reference point in that situation so that the producers can ‘pick’ the best [ideas] to organize and refine it. We’ve always done things with clear reference points because we’ve talked a lot about ‘right and wrong.’ We’ve earned sympathy/relatability because we’ve started at a point where anyone could agree that ’No matter who see it, this is right or no matter who sees it, this is wrong.’ -- Are there any lyrics that you find satisfying every time you sing them? Suga: For me, ‘The dawn is the the darkest right before the sun rises’ from ‘Tomorrow’ is the line I like the most. I also wrote it effortlessly. Jungkook: From ‘Sea,’ there’s the line ‘Where there is hope, there is despair.' I don’t really know why but it really hit me. (‘Sea’ was a song written by RM, inspired by the sentence, “Where there’s hope, there’s a trial” from 1Q84.) RM: Of the lyrics I wrote most recently, I like ‘Best of Me.’ They are words written to our fans, ARMY; the line goes 'I wanted to be a kind/warm wave but why didn’t I realize you were the ocean?' I like it because it means that I thought, in my own way, I wanted to become a big help, like a kind wave, to our fans but in looking back, I realized that the fans were much larger [of a wave] than me and the ones that made me [who I am]. J-hope: I have exactly two. The first is from the song ‘2! 3!’: ‘… for being the flowers in our most beautiful moment in life (hwayangyeonhwa).’ [That line] is talking to our fans through lyrics but it’s pretty. With that meaning, whenever I sing [those lyrics] I really feel it. For us, our ‘hwayangyeonhwa’ was that through such a meaningful album, our fans became beautiful flowers. The second is the part that goes ‘I want to be young forever’ from ‘EPILOGUE: Young Forever;’ I think it’ll be a part I’m reminded of more as time goes by. Jimin: It’s all the lyrics of ‘EPILOGUE: Young Forever,’ in its entirety. It’s a song that caused us to cry a lot because it encapsulates all the thoughts we have as we’ve gone through our concerts. V: I like all of the lyrics that RM hyung has written. I like all of the lyrics in ‘EPILOGUE: Young Forever’ but if I had to pick just one line, it’s the part that goes ‘That I could make someone scream [with joy], 'I want to be young forever.’ Jin: From ‘2!3!’ it’s, ‘It’s ok, say one, two, three and forget it all.’ I’m an avoidant type of person[ality] so I forget all bad memories. I’m always striving to be happy in the present so those lyrics really hit me. To become happy now, I’ve lived thinking you have to forget all the bad memories. -- You’re in the middle of preparing your new album, what message are you thinking about conveying? Suga: Right now, it’s just a big picture so we’re not at a stage where we can talk about it. During the height of our tour last year [until now], what we talked about, amongst ourselves, was happiness. What is happiness and what should one do to attain it? I’m a person who doesn’t think one can become happier by just by trying to be happier but I think it’s necessary to make the effort to become happier. You have to study and research it. Since I was young, I’ve pondered a lot about what happiness is, what must one do to become happy. I don’t think anyone has ever taught it. I think if we address the topic, many people will [be able to] discuss it. RM: I, too, was fixated on the keyword: happiness, until the beginning of last year. However, while in Japan a little bit ago, I read a newspaper article that said human beings can never achieve the happiness that they want. That our DNA is wired that way so we can never attain that happiness. It said that while humans have achieved the Industrial Revolution, development of science and many other goals through ambition, when they achieve in one area, they feel deficient in another. I also felt like I’d be happy by becoming 1st place but I continue to have another goal. I was convinced by that article. So rather than happiness, let’s find our own conclusions from what we’re talking about currently with ‘Love Yourself.’ ‘Love Yourself’ means to find the process to loving yourself. My dream isn’t to be #1 on Billboard but to properly be able to love myself because even if I face my ugliness and shabbiness a few billion times, I don’t think I’ll [fully] reach it. Now that I’m fortunate enough to have met the concept of ‘Love Yourself,’ I want to stay true to the emotion and take, even if it’s just one, a step closer to loving myself more. There are many words that can be used in this topic, darkness, solitude, etc. -- Lyrics inspired by 1Q84 and Demian and even referencing the short story The Ones Who Walk Away from Omelas in the ‘Spring Day’ M/V, what books are you reading right now? Suga: I’ve read many books recently. Like early adopters, I liked digital machines/technology however I’ve gone back to analog. I’ve gone back to writing and reading, like I did when I was young and I recently read Life Lessons by psychiatrist and author Elisabeth Kübler-Ross. I have several other of her books as well. I’m currently reading Banana Yoshimoto’s About Her (彼女について) RM: I saw it around the house so I’m reading Banana Yoshimoto’s Kitchen. J-Hope: I want to go back to the innocence of my childhood and reread the French novelist Jules Verne’s classic science fiction novels 20,000 Leagues Under The Sea and Around the World in 80 Days. These days, innocence of childhood brings peace of mind/relaxes me. V: The book I’ve been making an effort to read recently is Phillip Chesterfield’s Letters To His Son. -- As representatives at the forefront of K-pop, what do you think is the unique value of K-pop receiving love despite being in the Korean language? RM: K-pop is comprehensive art, like a ‘total art package.’ Music and music video, individual characteristics of the members, contents revealed through Youtube and SNS, fashion, etc; it’s a genre that has various elements of entertainment. It gives the public a friendly and varied things to enjoy. Fans identify with lyrics, meanwhile they look at daily videos and photos on Twitter and get to know our personalities and feel a sense of closeness. K-Pop has many ‘black holes’ into which you can fall through. Suga: It hasn’t been that long since the word K-Pop has existed so there is still too much for us to do in order to clearly say ‘K-Pop is like this.’ Like how the K-Pop category reappeared on Billboard, something seems to have started again but it’s to early to conclude anything yet.
