Today BTS were for the first time on BBC Radio 1 Live Lounge (from Seoul). They performed "I'll Be Missing You" (Puff Daddy, Faith Evans & Sting cover), "Dynamite" and "Permission To Dance".
“Butter” has been at the top of the Billboard Hot 100 chart for six weeks straight. (This interview took place on July 12)
Jung Kook: I was never attached to rankings, but as good as it is and as happy as I am since we’ve kept setting records since “Dynamite,” it also feels like a burden.
Is it because you’ve been successful beyond anything you could’ve imagined?
Jung Kook: Sort of. A huge number of people have given me recognition, so I’ve been going along thinking I have to work harder, but we did even better with “Butter” than with “Dynamite,” so I think I ended up feeling weighed down. That’s what I’m like. BTS is an amazing team, but maybe my problem is that I’m not able to keep up with BTS.
You were the one to set the mood for “Butter” by singing the intro to the song. Didn’t that make you feel good? You were definitely as amazing as the team itself. (laughs)
Jung Kook: “Butter” just feels so good. It’s different from our usual style, so it felt different while recording. The song’s great, too. I love that, but it’s separate from that feeling of pressure. I mean, I hope BTS does even better, honestly. Lately I’ve been thinking that that pressure means I need to do better. After “Dynamite” became number one on the Billboard Hot 100, it’s not like we’re being forced to try harder; it’s just my personal ambition. I think I can do better.
Why do you think “Dynamite” wasn’t as satisfying?
Jung Kook: Because I couldn’t express everything I wanted the way I wanted to. When I listen to the remixes, I think about how I could’ve sung it differently. Like, “Aw, man! If only I could do it again!” (laughs) I got some things from singing “Dynamite,” like, I’m not quite there yet. So I try to practice singing at least an hour every day, no matter what. Any singer who’s been at number one on Billboard for six weeks had better be really good at singing. That’s what I think.
Something about the way you sang in English probably made you hear your own singing in a new light. Your tone is different from when you sing in Korean.
Jung Kook: Sometimes you have to bear down a little on your words to talk in Korean. Plus I’m from Busan, so I speak in a little bit of a low voice. I don’t have that when I use English, though, so it’s like there’s pros and cons. It’s easy to use your head voice when you sing in English as well, but it can be uncomfortable, while in Korean, if you try to sing higher using your head voice, it can sound a bit nasally sometimes. But at the same time, it can be hard to break old habits when I sing in English since I’ve always been singing in Korean.
“Dynamite,” “Butter” and “Permission to Dance” are all English songs and you were in charge of the introduction for all three. It seems like you put some thought into how to create different impressions for each song.
Jung Kook: “Butter’s” really bouncy, as you know. It’s a little deep, it’s got a driving beat, it’s rhythmical. And before I record, I listen to a recording with guide vocals, and then when I go to record, I have to keep all these characteristics in mind and mix them together with my own style properly in this subtle way. I think it’s seriously an intuition. (laughs) I had a hard time when we were recording, obviously, and when I first did it, my voice didn’t sound right, so I had to keep looking for the right voice. I think the most important thing is to really nail the voice you want to use first, and so is figuring out how to make it your own. In “Permission to Dance,” for instance, I sang it more the way I wanted than the style the guide vocals had.
How do you come to that kind of conclusion?
Jung Kook: Everyone’s voice has to sound different, so it can be overpowering if I copy the guide too much when I sing. So sometimes I follow what I’m thinking of exclusively. I was thinking about how I should sing the first part of “Permission to Dance,” and when I went to record it, even Pdogg, the producer, told me, “It’ll work best if you go with your own voice, your own style.”
What effect does listening to so many other artists’ songs and analyzing them have on you?
Jung Kook: The more I listen to music, the more my vocals change. It really changes a lot when we get a song and listen to it and practice it. I guess you could say my vocal cords are always readying themselves for improvement when I practice. (laughs) And improving while I record, and just improving any time I sing. But there’s also times when it suddenly doesn’t sound right when I try it the way I want, so I just give it a try, or I quickly look up other vocalists and listen to their songs or ask some of the older artists. Doing that helps me find a certain voice I’m looking for.
You sang uncannily similar to SUGA when you briefly sang his part in “Life Goes On” over V LIVE, even though your voices are different. You’re quick at picking up on the characteristics of others’ vocals.
