Courtesy Photo: Big Hit Entertainment
BTS Talk Inspiration Behind "Dynamite," New 2020 Album, Gratitude For ARMY & More
Today, Aug. 21, after several weeks of teasers, K-pop superstars BTS have released their first English language track, "Dynamite," a jubilant disco-tinged bop meant to inspire joy and hope during these difficult times.
"[The inspiration for] it all began from this: even in the midst of hardships, we must focus on what we can do. As for us, we found freedom and happiness in singing and dancing. This song goes to the ones who need encouragement. We hope people feel energized when listening to the song," the chart-topping band recently told GRAMMY.com.
Even in such an unprecedented year of turmoil and slowdown for the entertainment industry (and virtually everyone), BTS have been able to maintain their stance at the top of the global pop landscape. After having to cancel their massive 2020 Map Of The Soul World Tour, the South Korean group, already having a super engaged online presence with their huge ARMY of dedicated fans, got creative and delivered a lively, colorful—and wildly successful—pay-to-view virtual concert, BANG BANG CON: THE LIVE, in June.
This year, the loveable pop stars also led by example of what it means to be a positive force in the world, using their platform for good in many ways. In June, along with their South Korean management company, Big Hit Entertainment, they donated $1 million to Crew Nation to support out-of-work concert crews and $1 million to the Black Lives Matter Foundation. (Just 24 hours later, the BTS ARMY matched the donation by raising more than $1 million.) They also stood in solidarity with the Black community with a simple yet powerful Tweet that made their stance against racism clear.
And, of course, they've also been busy working on new music, delivering "Stay Gold" and their fourth Japanese album, MAP OF THE SOUL: 7 ~The Journey~, in June and July, respectively. Now, with "Dynamite," we get the first taste of the forthcoming new album they've been focused on crafting.
To hear more about "Dynamite," the upcoming project, the ARMY and other BTS 2020 highlights, we checked in with the dynamic septet (consisting of RM, Jin, SUGA, j-hope, Jimin, V and Jung Kook) over email. Read on to hear more from BTS.
What was the inspiration behind your new song, "Dynamite"? What do you hope listeners feel when they hear it?
BTS: It all began from this: even in the midst of hardships, we must focus on what we can do. As for us, we found freedom and happiness in singing and dancing. This song goes to the ones who need encouragement. We hope people feel energized when listening to the song.
"Dynamite" is your first song sung/rapped fully in English--how did you prepare for the recording and who wrote the lyrics?
BTS: It was a new challenge for us as well. The lyrics, which are exactly what we wanted to say to our listeners, were written by David Stewart and Jessica Agombar. At the first try, it sounded fresh and perfect as it is in English, and throughout the whole process of recording, we've strived to get the message delivered flawlessly in English.
Can you tell us more about the new album you've said is coming later this year? What kind of sounds and themes are you exploring on this project?
BTS: We're currently working on a new album and sharing the process with our fans via livestream. Each member's input has been significant for this particular one, so we're kind of doing everything we've wanted to try. It's slated for later this year and more details are coming soon.
In February, Map Of The Soul: 7 became your fourth album to debut at No. 1 on the Billboard 200, with your highest first-week numbers yet. What does the success of this album mean to you?
BTS: We cannot be thankful enough to our fans. They made this possible.
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You've all released music as solo artists—what does it feel like working on your individual projects versus BTS? What's the biggest thing you've each learned from your solo projects?
RM: It feels like I have two completely different identities. Working as BTS, I have to be considerate of others, but at times it also means I just have to do my part well and the rest will roll. When working individually, I definitely have more freedom but less of the sense of comfort and belonging I can feel when working with the other BTS members.
Jin: I can do whatever I want when I work alone, whereas we all need to be on the same page on concepts, melodies and lyrics for a collective project.
SUGA: [For me,] there's not much of a difference in terms of process. It's just really encouraging to have my team by my side and work together on a BTS album.
j-hope: I get to know about my shortcomings from a solo project. We have many people participating in our team projects, including producers. But a solo project is a direct result of the planning and execution done by myself, which helps me better understand feedback from the public—those are valuable takeaways.
Jimin: I focus more on my personal thoughts when I work alone, whereas working together allows me to contemplate more on the things we experience as a team. I also believe that solo projects are additional activities enabled by BTS.
V: I'm currently working on my own mixtape and I must admit there's a lot of pressure. I think there's more to think about compared to group projects.
Jung Kook: I don't think I can call myself a solo artist yet since I'm short of many things. I really need to improve. I'll keep listening and making music until I'm able to come up with something on my own.
Your virtual BANG BANG CON show was a huge success—what did it feel like to all of you to connect to the ARMY in this way? Do you think you'll plan another one?
BTS: We were so happy to be performing for our fans. Yes, we did miss their loud cheers, but we gave it our all thanks to the love sent by our fans from near and far. We're actually holding another show in October called "BTS MAP OF THE SOUL ON:E" and this time it will be both virtual and offline. We're so excited and thrilled to finally meet our fans in person.
As a group, you've stood in solidarity with Black Lives Matter on Twitter and with a generous donation in partnership with Big Hit. As non-Black allies, why is it important for the group to speak out and join the Black community in solidarity?
BTS: We think our Twitter message speaks for itself. We stand against racial discrimination and condemn violence. We all have the right to be respected. It doesn't matter whether we are non-Black or not.
What's next on the horizon for BTS?
BTS: As we mentioned, we have a show in October and an album coming later this year. And we have lots of things prepared surrounding "Dynamite," so everyone better keep their eyes on the ball!