  5. BTS Speaks Out In Seoul: The K-Pop Megastars Get Candid About Representing a New Generation 2/15/2018 by E. Alex Jung No sound on the planet inspires as obsessive a fandom as K-pop. The “Bulletproof Boy Scouts” of BTS have (finally, for real) imported that mania to America -- all in Korean, as they rally dissatisfied millennials around the globe. Built in 1957 as a reception hall for South Korea’s fledgling postwar government to entertain foreign dignitaries, the Korea House is a quiet oasis amid the tumult of Seoul, with a photogenic courtyard and collection of old-school Korean houses known as hanoks. Normally it’s the setting for historical TV dramas or weddings, but on this bright, cold mid-January morning, it’s a hideaway for the seven-man Korean pop group BTS, whose celebrity has expanded past K-pop’s traditional sphere of influence and, especially during the last six months, moved into the United States as well. When I arrive, the band is sequestered in a room within a room, behind paper doors manned by a security detail. In the outer room, over 20 groomers, publicists and other handlers from the group’s management agency, BigHit Entertainment, mill about, grazing on the provided snacks and drinks. Everyone speaks in low tones. The members of BTS need an extra 15 minutes before the scheduled photo shoot, I’m told. They are, understandably, exhausted: Their schedule has been packed since New Year’s Eve with performances, TV appearances, commercials and meet-and-greets. I flew into Seoul expressly to meet them for this rare opening in their calendar. The first to emerge from the room is J-Hope, 23, the former street dancer from the city of Gwangju, who capers down the steps, then doubles back to get RM, also 23, the group’s leader and English-speaking ambassador. The rest soon file out wearing similarly dark Saint Laurent-heavy outfits: Suga, 24, the idealistic and soulful rapper; Jimin, 22, the baby-faced modern dancer; V, 22, the master impressionist; Jungkook, 20, the golden maknae (youngest member, a sort of privileged position in K-pop) who’s good at everything; and Jin, 25, who’s known as “Worldwide Handsome.” They form a semicircle of multicolored bowl cuts, and RM comments on how tall I am (6 feet) and that I can speak Korean (like a 10-year-old). They’re photo-ready but groggy enough that I wish they’d taken another 15 minutes to rest. But time is money, and these guys are worth a lot. It’s reasonable that BigHit would handle the members like prized jewels. They’re among the biggest stars in K-pop -- their last album, 2017’s Love Yourself: Her, has sold 1.58 million physical copies around the globe, according to BigHit. And while it may not be a household name in the United States, BTS -- which stands for Bangtan Sonyeondan and roughly translates to “Bulletproof Boy Scouts” -- is pulling unprecedented numbers for a group that mainly sings in Korean to an American populace that has long resisted K-pop’s charms. Love Yourself: Her debuted at No. 7 on the Billboard 200 in September 2017, and BTS claims the two highest-charting songs for a K-pop group ever, “DNA” (which peaked at No. 67 on the Billboard Hot 100) and the Steve Aoki remix of “Mic Drop,” featuring Desiigner (No. 28). In the States alone, BTS has sold 1.6 million song downloads and clocked 1.5 billion-with-a-“B” on-demand streams, according to Nielsen Music. BTS has connected with millennials around the globe even though -- or really, because -- the act seems to challenge boy-band and K-pop orthodoxies. Sure, it’s got love songs and dance moves. But BTS’ music, which the members have helped write since the beginning, has regularly leveled criticism against a myopic educational system, materialism and the media, venting about a structure seemingly gamed against the younger generation. “Honestly, from our standpoint, every day is stressful for our generation. It’s hard to get a job, it’s harder to attend college now more than ever,” says RM, until recently known as Rap Monster. “Adults need to create policies that can facilitate that overall social change. Right now, the privileged class, the upper class needs to change the way they think.” Suga jumps in: “And this isn't just Korea, but the rest of the world. The reason why our music resonates with people around the world who are in their teens, 20s and 30s is because of these issues.” The shoot’s done, and we’re sitting on couches in a small living room-like space amid the production studios at the BigHit offices, the members changed into cozy but still-stylish jackets and knitwear. Here at home, speaking in Korean, they’re calmer and less eager to impress than they were on their recent, occasionally awkward American press tour, where they did the rounds on The Late Late Show With James Corden, Jimmy Kimmel Live! and The Ellen DeGeneres Show, where RM gamely evaded questions about dating. Today, their voices are noticeably deeper, more sonorous. RM does, as usual, a lot of the talking, sometimes throwing questions out to the quieter members. But Suga is a surprise: garrulous and thoughtful, seemingly primed for a socially conscious rap battle. Rabid K-pop fandom is, by now, a pop-culture cliche. Even in a world where supporters of American stars engineer efforts to goose chart positions and feud with rival fandoms -- Beatlemania multiplied by the internet, basically -- K-pop stans are legendarily devoted and influential. The BTS ARMY (that’s short for “Adorable Representative M.C for Youth”) is the engine powering the phenomenon: It translates lyrics and Korean media appearances; rallies clicks, views, likes and retweets to get BTS trending on Twitter and YouTube; and overwhelms online polls and competitions. BigHit says that it makes sure to disseminate news and updates about the band on the fan cafe, so as not to arouse the wrath of the ARMY. The global fan base is why a group you may never have heard of is attaining the upper ranks of the U.S. charts; playing late-night slots; appearing at the Billboard Music Awards, where it picked up the fan-voted top social artist trophy in 2017; and performing on the American Music Awards. (“The AMAs were the biggest gift we could have gotten from our fans,” says Suga.) Purely in terms of social media, they’re just about the biggest thing going, driving BTS to 58 weeks at No. 1 on the Social 50 chart, a total that’s second only to Justin Bieber’s, and more than doubles the number of weeks scored by the third-place act -- none other than Taylor Swift. The ARMY doesn't merely idolize the members of BTS, it identifies with them. When the group debuted in 2013 with 2 Kool 4 Skool, the members talked about the pressures familiar to any Korean student: the need to study hard, get into college and find a stable job. Their first singles, “No More Dream” and “N.O.,” castigated peers who attended classes like zombies without a sense of purpose. What was all this education for, they asked -- to become “the No. 1 government worker?” The tracks were a throwback to Korean pop acts like H.O.T. and Seo Taiji & Boys, only updated for a generation saddled with debt in an increasingly competitive economy. “I was talking about my past self,” says RM, confessing that he was one of those drones. “There was nothing I wanted to do; just that I wanted to make a lot of money. I started the song by thinking about it as a letter written to friends who were like me in the past.” “College