“Cherry Bomb” is your third track for SM Entertainment – how did you end up working in Kpop?
A lot of our good friends over at SM Entertainment, they actually came out to see me a while ago. So I’ve been giving them music for some time now. [“Cherry Bomb”] is just one of the ideas that we shot over to them and they came back to us and they loved it.
You’ve worked with some incredible American artists – from Anderson Paak to Rihanna to Eminem, Kendrick, and Dr. Dre – what were some of the biggest differences you found between working with those artists and working with Kpop artists?
The crazy thing about it is, all the stuff that we know and love and what we used to grab from pop generally, they’re actually still doing that. And I think that that’s missing here. We definitely miss that. Like when I saw the group, NCT 127, you see how they’re all in unison, and even though they got the rapper in there, the rapper still got the dance moves with the whole nine. It’s like what they used to do back in the ‘90s — it was just like pure entertainment. So it was just like, you can still have spit, and still have a little swag on stage and whatnot. I thought that was dope. They don’t really do much of that anymore out here.
You worked together with SM producer Deez for this track – what was the process like? Did you come out to Seoul or did you guys work online?
It was more online. I actually got a chance to meet everybody when they all came out here. I haven’t been out there yet, but we’re making that change as soon as possible. I think I’m trying to come out there like at the end of this month. I’m trying to come out there ASAP and meet everybody and actually get the vibe going on in person. Everything’s just been online from that point we actually met the first time in person. When we met it was more of a meeting, it wasn’t a studio session. I had to sit in the conference room. I got to sit at the end though. I felt a little special.
NCT members Mark and Taeyong wrote their rap parts for “Cherry Bomb” if I’m not mistaken…
Yeah that shit hard!
What was your general impression — you’ve worked with Dre, Eminem, Kendrick — what did you think of the NCT members and their skills?
I was very impressed, that shit was really, really dope. And their cadences went hard. It’s dope how, from my understanding, it’s a couple of different languages that they’re putting into one verse. That shit’s crazy to me.
It’s cool to hear that even though they have these verses, these bars in Korean, that you can still recognize their talent without even knowing what they’re saying.
Oh yeah for sure. At the end of the day, it’s still wordplay. That shit was really impressive man, they sounded really dope.
NCT’s new single “Cherry Bomb” just dropped, what can you tell us about it?
Yeah so I did that track in a session with Jen Decilveo — she is a very talented writer and producer as well — and when we get in, we just lose our minds and just spazz out and see what comes out. You know, just wild the fuck out in the studio. I think when we do stuff like that, that’s when it ends up standing out — that type of vibe just ends up creating the kind of music that stands out. We knew that someone was gonna grab it up, we just didn’t know who. So when we threw it over [to SM] and they said they loved it, I wasn’t surprised.
Was it different from what you had in mind, or did you feel like they captured it?
I was like, oh yeah, they got that. They matched with that shit, they knew what it was. As soon as they were done with the song, they were like “yo we’re about to kill this visual,” I already knew they were gonna do that.
Were there any big changes made to the original demo to adapt it to the Korean market?
Oh yeah for sure. And we went back and forth, so I created a couple of pieces, and I didn’t know where they were actually gonna put it, but yeah we created a couple of pieces, and then Deez was actually the other producer that produced the bridge, and the more colorful side of it where the keys came in and everything. So he produced that side of it. We were all going back and forth and just making sure that it was right prior to them actually recording on the record and whatnot.
Is the meaning of the Korean song the same as the original American song? Or were the lyrics all in Korean from the beginning?
They just had it in Korean from the beginning. The “I’m the biggest hit on the stage” part is similar to what the demo was, but the demo was crazy like we was spazzin’ out super super nasty. Like every word was a curse word, those are the type of songs that I love.
Can you tell us what the original lyrics for “I’m the biggest hit” were?
The original was “I’m the biggest shit in this bitch.”
NCT stands for Neo Culture Technology – the idea of this group is that the group members are never set. Who’s in the group changes based upon location and concept. What do you think of this concept in which one pop group has potentially infinite members? Do you think something like this could work in the US?
As of right now, I’m gonna say that that’s definitely Kpop concept. It’s gonna take us a while to get to know that formula and master that. We’re slow over here (laughs). Nah but, I feel like if they did it it’d be dope, and I also feel like a lot of things that are happening in Kpop that gets the customer involved and excited about projects like this, we’re actually starting to get into stuff like that back here in America as well. I feel like we’re definitely on the right track. I’m excited to get out there and actually see it for myself.
Are there any other Kpop groups or artists that you would want to produce for?
Not just yet, but when I get out there I will. As of right now, we got NCT 127, we got Red Velvet, and we got EXO.
only included parts of the interview where nct was mentioned. you can find everything else at the source