(UPDATED) K-pop superstars BTS announced that they are going to take a break from group activities as the members plan to focus on solo endeavors.
The seven-member boy band, who is widely credited for bringing K-pop into the mainstream in the United States, shared the development in a video posted late Tuesday, a day after the group celebrated its ninth debut anniversary.
“We’re going into a hiatus now,” Suga said in Korean via subtitles.
But in a report by the Associated Press, Hybe – the entertainment company behind BTS – clarified that the career move was not a “hiatus,” adding that the boys would instead be “focusing more on solo projects at this time.” Both the company and the members did not say when BTS would resume group promotions.
During the hour-long video, which saw the Grammy-nominated act discuss their future while having dinner, leader RM opened up about how he no longer recognized BTS’ identity following the release of their recent singles.
“After ‘Butter’ and ‘Permission to Dance,’ I didn't know what kind of group we were anymore. Whenever I write lyrics and songs, it’s really important what kind of story and message I want to give out but it was like that was gone now,” he said.
The members said they never had the opportunity to grow as individual artists within South Korea’s rigorous and highly competitive idol industry.
“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… there’s no time left for growth,” RM said.
RM added that deciding to go on a break was difficult for the group because he felt that they would disappoint their fans, whom they credit for propelling them into global stardom.
“Right now, we’ve lost our direction and I just want to take some time to think and then return but that just feels rude to our fans, and like I'm letting down their expectations,” he said.
“I think now finally we’ve come to think about what kind of artists we each want to be remembered as to our fans. I think that’s why we’re going through a rough patch right now. We’re trying to find our identity and that’s an exhausting and long process,” Jimin added.
Addressing fans, the group’s youngest member, Jungkook, said: “We’re each going to take some time to have fun and experience lots of things. We promise we will return someday, even more mature than we are now.”
“I think we should spend some time apart to learn how to be one again,” said J-Hope, adding that he wished fans would not see the career move “as a negative thing.”
“It’s not that we’re disbanding. We’re just living apart for a while,” Suga remarked.
The members shared that they are planning to release individual albums, which they have already started to work on. Jin also expressed an interest to venture into acting.
Just last week, BTS put out the 48-track anthology album “Proof,” which brings together the band’s hit singles, member-picked solo and unit songs, and demo and unheard versions of previous releases.
The group is slated to promote the album on South Korean music shows in the coming days, starting with “M Countdown” on Thursday.
Debuting in 2013, BTS – comprised of RM, Jin, Suga, J-Hope, Jimin, V and Jungkook – have built a massive global fanbase through songs with lyrics that touch on youth issues and social commentaries.