Sure, V has achieved idol standing throughout his decade-lengthy profession with BTS, acquired recognition as an actor for his supporting position within the 2016 Korean drama Hwarang, and established his personal id as a singer-songwriter. But he’s very happy to admit that he doesn’t have all of it found out.
For the previous three years, the 27-yr-outdated musician and actor, born Kim Taehyung, has been constantly writing songs, displaying them to followers in occasional video livestreams solely to begin over completely. All of it has been in pursuit of discovering the precise route for the debut solo album that finally grew to become Layover, out Friday.
While engaged on the LP, V discovered himself considering the better trajectory of his profession. Everything got here simply as BTS’s id was in flux: The group reached new world success with 2020’s “Dynamite” and 2021’s “Butter,” however the members transitioned to specializing in their solo careers in 2022. Just as V was experimenting with totally different genres and songwriting kinds, he realized that he didn’t need to simply sprint furiously towards a ultimate vacation spot. He acknowledged that he was somebody who wanted to take detours, discover new prospects alongside the best way, and simply benefit from the journey.
“Instead of taking a direct route, you would cease someplace and keep for some time, or take a switch, or do a layover,” he tells Rolling Stone via an interpreter on a brutally sizzling summer season day in Seoul. “I simply felt that my life, wherever it’s headed, wouldn’t comply with a direct path.”
He knew his time would come whereas watching his fellow members launch their very own solo works one after the other. Slowly, V reworked lyrics and fashioned the songs that make up Layover. Through sluggish-burning R&B and soul-impressed pop, he luxuriates in layered moods — longing, unhappiness, and need. Leaning on photos of wet days and blue evening skies, he conveys the contemplative state of his on a regular basis life. In brief, he is aware of how to set a vibe — which, within the TikTook age, has change into an important ability.
Layover builds on V’s earlier solo tracks, which embrace 2019’s “Scenery” and “Winter Bear.” In 2020, he launched the melancholic ballad “Blue & Grey” as a part of BTS, utilizing sparse photos of flower-lined streets and snow to specific his interior world of grief and loneliness. Layover can also be stuffed with sophisticated emotions that encompass a way of nostalgia, with its romanticization of the previous and all its regrets. These have been concepts V had began exploring via his unique themes for Korean dramas like “Sweet Night,” for 2020’s Itaewon Class and “Christmas Tree,” for 2021’s Our Beloved Summer. They’re additionally a testomony to his development as an artist since becoming a member of Big Hit Entertainment at age 15. Through BTS, he’s proven his versatility and charisma via DMX-esque hip-hop vocals, excessive-octane dance EDM, and enjoyable social gathering rap. Now, he’s embarking on his personal journey, setting the itinerary himself. “I’m simply starting to paint the image that’s Kim Taehyung,” V says.
While V wrote the songs on Layover, the album was government produced by Min Hee Jin, the president of ADOR (a subsidiary label of HYBE), who has been famend for her work on NewJeans, a gaggle that attracts on the spirit of the Nineties. Layover, nonetheless, delves additional again into the previous, with its palette of jazzy pianos, heat bass, and fluttering flute solos pulling from V’s love for jazz and classical music.
The undertaking can also be a showcase of V’s wealthy baritone, emphasizing how he’s lengthy idolized and emulated traditional artists Chet Baker, Frank Sinatra, and Sammy Davis Jr. A former saxophone participant who has additionally dabbled in studying trumpet and violin, his vocals impart a world of feeling simply via slight changes to his inflection and rhythm. Though his tone is heat, it’s at all times shaded with a tint of unhappiness, a little bit of blue. The temper is wistful, but luminous all the identical.
Yet in dialog, V’s demeanor is the other of gloomy. Showing flashes of playfulness, he takes benefit of the time that the translator spends decoding in English to draw a goofy face on the whiteboard within the HYBE assembly room. Then, he pretends not to understand it exists once I ask him about it. Throughout the remainder of the dialog, he’s earnest as he gives his ideas on his songwriting course of, watching his fellow BTS members launch their solo work, his obsession with surroundings, and the way he would personally outline what “romance” is.
What is the importance of this album title, Layover? What sorts of ideas or emotions does a layover convey up for you, and the way did you specific that within the songs?