is presented like some sort of cure-all,” says Suga. “They say that if you go, your life will be set. They even say you’ll lose weight, get taller...” RM: “That you’ll get a girlfriend...” Jin: “That you’ll become better-looking...” Suga: “But this isn't the reality, and they realize that was all a lie. No one else can take responsibility for you at that point. “If we don’t talk about these issues, who will?” continues Suga. “Our parents? Adults? So isn't it up to us? That’s the kind of conversations we have [in the band]: Who knows best and can talk about the difficulty our generation faces? It’s us.” As they become increasingly famous, though, the artists have also become wary of saying what might be perceived as the wrong or “political” thing. Suga is the most outspoken. When I ask them about the massive candlelight protests calling for President Park Geun-hye’s resignation in Seoul last winter, Suga readily takes on the topic: “Moving past right and wrong, truth and falsehood, citizens coming together and raising their voice is something that I actively support.” RM, on the other hand, is more alert to potential sensitivities. On the recent death of Jonghyun of K-pop group SHINee, who suffered from depression and committed suicide last December, he says, “We went to give our condolences that morning. I couldn't sleep at all that night. It was so shocking, because we had seen him so often at events. He was so successful.” Adds Suga, “It was a shock to everyone, and I really sympathized with him,” and then RM moves to end the conversation: “That’s about all we can say.” But Suga goes on. “I really want to say that everyone in the world is lonely and everyone is sad, and if we know that everyone is suffering and lonely, I hope we can create an environment where we can ask for help, and say things are hard when they’re hard, and say that we miss someone when we miss them.” I later bring up a tweet that RM wrote in March 2013, saying that when he understood what the lyrics to Macklemore & Ryan Lewis’ gay-marriage anthem, “Same Love,” were about, he liked the song twice as much. BTS fans naturally took this to mean that BTS openly supported gay rights -- a rarity in K-pop. Today, he’s slightly circumspect on the topic: “It’s hard to find the right words. To reverse the words: Saying ‘same love’ is saying ‘love is the same.’ I just really liked that song. That’s about all I have to say.” Suga, though, is clear on where he stands: “There’s nothing wrong. Everyone is equal.” BTS’ meteoric rise was something of a surprise, even in Korea. Three years into its career -- eons in the K-pop life cycle -- the group finally gained traction in 2016 with hits like “Blood, Sweat, Tears” and “Burn It Up.” Part of the reason is that BTS is the first major act to come out of BigHit Entertainment, an anomaly simply in that it is not one of the “Big Three” entertainment companies -- YG, JYP and SM -- that control the Korean music industry, producing most of the past decade’s notable pop acts, including Girls’ Generation, BIGBANG, Super Junior, Wonder Girls and 2NE1. And BTS simply didn't have the same feel as factory-fresh groups created to dominate the Asian music markets. Bang Si-hyuk, the founder/CEO of BigHit, cut his teeth at JYP, working alongside Park Jin-yong and writing and producing hits for Rain, 2AM and Baek Ji-young. “Even the people around me didn't believe in me,” he says, recalling the early days with BTS. “Even though they acknowledged that I had been successful in the past, they didn't believe I could take this boy group to the top.” Like the other companies, BigHit oversees everything from recording to distribution to marketing to events for its acts. He says that people thought the “Bulletproof Boy Scouts” name had a North Korean feel, but he felt that they would become a metaphorical bulletproof vest for their generation. Bang originally wanted to create a hip-hop group -- “like Migos,” according to RM. He first listened to RM’s demo tape in 2010 and still remembers some of the lines. (He cites, “My heart is like a detective who is the criminal’s son. Even as I know who the criminal is, I can’t catch him.”) “It was shocking to me,” says Bang. “RM is extremely self-reflective, sophisticated and philosophical, considering his age.” RM, whose real name is Kim Nam-joon, was only 15 at the time. Bang signed him immediately. Back then, though, “idol groups” -- boy bands and girl groups -- like Super Junior and SNSD were ascendant. So Bang created an act that would meld the honesty of hip-hop with the visual flair and charisma of a boy band in the vein of BIGBANG. During the next couple of years, he recruited Suga, a rapper he describes as having an “I don’t give a fuck” magnetism masking a humble core, and then J-Hope, the street dancer. BigHit then held extensive auditions. A casting director chased Jin after seeing him get off a bus and convinced him to try out for the group; he eventually made the team alongside V and Jungkook. Jimin was the last to join, after a BigHit agent scouted him at a modern dance school. In the beginning, each of the members tried their hand at rhyming. “I went so far as to learn how to rap,” says Jimin, who, like Jungkook, now sings. “But after they had me do it once, they were like, ‘Let’s just work harder on vocals.’” RM nods -- “It was the wise choice,” he says -- and everyone bursts out laughing. These were BigHit’s ragtag champions, and they have a sense of unity. Early on, they lived together in one small room, sleeping in bunk beds and learning one another’s sleep habits. (Jimin does strange contortions in bed, and Jungkook has started snoring. “It’s TMI,” acknowledges RM.) They still live together, just with a little more space -- J-Hope and Jimin sharing the biggest room -- and plan to keep doing so. “When we’re at home, we go around to everyone’s room,” says Jin. “Even when I go home [to see family], I get bored, honestly,” adds Suga. “And if there’s a problem or someone has hurt feelings, we don’t just leave it, we talk about it then and there.” “So if Hope and Jin fight, it’s not just the two of them that resolve it,” explains Jungkook. “It’s all seven of us!” says Suga. “Everyone gathers together,” says RM, ever the intellectual. “It’s like an agora in ancient Greece: We gather and we ask: ‘What happened?’” After the interview, RM takes me to his production studio, a small room at the end of a hall decorated with giant KAWS figurines in glass boxes, a Supreme poster of Mike Tyson and skateboards. Inside, the walls are lined with his own KAWS toys and a model version of the Banksy piece “Rage, Flower Thrower” that he admits paying a hefty sum for. Other than that, there’s just a typical workstation: a pullout chair, giant monitor and the most precious item of all, his laptop. In BTS’ lyrics, there’s a motif of the baepsae, a squat, fluffy bird native to Korea and known as the crow-tit. A Korean expression says that if a crow-tit tries to walk like a stork, it’ll tear its own legs. It’s a cautionary tale -- a suggestion that you shouldn't try too hard or be something that you’re not. But BTS deploys it as a brag, a declaration of a small, striving bird. In “Silver Spoon,” Suga puts a cheeky, boastful spin on it: “Our generation has had it hard/We’ll chase them fast/Because of the storks the crotch of my pants is stretched tight/So call me baepsae.” Now that they are, almost in