Do you think that going with the teen movie vibe influenced your vocals to be the new style that you used? In “Butter,” you still had your signature vocals but without the deep notes, giving them a new feeling.
V: That’s because, when we’re given a concept, we have to come up with vocals that fit with the concept. I think my singing style matched up with the concept, so I feel relatively satisfied. There was nothing majorly difficult about actually changing the style itself, since unlike changing your voice, you only have to change your vocal technique. Having said that, even though the notes in “Butter” were high for me, I still hit them! (laughs)
I guess hitting the high notes was your assignment this time around as a vocalist.
V: I’ve been working a long time to make up for my weak points. For example, I thought I was weak when it comes to high notes because I sing low parts a lot and I tend to sing in a flowing way. But I had trouble when we were recording “Dynamite” and I had to sing the high notes during the chorus. I got so mad (laughs) so I practiced a lot.
How does it feel to see the results you’re seeing with “Butter” now after all that effort?
V: I’m just trying not to rest on my laurels. Like instead of savoring the feeling, I feel like I should go to bed early for everything I have to do the next day? Getting back in tiptop shape quickly is what’s important, so I haven’t really had time to bask in the joy very much. I’m just working hard at the work I had like I always do.
In your New Year’s greeting on YouTube, you said you regretted not being able to put on the show for ARMY you wanted, and that your 2021 resolution is to “follow my own pace and pattern” when you work on music. Do you think your personal pace and your professional pace are in step this year?
V: No. [My professional pace is] fast, so fast. (laughs) We have a lot we have to get ready for since we’re always promoting. It can be challenging sometimes, but in a way, I think it’s also given me a good opportunity to become a little stronger.
I imagine it’s meaningful to do the work for your own songs, because you can slip into your own world. You also made “Blue & Grey” when you were having a hard time, and it consequently became a song that allowed you to empathize with many people and vice versa. Looking back now, what kind of song do you think “Blue & Grey” will be remembered as?
V: I think with “Blue & Grey” I just wanted the song to let people know how I was feeling, and how we were feeling, at that time a little better. Obviously everyone was having a hard time, but I think I wanted to share those emotions with ARMY as-is, including the pains we went through in our growth process. And, to put it another way, I think I just felt like making it obvious. (laughs) I thought it was okay to be that obvious, seeing as I couldn’t put those feelings into words. I just hope people could understand how I was feeling; it’s okay if it becomes forgotten later on.
In the “BE-hind Story” interview on YouTube, you talked about the first line of “Blue & Grey”: “Where is my angel?” You explained how, when you have any kind of issue, you close your eyes and wish for your angel to come and think. Are there times when it seems like your angel understands your feelings, as you just mentioned?
V: I get a ton of answers by doing it. I’m not religious, but whenever I have some kind of issue, I close my eyes and think about it. Is this right, the way I’m thinking about this, or not? They’re just yes or no questions, like, Does my outfit look good today? Instead of just worrying about what you should do, if you tackle it in the form of a question, you get a response with the answer.
I guess it could work when you’re looking for inspiration in your life, but what about for your music? In your previous Weverse Magazine interview, you said you make a note whenever you feel something.
V: I write in my diary in hopes that it’ll help with writing lyrics and so I don’t forget those feelings. I do it constantly—I open up my diary whenever something comes up. I copy melodies that pop up in my mind, lyrics, and other things from my diary to my notes app temporarily, and when I’m taking a break or I get the urge to work, I open my notes and say, Let’s try this out today, and run over to the studio.
You released “Snow Flower,” featuring Peakboy by V, on Christmas Day. Is that another song you ran to the studio to work on after the feeling came to you?
V: For that song, when I was drinking with some older musicians, we were talking about doing a song together, and then we were like, Well, do you think we’ll have time to do that? So we decided to do it right then since everyone was available. My mixtape was delayed, so I at least wanted to play a different song for ARMY, and I thought, since I’m a bit tipsy (laughs) I thought I should try writing something. So I made the song really quickly. In maybe three hours.
