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BTS says ‘competition within group’ is its driving force
One of the most frequently posed questions to BTS in the last few years has been about the secret to its global success: The act started out as a lesser-known hip-hop group for whom a crossover felt like a far-fetched dream.

There have been countless efforts to analyze the act’s grand saga, but BTS gave a rather clear and down-to-earth answer to that ubiquitous question: “Competition.”

BTS poses during a press conference for its new album “Love Yourself: Tear” in Seoul on Thursday. (Yonhap)
BTS poses during a press conference for its new album “Love Yourself: Tear” in Seoul on Thursday. (Yonhap)

“We could have made music that is similar to our past work, but the thing is, we have a competition within the group,” said Suga during a press conference for the group’s new album “Love Yourself: Tear” in Seoul on Thursday.

The event was the group’s first promotion activity in Korea upon returning from the US, where it made headlines with its feats at the Billboard’s Music Awards. On Sunday, BTS took home its second top social artist award and became the first K-pop act to perform at the event.

“If there is a member who does great, I think, ‘I should also pull my socks up.’ If one member comes up with a song that has a new style, I also think ‘Maybe I should do something different too.’ All of us have ambitions for better music. There’s an invisible competition among us,” he added.


Backing his words, the versatile seven-piece boy band doesn’t show any sign of slowing down, releasing its third full-length album only eight months after its “Love Yourself: Her” album.

And the new album, led by lead track “Fake Love,” which has topped both local and global music charts, features completely different musical genres and styles from the group’s past works.

Unlike its previous single “DNA,” one of BTS’ most upbeat electronic-pop singles, “Fake Love” is a moody hip-hop track that delivers the members’ realization that what they once believed to be true love was “fake” love. The album also features experimental tracks like “Airplane pt.2,” the band’s first take on Latin-pop, and “134340,” quirky hip-hop track that features the most dynamic tunes in BTS’ history. 


RM, band leader who participated in creating the album, explained how the group evolved as musicians.

“At first, our goal was simple, which was just to participate in making music and showing what we’ve got. But then we received lots of love, went to bigger places, broadened our perspectives and received feedbacks. If what we saw was one line of lyric in the past, now we are able to see one whole song, the album and its story, all thanks to meeting Big Hit Entertainment,” he said.

“Now all of us have our own goals with detailed thoughts that are beyond being good at rapping and singing.” 

BTS also shared stories from its second BBMA attendance. Previously, the band made headlines for skipping the award show’s after parties, interacting with fans through live broadcast instead. And J-Hope once again stressed out how much the band prioritized communication with its dedicated fan base ARMY above everything.

“There were lots of things we had to do after the show, like doing a live broadcast. We thought sharing this moment with our fans was better than parties,” he said.

“And I think we just preferred intimate moments just by ourselves with champagne. Oh, we were also very tired at that time,” he added, with laughter.   


Asked about the group’s next goal, RM confessed that its unofficial goal before the album’s release had been topping the Billboard 200 chart and entering the top 10 of the Hot 100 chart. But he emphasized that the group would focus on the present and its upcoming promotional activities in Korea, saying, “We’ll just try to enjoy the ride, live in the moment.”

Suga talked about bigger ambitions, such as hitting the Grammys, going on a stadium tour and becoming one of the most influential musicians in the world.

“It will be hard to achieve all of these, the reason why it’s hard to say it in words. But now I’ve said it, I will do my best,” he said.

The group will appear in Friday’s episode of US comedy talk show “The Ellen DeGeneres Show” where it will peform its new single, following its grand comeback showcase Thursday on Mnet.
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