a literal sense, on top of the world, can they still claim to be underdogs? “We’re very careful about calling ourselves baepsaes now,” says Suga. “But the reality is that that’s where we started and that’s where our roots are.” And RM points out that they still consider themselves agents for change: “If there are problems, we’ll bring it up so that our voices can get louder, so that the climate changes and we can talk about it more freely.” BTS is the K-pop group of the moment because it balances the contradictions inherent to the genre on a genuinely global scale: The act is breaking through in America singing and rapping in Korean, creating intimacy through wide exposure on social media, expressing political ideas without stirring up controversy and inspiring fervent obsession with mild-mannered wholesomeness. It is the underdog that has arrived. But the group would rather you not ask what’s next. Its members and producers are skillfully evasive when it comes to questions about the next BTS album -- although they apparently have no immediate plans for an English-language release, intuiting that such a move would alienate their core fan base. Instead, they seem content to keep doing what they do. RM, of course, is philosophical about it. “In Korean, the word ‘future’ is made up of two parts,” he explains, proposing a sort of riddle about how far the band has come and how far it might yet go. “The first part means ‘not,’ and the second means ‘to come.’ In that sense, ‘future’ means something that will not come. This is to say: The future is now, and our now is us living our future.” source
  6. If there’s one thing the K-Pop wave has taught us, it’s that the American boy bands of the ’90s have nothing on their contemporary Korean counterparts. Especially where fan loyalty is concerned – if you thought you loved NSYNC then you haven’t met BTS’s die-hard fanbase. Without an ounce of shame or self-consciousness, they will make your teenage Justin Timberlake obsession look positively tame. In fact, some of them even manage to make Beyoncé stans look marginally less dedicated to their queen. Kim Nam-joon, better known by his stage name Rap Monster, is BTS’s lead rapper and the object of more adolescent fantasies than any one person could probably feel comfortable about. In fact, his acolytes are so dedicated that we were asked to publish this piece only after he’d left New York out of concern that people might be able to identify the hotel’s interior and track him down. Last week, the seven-member band stopped through the East Coast as part of a sold-out, two-show run at New Jersey’s Prudential Center. We caught up with Rap Monster before the show to see what he was wearing, and talk about how his sense of style has landed him on magazine covers and closed endorsement deals with brands like PUMA. Full interview Photos source
  7. Here's the interview which was posted in May. ♣ cr ♣ they chose a really nice picture <3
  8. source Sorry about the formatting of this. The original article wouldn't allow you to copy/paste the text.
  9. Meet the BTS Fan Translators (Partially!) Responsible for the Globalization of K-pop 12/21/2017 by Caitlin Kelley It's been a watershed year for K-pop, as crossover superstars BTS have led the charge in the States by breaking records on the Hot 100, making their debut on the awards ceremony circuit and touring American talk shows. What makes this a particularly stunning achievement is that they racked up all of these overseas accomplishments with primarily Korean-language music. Their recent remix of “MIC Drop” was one of the group’s most English-intensive songs, but the septet remains committed to their native tongue. "I'm not a believer in releasing full English songs to the U.S. market, like many K-pop artists have," said Big Hit Entertainment CEO Bang Si-Hyuk in an April interviewwith Billboard. "We must focus on what we do best as K-pop artists and producers and maybe add some special features to which international or U.S. music fans can feel attached.” So, how do seven South Korean boys get their message across to international audiences when only one member is fluent in English? One huge factor: fan translators, who are an integral part of the K-pop fandom. K-pop is a deeply immersive art form buoyed in the public sphere by a constant output of content. Idols regularly participate in variety shows, stream their own broadcasts, sit down for interviews, post on social media and are written about by Korean media. Given the nonstop barrage of idol activities, fans across the world have made it their mission to make even the smallest news about their favorite idols immediately accessible to fans who don’t speak Korean. Fan-translating accounts exist across social media platforms, but Twitter is one of the main English-speaking hubs. “Twitter's an easy way to get the word out and communicate with all the hashtags we always trend worldwide,” says translator Sophia Shin (@jintellectually). “We always have a way to get the word out there, and it's an easy way of communication that we all have.” Accounts tend to be artist-specific, so translators from BTS’s fan base, called ARMY, solely interpret content about BTS. They can range from personal accounts to intricately woven organizations. Bangtan Translations (@BTS_Trans) is one of the biggest teams on the block with over 1 million Twitter followers and nearly 800,000 YouTube subscribers on their Bangtan Subs channel. A lot of labor goes into making translations immediately accessible to an English-speaking fan base. While fan translations are largely unmonetized, the unpredictable nature of a group’s content output can leave fans dedicating anywhere between a few minutes to 10 hours translating on a given day. However, one ARMY translator, Myungji Chae (@btsarmy_salon), is careful to note that BTS’ success isn’t solely attributed to the culture of translation surrounding their work. “BTS’ popularity or globalization can't be summed up just because they use social media platforms and there are translators to help with language barrier,” the translator tells Billboard. “The main factor and importance of BTS is their genuine personality, quality content and sincere music. As a translator, I cannot create something that isn’t [from] the original context. BTS [is] successful because they are simply really good at what they do.” To get a more nuanced glimpse of how ARMY translators approach their work, Billboard let them speak for themselves. What drives translators to dedicate their time to translating? Bangtan Translations: “We have always been fueled by the love and admiration we have for BTS. We watched with our own eyes as BTS conquered year after year, and to us, there is no better reward than that. BTS has always been an easy-to-access group, even for international fans. They’ve always been active on Twitter, YouTube and their own blog. As long as we kept an eye out for those and the main Korean outlets, we had enough to fuel our work as translators. BTS-Trans started as a way to help fans know more about BTS and we are thrilled to have been active for so long and to still be able to help spread the word about BTS.” Audrey P. (@glitter_jk): “I have seen many mistranslated, exaggerated or trans-lacking contents, and have witnessed many foreign fans left in the dark, not knowing what’s going on. Further, people start assuming and saying things that