The somewhat eccentric and unique character that is Kim Taehyung- also know by his stage name V- did not disappoint in his interview with WeVerse Magazine, demonstrating his artistic nature with a hint of playfulness sprinkled into his already overflowing personality. Let’s take a look at what V had to say during his WeVerse chat.
Images Courtesy of WeVerse Interview
An Old Soul
One of the first things I noticed about V when I first got into BTS and started watching copious amounts of vlogs and interviews was how much he seemed like an old soul. V is one of the “maknaes” of the group (maknae meaning the youngest person in a group) alongside Jimin and Jungkook and yet he always exudes a depth and thoughtfulness that is indicative of a man far beyond his 25 years. This is even more apparent in the WeVerse interview. V opens the interview by responding to a query in regards to his love of older music and vinyl, answering that one of his favourite artists at the moment is Louis Armstrong and that he was inspired by artists like Sammy Davis Jr and Billy Joel when it came to the visual aspects of the “Dynamite” music video. He notes that classic music tends to relax him and make him feel at peace when he is frustrated or depressed. He also made me feel validated (for as long as I can remember, I’ve always gotten pictures in my head of situations or scenarios when I listen to songs) when he discusses visualising images when listening to music:
“It makes me picture things in my head. For example, some songs might make me think of seeing something in front of me while walking down the road somewhere at night when I listen to them I think setting the mood for listeners is the most important thing”
This is very much apparent in the songs that V has had a hand in production wise- such as “Stigma”, “Blue & Grey”, “Scenery”, “Winter Bear” and “Snow Flower” (a song which he discusses later in the interview, saying that he wrote it in three days after a drunken discussion with some fellow musicians) – as they all have their own atmospheric tones that make the song feel more unique to V as an artist in his own right. V certainly has an individual sound with his music and his love of classical, older music and artists has clearly inspired him with his own work.
When performing in the music videos for BTS’s songs, V states that he takes inspiration from a somewhat different source: teen movies and musicals. He made the following remark in regards to why he took inspiration from the genre:
“teen movies show a youthfulness that’s appropriate for the age. I think there’s an appropriate mix of emotion, energy, and a completely different and peculiar mood that everyone necessarily experiences at that age. If you watch teen movies, they’re overflowing with energy and full of sunny emotion, but behind it all they’re not as bright as they seem. They are really bright, but the colour itself almost feels like some kind of filter. They feel like they have a different filter than other movies, so I tried thinking of teen movies when we shot the music video and put on performances”.
I found this to be an interesting titbit that you can definitely see more once you go back and watch the MV’s with this knowledge. There is a certain charm to be had with teen movies- particularly the older American ones such as The Breakfast Club– and V undeniably brings that essence of the classical teen film into his MV performances. For “Butter”, V names Johnny Depp in the 1990 movie Cry-Baby as his particular inspiration. I went and watched a few clips of Depp in the film on YouTube and you can certainly feel that swarthy, cool guy/ bad boy inspiration in “Butter”, especially in the elevator scene where he dances cheesily and gives the camera a cheeky grin whilst donning oversized sunglasses. This was his goal and he absolutely achieved it:
“I really, really tried to shoot the part in the elevator so it would feel like a teen movie”.
That being said, he does note that “a lot of takes were edited so not all of it’s there.” I would like to formally petition to release all of the shot elevator footage. Please and thank you, Hybe. Whereas the “cool teen aesthetic” was utilised in “Butter”, the “bright and cheerful” teen movie aesthetic (think Grease or High School Musical) was V’s take in Permission to Dance. It shines through in his sunny performance. Give this man a teen movie role please. I don’t care that he’s 25. Someone make it happen.
Practice Makes Perfect
V links his vocals to the “concepts” of the group’s songs and whilst he felt satisfied with his performance in “Permission to Dance”, he admits that “Butter” was more difficult for him due to the high notes. High notes are something that V clearly considers a weakness with his vocals and he states that he works hard to try and fix these “weak points”. As well as “Butter”, “Dynamite” was also a hard one for him, saying that he “got so mad” and “practiced a lot”. These interviews make it clear that all of the members of the group put an awful lot of pressure on themselves and whilst there is nothing wrong with wanting to perfect your craft, I do wonder whether they are too hard on themselves at time. This becomes even more apparent when the interviewer asks how it feels to see the success of “Butter” after all of the hard work that was put in:
“I’m just trying not to rest on my laurels. Like instead of savouring the feeling, I feel like I should go to bed early for everything I have to do the next day? Getting back in tiptop shape quickly is what’s important, so I haven’t really had time to bask in the joy very much. I’m just working hard at the work I had like I always do”.