Jung Kook: I used to rely on that a lot. Like, I can hear [the characteristics in their voices] at least. (laughs) Now, though, it’s like, Oh, [I] guess I shouldn’t do it that way. You can safely assume I’ve heard a countless number of other singers’ songs. Then I would think a lot about how I want to sing, thinking how those other singers would sing, before making my own voice. I carry over those people’s voices and vocal patterns and think about how it would sound if they sang in this room, then I think about how it would sound in my own voice, and then sometimes I can make my voice sound similar if I try to.
It seems like it was important for you to find your own style for the performances as well. Not only were the three English songs different from your earlier work, but there were also a lot of parts in “Butter” that you could only perform through gestures and facial expressions.
Jung Kook: Before “Butter,” I just worked really hard, and had fun doing it, in whatever way I wanted but starting with “Butter” I think I managed to do things in a more thought-out way. I was more attentive to my facial expressions and movements and thought through what I should do in each situation in each performance to do it in my own style. And it was kind of a fun process. I don’t feel any pressure about that; I just thought I can create that kind of image if I just try to be a little cool and not cringey (laugh) for people from now on.
What image do you want people to have of you, as an artist? One that says, This is who I am as an artist right now.
Jung Kook: I don’t think I’m at the level where I need to worry about that yet. I have a general idea about what kind of singer I want to be and what I want to be really good at, but I don’t think I’ve ever imagined defining myself as a certain type of singer yet. Because it’s an ongoing process, when I can prove myself, then, bam!—I give proof and become a truly influential person, only then can I go around saying, This is the kind of singer I am. For now, I don’t have anything, I guess you could say, “substantial” to show off. I think, Even if I’m part of BTS and tour stadiums, does that automatically make me better than other artists? And then, by thinking so, I center myself again.
Couldn’t you be a little softer on yourself?
Jung Kook: No. I have to think about the future many times throughout the day. For example, sometimes I spend a whole day doing whatever, but whenever I do, I regret it severely. So I promise myself that I’ll get this and that done. That’s how I live, because if I don’t think that way, I won’t jump into action to get anything done. It’s like the title of our song, “Life Goes On”: the treadmill just keeps on going, and we’re on it, so I always think, I’d better not ever stop. I can express myself better if I think while I talk, and I can organize my thoughts while reflecting back on what I said. I try to think about everything in that way. I think I need to improve, whether it’s at singing or my hobbies—more than now, better than now.
Are you doing particularly well with any of your hobbies these days? It seems like you got a little better at painting, judging by your vlog.
Jung Kook: I think I’m getting better overall, little by little. My vocals are where I’ve definitely improved lately. And bowling! (laughs) I learn how to paint by watching videos on YouTube. I think I’m good at picking up skills by emulating others. I’m actually not good at learning things. (laughs) I just like to do what I like to do and I naturally learn from the people around me, I guess. And I think the things I really want to learn are still the same: singing, English, exercise.
Learning from other people and wanting to do better is a form of recognizing who you can compare yourself against. Are you at all influenced by the other members? You’ve talked a lot about how much you’ve been influenced by the six older members.
Jung Kook: I think I started paying attention to people other than myself after I moved to Seoul and met the other members. I wasn’t paying attention to my surroundings, but I do notice them now. It’s like I really started to see myself for who I am from that point on.
That makes me think of when you talked about seeing the sights in Seoul for the first time on tvN’s You Quiz on the Block, the way you got to know the feelings the outside world can give.
Jung Kook: The first time I saw the streets of Seoul, they were enormous. I was really worried, since I’d just come to Seoul, and I got to know myself because of the change of environment. I think it was the very first time for me to think for myself, and it became the starting point for me to get to know myself.
When you took some candy you liked from the BTS pop-up store, j-hope said you were still the same from when you first met when you were 13 years old. Do you think you haven’t changed at all compared to back then?
Jung Kook: In some way I must be better or different on the outside, but I’m sure there’s still things about me that are the same as when I was 13. I learned how to be considerate towards the other members and how to understand them because I fought with them occasionally, but nobody’s going to stop me if I take candy. I take it like I always did. Like when Hobi and I fought over a single banana. (laughs)
But what’s changed about you, then? Being a member of BTS must have had an effect on your view of the world. You sought understanding from your vegetarian viewers when you were eating meat in a salad on V LIVE before.
Jung Kook: I thought to ask because I know that many people abroad, and in Korea, too, are vegetarians. It’s one of the things you learn when you tour around many different countries. Obviously I don’t know about every single country’s culture or personal identities or choices, so even though I have a long way to go, I think it’s important to respect them based on what I do know.