aren’t true, which needed to be prevented.” Chae: “[ARMYs] work so hard despite all the hardships and language barrier, their love for BTS is beyond anyone’s imagination. I hope they can receive the complete package BTS offers to Korean ARMYs. … Also, fans who don’t have English as their mother tongue also read my translation. Thus, when I translate for I-ARMYs, I tend to keep it easy and avoid complicated expressions or difficult vocabularies. Many of them will then re-translate my English translation into their native language. When articles and contents get translated into English, it spreads and gets translated into different languages as well, it's amazing.” Ellie Lee (@peachisoda): “The reason why I began translating from the first day is because I'm Korean, so while I was learning English, it was so hard to understand anything I watched without subtitles. And back then, it was so hard to find subtitles as well. It's not as convenient as now. I cannot search for subtitles online and find subtitles back then. So I think I kind of understood the frustration of wanting to understand something and then not understanding because of the language barrier. And I wanted to do my part, whatever I could to kind of adjust that bridge or try to help them in some way if I could. And that's actually how I began to translate online.” Peach Boy team (@peachBOY_0613): “BTS is such a unique group, composed of talented individuals who not only produce, sing, rap and dance, but stand for such a meaningful message. Their lyrics talk about mental health, social issues, society, the economy and other topics that not many artists have addressed on a personal level through their music. Despite their success, they stay incredibly humble, down to earth, and continue to be hardworking. They are truly a group that can bring happiness, inspiration, and hope. Their influence shouldn't be restricted to only one area. Therefore, we think it’s important for not only English speaking fans, but fans of all ages across the world to learn and grow from their stories together. … Not only do they produce and perform great music, they give back so much to the fans. Because of this, our team decided to start translating, to contribute to fans' support towards the group.” Fostering the international-Korean fan connection The more you delve into the fan translation community, the more you see that interpreters aren’t just making content about BTS accessible. ARMYs of different tongues are connecting with each other as translators work as messengers. Rachel Kim (@vlissful): “Having a fandom where all ARMYs have healthy relationships with each other helps. This is only my opinion, but I feel like ARMYs, our fandom, has a really good International-Korean relationship. Korean ARMYs call international ARMYs International Lovelies [I-Lovelies], and international ARMYs call Korean fans Korean Diamonds [K-Diamonds]. And I think that's really sweet. I really like seeing their communications, like their interactions, whenever I inform them [about] something, because it's really cute.” Lee: “I used to take messages from international fans and then translate it, post it on Korean sites so that Korean fans can read it… I put a post on my Twitter saying I would be collecting 10 top letters from international ARMYs and then post it on Korean sites so that Korean ARMYs could read it. And from there, all the comments I receive from Korean fans, I translate it back to English and post it on my blog. We've been doing that about four times or five times, I think… A lot of ARMYs say that really helps international ARMYs and Korean ARMYs to come together. These messages are really sweet. They express how grateful they are to each other.” Peach Boy: “Languages can seem like a barrier to many people, but translations break the wall down. Through translations, many more people can communicate with one another and share ideas and thoughts. Both the K-ARMYs [Korean ARMYs] and I-ARMYs [International ARMYs] continuously send encouragements and support to each other. It truly proves that love and support can surpass obstacles and be shared among people across the world, regardless of where they are from. It brings Korean fans as well as International fans together and bonds us as one family.” Shin: “There's such a strong bond. Sometimes I talk to K-Diamonds, and they're always so cute and appreciative. At the AMAs, the fan chants, the K-Diamonds were like, ‘You guys did so well. We're so proud.' Stuff like that's really nice to hear.” Challenges that come with translating Kim: “Sometimes I get really frustrated when I do translations, because I don't want to give the wrong information or make an error. ... I don't like making errors. All of my followers are like, 'Oh my god, you delete tweets every single second.' Whenever I find something that's incorrect or if I make a grammar mistake or anything like that, it bothers me a lot. But also I don't wanna give wrong information. When BTS announced the UNICEF information [about their ‘Love Myself’ anti-violence campaign], before that, there was really vague information about it two hours before they released it, and I wasn't sure if it was confirmed or not because it had such little information. But I had tweeted it to let the international ARMYs know first. But they were all like, 'Is this actually confirmed?' And I was like, ‘I don't know.’ It really frustrated me, because I knew that UNICEF was huge, huge news. So I didn't want to disappoint them or anything if it was a rumor, so I really think carefully before tweeting big news like that. Sometimes it really scares me because I don't want to make a mistake and disappoint our fandom.” Shin: “In Korean, the sentence structure, it's like the verb and then the noun and then the sentence is flipped backwards, and you have to try to flip it back while trying to make it still make sense. Sometimes, that can be a bit confusing.” Lee: “English is very different from Korean. So the grammar and all these new words and some of the expressions are not familiar with us [in Korea]. … So when I try to translate videos or any articles or posts, I try to explain everything as well as I can. Most of my posts, I have the translator's note, "t/n," and I try to explain every meaning of the word so that the readers can enjoy the post as much as I can.” Gloria Jun (@glojunjun): “When I translate, I try to do direct translations at first, and then I will go in and try to make it sound more colloquial because a lot of times, something will translate into English but it won't sound the way that [it should] or the meaning will be a little bit different, like the feeling of it, than what was portrayed in Korean and vice versa... I try to rectify [the meaning] as much as I can. Even if I have to maybe skip out on directly translating a little word, just to get the meaning across.” The role fan translators play in globalization Bangtan Translations: “Fan translations help to fill the gap that exists where official subtitles (released by broadcasters and networks, like KBS World) do not, as not all content that is released on Korean programmes gets subtitled. That has definitely made K-pop more accessible to fans worldwide, as it would be very difficult to become a fan of an artist when you have no idea what the person is saying. In addition, as fan translators we try to deliver not only the shallow but the deep ends of