[INTERVIEW] 130722 - Cuvism Magazine
The idols who said “What’s your dream?”, Bangtan. Their music is unique because they personally took part in composing and writing the lyrics to communicate with the public. Is their music more attractive because in contrast to their “boy scouts” image, it’s serious? It’s only been a little over a month since their debut but with their ambitious name meaning - “Block out the world’s bullets.” - they have been receiving a great amount of love from the public. Let’s listen to the stories of the idols who want to try various types of music with hip-hop as a base.
The group whose music you can relate with, Bangtan.
Q) Hello. Please introduce yourselves.
Rap Monster: Hello. I’m Rap Monster. I’m 20 years old, and I’m the leader and also in charge of rapping.
V: Hello. I’m V. I’m 19 years old and I’m in charge of vocals.
Jimin: Hello. I’m Jimin. I’m 19 years old and I’m in charge of dancing and vocals.
Suga: Hello. I’m Suga. I’m 21 years old and I’m in charge of rapping.
J-Hope: Hello. I’m J-Hope. I’m 20 years old and I’m in charge of rapping, dancing, and singing.
Jungkook: Hello. I’m Jungkook. I’m in charge of rapping, dancing, and singing.
Jin: Hello. I’m Jin. I’m 22 years old. I’m in charge of vocals.
Q) I heard that your team’s name meant “to block out the world’s bullets” It’s unique; what do each of you think of the meaning?
V: I first heard the name “Bangtan” two years ago and it was really awkward. I thought “What is this?” and also “It’s probably temporary. We’d change it when we debut, right?”, but the more I heard it, the more I felt that it fit us the best.
Rap Monster: There were lots of suggestions but it was the best name.
Q) What other names were suggested?
Suga: Big Kids and Young Nation. Right now, I like the name Bangtan the best and feel that it suits us well.
Q) I’m curious about what each of your names means.
V: My stage name was chosen last. Six, Lex, V. Those three names were suggested but the members and PD all said that V fit me the best and so I picked V to stand for victory.
Rap Monster: In 2011 I made a song by myself and at the very end of the song, there was a part when I had to yell out “Rap Monster!” I don’t know if that part was memorable or not but the company staff started calling me that and it eventually became my name.
Jimin: I use my real name. (laughs) I was originally going to use a stage name as well and there were quite a few suggestions. Names like Baby J and Kid were some options but I decided that Jimin was the best and ended up using my real name.
Suga: Because my skin is pale, I’m pretty when I smile, and because I’m sweet. (laughs) I chose this name because I want to promote sweetly.
J-Hope: My name has the deepest meaning out of all the others in this group. (laughs) You know how in Pandora’s Box after everything else left, the only thing remaining was hope, right? I put “hope” in my name to be a hopeful existence in the group. I got the “J” from my last name, Jung. That’s how I became J-Hope.
Jungkook: Because I’m from Busan, Seagull was suggested for me. But in the end, they said that Jungkook was the best for me so that’s how I ended up using my real name.
Jin: The PD-nim said that a one-character name is intense and so I chose to use the last character of my name - “Jin”
Q) I’m curious about the steps each member took to join Bangtan. I heard that eldest Jin was a film arts student. You became a Bangtan member by being casted; what made you take that chance of becoming a singer?
Jin: First of all, I like trying out different things. You can be an idol at a very young age. Also, you can have an acting career while being an idol, which is why I chose to become a singer.
Q) Wasn’t it hard for a student majoring in acting to practice [to be an idol]?
Jin: At first it was really hard but there were lots of kids who helped me and treated me really well. They helped me a lot and said things like “Try listening to this song.”, “Try doing it this way.” and so training became easier.
Suga: He’s a hyung who had a considerable amount of interest in hip-hop [before becoming a trainee], so it wasn’t that hard.
Q) I heard that leader Rap Monster promoted underground with the stage name Runch Randa. Also, you were part of the DaeNamHyup crew and have a mixtape where you collaborated with Block B’s Zico.
