Jeff Benjamin Talks BTS (KPOP365 Interview)

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Are you still trying to take in everything that BTS has brought out with their new “Wings” album?  Yeah, we are too.  One thing we are sure of though is that BTS has definitely grown up.

KPOP 365 hosted a conference call with Billboard columnist and Fuse editor Jeff Benjamin to talk about this new release.  Check out what he had to say about BTS below!

Jeff Benjamin is currently the Features Editor at Fuse TV where he is a host on its K-pop podcast, ‘K-Stop.’ He is also the K-Pop Columnist at Billboard and has written about the subject for Rolling Stone, Nylon, BuzzFeed and more. One of America’s top experts on Korean pop, his knowledge has been called upon by The New York Times, NPR, Entertainment Weekly and beyond, plus in 2015 was invited to Korea by its government as the lead journalist in an international reporters summit. 

(Please excuse the lack of quotes, KPOP365 unfortunately weren’t able to record the responses like we hoped!)

  1. Do you think because BTS appeals to US based fans that it will grow larger within our own economy? Especially since K-pop is starting to expand to further horizons beyond  Korea.  Do you think BTS, keeping it like the way they are going, will be able to break into the US market?
    • Jeff truly believes that if BTS continued on this upward streak that it wouldn’t be long before they could venture into the U.S. market.  His hope is that BTS would become more than the next “Gangnam Style” and that they could express themselves in various ways to their American fan base.
  2. With the new album each member got to do their own respective solo song and each song had a different feel to it. Do you think that this will help them become better artist, grow as individuals, and perhaps come back with something bigger and better?
    • With BTS being able to express their own styles, it shows how far they’ve come, or more how much they’ve grown as artists. I think that these tracks in the new album would help them in the future because it helps them grow and figure out their own individual talents .
  3.   I guess you can say it will be like they’ll be able to show their individual color to their fans?
    • Definitely.  I think the fans will  really be able to connect with BTS through their music especially in connection to their individual tracks.
  4. How would you personally interpret their Blood, Sweat and Tears music video?
    • It has a very dark art type movement to it.  BTS is possibly trying to explain what life is really all about. It was beautiful yet dark and told a story.  I think the whole art pieces around the room and the statue with the black wings was extremely symbolic.  Especially since black wings usually signifies something bad or evil.
  5. So for you personally was there any one part of the music video that, that stood out to you, like you had a favorite part?
    • There was the part with the angel with black wings.  It happened to be the part where Jin kisses the statue.  “It became such a symbolic part of the music video and it stood out the most to me.”
  6. We’re seeing a lot of idols tapping into their inner art.  For example when T.O.P when did Doom Dada. We know that his song was very Avaunt Gard and we’re seeing artists following this. Do you think that music will start shifting to a more artistic point of view? Do you think it will start moving that way as a phase or era?
    • This question is fun! Art is a way that artists are able to identify themselves.  Whether it becomes a phase or not, I think that like T.O.P, it is a way for them to express not only themselves, but their creativity.
  7. Would there be any tips for new K-pop fans? Especially those who are discovering older generation K-pop groups.  Tips for those who may be confused on this sudden shift in music or anything of that sort?
    • His tip for every person would be to give it a chance.  He’s more than happy to see newer fans getting into older groups.  Not all fans may at first understand how the groups are portraying themselves, but says that patience and time is the key to getting into the shift. 
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