BTS’ Jin: ‘Rolling Stone’ Digital Cover Story – Rolling Stone
One of the most serious and spectacular examples is Jin’s howling string of beyond-falsetto notes on the track “Crystal Snow.” You’d never guess it from that and other moments, but Jin wasn’t a singer (or a dancer) when he first joined Big Hit Entertainment (now HYBE) as a trainee; he was learning acting instead. Jin explained how he honed his formidable talents, looked back on some of his greatest musical memories, and more in the third of Rolling Stone’s breakthrough interviews with each of BTS’s seven participants. For the interview, he sat in his label’s headquarters, dressed in a blue button-front shirt with a big collar and a black baseball cap from the Japanese company Mastermind, a gift from Suga.
I know you just woke up. How was your day yesterday?
We went to film a variety show, a successful and well-known show in Korea, and we hadn’t shot one in a long time. I want to highlight to make it clear for the record that everybody was blown away by how attractive I was [laughs].
Around the same time, it seems that you experienced the frustration of not going on tour.
Not only did I feel this way, but other members did as well. When we couldn’t go on tour, everybody felt a sense of disappointment, a sense of powerlessness, and sadness. And it took us a long time to get over those emotions.
I can tell even through the mask. So, what have you discovered about yourself during your year off the road?
There was no time to focus on me, particularly while on tour, to find out what brings me joy and what relaxes me. Being off the road for a year allowed me to focus on what I wanted and who I am, and to learn to love myself. I was able to get some sleep, which made me really happy. I attempted exercise and discovered that it is something I enjoy. And daily activities such as playing video games, watching movies, singing, and so on.
You wrote the song “Abyss” for some of these emotions, correct?
When I was composing the lyrics, I was feeling really deep in the abyss, as the title says. I was feeling down and miserable. However, the task of simply singing and recording the album helped to relieve a lot of those feelings.
Since your education was in acting, you had to learn to sing and dance from the ground up as a trainee. What was your experience like?
It was true then, and it still is now, that it takes more time for me to do things that come more easily to the other participants. In several ways, I fall short. For eg, all of the other participants will learn a dance once and be able to dance to the music straight away. But I can’t, so I have to work harder so that I don’t hold the other participants back or become a burden. So I would arrive an hour early for dance rehearsal, or afterward, I would stay back for another hour or so and ask the instructor to go over the choreography one more time.
“Moon” is a fantastic guitar-driven album. Is it real that you’d like BTS to record more rock-oriented material?
I don’t believe I’ll turn down some rock-style songs that come our way. It would be great if we could do more of them, but they must sound appropriate and fit our team’s style.
Mr. Bang, please tell me about him. What is his special genius?
[With a wink] I believe that a large portion of it is down to chance. His good fortune in meeting us was the discovery of brilliance. I don’t believe he could have done it without our help. I believe his genius lies in his good fortune. … I believe one thing I can tell about him is his willingness to see into the future and spot patterns early on. He recognizes, “This is the sort of thing we will do; this will be fantastic for the future.” So I believe he is very capable in that regard. He’s still very fortunate.
But you’ve grown into a fantastic musician. What were some of the times when you realized you had some singing mastery?
I don’t think there was ever a time when I felt like I had arrived as a singer. I haven’t learned the art of singing. A singer, on the other hand, has a responsibility and an obligation to bring pleasure to the crowd. When we went on tour, I noticed that the crowd was enjoying what I was doing. We were experiencing similar feelings, and what I was doing was increasingly resonating with them. So, whether it was my singing, my success, or something else, I began to understand that I can engage with the audience.
You are, of course, the group’s oldest founder. It’s a truism that people kind of freeze at the age of celebrity and that’s when everyday life comes to a halt for them. So, in your mind, do you feel like you’re nearly 30, or do you feel younger?
This is embarrassing for me to mention because it seems like we’re blowing our own trumpet. But every time I thought we were at the top of our fame, we hit another, and another, and another. So, as I grew older, and again, it’s sort of awkward to say this, we were able to reach more and more heights. So I’m starting to feel my age! I have the impression that I am 29 years old.
“Spring Day” is clearly a collaborative endeavor, but your contribution is especially touching to me. What do you recall from the recording of that song?
For that album, we wanted to construct a sweetly sentimental or gloomy atmosphere. When we received the lyrics, we attempted to establish a style and tone for recording the songs. I attempted to remember all of my sweetly melancholy experiences in order to translate them into the general feeling. For eg, you’re thinking about a friend you’ve lost contact with and pulling strength from your grief.
Will you like to try your hand at acting again?
Nothing is set in stone. I like to go with the flow and do what comes naturally to me. I’m currently obsessed with music, so I believe I’m more inclined to pursue a career within this area.
How do you all know who sings what in BTS songs with these complex vocal interplay?
And when a song is done, we’ll all sing it again. We’re going to sing the whole tune. Then we determine the lines that are most appropriate for which person and their character. And we’re trying to figure that out.
Finally, could you have dreamed of this level of success during your trainee days?
I guess I thought at the moment like if I could get a crowd of 1,000 people, that’s what I needed to do. That was my purpose back then.