I think you must know that you’ve had an influence on a lot of people. Partway into your V LIVE, you talked about how you couldn’t find any of the kombucha you drank before anymore because it was all sold out and you thanked your fans for giving a little help to small business owners.
Jung Kook: Restaurants aren’t doing well and there’s a lot of closed-up shops in the markets now, as you know. So if I’ve had an effect on even one person, it’s been worthwhile. And sometimes the people I’ve had an influence on go on to make donations, too. There could always be someone who takes advantage of the things I say or do, but I’m confident a lot of people will use them for good.
This influence is something you’ve crafted with your fandom, ARMY. I imagine you’ve been influenced not only by the other members but also by ARMY since you were young.
Jung Kook: There’s a lot going on inside a concert venue: the lighting, the stage, the floor, the stage design, the video projected on the screen. Plus there’s the music, the dancing, and us. Even if they’re all in balance, ARMY has to be there to complete the scene. When it comes to our concerts, ARMY are the ones who bought the tickets and they’re the main characters. I think everything we focus on comes back down to ARMY. We share in each other’s feelings and they’re the source of our strength, and I think they have synergy with us. It’s not enough to just say ARMY and us like each other, or that we love each other. There’s definitely more to it than that. It’s, well—I don’t know. It’s hard to put into words. (laughs)
I think you need ARMY to be there at the concert for you to fully realize the concert you’re aiming for.
Jung Kook: Yes, exactly! Even if everything’s set up and we’re in front of the camera, if ARMY’s not there, it’s a completely different concert. Even when ARMY’s there and there’s a live camera broadcasting it, I’m like, There’s a camera? Sure. Obviously I care about it when I have to say hello to ARMY sitting on the other side, in front of their screens. Other than that, I get all my energy from all the ARMY sitting right in front of me. That’s how much they mean to me. It’s completely different.
The concept for BTS 2021 MUSTER SOWOOJOO was similar to being in concert with an audience. It must’ve made you think of ARMY even more.
Jung Kook: I’m seriously good as long as I can perform. I can put on more and more concerts in the space of a year if we’re touring. I felt it more profoundly this time since we couldn’t perform with an audience. Wow, I really took things for granted all this time. I should’ve done more.
You must be disappointed. It’s your time to shine as a vocalist and as a performer.
Jung Kook: (sighs) I, well, I really need to hurry up and make a mixtape, first of all. (laughs)
How’s your mixtape going?
Jung Kook: I was working on it just before I came. But it’s hard! (laughs) I could just make it about myself, and then it would be like, I started as a trainee when I was 13, I worked hard, and found success. But anyone could do that. So I keep thinking I want to make up my own original, complex story and write the songs from there. Billie Eilish’s debut album left a big mark on me when it came out, in that respect. And it’d be nice to have a cohesive flow to the tracklist, but even if it’s all jumbled up, that’s fine, too, as long the good songs keep on coming. That’s sort of what I’m thinking. So these days, rather than focusing on the album’s story as a whole, I’m just going to write whatever it is I want to say in each song. If I get that feeling right after listening to a track, I’ll try and make it. And I’m going to try to make it a little bit light-hearted.
It can’t be easy for you to concentrate on it if you’re making it here and there between all your other work.
Jung Kook: It’s fine if it takes a really long time—it’s just hard to work on it in pieces. I mean, if I stay up late working away at it, it’s hard to get through the next day. (laughs) I stayed up all night again last night and slept between appointments today, but I’m still going to keep working like this today and then go work on my mixtape again anyway. I’ll do my best to release it as soon as possible. I want to write and record a lot of material.
Is there anything about yourself, other than your work or concerts, that you want to show to ARMY as an individual?
Jung Kook: I want to show them, that, umm … Just my real self, Jeon Jung Gook. That I’m fairly easy-going, very honest, and nothing special.
What kind of person do you think you are now?
Jung Kook: I’m, I’m a, lazy … person. (laughs)
You’re being very hard on yourself. (laughs) How could you be lazy if you’re a part of BTS?
Jung Kook: No, I really am lazy. (laughs) If I were alone I’d probably miss a lot of my appointments. (laughs) But I have to avoid making any mistakes when we function as a group. I’m really lazy, and—oh, I overthink things sometimes. I think more than people might expect, and I do things my way. Plus, even though I don’t care what other people think of me, I kind of still do. (laughs) I have no idea. I’m sort of goofy—? But I’m also trying to live a full life—I’m that kind of person. (laughs)
Thank you for the interview. Oh, by the way, I liked your “Butter” fan cam. Your moves were really agile.