The title Layover took place whereas I used to be considering what my ultimate vacation spot is in my life and profession and the best way to get there. The intent behind naming my first solo album, Layover, is to characterize a place to begin ,like I’m simply starting to paint the image that’s Kim Taehyung.
I spotted there’s a great distance to the ultimate vacation spot of my life. There’s plenty of other ways to get to that ultimate vacation spot.Why not give your self the time to relaxation, look again at myself, and create new objectives? Thinking about all of that, I made a decision on the title Layover. I actually hope that listeners of this album may also take it as a possibility to mirror on their lives, take into consideration their objectives, and take some moments of relaxation wherever they want.
Last yr, you talked about in WeVerse Magazine that you just scrapped all of the songs you made for this solo album and began contemporary once more. When you began over, did you need to go in a wholly new route?
For the previous three or 4 years, I’ve been constantly songwriting and making music. Throughout that point, the factor that involved me probably the most was how my style and preferences, the type of music I needed to make, have been altering yearly, each month. You might say that I used to be being very formidable about this solo album. I had an angle of, “I wanna present this, and I wanna present that,” which is why the model [of the songs] continued to evolve.
As I re-hear to the music I’ve made after a while has handed, I can see the elements that may have wanted enchancment, and the way it’s totally different from the place I’m now. Since it’s my first solo album, I additionally assume I used to be a bit shy], which is why the method took longer than anticipated.But as a result of there shall be extra alternatives sooner or later to present the songs I’ve written, I believed it could be higher to first introduce myself to the world as a solo artist. So the album displays a wide range of totally different musical kinds that exhibits who I’m. I’m nonetheless persevering with to write songs now.
The music that I’m engaged on now could be stylistically totally different from this album.
So for Layover, what did you need to obtain with the manufacturing model? When I listened to it, I personally felt like there have been jazz and classical music influences.
As you talked about, jazz and classical are my favourite genres, so I believe I at all times had the will to strive making it myself. It was the music that I grew up listening to. Whenever I had free time, or when there was a break between my work, I tended to return to these kinds. I felt a way of consolation whereas listening to them, so I actually needed to strive to make music that additionally brings that feeling of comfort to the viewers. While I used to be making ready this album, I believed, “Since that is the music that was at all times my supply of consolation, why don’t I strive to return the sensation for ARMY?”
When did you first begin listening to jazz, and what about it drew you in?
I began listening to jazz once I was round 14 years outdated, in my first yr of center college, nevertheless it was not likely by selection. I had began taking part in saxophone, and I had to observe for varsity admission exams, so I listened to jazz quite a bit. But I really actually hated it on the time. I believed to myself that I’d by no means hear to it once more after I used to be finished [preparing].
But after time handed, I began to discover it once more. You know, while you’re strolling down the road and also you simply hear music in passing? I began listening to jazz songs that I acknowledged,like “Oh, I do know this one! Oh, that is that tune!”And it all of the sudden felt very contemporary. Jazz began to have a brand new that means, as a result of it wasn’t a part of my work or research. After listening to it extra naturally, I began falling in love with the style and seeing its deserves. I believe it was round my early 20s that I rediscovered my love for jazz once more.
Partly due to the jazz affect, this album evokes emotions of being nostalgic for the previous. Do you assume you’re a nostalgic individual?
I believe you’ll be able to consider it as related to BTS’ The Most Beautiful Moment in Life collection, which showcased the theme of youth. You know, while you look again into your previous and really feel sentimental about these outdated recollections. That unusual feeling that comes with reflecting again in your outdated self, and considering, “I want I might return to these good outdated days…” I believe that general sentiment can also be mirrored on this album. Particularly the tune “Love Me Again” is about reminiscing and wanting to return to the previous. I believe these concepts are mirrored within the music video as effectively. So briefly, my youth just isn’t over. Right?
Oh positively. You’re nonetheless younger. Like we’ve each stated, I believe plenty of younger folks today have nostalgia for an older time and so they have a tendency to romanticize it. To you, what does the phrase “romance” imply?
I believe I stay with the phrase “romance” in my mouth. It’s actually a part of my vocabulary. I have a tendency to actually benefit from the ambiance and the vibe within the scenes of on a regular basis life. I believe I’m the type of individual to strive to discover that means in all the pieces. So whether or not which means going to stunning locations or consuming scrumptious meals or good surroundings, I believe that’s what romance is to me. You know, it’s like they are saying, “Live in model, die in model.”
