In these times where time yawns on for what feels like forever, the wait for BTS’ new album ‘BE (Deluxe Edition)’ has felt like it has lasted decades. The wait is finally over today (November 20) and the group – minus rapper Suga, who is recovering from surgery on his shoulder – gathered at Seoul’s Dongdaemun Design Plaza to share the stories behind it. Here’s seven things we learned from the band’s latest press conference.
They shared the album-making process as a way to not get “disconnected” from their fans
Over the last few months, if you’ve headed over to BTS’ YouTube channel, you’ll have been able to watch glimpses of the behind-the-scenes process of ‘BE’’s making. Sometimes that meant watching RM and J-hope learn about film cameras ahead of taking their concept photos, other times getting updates from music project manager Jimin as he typed up his meeting notes. As much as ‘BE’ is the BTS album with the highest all-round creative participation from the band, so has it been the most accessible to watch take shape. For a group who usually keep what they’re working on so hush-hush, why was now the right time to open things up?
“We thought that we had to share the process because we couldn’t meet the fans in person,” leader RM explains, answering NME’s question. “We thought we were going to get disconnected from the fans [with tours and concerts being cancelled]. It’s like a good restaurant sharing their secret recipe – we thought we were doing that. We had no choice but to do that, and I believe it was the right choice.”
‘BE’ is “precious and meaningful” to the members
You imagine that all of BTS’ work is special to them, given that they always put so much of themselves into everything they do. For rapper J-hope, the way this record was made makes ‘BE’ even more significant. This “self-directed” album saw them take on not just the task of creating the music, but filming the music video, coming up with the imagery, styling and more for the first time. “We all took part in making the album and it’s a precious and meaningful album for us,” the rapper noted.
Being separated from ARMY had a big impact on the record itself
The bond between BTS and their fans, ARMY, is extraordinarily tight so it’s no wonder the last eight months of separation crept into their music one way or another. ‘Telepathy’ (or ‘A moment’, to translate its Korean title) takes inspiration from being apart, Jin explained. “We aren’t able to meet our fans and we wanted to melt down these emotions into the lyrics,” he said. “We are momentarily – as the song name in Korean is – away from our fans, but we wanted to express our hope that we are always with them.”
Similarly, Jungkook, RM and Jin’s unit song ‘Stay’ possesses a message that aims to cut down the distance between band and fan. “We are far apart physically but we always stay together,” said Jungkook. “That’s the message we wanted to put into this song.”
‘Fly To My Room’ sees the band imagine travel will change in the future
Jimin, V, Suga and J-hope team up on ‘Fly To My Room’ and, according to Jimin, tackle travel in the age of the pandemic. “It’s about this situation where we can’t travel or go around freely and how the idea of travel will change in the future,” the singer explained. If that sounds bleak to you, don’t worry. “It’s not a melancholy song – it’s a fun song,” Jimin promised.
Directing the ‘Life Goes On’ music video gave Jungkook a new dream
Jungkook’s directorial talents aren’t anything new to ARMY – his Golden Closet Films productions he’s shared in the past have always been beautifully shot and full of sentimentality. But the ‘Life Goes On’ represents a new first for the camera enthusiast – his first directing credit on a music video.
During the press conference, Jungkook shared his and the rest of BTS’ vision for the video, saying he wanted to “emphasise reality and sincerity and also authenticity”. “We wanted to show this sensibility, this emotional side,” he added. “Our tour was cancelled because of Covid-19 and we were not able to meet ARMY. I wanted to express this regret, how unfortunate I feel this situation is.”
Despite the sad emotions they were drawing from, there was a silver lining to things for JK – the thrill of having things he shot make it into the final video. “I would like to keep learning and keep going,” he said of the experience. “It gave me a new dream that I want to create a better music video in the future.”
Being charge of the album’s visuals showed V a new side of himself
The visual side of the album was managed by V, who said the responsibility made him “nervous”, but let him see a new side of himself. “All of this was a first for me,” he said, recounting his new experiences with making PowerPoint presentations and explaining his vision to their label. “But through this album, these are things I realised could do – I have some talent here.”
Record-breaking single ‘Dynamite’ is on the album as a “fireworks” moment
Since the release of chart-busting record-breaker ‘Dynamite’ in August until ‘BE’’s tracklist was shared earlier this month, one question that has remained would be whether it would make it onto this record. The track’s recording wasn’t part of the album process and RM said they thought “a lot” about whether they should include it or leave it as the standalone single it was originally intended as. Their eventual decision, though, reflected the euphoric way their shows always end.
“We haven’t been able to do a concert in quite a while, but we would have the encore and fireworks as the beautiful conclusion to every concert,” he explained. “We wanted to have a positive and hopeful end conclusion to this album through ‘Dynamite.’ We wanted to put it as a finale, like the fireworks at the end of a concert.”