New Delhi: They are cultural icons, philanthropists, fashion influencers, but above all these labels, K-pop sensation BTS are artistes who are on a constant quest to be the best version of themselves.
BTS - comprising RM, Jin, Suga, J-Hope, Jimin, V and Jungkook - addressed a global virtual press conference in Seoul to promote their new album 'BE' (Deluxe Edition) which releases on Friday.
In response to a question by PTI, about what more the group, already one of the most popular bands in the world, wants to be, J-Hope said the "answer of this question changes all the time".
The septet, whose full name is Bangtan Sonyeondan (Bulletproof Boy Scouts) and enjoy massive popularity across cultures as Beyond The Scene, also completed seven years in 2020 since their debut.
"When I first debuted, the goal was very solid. I wanted to top the music charts and be an artiste who would perform at a big arena. But now it becomes more fundamental," J-Hope, whose real name is Jung Ho-seok, said.
The 26-year-old said he wants to constantly improve.
"The position where I'm standing right now is important to me. I have to know who I am and want to express myself through performances and music. That's my ultimate goal as an artiste." Life came to a grinding halt in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic in 2020, but BTS, through their recent online concert and other social media activities, has been in regular touch with the ARMY, a term for their fans, after their 'Map of the Soul' world tour was cancelled earlier this year.
Jungkook said 2020 brought a lot of "emptiness and frustration" and they wanted to contain all these honest feelings in the album.
"This album doesn't contain songs that are sad or melancholic. We interpreted these songs in a fun, unique way. I hope we find happiness and endure this together," the 23-year-old, whose real name is Jeon Jungkook, said.
Leader RM said for the new album, all members contributed not only with the music, but also on its concept, covers, costumes and music video.
Suga (Min Yoon-gi), who is recuperating from a shoulder surgery, gave the event a miss.
While V turned visual director and Jimin served as project manager for the album, Jungkook directed the music video for the lead single, "Life Goes On".
V, whose real name is Kim Taehyung, said he was "nervous" about taking on the responsibility.
"We wanted to show a really meaningful content to ARMY. It wasn't an easy process but the members and ARMY supported me. We started with taking pictures of each other in our natural selves. When we went on a trip I took a polaroid camera and took pictures when we were hanging out. RM said how about we take the idea of our rooms and that was what we applied to the concept photos," the 24-year-old said.
Jimin said it was Suga who suggested he should take up the role as project manager.
"I organised the opinions of the members and delivered them to the staff. We talked about the topics we should go with and the keywords 'Life goes on' always came up. RM suggested that whatever happens outside, everyone's lives just go on. We should show how we go on when everything has changed. Everyone thought it was a good idea," the 25-year-old, whose real name is Park Ji-min, said.
Jungkook said he wanted to emphasise the personal style of each member with authenticity.
"I like taking videos in general. So I was tasked with creating the music video, I tried to do my best. I tried to reflect the opinions of the members as much as possible. Our tour was cancelled due to COVID-19 and we were not able to meet ARMY. I wanted to express how unfortunate this situation is. Personally, (directing) gave me a dream that I want to create a better music video in future." For 'BE', the septet, for the very first time, also gave a sneak peek into their process of creating music.
"We used to do tours and concerts. We had physical connection with the fans, but felt we were going to get disconnected from the fans. It's like a good restaurant sharing their secret recipe. I believe it was the right choice," RM, whose real name is Kim Nam-joon, said.
This album was already planned before the release of "Dynamite", their first full-fledged English language single that topped the Billboard Hot 100 chart.
"We showed the process of making the album with fans through livestreaming and sharing videos. It feels like we made it together with the fans," RM, 26, added.
"We focused on the emotions we have right now. So it was my chance to look back on my present and myself. Hope people will relate to our candid stories," 27-year-old Jin, whose real name is Kim Seok-jin, said.
The title of the eight-track album 'BE' has an open meaning, Jimin said, so BTS thought it should contain "our rich and diverse stories".
"Life Goes On" conveys a "simple message but profound truth" about life, followed by "Fly To My Room" about how the idea of travelling will change in future.
"Blue & Grey" addresses sadness and depression, "Telepathy" relays how BTS misses fans, "Dis-ease" is about hope at a time when everyone is grappling with mental health issues, "Stay" talks about how ARMY is in group's thoughts, and "Skit" is an insight into their conversations when they topped the Billboard Hot 100 chart.
"Dynamite" is also part of 'BE' as it has the same roots as the lead single.
"We wanted to have a hopeful, positive finale through 'Dynamite' like fireworks ending a concert," RM added.
BTS is also waiting for the Grammy Awards announcement on November 25 and RM said it would be a lie, if he said he was not nervous.
"We always mention this as a goal. We are also waiting for Nov 25th. It would be amazing if we are nominated. I hope there will be amazing news," he said.
"I hope our name is there when the nominations are announced," Jin added.