Just days after the release of a three-disc career retrospective proveK-pop icons BTS shocked ARMY nation on Tuesday (June 14) with the surprise announcement that they are taking an indefinite “hiatus” to give every man time to focus on solo endeavors.
The unveiling of the seven-piece boy band came about 20 minutes after an hour-long FESTA dinner at which members RM, Jin, SUGA, J-Hope, Jimin, V and Jungkook sat casually around a dining table, joking around while deciding what to drink should , reminisce about their rocket ride to stardom and playfully tease each other.
“We’re going to take a break now,” Suga said casually at one point, about nothing else they were talking about, in a section that suddenly sobered the tone. “Shall we talk about why we’re not doing FESTA or doing content?” he added.
“Shall we address that?” wondered RM.
“Yes, we need to talk about the direction we’re taking,” Suga confirmed. And with Suga bringing it up, RM felt free to elaborate on the apparent impending break following the group’s unrelenting pace since its inception in 2013.
“So today when I get together and shoot content, I’m glad we’re BTS… what would I do if we weren’t BTS?” asked RM. “It made me think I’m happy just being together. I started music and became BTS because I had a message for the world.” He added that he didn’t know what he would do after the group released “On,” their second single from 2020 would have Map of the Soul: 7 Album.
But then the COVID-19 pandemic shut everything down and the band focused on recording new singles, including their #1 Billboard Hot 100 hits “Dynamite,” “Butter,” “Permission to Dance,” and “Life Goes On.” ‘ and, he noted, ‘The group has definitely changed.’
“We have to accept that we’ve changed,” RM said, as his bandmates looked on with decidedly more serious faces than they had during the earlier part of the celebratory dinner. “For me, it was like the group BTS was pretty much within reach until ‘On’ and ‘Dynamite,’ but after ‘Butter’ and ‘Permission to Dance,’ I didn’t really know what kind of group we were.” He said , that whenever he writes lyrics and songs, the story and message he wants to spread is very important, “but it was like that was gone now. I don’t know what story to tell now.”
RM, 27, said he’s always viewed BTS differently than other groups, but the “problem” with K-pop and the idol system is that “they don’t give you time to mature. You have to keep making music and doing something.” He described getting up in the morning and getting his makeup done, feeling like he didn’t have time to grow.
“And it’s not just about music and work,” he added, noting that he’s also changed “as a person” over the past decade. “So I need to think and have some alone time, and then those thoughts can mature into something unique … I can’t mature anymore physically.” He said he felt like he should contribute something more to the world now, but he doesn’t really know what that is, so he just needs some time to think about it and figure out who he is and what he wants BTS to be.
“Somehow,” he said, frowning, “it’s become my job to be a rap machine and remake music and speak in English for the group.” While praising the top-notch performances of his bandmates, RM said , he feels “trapped within myself”. Always wanting to shed that mantle and show his true self, he postponed his efforts to think a little, but the BTS machine kept coming out with more products as members became more “jaded.”
He promised that he will still look forward to dancing and rehearsing with the rest of BTS and that they will put on great performances when they reunite. “But right now we’ve lost our direction and I just want to take some time to reflect,” he said.
ARMY was of course front and center for every man, with Jimin, 26, saying: “We can’t help but think of our fans no matter what – we want to be the kind of artists that our fans remember. I think now we’re starting to think about what kind of artists we all want our fans to remember. I think that’s why we’re going through a difficult phase right now, we’re trying to find our identity and it’s a tough and long process. Our fans know us and we know each other.”
Suga, 29, noted that the “hardest thing” lately has been writing lyrics and that “we need to say something… you can’t force it. I need to talk about something I really feel, but right now I’m just pushing it out because we have to satisfy people’s desires and listeners’ desires… it’s so painful.”
His biggest hope, he said, is to finally try genres other than hip-hop, actually “many genres.” Because, he added, if he had a solo show where he rapped for two hours, “it would be boring… so boring.” If he’s honest, he better wants to learn how to dance and “dance free and be hip like Bruno Mars.” .
J-Hope, 28, gave ARMY hope that this is definitely not the end for the group, although he revealed he has already started work on his solo material. “I think this change is what we need now,” he said. “It’s important for BTS to begin our second chapter.”
At this point, RM announced that their individual mixtapes would now be treated more like proper albums, with J-Hope set to become the first member to officially step out on their own as the group begins to “show our individual colors.”
The disclaimer at the beginning of the video reads, “NOT scripted! NOT staged! It’s all BTS sincerity by ARMY, by ARMY, for ARMY.”
A spokesperson for the group clarified BTS’ description of the disruption in a statement to Billboard: “To be clear, they are not on hiatus but will be making time to explore some solo projects at this time and remain active in various different formats.”
Back in 2019, the group took a month-long hiatus from the spotlight, which a rep described at the time as an “opportunity for the members of BTS, who have relentlessly pushed toward their goal since their debut, to recharge and prepare to re-introduce themselves as musicians.” and creator.”
They also took an “extended dormant period” in late 2021, which their management company said in a statement was to allow them “to become inspired and charged with creative energy again.” All seven members have released solo projects throughout the group’s career, and over dinner they said they are all in the process of recording solo projects. J-Hope will apparently be the first out of Solo Gate when he performs at Lollapalooza next month without his bandmates.
Watch the video of the dinner and the announcement of the break below.