The experience of realising oneself, breaking and being broken. It’s kind of a manifesto for RM to exist as his real self, who wants to be liberated from freedom.
Are there moments when you felt like your daily life is shining?
When I am true to myself. When I am working, or when I work out and keep my daily routine, I think to myself that I’m doing well. Also, when I meet and talk to people I like. There are moments when you don’t want to waste a second to even look at the time because you don’t want the time to go by. Those are the moments that shine.
Your lyrics are like a landscape. It’s not just a landscape to look at, but I feel like I am standing in that certain landscape.
Most of the painters I love do exactly the same. They let viewers have a spiritual experience. When I stand before their works, they take me to the moment. There’s a blank space. As I keep looking and following the things I like, I become more like them. I image-train the musical texture in different senses and try to realize them. Let’s take love as an example. There are many themes within love. Instead of making music that is squarely straightforward, shouting, “This is a song written by a heartbroken man who wants his love to come back,” I want to extract something abstract and give it a shape. Abstract may sound like something murky, unsure, and vague, but if you think about the history of painting, abstract followed figurative painting. I think abstract is the compressed essence of only colours and shapes extracted, because even figurative art cannot express everything. One plus one may be two, but there can be a parenthesis or an inequality sign within… Letting the imagination free in the blank space is getting more interesting for me.
This is why your music has many different faces.
There was a period when I used to use strong words like, I want to powerful, I will prove myself, I will dominate. Spitting those words does blow off some steam. But in my mind, I think more about the details now. So how am I going to dominate? Am I really going to dominate? What does it mean to dominate? I think about what comes after those words.
Louis Vuitton was what brought us together. For you, clothes seem to be something more than what you wear. After you created the playlist Mono, you said, “I used to wear only achromatic clothes, and there was a moment when I picked a colourful one, an important change happened. It was a moment to mark.”
Fashion is a tool that helps me express myself, without myself having to express it. How to present myself matters to me, and that’s why fashion is important to me. There was a time when I used to follow all brands, shows and menswear, like I am digging fine art now. Now my fashion has been refined, and all that narrowed down to a few styles and brands I like.
What kind of fashion do you like?
A style that’s so natural to the wearer that unintentionally, or even intentionally, it feels like a part of him. No matter how ridiculous the style is, if I act as if I’m comfortable in it, I believe I can convince people that I’m confident. Establishing a solid self.
In the documentary Break the Silence, you confessed about your fear. Always is a song you made with lyrics based on what you wrote about your feelings going through a hard time. Why is it important for you to acknowledge, embrace, record and share your fear?
It’s an ongoing dilemma because I don’t want to look weak. But I think it would be right for us to share with our fans our pros and cons, and the shadows over our growth as human beings. From the outside, the BTS stocks may seem to be continuously rising, but that is not always true. We may not need to talk about how we even thought about disbanding, but sometimes confessions make people even stronger. But I don’t talk right at that moment. After the feelings have gone by or have been filtered, I look back at them and extract the essence, refine, and share it. Fans will see that artists are humans too and feel closer to us.
After flipping one card, it’s easier to flip the next (laughs). But the confessions should be made in a mature and professionally ethical way. Through a book, documentary, interview, or music... Music would be the best. Just like I did, the listener can get something out of it, and apply it to their lives. I am imagining a lot about a good way to make these confessions.
Feature editor: Chun Hee Ran & Sohn Ki Hoh; photographer: LESS; stylist: Lee Ha Jung; hair: Han Som (Bit&Boot); make-up: Kim Ji Hyun; 2nd production: Kim Kyung Min; set design: Choi Seo Yun, Son Ye Hee, Kim Ah Young at Da;rak; props: National Intangible Heritage Center, Kottbatt, Brushstory, Sosoyo; outfits: Louis Vuitton