In a year where much of the world has been brought to standstill, BTS stands out. Unable to perform live and show off their electric choreography on some of the biggest stages across the world, they took a fresh approach: disco.
Not only has it proved to be a success, their single Dynamite has broken records and they’ve become the first all-Korean pop act to top the Billboard 100 singles chart.
RM, Jin, Suga, J-Hope, Jimin, V and Jungkook told me how their fans – and a hit single of course – had helped them through the recent uncertainty.
They didn’t manage to answer all of my questions, including the one most fans ask- when are they going to do their mandatory military service in South Korea. But judging by their tweets, they have been overwhelmed and even in tears at the success of their single. Even the South Korean President, Moon Jae-in tweeted to call it a “splendid feat.”
BTS keep in contact with their fans – or “ARMY” – on social media. It’s a constant conversation with a stream of pictures and videos. This year, more than any other, it seems that may have proved invaluable connection for both the band and their followers.
Congratulations on the success of Dynamite. How does it feel to rise through the world charts including in the UK?
RM: We are so humbled to achieve all these incredible feats, including the Official Singles Chart. A big thank you to our ARMY! “Dynamite” was created in the hopes of bringing some vibrant energy that the world needs right now. We are extremely happy to see people around the world enjoying it.
Jung Kook: Thank you ARMY for being so awesome!
You said that “due to Covid-19, people in the world have been going through tough times and you wanted to share some positive energy with your fans”. Do you feel the final product has achieved that goal?
RM: We would dare say that it has, to some extent! The only thing we want for them is to forget everything and just rock their head and move their body to the beat.
One of the real joys of BTS is seeing you perform live. I can speak from experience that it is electric. How are you coping without those live performances?
Suga: Our world tour plans had to be altered due to COVID-19 and honestly we felt dispirited. We missed the stage and our fans. In order to alleviate this sense of frustration, we planned an online concert in June.
Even though we couldn’t see each other in person, our fans’ heartfelt support from all around the world reached us. This made us realise that there are various ways to support and comfort each other even such times.
Did you enjoy the disco element to the track?
J-hope: Because we are not the disco generation, I did my research by watching videos and tried to embody that vibe as much as possible. It was really fun and had me hooked. Haven’t you been hooked as well?
How difficult has this year been for you as a band?
Jimin: It’s been a tough year for everyone, and we’re not an exception either. We were unable to do many things that we had planned. And as artists who need to connect with people on stage, this was most disheartening. But we are finding ways to cope with this situation, and “Dynamite” was one way for us to do that.
Can we talk a bit about your donation to Black Lives Matter. Why did you decide to donate the money? And what was your reaction when you saw your fans had matched the donation?
RM: We think our Twitter message speaks for itself. We stand against racial discrimination and condemn violence, and all have the right to be respected. We were really thankful to know that the fans were also with us.
Why after all these years did you decide to release a song in English?
V: We all loved this song when we first heard it. It felt fresh, different from what we’ve done so far. In a musical aspect, we thought that singing in English will best fit the song. So there was a unanimous consent amongst us to do it in English.
What message do you have for fans who are struggling around the world?
Jin: I’m not sure if this can be of any help, but I want to tell you to cheer up and stay strong no matter how hard life is now. Let’s try to find together our small joys in the midst of this. Also, listen to Dynamite that will make your time at home more fun!