“Since I’m the first one to go solo, I feel a sense of responsibility and there’s definitely some pressure as well,” he admitted regarding the project’s July 15 release. “This album is really meaningful to me, and mostly, I feel proud and excited it’s coming out.”
While BTS formally revealed they’d be going on hiatus in early June, that wasn’t the first time j-hope thought about a solo project. Turns out the idea, and title, had been swimming in his mind for some time.
“The jack in the box concept is actually tied heavily into my stage name, so I think I’ve always had the idea in my back pocket,” he shared. “I’ve always felt the need to unveil music tied to jack in the box thematically for a long time. Pandora’s box is also an analogy for my name.”
He continued, “[I thought to myself] ‘When can I release this? When can I make an album that includes these elements?’ These questions were always in my head… That’s how systematic my approach was as I prepared the album and its tracks.”
Being all about him, the 28-year-old focused on showing the depth of his personality and a side fans maybe didn’t see as much as when he performed as one part of a large group.
“While being part of BTS for 10 years, I’ve experienced a lot,” he said. “From that standpoint, of course there are stories I want to tell, and I realized that it could be tough to tell some of these stories through music with the existing image and vibe of j-hope. I felt the need to show some of my darker aspects.”
He continued, “I wanted people to realize that j-hope isn’t limited to bright things. He can do these concepts and has a wide spectrum. I wanted to call attention to this ability by challenging myself.”
j-hope says the product of challenging himself with a darker sound hasn’t only surprised fans, but fellow BTS members as well.
“When RM heard the album, he said, ‘Wow, I didn’t think you’d do music like this, I have a bit of a brain freeze,’” hope recalled. “[He said] 'It’s so you. The fact that you brought this music at this time.… I really respect it, and I love that it’s so you.'”