Jung Kook: Really? Do you think I’ve gotten better? (laughs)
“Butter” has been a huge sensation in the United States.
j-hope: I did work hard preparing for it, but whenever I try to embrace an unintended success, in my mind I’m always like … It’s like half happiness, half a feeling that makes me think seriously about what I accomplished. There’s a sense of responsibility that comes along with such an honorable achievement. ARMY’s done so much to keep us at number one, and I’m incredibly thankful for that. At the same time, I also realized that our names are becoming known to more people in the world of American pop music.
It seems like the bigger the success is, the more things you end up thinking about.
j-hope: In the past I would just humbly accept it, and it was something I worked hard for so I was happy to accept it—and that was somewhat immature, I guess, but now it’s different. I’ve been working constantly for over eight years, and it hasn’t been easy to achieve so much in that time. So from now on I’m tacking a question mark onto how I should carry on and maintain things the way they are and what attitude and stance I should have right now. It’s homework I haven’t been able to figure out yet, basically.
What effect do such thoughts have on the way you express yourself as an artist?
j-hope: I’m also a performer, and I don’t think I take any performance lightly. Ever since we did “Dynamite,” the number of times I go over my performances after they’re done has gone way up. I felt like I’m responsible for making the dances stand out, so I thought I have to try my very best for that aspect. You don’t want to underdeliver on a performance when that many people are sending out their love to you. Each and every one of the members thinks so, and I think we’ve created an atmosphere for our practices where we are able to see how important these things are. After all, even if we don’t show it to one another, we all know how important it is to practice our performances.
It seems like there must be an atmosphere of understanding in the practice studio.
j-hope: We used to have to practice for a long time, again and again, to sync up with each other. We’d practice for around 10 hours, review our performances, take a break and then get right back into it, rest some more and do it again. That was then, but now, after all that experience, each member knows where they need to focus, so we coordinate our dispositions and make intense breakthroughs and do what we need to until it’s just right, and then we take a break we really take a break. Now we don’t even really have to think about it. So it’s like, All right, let’s do everything we have to do quickly so we can hurry up and get some rest. This part doesn’t seem right though? Let’s get through this quickly. That’s how we do it. We’re more efficient about work and practice now.
Did that have an effect on you individually as well? As you think more about your performances, the parts you concentrate on might change.
j-hope: The dancing is important, but I think I came to realize just how important the visual aspect is. The reason I change my hairstyle or whatnot so often these days is because I want my appearance to blend naturally with the song. Since I’ve always been a dancer I just kept working hard at the things I could do best. But obviously it’s important not to go overboard with the visuals, so I kept an eye on it and adjusted it for each performance. That’s the most important part.
Your dancing in “Butter” is one thing, but it’s also a performance where you need to demonstrate your character. What were you hoping to show off?
j-hope: I wanted to show how much I’ve grown in “Butter.” The style is bold and revolved around well-tailored suits and the whole thing felt sexy. I tried to get that across as much as I could. And I learned a lot from watching the members who are good at expressing that. I took all the different ways I thought of that I could try out and melted them all down together, smooth like butter. (laughs)
What’s going through your mind when you’re performing, especially when the spotlight’s on you? Like when you do that attention-grabbing dance break full of slow movements in “Butter,” or the solo disco dancing you did for the “Dynamite” dance break at MMA 2020.
j-hope: My mindset doesn’t change. When the spotlight’s on me, that’s an opportunity for me, in a way. It’s a chance for me to shine among our team and its seven amazing members, so I’m always on the lookout to make good use of such opportunities by doing my best. I shouldn’t turn down what I’ve got coming to me, and show off everything I’ve got to show. ARMY and the general public will be the judges, and if they have something to say about it, I have to accept and correct it, I think. I want to say that I developed my own type of growth for myself by repeatedly correcting and practicing and correcting and practicing. I’ve been dancing a long time, but I always feel like I could be doing more, so I put in the effort and I take pleasure in when I make something that turns out really well.
But, if you look at your “Butter” fancam, you continuously react along with the other members dancing even when you’re not the focus of the main camera.
j-hope: I’m not consciously doing it. But these days when I watch overseas awards ceremonies or pop artists’ performances that they’ve shot on video, I feel like they don’t really have any heavily edited parts or quick cuts. They capture the artists’ energy while showing the whole scene, so I’m always thinking about how I never know where or how I’m going to be captured on film. So even when the camera is mainly focusing on Jin, in some cases you can still see me in the back, and so I think setting the mood in the background in order not to interfere with his part is an extremely important part of a good performance.
