"We have to consider ourselves not just better [than other K-pop acts], but the best," BTS leader RM, 25, tells The Hollywood Reporter in a new cover story. "When we're out there on that stage, we're there to conquer. We think we're the ones."
Here are the seven most interesting takeaways from the seven-member (V, Suga, Jin, Jimin, J-Hope, RM and Jungkook) band's chat with the magazine.
They were not an immediate success. During their first trip to Los Angeles in 2014 they had to literally walk around the city "trying to corral people to attend their first free concert at The Troubadour. Only 200 showed up." Five years later, of course, they're selling out New York's 41,000-capacity Citi Field and the 90,000-capacity Rose Bowl in Pasadena.
Their team is as tight as can be. In a business in which some boy bands have been duped and ripped-off by unscrupulous managers, the group has a remarkably friendly, familial relationship with 47-year-old South Korean music mogul Bang "Hitman" Si-Hyuk, who put the group together in 2012 for his Big Hit Entertainment group. Described as "Korea's kinder, gentler Simon Cowell," Bang says he runs his company by trying his best to "present a long-term vision that can contribute to the improvement of the K-pop industry without compromising these practices."
There are, of course, some managers who cannot be trusted, but RM tells the magazine that despite their country having "quite a few Lou Pearlmans" -- referring to the late Ponzi schemer and music mogul who allegedly defrauded Justin Timberlake and other boy bands under his direction out of millions -- "we feel like we're very respected when we talk to Mr. Bang." Jungkook, 22, adds, "he gives us a lot of freedom to do whatever we want to do...I'm not quite sure how to say it, but I think we need each other."