[Article] 170430 [Interview S] Bang Sihyuk who brought up BTS, "We want to surpass KPOP's limit" ①

Producer Bang Sihyuk who leads his artist BTS revealed his special philosophy about entering the US market. His plan is to penetrate the world market while protecting KPOP pride.

In his recent interview with SportV, Bang Sihyuk emphasized and said, "You can't really say that KPOP has developed when KPOP artists do music in the western market clad in the clothes of that particular culture."

He then continued, "KPOP itself has to grow bigger and become a genre of its own. So KPOP artists shouldn't just release English songs by collaborating with US producers or label companies. I want to protect KPOP principles. I believe we can bring KPOP into mainstream only by surpassing the limits of KPOP."

KPOP has achieved unprecedented accomplishments in the previous 1 year of KPOP history. Even without taking account of the US market they entered the Billboard's "Billboard 200" with 4 consecutive albums. PSY signed his contract with US management company with the help of Youtube wave and penetrated the local market. BTS did not do any promotion in the US. They didn't even release a US version of their album. Their songs were only sung in Korean. 

Bang Sihyuk said, "The promotion method of BTS as a group will not change a lot from their current frame even in the future."

It's been evaluated that BTS's secret behind their success is "sincerity". Bang Sihyuk analyzed, "It's important that they found their own unique color by worrying how they will express music and what is the music they want to do as artists. As for BTS, there were members who like hip hop so we had hip hop music as the base and sang the trendy music. And they continued to work hard for fancy performances which are also one of their talents. These became the base of creating BTS's US fandom."

He pointed out another reason "they sing about the stories which everyone can relate to."

Bang Sihyuk revealed, "We said we will capture the concerns, frustrations, and happiness, etc endured by people in similar age groups as we grow up. Until now, BTS's albums are connected by one context which is "growth". Whenever we plan a new album, we focus on this. I think you will be able to see the members more grown up compared to "You Never Walk Alone"."

He then continued and judged, "Because BTS expressed the unstableness of youths and the many concerns faced by everyone who grows up with their own voices, I think that made many people relate to their songs and support them. And the fact members themselves infused their own story into their song really played a role. And they aren't artists who are far away from the listeners. They have the charms like your friends and they appeal this on the SNS media that has the power to spread across the world in real time. This played a big role in helping them receive love from many people."

In reality, BTS has surpassed global top stars on Billboard "Social 50" chart and won the #1 spot for over 20 times since October last year. This showed the mighty influence of the worldwide social network.

Bang Sihyuk said, "Instead of focusing on the social media, we intended to display the scenes of BTS through many contents as possible. We thought the listeners could relate to BTS's music more if they see what worries the members usually and what they think about and what members do to solve these issues."

He then evaluated, "Even before their debut, all members were naturally good at sharing their personal thoughts and daily lives on SNS just like their peers. They extended this to Youtube and other SNS platforms to communicate with their fans and even now they stay active. Many people like this side of the members and they find it relatable which I'm grateful to. If the members didn't make a constant voluntary effort, this would not have been possible." 

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