Kim Hyunjung (KHJ): Hello Rap Monster. Congratulations!
Rap Monster (RM): Hi, nice to meet you, this is Rapmon from BTs.
KHJ: You are in Las Vegas right?
RM: We have some additional schedules so we’re heading to LA from Las Vegas noe. Please excuse me for taking the call while on the road, thank you.
KHJ: You’re really well-manner. I’m the one who should say thank you for taking the call in such situation.
RM: It’s my honor.
KHJ:To be honest, did you go there with expectation?
RM: Of course, we had a lot of expectation. We thought that we shouldn’t have any expectation but at the same time, we expected a lot too. “They called us all the way here, wouldn’t they give us the award? But anyway let’s not hope too much,” we were kind of in a dilemma.
KHJ: How did you feel like when they called out BTS’ name at a stage like that?
RM: We talked about this among ourselves already too, it didn’t feel real. We just went out to the stage like we were being possessed by something, and in front of us were people like Drake, DJ Khaled. It felt like we were dreaming.
KHJ: Felt like you were dreaming? Back then when you were a trainee, have you ever dreamt of a stage like this?
RM: We actually have never dreamt of anything this big. When we were still trainees, around 1 year before debuting, we went to see a sunbae group’s concert at Olympic Gymnastics Arena. We talked about having to stand on this kind of stage at least once before retiring. We didn’t dare to imagine of attending an award show like BBMAs and receiving an award in front of such people.
KHJ: So you were watching the concert at Olympic Gymnastics Arena and you said “Wow, we have to do a concert here at least once before we die, don’t we?”. Was it your dream?
RM: It was nearly exactly what I said. For real.
KHJ: Those trainees now walked on the dream stage of Billboard and became the first among K-pop idol groups.
RM: It’s our honor.
KHJ: What do you think is the main factor to such global popularity? What is the core point?
RM: The local media outlets always ask us this too so I thought about this a lot, since I have to answer them. And I asked around too, of course. I think K-pop is like a gift set, an assorted gift ser. The music, the choreography, music videos and what we always do, communication on SNS. These things are combined together and once you fall for something, for example, if you listen to the music, you will watch music videos, then if you find the choreography cool, you will look up for performances on Youtube and find the fun videos that we always shoot, then you will check out our SNS and find out what thoughts we have. I can say that it’s extremely easily accessible. So the process of becoming our fans is extremely easy too. And most of all, our typical type of music or lyrics tell the stories of the youth in all over the world, no matter if it’s across the globe or Korea, the youth all feel the same emotions. We think it can create a bond of sympathy more easily, letting them think “So they feel like this in Korea too.”
KNJ: Your songs are in Korean, can those feelings be delivered? Including the lyrics too?
RM: The Internet and such are developing strongly these days, so even if we just tweet something, a lot of people would immediately translate it to not just English, but also multiple languages like Romanian, Portugese.
KHJ: So they translate and make subtitles in multiple languages?
RM: That’s correct. Nearly all of our contents have subtitles, so it’s easier to know what we talk about, what we write, what our lyrics say. I think we are benefitting a lot from the media.
KHJ: An assorted gift set made up from those things. And the finalization of it, the finalization of 2017, we can think it’s BTS.
RM: Thank you for saying that.
KHJ: But Rap Monster, how can you speak so well like that?
RM: Thank you. There’s a lot of chances where I need to speak on behalf of the group, so I think I have to speak well to dignify our group. I always think in my head first.
KHJ: You pulled out English interviews perfectly too. The assorted gift set story you talked about is true in many ways. It makes me think idols are indeed incredible, you started from Olympic Gymnastics Arena and now took home a Billboard award. What will be your next goal?
RM: Our next goal is a worldwide stadium tour. Stadium tour is the kind of tour that attracts at lease 30,000, 40,000 to 50,000 audiences. I can say that our next goal is to hold a worldwide stadium tour.
KHJ: So us older generation can understand that it’s like when Michael Jackson holds a concert and have 3-40,000 audiences?
RM: Yes, we want to do that.
KHJ: Earlier you said when you went to the concert at Olympic Gymnastics Arena yiu wanted to be like that sunbae group, who was that sunbae?
RM: They are called Highlight now right? We got a chance to go to Highlight - formerly known as B2ST - sunbaenim’s concert in 2012. We sat at the back.
KHJ: At the back?
RM: They were so cool so we told each other like “Let’s become like those sunbaenim”. We still sometimes talk about that among ourselves now.
KHJ: It would be even happier because you made it after going through hardships. Having a busy schedule must be really tiring right? What do you want to do first when you come back home?
RM: I always like enjoying the park or landscapes. I sometimes come to Gyeongbokgung too, it helps filling out the feeling of emptiness. I heard the Seoullo 7017 (a pedestrial overpass) has been opened.
KHJ: Yes, Seoullo. Oh, do you follow current events too? How did you know Seoullo is opened when you go abroad that frequently?
RM: I take a lot of flights and they always have newspapers there, so I read them.
KHJ: You need to be this level to become a global idol. Rap Monster, congratulations again. I hope you can soon come back and take a walk in the park or Seoullo 7017. I’ll continue to support and look forward to your future activities and worldwide stadium tour.
On this day in music history: June 19, 1988 - Michael Jackson performs a large open air concert in front of the historic Reichstag Building in Berlin, Germany. Part of the European leg of Jackson’s mammoth worldwide “Bad Tour”, the show is attended by over 120,000 fans. The city of Berlin, still divided prior to the re-unification of Germany in 1990, it does not prevent fans on the eastern side of the city from hearing the concert. Over 3,000 fans gather at the Berlin Wall and listen to Jackson’s performance.
The idea of a moving stage isn’t pioneered by Arashi or Jun. Western acts like Michael Jackson, Backstreet Boys, *NSYNC have used moving stages in their concerts. BUT it was the details of Arashi’s moving stage that made it a world’s first - a transparent, fully-functional OVERHEAD moving stage with a height of 4 metres, width of 18 metres and distance move of 90 metres, the concert was their ONE summer tour in 2005.
Again for 2014 “THE DIGITALIAN” concert, it wasn’t the first concert to have synchronised penlights (Coldplay had it too) BUT to involve the audience and be controlled by them onstage to not just 1 but 5 or more colours and synchronising to the beats of the music.
What makes Arashi (Johnny’s) concerts an EXPERIENCE to attend are the details: - Balloons and streamers
- Water fountains and waterfalls ✓
- Water screen effect
- Hanging overhead cable wire works
- Fireworks over the night sky
- Sunset as part of the song atmosphere
- Carts and carriages of different sizes for solo, duo, group
- Floating balloon structures that goes around the dome ✓
- Car carriage platform that goes around the dome
- High-rising individual or group platforms
- Transparent overhead moving stage
- Remote-controlled synchronised penlights
- Shape of the stage and walkways (花道) ✓
- Design and details of the stage background like kabuki curtains
✓ - Live orchestra and band
and many more
Unfortunately, most people outside of Japan do not know it because they have never watched an Arashi concert and Johnny’s do not advertise it to the world.