Even though you made it quickly, the composition is somewhat complex and it has the same unique atmosphere that “Blue & Grey” did.
V: There’s times when I’m, like, in the zone (laughs) and can make a song all in one sitting, but when I’m not feeling it, I end up revising it more and more. And I don’t want the composition to be too obvious, so I try to change up the way the melody flows.
With that kind of sharp image coming to you almost immediately, what were you imagining for that song?
V: You might think “Snow Flower” is about a type of snowflake, but I was actually thinking about snow and flowers separately. I started hoping that flowers wouldn’t wither away and just keep on blooming on snowy days. But in reality, when it snowed, all the flowers were crushed, the world became blanketed in snow, and I felt like the flower buds turned into snow flowers. I wrote that song about how I felt after watching that happen.
It must be important to feel things intuitively when you’re trying to express yourself through song.
V: If it sounds pretty to me: approved. (laughs)
On the other hand, as a member of BTS, you have a job where you have to deal with a packed schedule and keep various situations in mind. How does that make you feel? When you celebrated your Billboard Hot 100 win on V LIVE and the topic of your clothes came up, you joked that you wore them to give off an idol vibe.
V: It’s fun. It’s fun, but I could also say it’s hard. The performances are fun. I think idols should shine in a way that’s suitable for their age, and it’s important to do lots of things for fans like ARMY. Not just performances, but also posting pictures, having conversations on social media, making content. We’re artists and idols, so we think each and every one of those things is important. That sentiment won’t change just because we’ve achieved so much success.
You recently held an impromptu event on Weverse for ARMY.
V: I’m sure there’s lots of ARMY out there who are tired of not being able to see us in person. But since the only thing we can do for them is to be on stage and stuff, I was worried that we’re not doing enough for them. And I love being able to talk with ARMY so much that now it’s like a habit that I read their posts. I have a thing today. I have a test today. I’m moving today. Somehow I feel better when I hear their stories. When I end up reading things like about how ARMY are living or what kind of lives ARMY have, I can’t help but write a response, and because of that ARMY respond, so I try to become friendlier in a more fun way, too. I want us to be more than the Billboard number one Bangtanies—I want to be ARMY’s partner, their best friend, the friend who’s always by their side when we’re not on stage. It feels like business when I talk about communicating with ARMY. (laughs) I just want to talk with a close friend. I wanna talk with a close friend—that’s exactly how I feel. It’s been a long time since I could see my friend, ARMY. Usually when friends can’t see each other they keep in touch all the time. I can talk about all kinds of things like that with ARMY thanks to the Weverse platform, and because I can hear all about their lives, I think I was able to go on Weverse and hold that kind of event.
You’ve been talking about ARMY nonstop for a few minutes. I was going to ask you how you feel about ARMY, but I think you already answered the question. (laughs)
V: They’re just, well, friends I would hate to lose. Friends who seriously give me strength whenever they’re around. Sometimes you find friends like that in life. It’s like that with the other members, and I have other friends who I can share my feelings with. And I have ARMY. So I can’t help but do whatever I can do to make those people smile and make them feel happy.
Well then, is there a song you’ve heard that you want to let ARMY know about? A song that shares your feelings.
V: Umm, recently … “No. 1 Party Anthem” by Arctic Monkeys. When I hear that song … I get emotional, somehow. I don’t usually listen to a lot of rock music, but I can instantly feel the band’s emotions with that song. I seriously get goosebumps listening to it, and emotional, and just all kinds of feelings. It’s to the point that, as soon as I hear that song, I think about how I really want to live well.
That song really means a lot to you.
V: Actually, I don’t really know what’s up with that song. I don’t even know the lyrics, but I’m quite clear on what sort of emotions the melody and the band’s performance give me.
Don’t you feel like that’s an emotion you want to express to people, as an artist? Like you don’t have to explain your messages in detail?
V: I don’t know. I just want to exchange the good, and be the one to embrace the bad. So I have a desire to perfect one cool thing about myself.
So how close do you think you are right now to becoming an artist who has perfected something cool?
V: I’ll say 2%. It’ll go up someday later. (laughs)