FULL TRANSCRIPT: BTS shares thoughts on Billboard victory
SEOUL — Global sensation BTS broke another record Tuesday by becoming the first South Korean act to land at No. 1 on Billboard’s main singles chart with its newest track, “Dynamite.”
Only one other Asian musician, Japanese singer Kyu Sakamoto, has ever made it to the top of the Billboard Hot 100, and that was back in 1963. Korean soloist Psy got close in 2012 with “Gangnam Style,” peaking at No. 2.
To celebrate the historic win, the septet hosted a surprise media showcase to share their thoughts. Here are the questions that were asked at the showcase, and the band members’ answers.
Q. How do you feel about topping the Billboard?
J-Hope: First of all, I never imagined that BTS would be a team that could top the Hot 100 chart, and I can’t tell whether it’s a dream or not. I started this work because I liked music and dancing, but I feel overwhelmed because my team’s sincerity seems to have connected with the world. Above all, it is an honor for our fans too. Our fans’ unfaltering support is my driving force to work hard, and I think that power (helped create) today’s BTS and J-Hope. I want to give all the glory to our fans.
Jimin: We had so much fun until yesterday that we’re kind of out of energy today. We were so excited and happy. I’d never imagined it, but I also thought perhaps we could try it once one day. Others started expecting that from us, the members (of BTS) and our fans too, but I still can’t believe it. I’m so happy, I didn’t know what to think. I am thankful for my bandmates, who worked hard together every day. I am thankful to our fans, all the Big Hit family.
RM: I didn’t think I would be sharing my sentiments officially, so let me think. I was the first person to hear the news. I wasn’t sleeping that night and after I checked, I tried to go to bed as fast as I could because we had commitments and rehearsals the next day. I tried to say calm. I thought about the old days when we ate budaejjigae (stew), when we got into trouble at the recording studio. My role in this has been minor. I’m thankful for the band members, our fans, reporters, staff members and composers.
Jungkook: When I checked the chart, I was suspicious of the page I was looking at. I was dumbfounded for a while and I want to say thank you to ARMY for helping us achieve great results. I’d like to say thank you to my bandmates. I’m lucky to have been able to work with and meet amazing people — my bandmates, the Big Hit label, our fans, our staff — and achieve this result. It is a great honor to have accomplished a feat like this in my life. Oh, and it was my birthday too. Thank you for this big present. I think I did well in my life. Thank you, Mom and Dad. I love you, ARMY.
Jin: RM posted a picture in our message room — us getting to No. 1 on Billboard — about 10 minutes before the announcement? Then he said, “Oops, it was photoshopped.” Then he posted the same picture 10 minutes later. I thought hard about what to say and how to express my happiness via Weverse. But the only thing I could say was that BTS and ARMY made it together. It was a song that we made purely to enjoy with our fans. I’m happy that it got good results. It’s all thanks to the fans.
Suga: I am still bewildered. I’m the one who usually responds to questions about our goals, and (hitting) No. 1 on the Hot 100 was something — ah, yes, we wanted to try it once. When I checked the chart at dawn, I pinched myself to see if it was a dream or not. I was so happy because I’d listened to the Billboard chart since I was so young. It is an amazing honor and I want to thank our fans.
V: I thought about how seven years ago, we were all living together and clustered in the basement studio, singing and dancing. I don’t know why I thought of this, but I suddenly remembered coming to Seoul and taking a cab with my dad and how the cab driver went around the city to get more money from us. My dad said, “This happens,” but I felt so angry. Now I think back to our old times and hardships, and I think of them as happy, unforgettable memories. So at least today, I want everyone to be happy without any worries or anxieties.
Q. What would be the next goal for BTS?
Suga: It’s an honor to have all our goals come true, but it does feel like a burden each time we set a new one. Remember how we did a collab performance earlier this year at the Grammys? We want to perform at the Grammys (again). We want to be onstage on our own and sing one of our songs.
Q. Jimin, you shared online that you cried a lot after hearing about the news. What was the meaning behind your tears?
Jimin: I don’t know why I cried. I heard the news pretty late, around 4 a.m. (RM shared the news at 3:30 a.m.) and cried until 7 a.m., falling asleep on the couch. I was so surprised at first and kept looking at the chart, even touched and caressed the screen. Then I started crying and talked to my members. To RM, I said how we were able to get here because of him, the leader. What we said the most amongst ourselves is, hey, we can do it too. Everything we’ve been doing was being heard and accepted and appreciated. Even at a hard time like this, we held hands together and stood up and it felt as if everyone was seeing our efforts. That must’ve been why I cried. As soon as I saw the chart, I also wanted to do a concert. I miss our fans so much, ARMY so much.
