Members of BTS, the superstar K-pop group, said they plan to pursue solo projects and discussed a potential break in a video posted to their YouTube channel Tuesday.
The group — comprised of RM, Jungkook, Jin, SUGA, J-Hope, Jimin, and V — shared a video featuring their "family dinner" on Tuesday. The video was part of the group FESTA celebration, which marks the group’s ninth anniversary.
In it, the group discussed the highs and lows of their industry. They said they believe taking time apart will help them mature as individuals.
The word "hiatus" was used in English subtitles on the video. But in a statement to the Associated Press, Hybe, the South Korean entertainment company behind BTS, clarified that they group will still be working on projects together, as well as individually.
“BTS are not taking a hiatus. Members will be focusing more on solo projects at this time,” the statement said, according to the AP.
Hybe did not immediately respond to request for comment.
Jimin said the group is “going through a rough patch right now."
“We’re trying to find our identity and that’s an exhausting and long process," he said.
J-Hope added that spending time apart will help BTS "learn how to be one again."
"I hope you don’t see this as a negative thing, and see it as a healthy plan," he said. "I think BTS will become stronger that way."
RM agreed, saying that while BTS is different from other pop groups, "the problem with K-pop and the whole idol system is that they don’t give you time to mature."
"You have to keep producing music and keep doing something," he concluded.
RM said that he had been feeling overwhelmed and overworked by the high standards BTS had set for themselves, calling himself a "rapping machine" at one point.
"I kept feeling like I was trapped inside myself. I wanted to shed that off for a little bit and leave myself alone," RM said. "But right now, we've lost our direction and I just want to take some time to think and then return, but that feels rude to our fans and like I'm letting down their expectations."
The group always keeps their fans in mind and that the group wants "to be the kind of artists that are remembered by our fans," Jimin said.
SUGA lightened the mood by reminding his bandmates: "It’s not like we’re disbanding!”
"I think now we’re starting to think about what kind of artists we each want to be remembered by our fans,” Jimin said, in a nod to their impending solo careers.
J-Hope and Suga have both released solo mixtapes in the past. The two reportedly already have additional solo work on the horizon, and Jungkook has also said he would also be releasing solo work.
On social media, BTS' stans, known as ARMY, supported the group's decision to take a break if needed.
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"LET US STILL SUPPORT THEM IN THEIR SOLO LIKE HOW WE SUPPORT THEM AS A GROUP. WE ARE WAITING FOR BTS CHAPTER 2. BTS HIATUS," wrote one Twitter user.
“i hope and want bts to know that whatever they do and whatever direction they want to go in we will always follow them and support their decision,” another person wrote.
Some fans expressed enthusiasm about the group members' future solo careers.
"bts is on hiatus not army’s," one person wrote, adding that the music charts would be ruled by "seven names now, not one."
Still, many within the fanbase acknowledged the video made them emotional.
The group previously took a break in December 2021.
“We would like to inform you that BTS is planning to take a second official extended period of rest since their first in 2019, after they complete their official scheduled events of ‘BTS PERMISSION TO DANCE ON STAGE — LA’ and the ‘2021 Jingle Ball Tour,” the tweet stated.
That break marked the first time the group had been given time to spend the holidays with their family since becoming BTS.
In April 2019, the group took a break to “enjoy the ordinary lives of young people in their 20s, albeit briefly,” their agency Big Hit Entertainment said in a statement.