BTS’ Suga On The Contrast Between His Mixtapes, Working With Coldplay, His Honest Hopes For The Grammys, And More

Teaming up with Vogue Korea, BTSSuga recently discussed the contrast between his two mixtapes, his growth as an artist and songwriter, and more!

As the cover stars of the magazine’s January 2022 issue, each of the seven BTS members sat down for a separate interview. Suga began with a bright smile as he picked basketball, the Portland Trail Blazers, and NBA player Damian Lillard as his greatest points of interest these days. He added, “Rather than big teams, I like the underdogs.”

Suga’s comfortable energy reminded the interviewer of the resignation and philosophy so prevalent in his last mixtape “D-2,” to which the singer commented, “Resignation. That’s right, it feels as if I’ve let it all go. The thing with COVID-19 is that it’s not going to get better just because I put in effort. I’ve come to better understand that putting in effort consumes so much energy. Even though I’ve lived [all this time] putting in so much work.”

Laughing, Suga revealed, “These days, I honestly don’t have many thoughts. Seriously. I’m too busy and I try not to think about identity. If I focus on that, I think about it too much. I think it’s not too bad to just live life going with the flow. Rather than really longing and striving for something, just as it flows.”

Over the past few years, Suga has lived a rather intense lifestyle. He commented, “I’m not saying I didn’t try or that I worked any less hard. Should I say that acceptance has become more natural? Compared to when I was younger.”

This contrast is evident in his mixtapes. “My first mixtape was close to rage,” Suga explained. Laughing, he added, “However, in that time, I sorted everything out. I didn’t know who to get angry with now. It wasn’t until then that I came to face myself. I was someone who made rage and my inferiority complex into my weapons but I think it was around 2018 when my self-destructive rage started to lose its effect. I thought that I could no longer use only that as my energy to move forward.”

These thoughts are what led to the creation of Suga’s second mixtape “D-2,” a musically mature album. Suga commented, “Actually, it was a tight finish to record in the final two, three months of 2020, but I started the beats and basic production in 2016 right after my first mixtape came out. I finished the track ‘People’ around October 2016 and I thought, ‘Ah, I’ve reached the stage where I can write this kind of song.” Suga also chose “People” as his personal favorite track.

Over the course of their career, BTS has received high praise for being so honest in their music, which Suga has played a large role in. While being truthful isn’t always easy or enjoyable, Suga nonchalantly addressed this with a small smile, saying, “People seem to like my music.”

“It’s different from time-to-time,” Suga shared about his songwriting tendencies. He continued, “If there are songs that come out right away, there are also songs I’ve already accepted that I worry about because I think, ‘Should I quit now?’ ‘Over the Horizon’ is one that came out swiftly in one go. Honestly, the guitar and string part were finished in 20 minutes. If I’m given a theme and am told, ‘Please write a song about this and this message,’ I’m the type that can draw out that 3-minute story. The direction of the drawing comes out in one try and I’m the style to match it one by one after that. That’s why they call it a sketch. For me, that sketch typically comes out quickly.”

As for his musical inspiration, Suga shared, “At the most random times, I get inspired one by one. Even in the most ridiculous situations.”

One of the biggest misconceptions that people have about artists is that they get inspired by special things. “When I’m at the studio, there are times when I think, ‘I’m sure I can do that,” Suga explained. Continuing, he added, “Other times, [inspiration] comes out when I really don’t want to [work]. I’m telling you, there hasn’t been a single time where I thought, ‘I’m going to use this exact emotion from this particular moment.'”

Instead, inspiration often arises from interactions and exchanges, such as “My Universe,” BTS’s recent collaboration with Coldplay. Suga commented, “It was fascinating because they proposed first that they would come to Korea. When Coldplay does collaborations, they say that Chris Martin always comes to record in person. I was surprised that he participated so actively.”

Suga added, “They were all so humble, pure, and passionate, and they treated us so kindly. It turned out that our situation and the situation that Coldplay had experienced for nearly 25 years weren’t that different. We each talked about our own troubles and the conversation was natural.”

He continued, “As you meet stars, you start to differentiate whether their current actions are sincere or not. However, Coldplay was so sincere, so we were rather touched.”

Regarding what he’s gained over the past eight years, Suga picked happiness. He explained, “I also learned that that’s not something grand. I lived diligently thinking that material things provided happiness but once I had them, I wasn’t really sure.” Laughing, he added, “However, I’m also not materialistic.”

Suga continued, “That’s because I realized that material things no longer give me a lot of satisfaction. That’s why these days, I’m trying to find [happiness] in small things. Stuff like waking up early and drinking a cup of decaf coffee on an empty stomach. I’m glad that I at least know of these joys now.”

On the other hand, Suga chose normalcy as what he’s lost. He elaborated, “What’s normal to others is special to me. However, I think that time will resolve that.”

Looking to the future, Suga commented, “I think I’ll be BTS until I die. I’m often asked how I’d like to try producing [a group]. But I don’t think I’d be able to. I don’t have that much responsibility to be responsible for someone else. I just like BTS.”

Finally, the interviewer popped the long-awaited question – Suga’s hopes for the upcoming Grammy Awards, where BTS is nominated for Best Pop Duo/Group Performance with “Butter.” Suga replied, “The Grammys? I have a humble version and a confident version so which one should I do? Honestly, I don’t have high expectations.” With a laugh he then added, “But I do think we’ll receive it!”

Suga’s full interview is available in the January 2022 issue of Vogue Korea magazine. Check out RM‘s interview here, Jin‘s here, and stay tuned for the remaining BTS members’ interviews!

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