what BTS really has inside themselves. We as fans understand not only the quality of their music and content, but the ‘behind the scenes’ and emotional process they may go through for this content to be produced. This differentiates our translations from the ‘official’ or ‘brief’ translations done by professional translators/subtitlers whose only aim is to deliver meaning accurately and in the space allotted. We as a fan-translating community try our best to give any details in the Korean that we catch, using ‘Translator’s Note (T/N)’, to help international fans with any Korean cultural references they may not be able to catch simply in the direct translation.” Audrey P.: “I believe fan translators play [a] vital role in the globalization of K-pop because our duties are to spread information and news/updates about K-pop stars to foreign fans. The more we deliver the news and interesting information, the more foreign fans show interest and start joining the fandom. That way, K-pop stars are becoming more and more globalized.” Peach Boy: “Fan translators are one of the many elements in the globalization of Kpop. Translators aren't only the ones bringing the success -- the drive is definitely the fans and the artist themselves- but we simply are here to further strengthen the bond already made. By having groups of many translators, updates and messages between the group and the fans are instantly translated. People from all over the globe are able to understand the content within minutes. Not only do fans see it themselves but the public as well, due to the widespread use of social media. This brings a wider audience of people to listen to K-pop and become fans themselves, spreading the globalization of the K-pop music genre.” Shin: “I feel like fan translators have a pretty big role in the fandom because a lot of the stuff we talk about and a lot of the information comes directly from them translating to English. The fan translating community is slowly getting bigger and bigger, and I feel like that's great because there's always more stuff to translate.” Jun: “[Translation accounts are] able to make not just BTS, but K-pop in general, very accessible to people who don't understand or are learning or people who may not have the means to learn just yet. And I also think they're a form of inspiration sometimes. Especially fan translators who are not Korean ethnically and have learned the language and have become fluent enough to translate for people, they are an inspiration for others to keep learning and to keep working hard. Because they did, so you can too, pretty much.” source
  10. Big Hit Producer Pdogg Shares What It’s Like To Create Music With BTS by E. Cha (original page) As BTS’s popularity continues to soar worldwide, Big Hit Entertainment producer Pdogg shared his thoughts on the group’s success. Pdogg, who recently won the Best Producer Award at the 2017 Mnet Asian Music Awards, is the producer behind many of BTS’s greatest hits. Some of his most famous songs include “Fire,” “I Need U,” “Boy in Luv,” “Run,” “Dope,” “Spring Day,” and most recently, “DNA.” He has worked with the group since before their debut, and BTS has never released an album that wasn’t produced by him. BTS has recently attracted attention for managing to set new records as a K-pop group despite hailing from a relatively small agency. When asked what he thought was Big Hit’s greatest strength as a company, Pdogg replied, “I think it’s agency head Bang Shi Hyuk’s attitude towards creating music. He is a firm believer that in order to win over the public, [an artist’s] music needs to be good. So he works tirelessly [on songs] until he achieves an end result that he finds satisfying.” He went on, “Additionally, there aren’t any singers or producers at our company who don’t sincerely love music. BTS, for example, will come to the studio late at night after finishing their scheduled activities for the day, and they’ll work on their songs until morning. Even though no one asked them to do so. I think the reason that they’re so self-motivated is because they truly love music.” Pdogg also spoke about working together with BTS on their music. He explained that each song came about in a different way, but that it was typically a very collaborative process. “It varies for each song,” he commented, “but we typically create a general framework based on the members’ outlook on modern-day society or their current emotional state. Then, using that as a basis, we begin more concrete production.” He added, “There are also some instances when I set the song up first, and the members complete it by adding their contributions. Each song is different, so we don’t have a fixed system. If you compare it to a puzzle, I guess you could say that the members each create individual pieces, and I play the role of choosing the best pieces to put together a completed image.” When speaking about the group’s formation, Pdogg shared that what the agency had in mind for BTS changed as time went on. “At the beginning, we were planning to form a group of rappers,” he recalled. “But after many internal meetings, we ended up producing a hip hop idol group. We tried to create a group that could pull off cool dance performances with hip hop as a foundation. We also conceived them as a group that would tell the stories of their generation and age group.” While some of the BTS members arrived at the agency already passionate about hip hop, Pdogg reported that others became acquainted with the genre during their pre-debut training period. “There were members who already had a full understanding of hip hop, and there were others who did not,” said the producer. “So we held lessons in which they were able to naturally familiarize themselves with hip hop. We also set up times for them to listen to music together and discuss everything from old-school hip hop to the latest songs.” Of all the songs he produced for the group, Pdogg chose “I Need U” as the one that meant the most to him. “I was personally going through a very hard time when we worked on the song,” he revealed. “After [BTS’s] first full album with the song ‘Danger‘ didn’t do as well as expected, I worried a great deal about what kind of music we should produce next, and my confidence was very low. I wanted to give up, but Bang Shi Hyuk waited for me. It was at that point in time that the song ‘I Need U’ came into existence. It ended up being a song that served as the foundation for the BTS we know today, so I’m very attached to it.” Speaking about BTS’s plans for the future, the producer remarked, “‘Love Yourself: Her’ was the beginning of a new series, so we plan on continuing it.” He added, “I think [our plans] will change based on BTS’s circumstances and the members’ emotional states in the future.” BTS’s “Love Yourself: Her” has recently seen a resurgence in popularity, with the album rising on a number of global charts. The group also became the first K-pop group to break into Billboard’s Top 40this week with “MIC Drop.” Source (1)
  11. until
    BTS will be in the studio for On Air/Ryan Seacrest at 6:40AM PST! Listen on iHeartRadio. (source: 1, 2)
  12. until
    BTS is coming to the 102.7 KIIS-FM (LA's #1 Hit Music Station) studio for a radio interview tonight at 9PM PT. Listen here. (Source)
  13. until
    Tune in and see BTS interview on KTLA at about 8:40AM PST! Watch the live stream or watch on TV if you're local.
