D = Donggun; K = reporter Kim; C = reporter Chung
D: Hello, this is Donggun from ‘Korean Guys’, with
C: Chung Hyung
K: and Kim Hyung.
D: They are our special guests for today.
K: Yes, we currently run a YouTube channel called ‘Kim and Chung’. Here, we have a (gesturing to self) former entertainment reporter and (gesturing to Chung) current entertainment reporter.
D: Yes, so today, we are going to talk about Hallyu topics with real entertainment reporters. BTS are the most popular lately, right? So, in Korea, are there any stories that only entertainment reporters know about? I’m really curious about this.
C: I interviewed BTS before they got popular, and also had the opportunity to interview them after their popularity rose. Recently, I also went to their concert for a press conference. I attended the press conference and Rap Monster said that he would like to go on a stadium tour for their next concert tour. He also said that he would like to invite the Korean entertainment reporters who watched BTS grow over the years to their stadium concerts in America someday.
K: That sounds so nice.
D: You must have thought, “I’ll be going” then.
C: Of course.
K: (stating reporter Chung’s thoughts) “I’m going to America now.”
C: I talked about this on our channel too—the cute thing was, BTS couldn’t win 1st place on music shows for a while. Before they released ‘I NEED U’ and HYYH, they said getting first place on music shows was their wish. So I asked them what they wanted from their company if they did win first place, and they said they would like to receive foot baths.
D: Foot baths? For their feet?
C: Yes, foot baths in which they could relax their feet. So I thought, “The company should buy them foot baths this time for sure if they get first place.” But they really won first place with that album.
D: So, did they receive the foot baths?
C: I don’t think they did. But now, they can surely buy themselves a million Won worth of foot baths.
K: Naver gave them a massage chair. They placed first for having the most number of followers on Naver V app. So, I think Naver gave it to them as a gift. It seemed like they had a massage chair.
D: Are there any other stories?
C: Well for BTS, they are one of the groups that give you good energy after interviewing them—Rap Monster and Suga, especially. Those two individuals talk a lot about music. It really isn’t easy to continuously talk about music with idols in an interview.
D: Really? Why?
C: Because an idol is the product of a process—visuals, from head to toe.
C: So aside from music, there are so many different things to talk about (when you’re interviewing an idol). Unexpectedly, there are actually a lot more times where we don’t talk about music (in interviews with idols). But BTS members produce and write their music themselves, so they really enjoy talking about music. I was really touched during their recent press conference. (For this comeback), BTS had many issues surrounding them, including Not Today’s controversial lyrics and other various things. They probably predicted what types of questions the reporters would ask them, so they seriously prepared this huge pile of A4 papers with notes (of their responses).
D: Seriously? Who? Which member?
C: Rap Monster.
K: On most circumstances, entertainment reporters are boycotted for specific topics. At press conferences, there are instances when we receive requests like “Please do not ask questions about certain topics” or because they know that a certain type of question will come up, the flow of the press conference ends up being very structured and planned out according to a script. The MC will oftentimes ask the controversial question and the celebrity will provide an answer that was prepared; or the MC will pass out press release reports to the reporters before the press conference and prevent those sensitive questions from being asked altogether. Despite being world renowned stars, the fact that they prepare themselves to receive sensitive questions and prepare such extensive notes is something you don’t often see.
C: One of the reasons why BTS is favored by entertainment reporters is because they are a group that very much understands the partnership that reporters and celebrities have. Some celebrities think that reporters are there to attack them and think of us as useless and bothersome entities, but BTS recognizes that “those people are here to help us” and have that kind of awareness. They treat us with a partnership type of relationship, so as they get bigger, we, reporters, are proud to see their progress.
D: Aside from BTS, are there any other groups that can receive this type of praise for their attitude towards reporters?
K: But, I don’t see any other group (that deserves praise) as much as BTS.
K: Because I usually worked in the cinema realm of entertainment, and heard that BTS was the topic today, I asked my reporter friends as well as BTS fans about them. I asked, “Why do you like them?” The first thing they said was, “They are kind.” Truthfully speaking, BTS is a group with outstanding performances, but, disregarding all of that, they all replied, “Because they are kind and have good manners.” I also got responses like, “They are so innocent and kind to the point that the term ‘top star’ doesn’t suit them and that is their unique charm.”
D: We keep talking about BTS, and BTS is currently receiving a lot of popularity around the world, right? So (is there) a possible reason (for their popularity)? What do the entertainment reporters currently think about their success?
K: Even though we are seeing it happening, it is quite hard to believe. As I was preparing for this episode today, I searched through their records, and there are so many that you can’t even list them all. You could say that they are a group that is more popular worldwide than in Korea alone.
D: (asking reporter Chung) What do you think?
C: I think BTS had a really great strategy from the very beginning. At the time of their debut, big groups like EXO and others were already very well established. Many other Korean stars were growing popular in Japan, China, and Southeastern countries as well. So in light of this, BTS sought out to target the Americas, switching the continents. So they are the type that targeted the foreign market even before solidly establishing themselves in Korea, then, that foreign popularity projected back into Korea.
K: But I think YouTube contributed a lot to their popularity as well. They run a channel on YouTube, similar to V log (V app), where they show a lot of their daily lives. From their trainee days until now, they continuously share these videos and communicate with fans through that. And, truthfully, there aren’t many instances in which celebrities do that. Idols revealing themselves through videos before debut and communicating that way. Also, YouTube allows many different types of people to watch videos if you just add subtitles, so I think that helped a lot in gaining popularity worldwide. Showing their lives even before debut.
D: I’m kind of curious about BTS’ current popularity and how they are currently promoting in Korea.
C: Honestly, I want to see them in Korea. (laughing)
K: They have so many tours, honestly. They are always on the other side of the world.
D: Even without a lot of promotions in Korea, it’s very interesting how they are so popular internationally as Hallyu stars.
K: Billboard reporters were surprised, too. “Who is this group to have 3,500,000 views for a teaser despite having no promotions at all in the US and no English songs?” The Billboard reporter was so shocked that they posted this on Twitter.
C: I think you could say that they are pretty similar to Big Bang. Big Bang does their music but use trends that are very popular at the time to influence their fashion, music, and more. That’s how BIGBANG became a sort of icon internationally. But I think BTS is following their lead very successfully. Musically, the Moombahton style is currently very popular worldwide, so recently, they used it in their music. And with that, because their music style is already being loved worldwide and not just in Korea, anyone can listen to it easily, even without knowing the lyrics.
Trans by ARMY Base | @bangtanitl
Please take out with full credits.