Rap Monster: In 2008, I was briefly a part of a different crew (not DaeNamHyup) with Zico hyung. We were kind of like the rising stars of the hip-hop community at the time. We were friendly with each other and at my suggestion, we produced a song together. As that song disappeared in the community I slowly forgot about it as well, so I’m wondering how it came back up. That song seems to be a hot topic amongst fans so I’m quite surprised. I thought it was really cool. (laughs) Because that means somebody had been keeping that song.
Q) I also heard that you were good at studying.
Rap Monster: Rapping was an escape from the stress I received from studying. I used to study extremely hard. Truthfully, this connects with the lyrics of “No More Dream” - when I was studying, I had no dreams. I had a possible path because I was good at studying, I didn’t specifically have something I wanted to do. So while promoting as Bangtan, I’m sending my past self a message.
Q) I heard that J-Hope was part of the street dance team NEURON.
J-Hope: While promoting underground with my street dance team, I did a lot of popping. In popping, there’s another sub-genre called Boogaloos and that was the one I did the most. I got a lot of prizes and performed a lot while promoting. Rap Monster rapped underground; I danced.
Q) The promotions you did back then must’ve helped you a lot with promoting in Bangtan.
J-Hope: Yes. Of course, it helped a lot. We all came up with our own choreography for our dance breaks in “We Are Bulletproof Pt.2” I’m working hard in filling the gaps that the members have in dancing.
Rap Monster: When we were still trainees and were doing midnight practices, J-Hope became our teacher and taught us the basics of popping. He’s the one who’s strongest in dancing. (laughs)
Q) Jimin and V got accepted into Big Hit after auditioning; do you remember what your auditions were like?
Jimin: Of course. It was my first-ever audition so my hands were shaking a lot when I opened the door. I also remember that my voice shook a lot while singing. But because I started dancing at a young age, I danced very confidently.
Q) What song did you sing?
Rap Monster: This is a story I’m hearing for the first time.
Jimin: No, it’s not. I’ve told hyung before about this. (laughs) I sang “I Have a Lover” (laughs) I hadn’t ever learnt how to sing until then so I didn’t really know what to pick.
Rap Monster: So the song he chose was the #1 karaoke song for middle schoolers, “I Have a Lover” (laughs)
Q) V, what song did you sing?
V: I hadn’t gotten permission from my parents so I wasn’t planning on doing a private audition. I was only thinking about looking around the academy. I went to look around but ran into one of the rookie group development noonas. She told me to try auditioning, called my parents, got permission, and I auditioned. When I checked later, I was the only one from Daegu to pass the auditions. It was a sudden audition but I thought, “Yay. Let’s do it!” and wasn’t nervous at all. (laughs)
Q) Jungkook, I heard that you got casted while auditioning for Superstar K3.
Jungkook: In 7th grade, I had dreams of becoming a singer after listening to G-Dragon sunbaenim’s songs. Then in 8th grade, I got casted by Big Hit after leaving the Superstar K3 auditions and became a part of Bangtan.
Q) I guess you won’t be able to go on Superstar K anymore since you got casted.
Jungkook: I got eliminated anyways. (laughs) Even if I had passed, I think I would have chosen Big Hit.
Rap Monster: Yeah, you can’t really say anything. You’ve debuted now. (laughs)
Q) In the title track “No More Dream”, you gave the public awareness. As much as you’re hip-hop idols, please tell us your speciality as a group.
Rap Monster: I think the fact that we actively took part in producing and writing lyrics is a really big speciality. Another speciality is that excluding me, everyone is extremely cute, young, and boyish. (laughs) But unlike our outer appearances, we have a very tough image and our message that we should resist society’s suppressions is unique. In both music and visuals, we’re quite dark. I think that these points appeal to females a lot. Another big point is hip-hop. I think we’re a team that puts a lot of emphasis on hip-hop.
Q) The lyrics for “No More Dream” are very interesting. It talks a lot about “dreams” - what type of music is Bangan aiming for?
Suga: With hip-hop - as well as other genres - we’d like to produce music that people in their 10’s and 20’s can relate with.
Q) You guys write lyrics, too. Where do you get your inspiration from?
J-Hope: I think we get a lot from our daily lives. There are lots of things we could write about even here, and we get lots of inspiration while going to the practice room and while we’re eating. We tend to write about small things. We have a song called “좋아요” (Like) and it’s about someone checking their ex-girlfriend’s SNS account and pretending to be cool about pressing the like button. Like this song, we write lyrics about small things.