  14. Tune into the On With Mario Lopez iHeartRadio show to hear him chat with BTS! Listen here and check for the video interview here. (Source: 1, 2)
  15. BTS Talks Conquering America Like No K-Pop Act In U.S. History Hugh McIntyre , CONTRIBUTOR NOV 8, 2017 @ 08:23 AM PST After years of holding onto their position as one of the biggest names in K-pop in the world, vocal group BTS finally broke into the top 10 on the all-genre Billboard 200 chart with their new EP Love Yourself: Her, becoming the first group from their musical style to do so. In addition to starting their latest collection at No. 7, the EP's lead single "DNA" also made it onto the Hot 100, making the group one of the few K-pop acts in history to find a place on that important tally. BTS has been able to achieve as much as they have thanks to the dedicated support of a massive fan base, which launched an intense and well-executed social media promotional campaign, and now that their careers have been taken to new heights, it will be interesting to see what they do next to capitalize on their newfound fame in America. Shortly after the group's charting feat, I spoke with BTS band member Rap Monster about what it means to lead the charge for a genre that has been slowly growing in popularity in America, despite the language barrier. Hugh McIntyre: What does it feel like to be the first K-pop act to hit the top 10 on the Billboard 200 in the U.S.? Rap Monster: It's still like we're dreaming. The Billboard 200 top 10 is not something [I thought] that we could achieve. I was born to. I feel like we're so lucky and so grateful for the fans. McIntyre: Over your career, the albums have been doing better and better every time you put a new one out. Did you have any inclination that this would come close to the top 10, or was this totally unexpected? Monster: It was actually totally unexpected. I mean, we expected something… We're gaining some attention in the U.S. but we were like, “Could we make the top 10?” We sometimes imagined it, but never thought we could really do it. We wanted to but didn’t actually intend on it. So we still feel lucky. McIntyre: Is conquering the American charts a goal you guys have or was it just a happy accident that came happened thanks to the new album? Monster: I think we're gaining some attention and getting some fans based in America. It's happening gradually, going up really slow, so I think we could expect more for the future. It's happening, and I hope that it's not just a happy accident. We have to keep up with the work. McIntyre: What do you think made this album perform so much better than your previous ones? Monster: I think we're always doing something for teenagers and youngsters because BTS originally performed itself as a socially conscious band. We always wanted to sell our performances like we did with our debut. I think what makes this album really special is that it’s a real turning point for us. It has a new concept: to love yourself, and I think fans are really reacting to it. They really think about how could they love themselves. Through this album, I think of how I could love myself more, and it's happening. The music is trendier, so I think our history and the music and the new concept has maxed this time. Everything was perfect so the Billboard thing could happen. McIntyre: Now that it has happened, do you guys have any plans to hop on this and return to America or release music in English? What are you planning on doing to capitalize on this moment? Monster: To capitalize on this, we have to not lose our minds. That's how we capitalize on this. Because we don't want to be so happy for this that we release an English song. Those things are really great, but we have to keep up with what we're doing. Getting ready for our next album. And, of course, we'll be coming back to America, I think more often because we're getting positive attention. McIntyre: You guys record in several different languages, and your output is pretty incredible. You release a lot of music! How do you keep up with that schedule? Monster: Yeah, it's really hard to keep up with that schedule because, like you said, our timing is quite fast. I think it's our thing to do. Fans always want something new, and we’ve got a lot of performances we want to show off. But I think the basic rules are that most important are to sleep well, practice much. That's really important for us right now. McIntyre: K-pop has been growing in popularity in America for years now, but obviously the past month or so has been a big moment for the genre. Do you find it empowering or do you maybe find it a little scary to be the group that is leading this in a big way at the moment? Monster: You know, we're sometimes really nervous to carry the weight and of being a leader in this life. But to be some of the first is really a great opportunity to feel like an artist. We try to enjoy the wave and the weight as much as we can. That's what we can do. McIntyre: A lot of credit has been given to your massive fan base for pushing this new album up the charts. They promoted it quite a bit in a way that we in America don't really see. What do you think makes them so dedicated and work so hard to push your music? Monster: I think, that's really hard thing to put out the word. I think now they are really reacting to what we've been saying for four years. We're always giving back, always trying to give them messages. You know, how to live, how to breathe in this cruel world as a teenager. We always upload our pictures, and what we're thinking about, like what we're doing on our Twitter and YouTube. I think that's a really big help too. That's what makes it really special for the public and it's important to us. Sometimes I'm really confused about that too. They're doing so much in America, and we're trying to thank them. Give something back, like music, or a performance, as a concert in America. So I think we're charging our batteries continuously. That's what really makes BTS special. McIntyre: You've just made history, and you've mentioned new music coming. What does the rest of 2017 and 2018 bring for you guys? Monster: 2018 is going to be like another turning point for us because we're planning something really big. Bigger than even this year! But the important thing is that we will keep on doing what we're doing—getting ready for our new album. Going on tour. Visiting America and performing concerts for our American fans. I think keeping up what we're doing and making it bigger is going to be our next year and this year. McIntyre: You have also dabbled in working with some American hip-hop artists on your own. Is that something you are also interested in pursuing further? Monster: Oh, yeah, of course. I'm also solo. I've always wanted to do that. And I'm doing an actually. I can not say who, but, yeah, I'm solo. I really keep that work too. McIntyre: Is there a rapper in America you'd love to work with? Monster: There's so many. Dre. J Cole. Too many rap groups there. I can name like 20. McIntyre: I bet a J. Cole collaboration would be great. Monster: Yeah, he's one of the greatest. He's so cool. source
