Q: It hasn’t been that long since BTS debuted but you have released 3 albums already. Is there any moment when you feel like “Ah! I’m going crazy!” while preparing for the albums?
V: For me it’s hard and it leaves regret with every album. When I finished recording and listened to it, I would regret “I should have done better, I should have put more emotions in”. But once the recording is finished it can’t be redone… This part always makes me regret, so it was hard for me.
Jin: There has never been an easy album for me but during ‘O!RUL8,2?’, from a few weeks before recording until the album’s finished, my cold wouldn’t go away. Especially my voice wouldn’t turn out the way I want it to be, so it was hard for me both mentally and physically.
Jimin: It’s ‘N.O’ for me too. I don’t know why it was that hard.
J-hope: Yeah, Jimin had it hard that time.
Jimin: My parts got a little longer than the previous album. (laughs) I think I was pressured by that.
Rap Monster: Really? Everyone chooses ‘O!RUL8,2?’. For me ‘2 COOL 4 SKOOL’ was really hard. Because of one song… I talked about this in another interview, but we had to modify the same part of the lyrics more than 20 times. I think I sold my soul at that. Just thinking of it… (shakes head) They kept telling me to change it so one day I got so furious. I couldn’t shout out loud because I was at the studio, so I went to the park alone at dawn and plugged in my earphones and shouted loudly for about an hour? Afterwards the introduction was written and things went well. Wow really, that time I wrote the lyrics while hanging on the chin-up bar and shouting until I nearly cried.
Suga: Well, writing the lyrics was hard that time. I looked through my mail box recently and I sent an email with the subject [No More Dream - lyrics modification - Suga 1] like this, and it advanced to 27. Looking back at it made me think “How did I do it.”
Jimin: That time Hobi-hyung went there for a while too. (points up to the sky)
J-hope:(laughing) It was really hard in ‘No More Dream’ days.
Rap Monster: Those days were scary. The psychological pressure and the anxiety of whether or not it would be okay coming out like this.
V: Every time we do one choreography move, we had to match even the angles of the fingers.
J-hope: We still focus on the performance now but back then when practicing the choreography, if someone didn’t match even just a little bit, we would sure be staying up all night that day.
Suga: The real hard thing at that time was that during trainee days, the members who had longer training period would lead the younger ones in everything, but then they said we were going to debut, none of us has ever debuted before.
Rap Monster: We can talk about it now but it was very scary back then.
Suga: It was really terrifying. (laughs) We scraped up all our worries and stayed up all night thinking about it, we even discussed what to do just among ourselves in whispers because we were afraid the younger kids would hear it.
J-hope: We’re talking about it while laughing now but back then, just thinking of it brings in the fear.
Suga: Now it became like “Let’s write even if just one more line of lyrics in the time we spend worrying!”. (laughs) The album that made me nearly scream “Argh!” is the most recent one. Even if I didn’t get hurt in the middle (of preparing the album), I wouldn’t think we would be this short of time.
Jungkook: Me too. I have this regret like “If only I have some more time to prepare”.
Suga: Right. Actually if I didn’t get hurt we wouldn’t be tight on time, but I was hospitalized so we lost 3 weeks. I finished the recording just right before mastering and we barely passed. I aged by 10 years. (laughs)
Rap Monster: That’s right. As the time’s fixed, we had to follow the year-end award ceremonies schedule and went to the studio at dawn to work, we can’t throw away the quality factor with the excuse of not having enough time.
J-hope: But I feel like it’ll slowly become harder as we release more and more albums, because of the lack of time. Actually rather than not having time, it’s because we’ll want just a little more, just a little more time to make better and cooler music.
Rap Monster: We have to raise our standard. We have to gradually raise the quality.
Suga: But if we say something that’s scary to say like “We didn’t have time” to the fans, it would disappoint them, so we should refrain from saying such things.
Rap Monster: I think it’s the parts that we could have done better. Instead of letting them know that we have worked on it like this, I hope to tell them that “We have put in a lot of effort.” With each album there are more of those parts that we wished we had done better, but I think it shows that our view in terms of music is slowly broadening.
Suga: I think what Rapmon said is true. Back then I thought I just need to rap well, but now I have learned to think of the details more.
J-hope: You can say we’re really growing up.
Q: How did you feel when you listened to the 3 released title songs for the first time?
Suga: I listened to the song thousands of times while working on it so I thought I wouldn’t feel anything fun when the mastered song came out, but I got deeply touched like “I worked hard on it and it came out!”.
J-hope: There was a time before when I wasn’t aware of it while practicing ‘No More Dream’, but one day it suddenly came to me “Ah! This is it! It’s good!”.
J-hope: I got the same feeling with ‘Boy In Luv’ recently too.
Suga: You have that feeling this time too?
J-hope: Didn’t I say it? (points to Jimin)
Jimin: Out of nowhere! At the studio! (laughs)
J-hope: I went to the studio and I suddenly had a feeling. Jimin was there at that time so I told him “Hey Jimin, hyung thought about it on the way here, I have a hunch about this!”.
Jimin: Right. (laughs)
Rap Monster: You can’t trust Hobi’s hunch.
J-hope: I really had a feeling. (laughs) Trust me.
Rap Monster: I’m the same as Suga-hyung. I didn’t feel anything while working on it but when it’s finished and I listened to it, I had this proud feeling “It finally came out!”. Especially when I listened to the mastered version of ‘N.O’ on speaker and the “good house, good car” part came, I thought “This is it!”.
Jungkook: The “good house, good car” part was the best.
V: It was really mindblowing. (dancing the choreography)
Rap Monster: And I had a real feeling this time when listening to ‘Boy In Luv’. Not like “It’ll do really well!”, but I feel like this can become BTS’ second starting point. I think letting people know that “BTS is this kind of singers!” is the most important thing. Actually I want to show these kinds of things through this album too.
Jin: When I first listened to ‘No More Dream’, I remembered being very excited “Ah, so this is our first song”.
Jimin: I had a hard time recording for ‘No More Dream”. So, actually I don’t remember it very well. When I listened to the dance break part of ‘N.O’, I thought “Wow~ It would be fun performing this song!”.
V: Right. I went “Wah~” listening to ‘N.O’’s dance break part.
I think part of the reason I enjoy McElroy content so much is that they talk a lot about their job fuckups and they are still making money doing something they love. Like of course they got supremely lucky in a lot of ways but if Justin got fired from Blockbuster bc he stole a movie and Griffin got fired by his father-in-law and still got a job with a video game website, I can do anything