Should BTS take a breather? Grammy-nominated BTS leader Kim Namjoon aka RM opens up on feeling like an 'outsider'
'I’m only 27 years old. I still need to wander around and get tripped up a little. But am I just trying to imitate what the fine artists are doing? Or maybe BTS experienced so much in the past seven years, that now it’s time for us to take a breather?' RM said
In the ‘BE’ interview series of Weverse, where BTS members are showing a never-seen side of them, this time it was Kim Namjoon aka RM's turn to open up about this whirlwind ride to success and what it means to their individual growth, his constant source of inspiration while making art and becoming a lyricist more than a musician.
In the chat, RM, the leader and rapper of the biggest K-pop group asks, "Should BTS take a breather?" The grammy-nominated BTS member opens up about feeling like an outsider, overcoming artist block, and handling the overwhelming success that BTS has received in the past few years.
[Weverse Magazine] #BTS 『#BE』 カムバック・インタビュー RM— Weverse (@weverseofficial) November 28, 2020
JPN: https://t.co/LDoQsxBYQf#BTS #BE comeback interview #RM pic.twitter.com/jR2GYOi0jI
Anybody who has followed the growth of BTS’ leader RM knows him as a ‘poetic personality’, his album ‘Mono’ to date, remains one of the most critically acclaimed Korean albums of the present decade but RM just like any other artist in a creative field is not beyond artists block. The 26-year-old rapper shares, I used to have so many ideas pouring out that it was hard to pluck one out. So I would stack them up like a Jenga tower and ponder over which one to remove. But now, it’s hard to even add a block to the stack.”
He continues, “I’m not sure why but, when I look at these artists whose works span their entire lives, I sense that the rhythm of my creativity is slowing down more and more. That’s the source of my dilemma. I’m only 27 years old. I still need to wander around and get tripped up a little. But am I just trying to imitate what the fine artists are doing? Or maybe BTS experienced so much in the past seven years, that now it’s time for us to take a breather?”
“I’m only 27 years old. I still need to wander around and get tripped up a little. But am I just trying to imitate what the fine artists are doing? Or maybe BTS experienced so much in the past seven years, that now it’s time for us to take a breather? - KIM NAMJOON pic.twitter.com/k0OwBKuq7R— ᴮᴱdaddeh ⁷ (@vminggukx) November 28, 2020
The Billboard Hot 100 chart-topper artist has also talked about how he perceives this overwhelming amount of success, stating “I was the first one to check our position (laughs) but I didn’t want to get too excited about it. I was scared of facing disappointment so I put the brakes on out of habit and restrained myself. But on the other hand, I feel like I should relish this moment. This is a once-in-a-lifetime thing; shouldn’t I enjoy myself a bit? But I disliked that sensation of only feeling elated so I tried to be as objective as possible. I was just one small part of everything that made this happen", talking about the recent success of Dynamite where the group became one in three bands in history to chart their single in Billboard Hot 100.
Over the last few years, a lot has also been discussed on BTS being treated as an outsider in the Wester music, and here Namjoon shares, “There’s something Whanki Kim said that’s been running around in my head lately: After moving to New York, he embraced the style of artists like Mark Rothko and Adolf Gottlieb, but then he said, “I’m Korean, and I can’t do anything not Korean. I can’t do anything apart from this, because I am an outsider.” And I keep thinking that way, too. That’s my main concern lately.”
Finally, about the creative process, RM shared that more than making what is ‘trending’, he wants to keep listening to his feelings and make music accordingly. He shared, “I hope when people look back, my words uttered with the sound of my voice, echoes for a long time in an auditory or visual way, or even throughout their entire lives. But that’s the dilemma: We have all these bling-bling symbols of our success, but we’re not that kind of team.” He further stated, “In—was it 2017? Pdogg was talking to Yoongi, Hobi and me about our style, and said, “Namjoon, it feels like you’re becoming a lyricist,” and it really stuck with me. I have a lot of thoughts lately, when I watch 'Show Me the Money' or listen to hip hop songs from the Billboard chart. My music started out all about my life as a rapper, so I spend a lot of time thinking about where I am now.”
At the end of the day, RM wants to remain a “real Korean person". He laughs, and continues, "A person who wants to do something in Korea. I think millennials are charging into society stuck between the analog and digital generations, and what I chose is BTS. So I try to integrate myself into our generation, try to understand what people like me are thinking and try to work hard to capture that feeling without being a burden on them. This might be another kind of irony itself, but this is who I am. I’m a 27-year-old Korean. That’s what I think."