If we were going to borrow the terminology of one pop-culture juggler, “Star Wars,” for another, BTS, we’d refer to this stage in the career of one of the group members as “BTS, Episode II: A New J-Hope.” ” Can say. At least, J-Hope himself considers this the beginning of the second chapter in the career of the ensemble, as well as a new beginning for himself, because today he releases “Jack in the Box”, which is a series of solo albums. is the first in a series. Each member of BTS is expected to be out in the coming months.
It makes sense that the artist known as Jeong Hosok would be the first band member to release a full solo project while featuring as fueling the middle of the group’s efforts. Since he is primarily known as a rapper, there will inevitably be little comparison between his solo material and the past few years of BTS pop earworms like “Dynamite” and “Butter”. But in another sense, there’s a risk involved in coming out right with something that bears little resemblance to anything that’s recently been described as a BTS signature sound, even if a piece of hip-hop. Different Sides has been a constant flavor of the group’s eight-year discography. The potential reward is certainly worth that risk – setting a more substantial flag in the ground for South Korean solo rappers pays off with a hip-hop album as impressive and believable as “Jack in the Box”.
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A few days before the release of “Jack in the Box” (and before we had a chance to sample the album ahead of its first single, “More”), Diversity spoke with J-Hope via Zoom – and through a translator – about how he hoped to show a different side of himself with the new record, which he described as one that ” definitely reveals a slightly darker side to me” whatever they’ve produced with BTS to date. And, after the announcement of the solo projects nearly set off a slight global panic about the group’s future, they set the record more straight for how little the world should worry about, in their view.
With all the members of the group now known for making solo albums, you are the first to walk out of the gate with one. Can this be taken as any indication that you were most likely looking forward to being ready to go soon after that announcement?
In fact, the order didn’t really matter to us. Even when I worked on BTS group projects, I’ve always thought hard and long about what kind of music I could show the world as J-Hope; I actually thought about it constantly. And timing worked out really well, so I became the first person to go solo among my team members. But at the same time, because I am the first to release a solo album. I feel a weight on my shoulders. And I want to start successfully for all the members of my team as well. I was a little worried, and I don’t want to risk or undermine my reputation as a team with BTS. However, overall, I am very confident and satisfied with the album. I really put everything into this album and conveyed the messages I wanted to convey. So no matter how the reaction or response, I have no regrets, and I am ready to take any kind of feedback. I am open minded to this.
After putting out a mixtape, “Hope World” so many years ago, You had the song “Chicken Noodle Soup” with Becky G as your most recent solo activity in 2019. Have you been working on stuff since then, or was that an hour of mind, and it’s really just a flurry of activity lately where you’ve worked on this album?
The topic of “Jack in the Box” is a topic that has been running in my head for a long time. I thought about this topic for a long time because it has to do with my stage name, J-Hope. So I’ve always wanted to reflect the story of my stage name in my music. But it’s true that after the pandemic started, I definitely focused more on producing my solo album. During the pandemic, I realized that despite all these challenges, life goes on, and there is nothing I should do. I actually got a little more personal time, “me” time, so I definitely decided to be a little more productive despite the pandemic. So that’s when I started focusing on building my personal music with BTS Music. And in the past I released “Hope World” and “Chicken Noodle Soup” and during that time I definitely planned the right timing for these pieces, because [I thought], “This is the right time to highlight my dance moves, to showcase my dance performance.” This album called “Jack in the Box” is the moment I want to unleash my artistry music, So I’ve thought about this topic a lot – that’s been my long-term plan.
“More,” the first single was a real change of tempo, and would have been hard to do in the context of BTS, with rap verses and then a rock band chorus coming in, as seen in the video. Is this one genre out of many on the album, or a real indication of where the rest of the album goes?
There’s certainly an obvious reason why I chose “More” as the first track to be released. I wanted to express a little darker side of me, as a person, as J-Hope. This song is very powerful, and really the feeling you get when you first hear this song is definitely reflected on all the other tracks on the album. I’m not saying that the rap sound is the main theme or focal point of my album. However, the overall flow or style is the same across all tracks. You’ll probably understand better after listening to the full track after the album’s release in just a few days. This album is full of this kind of special style, and it definitely reveals a slightly darker side of me, a different side of me. But after its release, I ask for your full support.
What can you say about the song “Aagni”, which will be the second song in the video? In the images being released from the video, you look absolutely beautiful in white, but then again in what looks like some kind of motor vehicle explosion.
