Five Big Takeaways from TXT’s Series of PAPER Magazine Interviews
PAPER spent a week with the members of TXT, giving each member time to share their individual backstories, goals, and dreams.
#1: Their relatability comes from their youth
TXT are able to resonate with millions of listeners because they accurately convey the extreme highs and lows that come with growing up, and these highs and lows are how they truly feel. They do not need to pretend to relate to fans; they are living through the same inner struggles that younger fans currently are and that older fans remember experiencing. Nothing is contrived; TXT’s messages about what it feels like to grow up are simply their truths. The authenticity provided by their youth is emphasized by PAPER drawing attention to their literal youth: Taehyun started training with Big Hit Entertainment while still in middle school, Hueningkai started at age thirteen, and Beomgyu’s audition schedule had to be altered to accommodate school exams. Yeonjun was also still in school at the time he began training for a professional career in the arts, initially striving to become a professional dancer. Lastly, Soobin was only in ninth grade when he sent an audition tape to Big Hit Entertainment, and he did so against his parents’ initial wishes. What could be more of a classic teenage response than that?! TXT’s music evokes memories of this profoundly impactful period of life, a time when complete childhood and complete adulthood both feel far off, because that is the period of life in which they currently live.
#2: They have learned to see immense strength in vulnerability
The TXT members used to be much more guarded around one another, holding back how they truly felt. But spending so much time together and getting to understand each other on a deep level allowed those walls between them to dissolve. As PAPER put it, Soobin “encourages them to speak their minds freely whenever they feel like it. Why wait to say what's on your mind?” Soobin said:
"Our relationship has evolved...I used to think that we were like a family that couldn't get any closer, but each month we do become closer. I can read their expressions so well. I look at them, and I can predict what they're going to say and how they're going to act. We've become more family than family."
TXT’s messages about trust and friendship resonate thanks to their genuine openness and honesty with each other.
#3: They view pressure as a good thing
It would be disingenuous (and frankly not human!) for TXT to claim they are unaffected by their title as “BTS’s brother group.” However, the pressure and enhanced spotlight that comes with this title is seen by them as a badge of honor, a motivational phrase to keep in mind as they perfect each release. They embrace the possibilities that come with a heightened level of global attention, rather than run away from them. As Taehyun put it:
"I can say with confidence that I am a 'nose to the grindstone' kind of person...It's really just my passion that has allowed me to become who I am now and develop as a singer. I had to really work hard at it."
He also said:
"The older I get and the more interest people have in us the more I think that I should be better...It increases my sense of responsibility."
Yeonjun reiterated this point, saying:
"I don't consider it a burden because that's the motivation that allows me to grow and to keep trying harder so that I can become the best that I can become.”
Hueningkai admitted there are times when the attention TXT receive is daunting, but his sense of purpose grounds him and gives him the confidence to keep going:
"There were times when I felt like I was in a slump, and there were a lot of barriers that I had to surmount, but I had a really strong desire to do this. That's allowed me to keep going and to keep pushing myself to become what I wanted to be."
The members see the high expectations they face not as a burden, but as a fun and worthwhile challenge.
#4: They have a big interest in making songs, not just performing them
As those who have read TXT’s song credits already know, the members like to stay involved in the writing and production side of the music business. This is not a new interest for them: Hueningkai originally auditioned for Big Hit Entertainment as part of a singer-songwriter duo, Yeonjun got through a second round of his Big Hit auditions in part thanks to his self-written lyrics, and Taehyun admitted he’s always had a knack for topline writing:
“I think it's...my strength that I don't really have to go anywhere to be inspired. I can just be sitting at my desk and come up with a melody."
#5: The potential positive impact of their music is something they take very seriously
TXT not only want to show appreciation for their platform, but proof that they have earned it. As much as singing, songwriting, and other aspects of making music are therapeutic for them, the members view that as insufficient without also extending that sense of solace and encouragement to listeners. In other words, TXT do not feel like they have fully done their job just by releasing music; their full satisfaction comes from receiving feedback from listeners who use that music as a tool to uncover their own emotions, tell their own stories, and embrace their own journeys and feelings. As Beomgyu said, "I realized that if I was given the opportunity to debut that would give me the opportunity to tell my own story.” But he always wanted to give listeners the courage to tell their own stories too, making beautiful memories out of the mundane through music. As PAPER put it:
“...he liked the idea of telling stories and making melodies — of creating a song for every moment in life, no matter how small or seemingly insignificant.”
“...he was enamored by the way these songs made him feel. ‘That's when I realized that this is something that I wanted to do,’ he recalls. ‘Even now, when I need to lift my mood, I go back to music from [the times I made special memories with] my dad.’”
Soobin expressed agreement about wanting to use TXT’s music for good and for contributing to fans’ life soundtracks:
"I always felt like I was holding back...I was a bit shy. Then, we debuted, and for the first time I felt like I had done something that was really meaningful."
TXT see no point in sharing their stories through music if those stories do not convey emotions that maintain their fullness. The reason their music is not stripped of its depth and layered meanings is because of their strong desire to maintain the fullness and complexity of their authentic emotions in that music, a task in which they take great satisfaction.