BTS held a Global Press Conference for the release of their new album “Map of the Soul: 7” on February 24. The event was originally scheduled to take place at Coex in Seoul with the press in attendance, but the press conference was replaced by a live stream to prevent the spread of the coronavirus.
The press conference began with a question about the album and its title. Jin described, “‘Map of the Soul: 7’ is an album that looks back at the seven years spent by the seven members as a team. In our previous album ‘Map of the Soul: Persona,’ we spoke about the world, the joy of love, and our image. In this new album, we wanted to deal with different things such as our experiences that brought us here and the candid emotions we feel in the moment. It reveals our deep inner selves that we had wanted to hide, and at the same time, we are confessing our discovery that these are also our true selves.”
RM added that many people were curious about why BTS combined the two concepts of ‘shadow” and “ego” to create one album, “Map of the Soul: 7.” He explained that after they had their official period of rest last year, their comeback had to be postponed. RM shared, “Because ‘Map of the Soul: 7’ was our first comeback in 10 months, we wanted to share a story of higher quality, so we came up with the idea of combining ‘shadow’ and ‘ego.’ ‘Shadow’ is the pain and suffering that we experienced, and ‘ego’ is to accept that as part of our fates and taking a step forward. Placing the heavy title of ‘7,’ we poured in our souls, energy, and hard work to complete the album.”
The group then answered a question about their title track “ON” and the meaning of the lyrics, “Can’t hold me down because you know I’m a fighter.”
Suga shared, “‘ON’ is a song that contains BTS’s powerful energy. During the seven years, there were times when we wavered or were unable to stay grounded, and each time that happened, our fears grew. But now, I think BTS is doing a good job of remaining grounded, so the lyrics show our resolution to deal with the pain and sorrow head on.”
Asked to explain how the group works on music, V answered, “To explain using the new album, in terms of our solo tracks, we combined the candid messages we each wanted to share with the musical genres we each like.”
J-Hope added, “Because we have albums in series like the Most Beautiful Moment in Life series and the Love Yourself series, we place high importance on the story of our albums. For ‘Map of the Soul: 7’ as well, as part of the ‘Map of the Soul’ series, we built the track list in a way that organically connects Persona, Shadow, and Ego. For example, our pre-release track ‘Black Swan’ is a confession of our fears as artists. ‘Louder than Bombs,’ which we worked on with Troye Sivan, is an expression of the inner shadows. On the other hand, ‘We Are Bulletproof: The Eternal’ embodies BTS’s determination and our ‘ego’ that we will keep going forward even when faced with hardships.”
Ahead of their comeback, BTS revealed an art film for their pre-release track “Black Swan.” The dance in the video is performed by the Slovenian MN Dance Company. Regarding this, Jimin explained, “It was a new experience for us. Our fans might have been surprised, and it might have seemed like something new. ‘Black Swan’ is a confession by artists, so we wanted to focus on bringing out an artistic atmosphere. We worked hard to make our choreography remind people of the art film, so please look forward to it.”
Suga talked about their experience performing at the Grammy Awards for two years in a row. “I was very happy and glad. When we first went to the Billboard Music Awards in 2017, we received the trophy and went home. I couldn’t believe it at the time. So performing at the Grammy Awards this year, I was reminded of that time. I want to take one step forward at a time. I’m looking forward to next year’s ceremony. Not everything happens because I wish for it to, but we’ll work hard so that we can go next year as well.”
Moving on, RM said, “We often get asked about why we think our music is loved. That itself is something I’m thankful for. We thought hard about it as well. It’s a combination of things. The K-pop culture itself is very complex. The music, music video, and more components are presented together. What’s important is the essence in our hearts.” He continued, “I think that the artist who shows the characteristics of that era the best is loved. We are telling our own personal stories, but ironically, the modern world is the most global time of all. People of all ages all around the world, not only in Korea, are able to relate with the things we struggle with. Because we express those things through ways like performances and music, people find that to be interesting. I heard that lots of ARMYs are studying about Korea after getting to like us. As a Korean, I’m very thankful and proud.”
At the Golden Globe Awards this year, “Parasite” director Bong Joon Ho had stated that BTS was 3000 times more influential than he was. In relation to this, Suga said, “I want to say that I watched all of director Bong Joon Ho’s films as his fan. I believe he was answering a question about Korean culture, and I think it was generous praise. I’m embarrassed because I’m still not sure we have that big of an influence. I was thankful that director Bong Joon Ho said, ‘Korean culture is dynamic.’ I hope that the many amazing artists in Korea will be known [overseas]. I really enjoyed watching ‘Parasite.’ I’m a fan.”
BTS’s oldest member Jin is at the age at which he must enlist in the military. Asked about his plans for enlistment, Jin answered, “I think many people are curious about my enlistment, but nothing has been confirmed. I’m careful about speaking about this, but I believe it is only natural to accept the mandatory military duty, and I will go when I receive a draft notice, no matter when that is.”
BTS begins their “Map of the Soul Tour” in Seoul on April 11, 12, 18, and 19.
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