I thought you were very consistent. When SUGA comes forward to rap toward the end of the song, you keep tossing out little shouts to boost up the mood.
j-hope: It’s fun, you know? Doing that. (laughs)
That sounds like a good balance insofar as you can continue to express yourself individually while staying devoted to the group.
j-hope: I agree. I think that’s something I always had in the back of my head. But as I’m performing within this big group structure, making sure not to interfere with that comes before anything else.
The “Permission to Dance” performance has a different flavor than “Butter” in that sense. While “Butter” gives each member their moment to shine, “Permission to Dance” seems to place importance on the overall mood of the entire group. I feel like it brings out your personal trait of being bright and hopeful.
j-hope: When we got the song, it occurred to me that I could just be myself in this one. There’s no need to act; I can just use the real feeling I get when I’m on stage. That’s also the message the song is aiming for, so I think it came across naturally. Like I’m happy, but also on the verge of tears?
Your dance makes use of sign language. Although it is a dance, it also conveys language, so I imagine there were a lot of things to consider.
j-hope: Yes, there were. We’re conveying language even though we don’t use a lot of sign language in our dance moves. So although the song is nice and light overall, even when we were practicing we were saying how we have to make sure the moves are perfectly accurate. We thought we should understand the importance behind sign language to properly convey its significance. So we thought we should do our best to do the moves correctly while at the same time trying to fill the song with enjoyment and positive emotions. We spent quite a lot of time integrating the moves into the dance routine, and so I think we were able to show off our attitude about the performance pretty naturally.
I think your vocals and facial expressions at the start of the second verse of “Permission to Dance” help people intuitively grasp what kind of song it is. It makes me think of what you said in the “ARMY Corner Store” video uploaded to YouTube for your 2021 FESTA celebration of the group’s eighth anniversary—that you’re the “vitamins” for the group.
j-hope: And I am. I used that expression because I feel like I consistently, and unchangingly (laughs) give the team good energy. I don’t know if I’m actually the vitamins or not. Looking back, I’ve always tried to give them good energy and keep them in a good mood, and I think it’s safe to say now that I’m one of those people who try hard to keep their group’s energy up. I still get a little embarrassed, though. (laughs) I wouldn’t say that I don’t feel any pressure at all about the label. All seven of us have to act as one for BTS to work, and that’s always on my mind, so it forces me to be careful that I’m not standing out from the rest of them. Because the team functions well when everyone has their own role. And because I always keep that in mind whenever I think, I should do whatever I can do, I’m able to contribute to the team and I think I ended up feeling a little more confident about the things that I found difficult to express in the past.
Was there a push behind that change?
j-hope: I felt, and realized, exactly what I needed to do with my own personal identity and energy right after I released my first mixtape. From that point on, I thought that I should express my musical views and things like my energy regularly, but not in any intense way. Before, as time went by and the group really blew up, I think I had let go of a lot of the pressure to express myself. Then I started to feel like I wanted to try expressing myself in my own way, even as the team did well.
When you revealed your depressive side directly in the time from when you put out “Dis-ease” during the pandemic period to “Blue Side” from your mixtape, was that a reflection of that influence as well?
j-hope: People’s emotions change every day and so do their feelings and the things they can accept throughout their lives, right? So I think the changing emotions I felt and came to accept as the group grew in popularity is also expressed by the way my songs changed. It’s also something I always spend time thinking about, but I’m just another young person living his life on this planet. I’m not really different from anybody else, which means I can’t always be as bright as I was on Hope World. So that’s why I tried a different approach to the things I could express.
What did you find out after trying that?
j-hope: I ended up thinking about the shadows inside me. I didn’t realize it when we were promoting, but with the whole world suddenly at a standstill, we have all this time where we can’t do anything and I can see all the shadows underneath—sitting spaced out in the studio, thinking about what kind of life I’ve lived, seeing BTS’s performances on TV, I think, That’s who I was. The amount of willpower I found during this time has been tremendous. I figured I’d better use all those feelings entirely and all at once, that those are emotions and songs that could probably only ever be written at this time anyway, so I put all those emotions down like a diary, and “Dis-ease” was born. With “Dis-ease” as a starting point, I thought I could include stuff like my inner darkness, and that’s why I was able to release “Blue Side.”