Jungkook: If we did a concert, we would’ve cried the whole time.
Q. It is said that “Dynamite” has captivated the American public beyond the usual fandom. What do you think is the biggest reason that the song moved the American public?
RM: I’m not sure and I don‘t know what the relationship between the fandom and the public is like. But if I think about it, I think there’s a point that we‘ve been tapping steadily. Maybe it was music, or dancing, or our sincerity behind the stage. Of course, sincerity doesn’t work all the time. There are many times in which sincerity can also lead to failure. But I think the power we have as a team, plus the records, music, performances, staff and reporters, these external factors, along with other factors – “Dynamite” being in English, a familiar language, and a disco-pop that Americans are familiar with. We’re at a difficult time and sometimes it’s nice to have something light and simple that we can enjoy without a big macro message in mind. All of these things worked together. I’m lucky, and I think it‘s our responsibility to be just grateful and stay humble.
Q. Can you tell us about the “Noh Hong-chul” parody you guys did in “Dynamite” music video B-side? Did you intend to imitate him?
Jimin: We love the TV show “Infinite Challenge,” and I always watched it before shooting the music video; it was popular among us. But we didn’t think those shoots would be used in the music video. It was just for a rehearsal. We wanted to make each other laugh, but when we saw that it had made the cut, we also thought it was really funny.
Q. At the debut showcase seven years ago, when a lot of idol groups were being created, you said “we will become a group that survives until the end.” What would you like to tell yourself seven years ago and other BTS members?
J-Hope: There were many rookies back then. We decided to do our best to stand out. We tried our best, did anything we can to promote our name. It was a great honor to be loved much more than I had imagined. I‘m so happy that the world recognized our sincerity. I would say J-Hope seven years ago worked really hard. So I would tell him, your effort would not betray you. I want to say your members are so precious. My members are so precious and one of the biggest motivators and parts of my life. I can’t live without them. Thank you so much for being with me for seven years, and I hope we can stay together forever.
Q. What does ARMY mean for BTS?
Jin: We got No. 1 because of ARMY and ARMY is the first thought on our minds whenever something good happens to us, and the last person we want to share bad news with. “Dynamite” started with the hope of enjoying it with our fans, and I’m incredibly happy that we were able to get some good results with it too. We exist because ARMY exists, and we’ll continue to work hard to show only the best to the ARMY.
Q. A lot of our daily routines have changed because of the pandemic. What did you do while staying at home these days?
Suga: I picked on different hobbies; I drew, I played the guitar. We worked on our album. RM started going to the gym.
J-Hope: Look at the muscles on his arms.
RM: It‘s been only a month. I feel like dying inside.
Q. How would the year 2020 be remembered by BTS?
RM: The start of 2020 was really good. There were a whole bunch of tours and just like everybody else, we had a plan. But right before spring, the pandemic hit and I didn’t know what to do. I was angry, but now my wish is for the pandemic to be over as soon as possible and many observations are coming out. I hope 2020 will be remembered as a memory, like a year when we weren’t able to do everything but did our best with memorable achievements like the Billboard ranking. I don’t want this to be our new normal, the virtual tours and untact concerts. I don’t want this to be a dawn of a new era. I want this to be a nice memory; we couldn’t do the world tours but were able to come up with this great song, “Dynamite.”
Q. Besides the Grammy, what‘s the next step or goal?
Jimin: We’re going to do everything we can. The situation right now isn’t great, and a lot of people are working hard to fight the pandemic. And what we can do is comfort them and uplift their spirits through music. And like Suga said, we want to take the Grammy stage and show there are singers like us in different parts of the world.
RM: Right now, ironically, our biggest goal and hope is to perform and do concerts, which is what we’d been doing all along. I don‘t know when that’s going to be so it feels like a dream to me now. I want to perform outside too like a festival or at a large square. In the short-run, we‘re going to continue working hard on our album and host the concert which will probably be virtual. BTS will do the best and most we can at the given time.
Q. As a South Korean act, you attended all the major award shows in the US. How does that feel?
V: When J-Hope spoke earlier, I was so touched that I almost cried. Since we were trainees, we watched US award shows and were surprised by them, wondered if we could ever be there. Seven years could seem like a long time, but I can’t believe we were able to attend all of them during that period and it is all thanks to ARMY. I cherish those memories and feel proud of myself until I die.