As I said, there is nothing wrong with hard work and wanting to get things right. He mentions that he has a fast professional pace which is understandable due to how hectic BTS’s schedule must be but there has to be a moment to sit back and reflect. V views the challenge of this fast pace a way to become stronger but- from what he said here- it seems like he needs to learn to stop and enjoy the view of life once in a while. Jin mentions in his interview how those days were we do absolutely nothing are necessary for us to function as human beings and it would seem that this is a life lesson that V might do well to adhere to.
Blue & Grey
V was one of the writers and producers for the song “Blue & Grey”- a sombre ballad that was released with BTS’s BE album at the end of 2020. “Blue & Grey” is an introspective song that is not particularly cheerful but it reflects the reality of the emotions that all of us felt last year when we were plunged head first into the midst of a global pandemic. With “Blue & Grey”, V saw the song as a chance to put forward his personal emotions as well as a way for BTS as a whole to express their feelings. V felt a need to share his emotions with the ARMY fan base, saying that it was clear that “everyone was having a hard time”. The song is a reflection of the loneliness, isolation and anxiety that came from the world closing its doors and retreating inside thanks to coronavirus. Whilst it may be a song from V on a personal level, he clearly understands that the feelings he displays in this song are feelings that millions of others around the world were- and likely still are- feeling. I personally love the opening line of “Blue & Grey” which is in English: “Where’s my angel?” It stood out as a question that could be interpreted in many ways but I thought of it as asking for a protector or a guardian to keep you safe during tough times. V goes into some detail as to what he meant by this line- and the idea of his “angel” as an understanding being that pops into your head to help you when you are indecisive – in the interview:
“I’m not religious, but whenever I have some kind of issue, I close my eyes and think about it. Is this right, the way I’m thinking about this, or not? They’re just yes or no questions, like, Does my outfit look good today? Instead of just worrying about what you should do, if you tackle it in the form of a question, you get a response with the answer”.
It’s interesting to see what V’s inspiration for this line was and how his mind works when trying to make both tough decisions and everyday ones. It is also a good way to think of that little voice in your head. By considering it an angel, it might make the difficult decisions a little but easier to make.
As is to be expected, V has a somewhat traditional method when it comes to writing lyrics:
“I write in my diary in hopes that it’ll help with writing lyrics and so I don’t forget those feelings. I do it constantly—I open up my diary whenever something comes up. I copy melodies that pop up in my mind, lyrics, and other things from my diary to my notes app temporarily, and when I’m taking a break or I get the urge to work, I open my notes and say, Let’s try this out today, and run over to the studio.”
This definitely keeps in line with that “old soul” nature that V exudes that I mentioned earlier. In a world where technology is advancing faster than we can keep track of, it can be easy to forget methods of keeping notes and holding onto ideas like good old fashioned pen and paper. It doesn’t surprise me at all that V opts for keeping a diary that he records every little thought and lyric idea in. He strikes me as something of an angst ridden writer. I bet he writes with a quill too.
Just like the other members, I’m finishing off this analysis with a look at how V personally displays his affection for the BTS fan base, the ARMY. At the beginning of the interview, the journalist notes that V is relaxed throughout their chat but that there is one moment where he talks constantly and hardly pauses for breath .This moment clearly comes when he is talking about ARMY and I think that shows how deeply he cares for his fans. His excitable- and somewhat hectic – manner when discussing them suggests a connection that is deeper than a lot of artists have with their fans. What he says here is also pretty telling, particularly when he discusses interacting with the ARMY:
“I love being able to talk with ARMY so much that now it’s like a habit that I read their posts. I have a thing today. I have a test today. I’m moving today. Somehow I feel better when I hear their stories. When I end up reading things like about how ARMY are living or what kind of lives ARMY have, I can’t help but write a response, and because of that ARMY respond, so I try to become friendlier in a more fun way, too. I want us to be more than the Billboard number one Bangtanies—I want to be ARMY’s partner, their best friend, the friend who’s always by their side when we’re not on stage.”
There is a strong personal connection between V and the ARMY, to the point where he wants to know about our normal, everyday lives and wants to feel like he is a part of that. He wants to talk to us, to know us and seems genuinely interested in who we are as human beings. So many artists hold their fans at arm’s length but BTS are very different and well known for their relationship with their fans. V’s response is a great example of this, proving that no matter how famous the group become, the fans will always be of the upmost importance to them. V finishes the interview by recommending a song that is currently inspiring him –“Number 1 Party Anthem” by Arctic Monkeys- and saying that he currently has “ a desire to perfect one cool thing” about who is he. You don’t need to be a part of the ARMY to see that V is a guy who naturally oozes cool vibes and so I think we can mark that goal down as a success. He considers his coolness at “2%” currently. If V is only at 2%, there is literally no hope for the rest of us.
Check out the rest of my deep dives into the BTS WeVerse interviews below and make sure to read the entire V interview over on WeVerse Magazine here.