K-Pop and K-Dramas: BTS Rolling Stone Interviews Part 2

2019 Summer Package image of Kim Namjoon, Kim Taehyung, and Min Yoongi. Copyright goes to BTS and the HYBE Corporation.

Hey! Hallie here!

I’m still on a “Butter” high and the individual interviews with BTS have been completed, so of course I’m going to keep talking about BTS! These last three interviews promise to be very interesting after what we saw from the first four. Rolling Stone’s collaboration with BTS has been pretty good for something that’s being done by an American interviewer. However, particularly with Jimin’s interview, we saw a few awkward questions or observations that weren’t as great. Hopefully these three are just as refreshingly meaningful as most of the other interviews have been. Let’s get into them!

RM:

Namjoon’s look was a multicolored button down that’s neutral tones matched his at-the-time gray hair. And that pearl bracelet? Gorgeous. His interview immediately started with his observations about his desire to achieve in school and how different his life turned out, just to kickstart the conversation. As usual, Namjoon’s interview was one of the deeper ones. The first question he was asked was about a phrase he had quoted about being unable to be anything but Korean. Namjoon explained that while he listened to a lot of American hip-hop for inspiration, his own culture is his main influence. He also pointed out that a lot of what BTS, and K-pop in general, is doing is a mix between Korean and Western sounds. The interviewer decided to ask specifically about Korean hip-hop and how it’s changed over the years. Namjoon noted that Korean hip-hop has the unique benefit of talking specifically about Korean problems, which is something he can relate to. He did note that Korean and American hip-hop are converging and how that is an interesting thing to balance as an artist. Afterwards Namjoon was asked about being identified as a rapper vs being identified as an idol. The interviewer tried to suggest that idols are the same as “pop stars” which is something I absolutely take issue with. Korean culture is important to the definition of an idol and to try to slap an American title on it is somewhat ignorant. Namjoon took this in stride, addressing the problems they’ve faced pursuing the idea of being pure artists and getting mocked for being idols. Namjoon said that throughout all of the struggles, he’s learned that the boundaries between being a true artist and an idol are actually very slim, and that as long as his work is meaningful to him, it’s important. He also talked about how K-Pop is expanding so much that it feels it’s many different things, which is why BTS feels they are their own genre rather than one that is shifting so often. Finally, he was asked about how nerve-racking it is to think about how their performances have been filmed and spread so they can last for years to come. He confirmed that it makes him work harder and ended with the quote “Life is short. Art is forever.” As always, a very thoughtful ending to a very thoughtful interview.

V:

Taehyung’s look for the cover was a pair of black pants paired with a shirt and coat, both with the same blotchy, white-and-gray tree pattern. They go very well together and the largeness of the coat gives Tae the cozy look he looks so good in. This interview was introduced with a very long description of Taehyung’s sexy voice. Which was so relatable it became one of my favorite interview openings. This interview also noted that singing “Fix You” by Coldplay was Taehyung’s idea. What a genius. On top of all of this, Tae’s first question was about his time on the variety show they had filmed the day before, in which he confessed that he enjoyed it very much but it caused him to sleep very little out of nervousness. Tae then confessed that the interview had had a similar affect on his sleep schedule. The interviewer profusely apologized but Tae was quick to laugh it off. What a cutie. Tae talked a bit about how difficult it is to make a mixtape on his own without the other members to help out, but he also said it’s refreshing to express himself through it. He was asked when he might release it, which can be a very annoying question but, to the interviewers credit, they did acknowledge how much pressure it poses to Tae. Tae said he’s hoping to release it at the end of this year. He was asked about what he’s learned from previous solo-releases, specifically “Sweet Night”, and Tae confessed that it was easier to do because it was for Park Seo-Joon (‘Itaewon Class’ is the drama this is featured in) and also that he wrote it about wanting a good night’s sleep. Someone make this man take a nap. Tae got to gush about his love of Elvis’s songs from his later years, and ended up asking the interviewer if he had any suggestions which was unbelievably adorable. Tae was also asked about the entire “secret member” business, which he initially thought meant he was cut from the group. Tae said he can laugh about it as long as he can mess around with Hitman Bang a bit. His final question was about acting, which he said he might consider again after he turns 30. This interview had so much personality and it was one of the cutest to read!

Suga:

For this interview Yoongi wore a button down with a beautiful blue and orange flower design decorating it. The extra pieces of fabric around the shoulders made it visually interesting and, as always, Yoongi looks amazing with multiple earrings in each ear. This interview started immediately with his shoulder surgery. He said that he still has some physical therapy to do but that he’s feeling much better. He noted that adrenaline often numbed the pain during performances pre-surgery. He was asked about the complex emotions of “First Love”, where he wisely stated that not all aspects of actual first love are positive, and he expressed how important it is for both himself and others to express negative emotions as well as positive ones. When asked about his songwriting process he said that it varies from song to song. He explained that they often decide on a theme first and work freely from there. He specifically starts with the beat, then the melody and rap, and finally lyrics. I loved that the interviewer asked him about his guitar, which he said he was practicing on again. Yoongi evidently hopes to be able to sing and play at the same time in the future. He’s already done a bit of that, and it’s always good, so I can’t wait to see more later on! Yoongi was asked if he regretted spending his youth in a studio, but Yoongi said that he didn’t. He said it gave him the opportunities he has now, though he wishes he would have spent a bit more time resting. Yoongi was interestingly asked if it’s frustrating to know that English fans don’t always get the really meaningful lyrics in their Korean songs. Yoongi simply stated that BTS is trying to write lyrics that foreigners can understand too so more people can relate to their songs. He was asked about his parents initially refusing to understand his desire to rap, which he was very forgiving about and commented that it made him work harder. He ended the interview with the observation that the idea that everyone must evolve helps him stay hungry. Though he thinks the term “hangry” better describes BTS. Man I love Yoongi. As usual, he’s straight-to-the-point and his insights on emotions and mental health speak for themselves.

Those were the final three interviews! While there are definitely things I can criticize about them, they were pretty amazing overall! I would definitely count them among the better interviews BTS has done in America. There is plenty more BTS content to come now that ARMYs like us are swept into the “Butter” craze, but for those who are waiting for some different content, we haven’t forgotten about you! For now, we’re just happily buried in the large amount of BTS content coming our way.

Don’t do anything fun until I get back!

Hallie

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