  16. BTS "2017 Best Achievement Billboard Hot 100 Entry" (Hot People 13) [171101 Joy News 24: Reporter Lee Miyoung] "We are very excited and happy to have entered the Billboard ‘Hot 100’ chart. To have made such a great achievement brings us much happiness.” 2017 is the year BTS’ dreams have become reality: to conquer Billboard, ‘the chart of our dreams,’ and to shake up the domestic (Korean) music market. Fans from all over the world have watched BTS rewrite the history books every day. The achievements of BTS have in no time, become a significant milestone in the history of K-pop. In a survey conducted from the 15-24th of October by Joy News to commemorate the 13th anniversary of the company`s establishment, BTS was selected as the #1 ranked ‘2017 Best K-pop Brand’ by 200 individuals within the entertainment industry. By an overwhelming number of votes, BTS were unrivalled for the position and also demonstrated their dominance in various surveys coming in second in both the ‘2017 Entertainment Industry Power People’ and ‘2017 Best Artist’ lists. The Joy News 24 team also selected BTS as the ‘Hot People 13’ of the year. BTS’ achievements are outstanding. Above all, it is remarkable that the album 'LOVE YOURSELF 承 'Her' has made such a significant impact on the music industry worldwide. DNA is the first song from a Korean group to enter Billboard’s Hot 100 and remain on the list for four consecutive weeks, and the album the first to enter the Billboard 200 chart and remain there for 5 straight weeks. Additionally, BTS have continued their record-breaking streak by becoming the first Korean artists to come in at #14 on the UK’s Official Album Chart. Domestically, within 13 days of the album’s release, 1.2 million copies were sold, breaking a 16-year long record for album sales set by G.O.D.’s 4th album. What’s more remarkable about these results is that BTS have shown steady growth and development through their music and level of involvement and planning. Starting out as ‘idols who had nothing*’ from a small-sized company, BTS have found their own way to pioneer change in the music market and, as such, expand their territory and reach. *[T/N] The term 흙수저 아이돌 used here literally translates to ‘dirt-spooned idols’ (as opposed to silver-spooned). BTS’ solid foundation lies in their impressive performances. The seven members have wowed fans around the world with and received attention for their sharp and dynamic performances. Since their debut, they began to gain sympathy from fans by portraying the stories and emotions of their peers in their 20s to 30s throughout the series of albums released. BTS’ success is not just through luck, but because they have the skills and ability to accomplish it. Today, more than yesterday, and tomorrow, more than today, we anticipate what BTS has in store. At achieving first place in Joy News 24’s ‘2017 Best K-pop Brand’, BTS express their happiness and share some of their upcoming plans. The following is a Q&A interview with BTS. BTS has been ranked the number 1 ‘2017 Best K-pop Brand’ in a survey to commemorate Joy News 24’s 13th year of establishment. How do you feel? "We’re really happy. It feels like this is all possible because of our many fans’ love. Thank you to our fans."(SG) "Being ranked number 1 is amazing no matter what, but to be named the ‘Best K-pop Brand’ makes me extremely proud and happy. In the future, we’ll work even harder to spread and advance Kpop.”(JH) "I’m really thankful and will work even harder to show a cooler image to ARMY."(V) " I think these outcomes are a result of the great synergy between ARMY and BTS. ARMY, I love you all!"(J) "Thanks and thanks again for the good news. There’s no greater honour than to be chosen by individuals within the entertainment industry itself. I will devote myself even more to my craft."(RM) "Thank you, it’s a big honour. As much as we’ve been chosen for this title, we’ll show an even better image in future."(JK) "It’s an unimaginable result. We think it’s such an honour for BTS to be considered in such distinction. "(JM) 2017 has been a year of many significant achievements. (Staying on Billboard’s Hot 100 for four straight weeks and selling over 1.2 million copies of your album etc). what do you consider your biggest achievement so far? "Entering Billboard’s Hot 100 was amazing and I was really happy."(SG) "I’m really happy that we’ve been able to have such big achievements. I think it’s this moment right now."(JH) "Billboard’s Hot 100."(V) "Good results are important, but everything that ARMY have done for us have been great. I’m happy."(J) "To achieve our dream of being on the Billboard Hot 100 chart, and for four weeks straight with a song sung in Korean, is the most special achievement. It was (also) very surprising to reach #90 in the UK Single Chart."(RM) "I think it’s the steady support and love we receive from the people who listen to our Korean songs despite coming from many other countries, near and far."(JK) "It seems like it might be our relationship with our fans and the relationship between the members. The reason we’ve made it to this point is because we know each other so well.”(JM) Your goal for this album to enter the said Hot 100 chart has become a reality. What do you think about achieving each of your goals one by one? "I think it’s all because of our fans. I’m always thankful and love you all."(SG) "It’s really amazing. I can’t believe that as soon as we mentioned it, it came true. Because we worked hard to reach our goals, I feel a great sense of achievement."(JH) "It really seems like we’ve achieved our goals. It’s great and I want to continue down this path with ARMY for a long time."(V) "I want to thank those who love us and hope to continue forward step-by-step with them."(J) "We tell ourselves "don’t expect too much" but still continue to have these expectations. We will never forget that many people have helped us (get where we are) and will proceed with these thoughts in mind. Even though we constantly hold new and bigger aspirations for ourselves, we won’t forget what drove us to this point and where we started from."(RM) "I think we’re very lucky to be able to do what we do and receive the love and opportunities we get. As far as we’ve come, I personally think there still needs to be much development and growth."(JK) "Honestly, it’s surprising that each one of our goals have one by one been achieved, to the point that it’s shocking. Of course, all of it is due to our fans’ overflowing love. Therefore, I want to do even better and, at the same time, I’m curious about how much farther we can go."(JM) BTS is K-pop’s newest role model and the centre of the Korean/Hallyu wave. The LOVE YOURSELF 承 'Her' album is rewriting K-pop history by receiving so much love from fans worldwide. What do you think the success of DNA lies in? "Our brotherhood. The fact that we love and believe in one another seems like a big part of it."(SG) "I’d like to think it’s the hard work and passion. I always try to work hard, that’s something I’m passionate about maintaining, and it seems like that’s a big factor leading to our steady success."(JH) "The chemistry between the members and all of our fans worldwide."(V) "It’s love. Because we have ARMY’s love, I think we can achieve everything we want."(J) "I’d like to think it’s the complete sincerity in ours and the fans’ blood, sweat and tears."(RM) "I want to show the fans my heart and sincerity through my efforts, growth and varied appearances and images. "(JK) "ARMY. DNA."(JM) Not much is left of 2017. Do you have any news you’d like to convey to Joy News 24 and your fans? "It seems like there’ll be more exciting things happening. It would be good if you could anticipate them."(SG) "In the future, we’ll show you more good music and performances. The path we are walking is always good news~”(JH) "We’ll continue to always tirelessly show ARMY great performances and handsome appearances so please keep an eye on us."(V) "It would be good to stay happy and healthy always, both our members and all our fans!"(J) "Better things will be happening soon. Really, we’ll continue to show even better sides of us to everyone."(RM) "As quickly as time has passed, it seems we’re also gradually maturing. This happened because of everyone’s love. As much as we’ve grown, I feel like we must show an even bigger and better image so that even cooler things can happen in future."(JK) "There’s still plenty of time left for us this year. Before the end of the year, I want to say that it would be good if we can remember all the memories from this year, and I love you and thank you to everyone who has watched over and loved us."(JM) [article source]