What did you see when you looked inward?
j-hope: I ended up seeing a side to the real Jeong Hoseok’s life that I couldn’t perceive before. I kept thinking about what life would be best for j-hope while we were working, so I wondered what Jeong Hoseok’s life would look like as a whole. While that was happening I realized I’m not just some always-cheery person—I experience hardship, too. So I thought I could grow closer with listeners by sharing little parts of me that I had been hiding away, and that it would be interesting to show people a side of me that’s different from their idea of who j-hope is. Most importantly, I don’t feel any resistance about who I am right now. As a person who makes music and releases songs about his personal life, I think this is all part of the process.
There’s a line in “Blue Side” where you sing, “Now I just want to burn blue to death.” It seems here, too, something of your shadow was revealed.
j-hope: If you’re burning to death, it’d be very hot. But the parts I called blue are a place I consciously escape to to avoid things. It’s a place I escape to that I could safely live in and be swallowed up by, but I don’t want to do that. So I think I tried to show that I want to stir up my passion for the things I wanted to do even if I’m burning blue to death. To be honest with you, I don’t know how I came up with those lyrics exactly. I wrote that part a really long time ago when we were on tour overseas. I’m not a big drinker, but those were the first lyrics I ever released that I wrote while drinking. (laughs) When I write lyrics when I’m drinking I often regret them when I see them in the morning, but when I take a look at them again after some time, I can tell they’re lyrics that I could only ever write with the feelings I get at that time. When I release that kind of song, I get some kind of feeling. And when I give myself feedback about my own music, a version of myself who’s different from the way I was before I made the music emerges.
Is there anything else you’ve learned about yourself lately?
j-hope: Um … I’m—what should I say—not the kind of person to settle for their life as it is. I could just keep living like I am and do whatever I want with my life, but I don’t know, honestly. I’ve already had so many amazing things happen but I want to take things one step further, as an individual and as a member of BTS. A thought came to me one day: Have I been challenging myself at all lately? Outside of making songs or dancing? But the answer was no. So I decided I would challenge myself and give some things a try, one of which was studying English. It’s still hard and I have a long way to go, but I’m trying my best given our current schedule.
What are you getting out of studying English, do you think?
j-hope: If I can speak in English then I can give and take directions with English-speaking artists myself when I’m working on music. My thinking is that this is one channel of communication I can open that will open up more possibilities in my life. But it could end up being hard to keep studying with our current schedule (laughs) so even though I say I’ll do it, I might not be able to. Your mind could change at any minute and you could come to different decisions any time, depending on how you want to live your life. Right now I’m trying to do music for music’s sake, challenge myself with performances for performance’s sake, and try hard personally for BTS. And I’m working hard to figure out what I need to do for my next steps.
What do you imagine your next step will be?
j-hope: I think my next step personally is to grow our music globally. I’ve been doing some self-reflection lately and there’s plenty that I want to do. I have a lot of dreams, too. Making it this far with the group, seeing the other pop artists we’ve been vying with on the Billboard chart, really left an impression on me, and now I’m more serious about wanting to express something. So for example, I’m dreaming of growing our music globally since the environment to have good synergy with foreign artists has already been built.
You, and BTS too, have worked your way up step by step and now you’re able to dream up new steps. In the 2021 FESTA “ARMY Corner Store” video, you said the present is possible only because BTS followed the path that it did since its debut song, so you didn’t want to alter any of your past. (laughs) Still, is there anything you’d want to say to your past self if you could say just one thing?
j-hope: As a joke, I’d say, Hey, listen to this melody: “smooth like butter”—write that. If you do that, you’ll be number one on Billboard. I could do it that way, right? (laughs) But for me, even the parts of my life that weren’t good became opportunities for growth. So rather than telling my past self to fix something, I’d just tell him to believe in himself and move on with his life however he feels like, and keep working hard, keeping things the way they are. Other than that, I’d have nothing to say to him.
So how do you feel about ARMY now that they’ve climbed all those steps with BTS?
j-hope: ARMY is absolutely … I feel like they’ve become an icon themselves. I’m so proud of them. They’re amazing. ARMY is like an artist in itself now, too. Sort of like they’re one big symbol of the era? ARMY is as famous as BTS now. I think we give each other good energy, and helped each other to make something good. It might sound obvious coming from a member of BTS, but if I were ARMY, I’d never be ashamed to call myself a fan of BTS. Anyway, I’m seriously … I want them to always know I’m really, really grateful for them.
Sources: BBC Radio 1 1 | 2 | 3, Weverse 1 & 2