EXCLUSIVE: BTS Celebrate Their Biggest Album Ever and Reveal What They Love About Themselves
By Jennifer Drysdale
Welcome to BTS' next chapter.
The K-pop boyband shocked the biggest names in music when they beat out artists like Justin Bieber and Selena Gomez for the Top Social Artist award at the Billboard Music Awards in May -- but their success is no surprise.
With 8.4 million Twitter followers and a fan base so dedicated it's referred to as ARMY, BTS is one of the hottest acts in Asia, and soon, the United States.
"There is much more recognition of BTS music than before the BBMAs," V, one of the band's seven members, told ET. "Which means fans have higher expectations than before. We're trying to live up to it and I hope the new album can be the answer to that expectation."
The new album, Love Yourself: Her, dropped on Monday and was even shattering records weeks before its release with over one million pre-orders, according to BTS' label, BigHit Entertainment. By Tuesday, Love Yourself had already topped the iTunes Album charts at No. 1 in a record-breaking 73 countries, the largest debut release for any South Korean artists. And "DNA," the album's lead single, is also blowing up on YouTube with nearly 30 million views since its early Monday release.
ET caught up with V, Rap Monster, Jimin, Jin, Jungkook, Suga and J-Hope on Tuesday, where they opened up about their incredible success, their fifth EP, and what's next.
ET: Love Yourself: Her is already a huge hit around the world. Were you surprised?
Rap Monster: We’re surprised at the huge response when each album is released but it is beyond our expectation and overwhelming this time. Our new songs topped iTunes chart in 73 countries and made its debut at No. 4 on the US iTunes Song chart. "DNA" music video views surpassed 10 million in just 8 hours, which was the fastest for Korean artists ever. We are very grateful to our fans worldwide for appreciating our music and video.
The music video for "DNA" is a little different from your past music videos, and includes some intense choreography -- what does this mean for other music videos off this album? How long did it take to shoot the video?
J-Hope: BTS’ music videos always have intense choreography, but it was even more difficult to learn all the dance moves before the shoot. It may look different compared to previous videos due to complex use of computer graphics and edit styles for "DNA" video, but it took three full days to shoot. Everyone was great in learning the choreography, although there were many different moves we had to perform for the video. Personally, I think Jungkook and Jimin really pulled it off nicely.
You collaborated with The Chainsmoker's Andrew Taggart on the song "Best of Me" after meeting at the BBMAs. What was the collaboration process like? What did you learn from him?
Rap Monster: We first met at the BBMAs last May. [We] were invited to The Chainsmokers’ rehearsal backstage for the award show and we had fun talking about music and many things. The duo sent us several tracks after we returned home from BBMAs and we selected a couple of tracks to work together. "Best of Me" was the best for our new album in many ways so we decided to write lyrics and finish it together. The song came out great and we were all satisfied with the collaborative process. Andrew is awesome; he’s passionate about music and I think there should be more opportunities for us to work again in near future.
Who's your next big dream collaborator?
Jungkook: My biggest dream collaborator would be Justin Bieber because I just love his voice and the way he collaborates with other artists. However, I’d like to give it a try with whoever has the right chemistry with BTS musically.
Suga: I’m pretty much open to anyone who’s unique and has mutual appreciation in the music as BTS. I have some tracks and songs written for future collaboration and I’m happy to work with artists who have the right voice and taste.
The song “Skit: Billboard Music Awards,” features Rap Monster’s speech from the awards show -- what made you choose to incorporate that into your new album?
Rap Monster: It was one of many ideas we had for this album and we all thought that it would mean a lot to BTS and our fans if we have it permanently in the album and cherish that special moment for everyone. We’re facing the second chapter with Love Yourself: Her in terms of music and life and the BBMAs is like a new turning point for BTS in many ways.
Rap Monster already revealed that Barack Obama was an inspiration for "MIC Drop" -- Why? Who else were you inspired by on this album?
Suga: There are so many things that inspire us. For me, it’s people around me. And for RM, it can be books he reads. In general, what fans talk about and think about become a very important source of inspiration to us, because we want to write something that’s real to people, especially those who listen to BTS’ music.
During your live stream on Monday, Rap Monster said that his favorite song is "Ocean," but that song wasn't released with the album. What can you tease about when the song will drop, and what it sounds like?
Rap Monster: It’s one of two hidden tracks you can listen to only on the physical album. "Ocean" has a lot of things I thought about since my debut in BTS four years ago. I have lived through many different dreams, worries and emotions in past years and I wanted to share those moments in the song. Sound-wise, there’s guitar and synth and the song is over five minutes, which is quite long. I hope people like it as one of the surprises I’ve prepared.
You changed up your hair color since we last saw you -- who decides when it's time to change your look?
Jimin and J-Hope: The hair color decision is based on the concept of the new album and the timing is discussed with the whole production timeline. Each member’s opinion counts, so our stylists and creative team propose optional colors for us to choose from. But at the end of the day, they’re professionals and they know what they’re doing and in most cases, the proposed colors turn out to be the best for each member.
This new album marks a new chapter in your careers after School, The Most Beautiful Moment in Life and Wings. What do you want fans to know about this new era of BTS?
Rap Monster: We tried many new things for this album and I’d like to label it as "innovative," if I may. There will be new styled songs, new video, and many new things from now on. We want to evolve as artists and develop what we have within ourselves. If we ever slow down or even fail for our trials, it’s OK and we’ll be and stay as BTS. In addition, I’d like people to love themselves and think about what true love is while listening to the new album, because real love calls for courage to appreciate myself as is.
What do each of you love about yourselves?
Jin: I love my face and how it looks, which I appreciate very much.
Jimin: I love my attitude towards work and tendency for perfection.
V: My newly discovered talent to shoot great photos.
You're wrapping up your tour this December. When will you be back performing in the U.S.?
Rap Monster: We do have plans for a world tour in 2018 so we will definitely go back to the U.S. soon and meet our fans as much as we can. If there’s any special opportunity for us any time soon, we’ll make sure to share it with you first.