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.
We Discussed Taemin At My Winter Break Art School Class In South Africa!
I recently flew back to South Africa because of the music program my school decided to present during our winter break. Usually, we discuss some of the older artists who have laid down the path for newer generations. Imagine my surprise when I walked in on the very first day to see a paused video of Taemin’s solo concert!
For a moment I thought the professor was just a Taemint caught up in watching the video and had forgotten about our class. BUT then he announced that we would be discussing the talent of a KPOP artist he felt was on the level of Michael Jackson as a performer.
He instructed the class to turn their eyes towards the projector screen and played what was actually a compilation of what he felt was Taemin’s best performances to date. Performances that included every single one of the songs Taemin performed at his solo concert, as well as many of his Press Your Number, Danger and Drip Drop stages. We were also treated to Taemin’s performance at the MAMAS as well as his Goodbye stages and music video.
I was probably the proudest person in the room because of the exclamations from a few classmates that already knew of Taemin but even more so at the others that literally couldn’t tear their eyes away from the screen and kept exclaiming how incredible he was. It was a proud day for me as both a Shawol and Taemint. So much so that I really did cry during the videos of his Door and I’m Crying performance.
After the video compilation, our professor explained that he had stumbled upon Taemin when his younger sister was watching a video of SHINee’s Tokyo Dome. He further explained that he found himself sitting down beside his sister just to catch another glimpse of Taemin’s dancing and to hear what he called Taemin’s incredibly unique vocals. Apparently, he found himself watching the entire concert and afterward continued to question his sister about Taemin until he finally found out that Taemin was a solo artist as well.
The professor then stated that he too had flown out to attend Taemin’s solo concert alongside his sister. He briefly took a detour from Taemin to talk about Michael Jackson who he says greatly influenced his life and he was blessed enough to see perform live all those years ago, but it was what he said next that really blew me away. He said that he had been to many concerts in his life and never before had he felt an aura so exactly the same to Michael Jackson than when he attended the first day of Taemin’s solo concert. To him, Taemin’s dancing and stage presence were out of this world, something he never thought he would experience again after MJ’s passing.
Our class consisted of seven hundred people and each and every single one walked out while searching for more info about Taemin and his songs. My professor touched so many people yesterday and he’s led them all to Taemin. He’ll be giving this class forty more times! Forty classes all consisting of seven hundred people…that’s a lot of people who will finally be able to see Taemin, even if it’s only through a screen.
Taemin’s hopes of becoming a global artist are slowly coming true!