Suga: Depending on the situation, an object we’d normally dismiss carelessly could be a great source of inspiration. Sometimes we also get inspired by something random. “좋아요” and “No More Dream” were created when we thought, “What if we made lyrics out of this [topic]?”
Q) The lyrics to 팔도강산 are in satoori. I’m guessing that the members from different provinces came up with that idea?
Suga: In 2010, I was selected through a rap audition called “Hit It” There were plans to pick another Bangtan member through the same auditions in 2011. “팔도강산” was created to promote the auditions. Since it’s a nationwide audition, I used Gyeongsang-do satoori, J-Hope Jeolla-do satoori, and Rap Monster standard Korean. Lots of people seemed to like it.
Q) I heard that all the members write lyrics and compose together. What type of music do each of you want to make?
Rap Monster: I want to have hip-hop as my base. I like the fact that hip-hop can flow with other types of music easily. So if I can have hip-hop as my base, I’m interested in trying out different types of music.
Suga: I want to make music that tells our stories. Music aimed for people in their 10’s and 20’s is disappearing these days. I believe that an idol’s role is to send out messages, so I want to make music that people can relate with.
Q) Are there any role models or figures who influenced your dreams of becoming a singer?
Jin: Big Bang’s T.O.P sunbaenim. I think of him as a good model as both an idol and actor.
Jungkook: G-Dragon sunbaenim. From Western artists, I like Justin Bieber. His voice is so good. I find his tone attractive.
J-Hope: Beenzino sunbaenim, who is currently promoting underground. Western artist A$AP Rocky is my role model. I find him amazing because he influences not only my music but my fashion style as well.
Suga: I started music after listening to Stony Skunk’s “Ragga Muffin” and Epik High’s “Fly” These two artists’s music made me feel a lot of things during my teenage years. I also got a lot of influence from T.I and Kanye West. I really admire them.
Jimin: I really idolize Big Bang’s Taeyang sunbaenim and Chris Brown. Both their performances and vocals are amazing and I’d like to be like them.
Rap Monster: I received a lot of influence from NAS while rapping. 2 years ago I was greatly influenced by Kanye West. I think of Kanye West as an icon. Steve Jobs also was very important in fashion and as a realist. I want to become a person like Kanye West; someone who makes trends.
V: The Weeknd is my role model. He not only has an attractive voice but gives me a sense of groove and rhythm and is fresh.
Q) What are your future goals and plans?
Rap Monster: We’ve said that we’re going to survive until the very end lots of times during interviews. If we get a rookie award, it’ll be a sign that we survived and made it out of all the groups that debuted this year, so we really hope to get that rookie award. Also, it’s an award you can only get as a rookie so it’s very important. Lots of rookies hope for the rookie award.
Suga: Ultimately, we want to produce music that satisfies everyone.
The fresh seven boys of Bangtan and their lifestyle.
Q) What do you guys normally do?
All: We don’t do anything. (laughs)
Suga: In the morning we go to the broadcasting studio, perform, come back and practice, and produce all night. That’s all we do; it makes me want to make up things to have something else to tell you. (laughs)
Rap Monster: Everyone’s answer will be the same. (laughs) It’s probably because we’ve become greedy and try to do a lot of things. After we debuted, company staff told us “Just think that you died/suffered during the past two~three years. Then you’ll accomplish something.”, so we’re trying to close our eyes and ears and only focus on practicing and work.
Suga: On days we have schedules at broadcasting studios, we usually practice two hours. When we have extra time, the members in charge of vocals have vocal lessons. Other times, we all gather together and think of song topics.
Q) I’ve been watching Bangtan’s SNS accounts; you guys seem to be active on them.
Rap Monster: We’re active on them because we want to communicate a lot with our fans. We don’t want to seem like idols that are hard to approach and want to be close with them. We want fans to listen to the music that we often listen to and know what we do in our everyday lives. That’s why we’ve been so active on it even before our debut and plan to continue being active.
