BTS: ‘Our Fans Inspire Us, Give Us Direction’
The South Korean boy group discuss their songwriting process, lyric distribution and their aspirations post ‘Love Yourself 承 ‘Her’’
As the world holds its breath in anticipation for their fifth mini-album Love Yourself 承 ‘Her’ which releases later today, it’s hard to imagine how South Korean boy band BTS are currently feeling. Our September 2017 cover stars have come a long way from their 2013 debut and have recently dominated the music scene by making the difficult crossover from K-pop band to global pop stars.
Love Yourself 承 ‘Her’ has garnered more than 1.05 million within a week in sales of physical copies through pre-order while the comeback trailer “Serendipity” and teaser trailers for the lead single “DNA” shot to millions of views within hours of their release on YouTube. Fan demand in India alone forced Apple Music to feature all of BTS’ discography on their Indian platform last Friday and after the album’s release today, it’s possible the group’s popularity will double in the country.
While gearing up for what is now being called one of the biggest comebacks in K-pop, Rap Monster, Jin, Suga, J-Hope, Jimin, V and Jungkook sat down last month to answer a couple of questions for Rolling Stone India as a group. They discussed their songwriting process, lyric distribution and their aspirations post the release of Love Yourself 承 ‘Her’.
What can you reveal about Love Yourself 承 ‘Her’? Can you tell us about some of the new themes and genres you are exploring?
BTS: It is going to be different from what we have showed so far. We talked about school, youth and temptation in previous albums with our songs, music videos and concerts, but with the upcoming album, we’re planning to show and share something new with our fans around the world.
You already had a comeback earlier this year and you just finished touring. Now with another release on the cards, you’ll do the whole cycle again. Does it ever get too exhausting or monotonous?
BTS: For every artist, the cycle like ours is a dream come true. You get to release albums with your writing more than once a year and you constantly tour around the world to meet your fans up close [and] personal. We cannot ask for more than the moments we’re living right now. Of course, we get tired from time to time, but after a short break between events and albums, we get energized and encouraged by cheers from the fans.
Are all the members involved in the songwriting and producing for Love Yourself 承 ‘Her’ like they were with Wings?
BTS: We’re still working on it and not sure of the final credits of the album, but the way we write, produce and record tracks stays the same in which everyone shows what he’s got and picks out the best that suits the theme and style of each new album.
Can you tell us a little about your songwriting process? What are some of the things that inspire or influence each of you?
BTS: [Our] fans tell us about their feelings, failures, passions and struggles all the time. We are often inspired by them because we try to write about how real young people—like the seven of us—face real-life issues. Most of our music is about how we perceive the world and how we try to persist as normal, average human beings. So our fans inspire us and give us a direction to go as musicians. Some of us get inspired by movies, books and music by other talented artists.
A lot of the time I’ve seen fans talking about lyric distribution in each song and how certain members are not given enough lines. How do you guys decide on who will sing each part of a song and how do you keep it equal or fair to each member?
BTS: [The] decisions are based on making each track perfect in terms of rap and vocals. Everything is discussed with producers and all seven members in the band. At the end of the day, the most important thing is to create a great song that makes listeners satisfied with what they hear and that’s all that matters to us, as artists.
What do each of you personally want to accomplish with your future releases? Are there any goals you want to meet or things you want to try which you haven’t before?
BTS: We did talk about this actually and came to the conclusion that we want to go for Billboard Hot 100 as high as possible. We’d need a lot of radio plays and streaming to achieve this goal, which means we should release really great new songs for people to listen to, stream and download.
Watch the teasers for “DNA” below: