It’s easy to forget that BTS were once rookies with different perspectives and life experiences then they have today. Back in 2013, these world famous stars were newly graduated trainees with no idea what the future would hold for them.
A 2013 interview with IZE Magazine has resurfaced just ahead of BTS’s April 12 comeback. The interview, hosted a month after BTS’s June 2013 debut, takes fans back into the minds of rookie-era BTS.
In this interview, the members talked about the birth of BTS, and what it was like to meet each other for the very first time.
I moved to Seoul for the first time in the end of May last year, and J-Hope came out to meet me. I was dragging my luggage and looking around when someone who looked like a friendly neighbor asked, “Are you… Jimin?”
V described the “expectation vs reality” moment he had when meeting his members bright and early one day.
I thought everyone would be working hard on the record wearing berets and necklaces and the like. I crept up to greet them for the first time, but they had all just woken up (laughter). I remember J-Hope’s hair was a mess when he said hello, and Rap Monster was wearing some strange-looking glasses.
In the beginning, having 7 guys living together in one dorm wasn’t easy. They had to learn to work as a team. Instating boundaries and rules helped everything go smoothly.
In the beginning we all shared one room so we would get sensitive about hygiene or cleaning. We started to put in place rules and a fine of 1000 won. Funnily enough, nobody broke the rules as soon as a penalty was set. Now we each clean up so as not to affect others. We also have a rule never to intrude on each other’s beds, which are our own territory.
They also had to learn to work as a team creatively and professionally to come together as a hip-hop group. RM shared one of his techniques for helping everyone along.
Back at the studio I would turn on the beat and ask each of our members to write rap lyrics, even if it was only a self-introduction or just a single word. I think by the time we worked on the title track everyone was ready to take on a hip-hop groove.
When asked about their debut stage, Suga described the emotional rollercoaster BTS and their staff went through while preparing it.
Actually the day before our first on air appearance, we did a showcase event. That day, our casting development team members burst into tears, and so did we. I think that’s why the when we went on air the next day none of us cried or anything. We only felt numb.
Although BTS’s earliest performances went well, they weren’t totally free of mishaps. Jungkook revealed how he dealt with a wardrobe malfunction in a way that is just so Jungkook.
I remember recently on Mnet M Countdown I was dancing when I could feel my hat was about to fall off. I ended up tossing it away not caring how my hair looked on camera.
Suga explained though that BTS had prepared themselves for those situations, and they were able to handle them smoothly, just like they do today.
We actually practiced what to do in that sort of situation. If our hat felt loose we would kick it or throw it away. I think because we did a lot of monitoring and training, many of those who saw us gave feedback that we handled unexpected situations well. That being said, we still got into trouble with the company (laughter).
In one month, BTS’s world began to change, and so did the members. Jimin shared how debuting had turned him into a more driven person.
I can’t procrastinate like I used to as a trainee. I used to put things off and tell myself I could do them tomorrow. Now I feel like if I don’t get something done today, something terrible will happen, so I feel more driven.
RM expressed how “demanding and tough” idol life was for him, due to tight scheduling.
I never knew the job would be this demanding and tough. A whole day goes by when you wake up at 3, 4 in the morning, go through rehearsal, dry rehearsal, live performance, as well as the meet and greet. I’ve learned that it takes a full day of preparation for the 3 minutes of glory on stage.
BTS also talked about what hip-hop meant to them, and what they wanted to achieve through their music. For Suga, hip-hop was about telling a story honestly.
To me hip-hop is a culture of being honest. It’s not about bragging about being rich or owning a gold chain, but a genre where we can speak honestly about what our generation and what they think.
For J-Hope, it was about creating a vibe that people could enjoy.
I used to listen to hip-hop whenever I danced. It hyped me up. To me, hip-hop in itself is a genre one can enjoy. It’s music that anyone can vibe to.
V felt that, unlike other genres, hip-hop could tell more than just one person’s story at a time.
I think songs in other genres contain the story of one person at a time, while hip-hop songs can contain stories of different people.
Jimin said that hip-hop is the kind of music that can make people feel braver just by listening to it.
It’s not easy for me to explain since it hasn’t been long since I’ve listened to hip-hop or experienced the culture, but I feel like it reaches out to others with a story and makes that look good. Like some would say, it’s “music that makes you braver”
At the end of the interview, BTS were asked about their future and how they wanted to live it. J-Hope said he wanted to live an enjoyable life that isn’t tied down.
I want to live without being tied down. For example I look up to Beenzino. I think he has a cool life. I want to be someone who can do what I want and enjoy what I do.
“I want to be me, without too much decoration,” Jin replied. “I’m not one for showing off, so sticking out alone in the spotlight is not my thing.”
“I want to live a life of freedom,” Jungkook said. “doing the music I want.”
In the last six years, some things have changed and other things haven’t changed at all. BTS are still the amazing, humble kings they were before, and all their hard work and dedication has paid off big time!