If you look at the names in the track list, there are several songs with very interesting titles, such as “Equal Signs” and “There Ain’t No Bad Guys in the World”. [aka “STOP (세상에 나쁜 사람은 없다)”] And especially “arson.” The title imagery definitely fits the visual concept I chose for this song. It’s a song about J-Hope’s own ignition of his passion. I ignited a passion for myself, to pursue my career, to pursue my music. But looking back, it spiraled out of control, and the whole world around me caught fire. I have released a lot of songs and music, and I have received love and support from all over the world. So now, it is not easy to extinguish the fire or ignition of passion. So I wanted to convey and convey that message through this song titled “Agni”. And the song is also about how I’m at a crossroads now – a point of choosing whether I want to put out this fire that I started, or whether I want to continue and keep it going. want to make a flame? I personally believe that this song “Arson” is even more powerful than “Peacock” in terms of style and visual concept, as well as impact. I am very excited about what I will see in terms of reactions and feedback after the release of this song.
Do you feel like you have such secret influences, or influences that people don’t know very well, that you’re really exercising with this album, with the music?
You’ll probably understand it better when the album is released and you hear all the tracks. There are no special guests on my album; All the tracks are filled with only my voice. Because I wanted to tell my story, my story as a person, I thought special guests weren’t necessary in the making of this album, and I believed that it was only by filling in all these songs with my voice. The album will be very authentic. So, when you ask me what kind of influence I got, I think the influence I had while working on the album was my inner self – my identity as a person. The inner self, and my thoughts, have been an influence while working as part of BTS and my life history.
And if you ask about the musical influences I had while working on the album, since my career was first based on street dance, I believe that the music I used to dance to was definitely my music. laid the foundation of. So you’ll hear a lot of old school hip-hop as the basis for the musical genre on this album.
Your performance as a headliner at the Lollapalooza festival in late July is coming. Can you give a preview of how your display style will be? Because since you’ve been so involved with dance in the past, people may think that, without group members with you, you can still have a set of dancers, and it will be overly choreographed. But in the “Peacock” video, there’s no dancer in it, and it kind of suggests that maybe you’re going in a different direction with your onstage performance style. Can you tell how your live performance as a solo artist would be?
In fact with the album “Jack in the Box”, I decided that I wanted to highlight the craft and artistry in music by releasing this album and producing this album. so i’m not relying on my normal skills [of dancing], I can say that I picked up a different, new weapon that I want to use – a different skill I want to show people. So this album can leave a very new impression on the audience and listeners. And even when performing at Lollapalooza, I think my intention to make this album will reflect in my live performances as well. That’s why I’m designing a lot of different things, so that the single performance doesn’t get too loose. So I’ll fill this performance with a lot of different aspects and things. It would be great if you could actually see it yourself. And I think once you listen to the whole album, you’ll better understand why I chose to perform at Lollapalooza, and why I took this huge challenge of performing at a festival as a solo artist. Why did you decide to take
There was some concern among fans, naturally, that when the solo projects were announced, even though there were assurances that BTS would continue, it might lead to a long split. But then on 7 July it was announced that, amid this flurry of solo activity, BTS would hold a concert in Busan in October to promote South Korea’s idea of hosting the 2030 World Expo. Do you think the concert announcement sparked any concern in people’s minds about the future of BTS?
When we talked about temporary breaks, or focus on solo projects, we were trying to be really honest about how we felt and what we wanted to do next. I was a little surprised that people took it differently than they expected to receive or understand that news. I think there was a slight loss of translation when we delivered that message. And of course we are not on hiatus. The team will be active.
We just learned a lot and we’ve grown together as a team over the last decade, and I believe that was the first chapter for BTS. So in order to sustain BTS longer and even leap forward, we thought chapter two was definitely needed. So although we have grown together and we have worked together as a team for the past 10 years, now maybe it is our time to go ahead and pursue what we want to do individually and focus on personal growth. Focus more. So when we work on solo projects we want to embrace and experience a lot of different things.
But that doesn’t mean we’re definitely holding off on BTS Group projects. That’s why we expect that after gaining all these experiences and doing individual projects, we will have a more synergistic effect as a team, and we believe that this is a sustainable and healthy way for us to grow as a team. Is. So I think we’re on the verge of starting chapter two for BTS – and going forward, we’ll definitely be working on group projects as well as solo projects. As you mentioned there will be a concert in October and this event will be very meaningful for us as well. So I just hope there is no misunderstanding about where we are going and what kind of guidelines we are taking as a team.
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