Suga: We upload photos of ourselves that don’t even make sense and occasionally of figures in our studio that are twisted into weird poses. I like equipment so sometimes I do reviews. I think that people would say “Who are these kids?” when they see our photos. (laughs) I upload previews of members and give off an un-idol like feeling. People seem to find that fascinating. That’s how much I want to communicate with fans.
Q) I heard that you spend 24 hours together at the dorm. Are there any fun or memorable episodes?
Jin: This happened recently. We all sleep at different times but according to the other members, I talk in my sleep a lot.
Suga: Hope-y and I were awake together but we were tired so we were about to sleep when Jin hyung started singing “좋아요” (Like). (laughs) I thought we must practice really hard [for him to even sing in his sleep]. Turns out, it was just him talking in his sleep. After that I thought, “Ah. That hyung practices even in his sleep. Of course.”
Jin: I usually sleep really quietly but I think talking in my sleep is a new habit.
Rap Monster: I recently had a dream set in a hotel. I was sleeping but the door opened and someone chased after me with a knife. I opened the window and jumped out and woke up. I wondered how close we were sleeping to make me have such a dream. (laughs) Maybe I love the members too much? I sometimes think that when I have bloody dreams. Because they say that dreams are the opposite of what you think, right? (laughs)
Jin: We eat lots of fruit with our meals. Because of this, we have a lot of fruit flies. Each fly creates about 4-50 more flies so we can’t control them. We tried to spray something but couldn’t because of the dishes. In the end, Jungkook got rid of them with a vacuum cleaner.
Rap Monster: Wow. That’s skill. (laughs)
Jin: So because of that, a lot of them have disappeared. Only about 10 of the original 50 are left now. (laughs)
Jimin: After my midnight practice ended and I had come out of the shower, someone was using the vacuum cleaner. (laughs)
Jungkook: We don’t have any insecticide in our dorm and even if we did, we wouldn’t be able to spray it because of the dishes so I looked around, spotted the vacuum cleaner, and thought “Ah, this is it.”…(laughs)
Q) Do you all have something you’re in charge of in the dorm?
Rap Monster: I’m in charge of breaking things. Everything I touch breaks, so this desk here could break right now also. (laughs) The glasses I wear sometimes break also. Because of that, my nickname is “God of Destruction”
Suga: I’m in charge of fixing the things that Rap Monster breaks. I change the lightbulbs, fix the toilet, or re-attach doorknobs…I do a lot of that kind of stuff. (laughs)
Jin: I’m in charge of the kitchen. When we come back from grocery shopping, the members just dump the stuff we bought anywhere and don’t put it in the fridge. So I put in all the food in the fridge and throw out old food. (laughs)
Suga: He’s a family man. He’s an ideal husband! (laughs)
Q) What are you guys most confident about?
Jin: I can eat a lot.
Jimin: Jin hyung doesn’t know what it feels like to be full.
Jin: There was one time when I went to a buffet with my family and ate for two and a half hours straight because I didn’t feel full. After I finished eating and tried to stand up, I couldn’t because I had eaten so much. That was the first time I felt that way. (laughs)
Suga: Jin hyung lost a lot of weight. He takes care of himself a lot and eats a lot of health products. So we don’t worry.
V: I can eat a tiny chocolate bar deliciously. I can express my feelings through sounds and facial expressions. I can eat it really deliciously.
Jimin: We’re all very good at eating. (laughs)
Q) What do you think of each other’s personalities? Who do you think is the strangest member?
Suga: Everyone says this but people with blood type AB are either a complete genius or a complete idiot. He’s both.
Rap Monster: In my opinion, he’s 10% genius and 90% idiot. (laughs)
Suga: Sometimes I think, “He thinks of things like that?” while other times I think, “Why would he think of that?”
Jimin: Sometimes he’s worse than the maknae. (laughs) It’s fascinating.
Suga: But sometimes he comes up with really good ideas and surprises us.
Q) Please say something for Cuvism Magazine’s readers.
Jimin: Please give Bangtan lots of love. Please watch over us a lot and cheer us on.
Suga: We’ll continue to produce good music so please keep an eye on us.
Rap Monster: I always say this, but I just want everyone to know that we do hip-hop. We will break all the prejudice towards idols and hope that there will be a day when people know that we really love hip-hop. We’ll work hard!
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