In this album and the previous songs you’ve written, you have a tendency to reference plenty of nature, whether or not it’s rain, snow, the moon, or nighttime. Is it that you really want to specific your emotions via these sorts of photos?
Yes. Our chief RM, he’s actually nice at writing lyrics in a poetic approach, so I’m at all times studying from him. So at any time when I research lyrics and write them myself, I have a tendency to gravitate towards my favourite phrases. “Night” comes up quite a bit, as a result of it’s my favourite time of day, and it tends to be the moments of my life once I assume and mirror probably the most. “Snow” comes up as a result of it signifies my favourite season. “Dawn” can also be actually nice. I generally is a one that thinks one-dimensionally or just, so I strive to adorn my songs with my favourite phrases. One by one, I strive to convey out [the beauty of these words]. I strive to study from RM in that regard.
While you have been watching your fellow BTS members launch their solo albums and singles this previous yr, did you study or take away something about how to launch your individual undertaking?
First of all, I made certain to watch all of my members’ stage performances, one after the other. I’ve by no means seen anybody else on this world who’s as a lot of a fan of my fellow members as I’m. I believe watching my bandmates intently actually did encourage me. Of course, I used to be happy with their achievements, however I additionally acquired teary and emotional whereas watching their ardour onstage and the way cool they have been. At the identical time, I began to get nervous as a result of I knew my flip could be coming. Honestly, that’s why I modified plenty of the lyrics [on this album]. I believed I actually needs to be cautious and considerate and thoughtful about these songs. After seeing their materials, I believed, “I ought to actually work onerous on this.”
Did any of your fellow members aid you particularly with this album? Or is there any suggestions they gave you once they heard the songs?
So I didn’t understand this on the time, however I actually didn’t present the songs in progress with my bandmates that a lot. In the start, since J-Hope was the primary to launch his solo album, he listened to my songs. And Jung Kook additionally listened to my work-in-progress with me, and we had plenty of discussions about what the route needs to be. But what I believe is actually attention-grabbing, particularly after speaking with all of them, is that each one seven of us actually have our personal distinctive colour when it comes to music. Our strategy is totally totally different, and the best way that we would like our performances to look are totally different too, so I believe that’s what made these discussions very enjoyable.
Why didn’t you present your members your songs that a lot?
It’s simply that we didn’t have plenty of alternatives to meet in individual, since we have been all busy with our personal private schedules. For me, at the moment, I used to be filming the present Jinny’s Kitchen. So at any time when we did have an opportunity to meet, we simply caught up on life, and we didn’t actually have an opportunity to talk about music.
I do know that Min Hee Jin government produced this album. Can you clarify slightly bit concerning the collaborative course of along with her? What type of discussions did you will have?
I used to be in this time period the place I used to be occupied with the query, “What is the ultimate vacation spot of my life?” So once we began engaged on this undertaking, I had the chance to discuss with Min Hee Jin, and we ended up having a really lengthy dialog, sharing all these totally different concepts — even the very small ones — and attempting to get on the identical web page. Even in areas that I neglected, she would have an concept for each little factor. This album was the results of us combining each of our concepts, and it was a enjoyable course of.
I believe we actually relate to one another on a private degree, too. I believe she’s somebody who actually understands what my strengths and passions are. She was actually nice at catching all my abilities and traits and bringing them out for this album. Following my persona, I didn’t need this album to really feel like this huge, all-necessary type of piece of artwork. Instead, I needed to really feel pure and easy, like slightly current for my listeners.
To ask a query about appearing, I’ve learn that you just actually need to play a villain, which feels slightly sudden. I’m questioning why that type of position appeals to you.
I’m somebody who simply actually loves watching motion pictures. Whenever I do, I discover myself naturally drawn extra to the villain characters slightly than the heroes. When you watch a movie, you will have to take a look at the massive image, or the forest for the timber. I believe that villains play a really huge position in making that general image full; they actually have to promote their very own charisma to make the film come to life. If the villain doesn’t actually have depth to their character, or if there’s no chemistry between the characters, then the hero can’t actually shine both. So I at all times find yourself watching the villain characters intently. I’ve instructed plenty of my associates and other people round me that I now have this ambition to play a villain at the very least as soon as.