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How To Write A K-Pop Song, According To Drew Ryan Scott Of After Romeo [EXCLUSIVE]

By Tamar Herman | November 18, 2015 10:34 AM EST

In this follow up to our interview with After Romeo's Drew Ryan Scott, the singer-songwriter discusses his methods for writing a K-pop hit. Check out the first part of the interview HERE to find out how the American pop star became one of the most prolific songwriters in a country he's never even visited.

KpopStarz: You've worked in a variety of markets, American, Japanese, Korean, etc. Did you face any difficulties while working with Korean artists?

Drew Ryan Scott: Korean artists are really chill. I actually like writing for them. Every country has a little different sound. In Japan, it is very, very musical and melodic. The core productions have a lot of changes. In Korea, it's more of an American sound mixed with, I can't really explain it. It's a very unique sound. It's like American mixed with Korean and it makes this really cool K-pop sound. They make this cool rap stuff, they've got more repetitivity, while some other countries have more melodies. You can do some really cool urban stuff in Korea and I love that.

KpopStarz: How have you seen the musical style of K-pop change since you started working in it?

Drew Ryan Scott: First, like industrial-wise, I love that everyone kind of knows what it is. A lot of Americans know what K-pop is now, and a lot of American writers now are trying to write songs for over there. And when it started, nobody was really doing that. It was like me and a handful. And now there are just a lot more people trying to write songs.

But there's a certain style over there that you have to get, and a lot of people in America and other countries don't exactly get it. It's just really interesting because it's a very unique style. It has a lot of western sounds but the melodies have to be a certain way. They like each section to be different. So, like, your verse has to be completely different from your pre-chorus, and then the chorus has to be a big chorus that explodes. Some of the choruses can be repetitive but then it has to have a little break section before the second verse. Then you got to have a bridge, and then you have to have another breakdown...They really like cool gimmicks, so if there are really cool sound effects you can add to a song, in Korea they really love that stuff.

There are so many certain sections that you have to have coming in to a K-pop song. A lot of the people trying to write for it nowadays, they just don't get that. They'll say 'oh, this song will be cut in Korea, this song is for Korea' and you're like 'no, it doesn't exactly sound right, you have to add this, this, and this.'

And from when I started, the songs just have gotten so much better. I also think because there's a lot more people who is trying to do songs for out there. When I started, some of the songs were like 'eh,' but now they're just huge songs that people spend a lot of time on them. And the production has just gotten better. They spend a lot more time recording the songs than they used to, and they take more time making the songs sound perfect. Whereas when it started, technology wasn't as advanced so people just put songs out, but now the songs sound perfect, they make them sound just like demos, which is awesome.

KpopStarz: It sounds like there's a recipe for a K-pop song, and you've perfected it.

Drew Ryan Scott: There is. It's intro, so they can dance, verse, pre-chorus, chorus, then you have a post-chorus section. That's the part that has the same phrase over again or an "oh-oh-oh-oh" section so that everybody can sing along to that. Then there's a little break before the second verse so they can dance again. And then you make the rap a second verse, I like to do that. A lot of songs I do I make that happen in because there's always a rapper in the group and everyone has to have a solo. There's so many different members of each band so you have to make sure there's enough sections for everybody to sing.

KpopStarz: Do you think your background as a boy band member [After Romeo] gave you an edge when writing music for K-pop?

Drew Ryan Scott: It probably helps. I've been a fan of boy groups since I was a little kid. I loved the Beatles, the Beach Boys, that's who I grew up listening to. Then NSYNC, Backstreet Boys, New Kids On The Block. I grew up with that so now I write songs for that.

Tagged :  drew ryan scott

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