Mr. Appu Krishnan, a music producer, and a songwriter has contributed immensely to the music industry. He won the Outstanding Academic Achievement Award after graduating from MI’s Recording Program after moving to Los Angeles in 2005.
Along with that, he not only attended the Bachelor’s in Keyboard Performance but also worked as an instructor for Music Production and Sound Design and gave lectures at the Grammy Museum on Sampling. Following this, were lots of collaborations where he got to work with amazing artists and production companies. His exceptional talent and experience gave him the opportunities to work on English songs, K-Pop songs, and many more. Then in 2017, along with some brilliant people, Loud Boy Music was founded.
Thankfully, we got to have an interview with him to know about his journey. Read below about his experience on working on the K-Pop songs that you guys love!
Q. When did you realize that music is the path for you? And who inspired you?
AK: I guess the music bug bit me on joining my High School Band at Rajagiri School, Kerala. I continued playing music throughout college and by graduation; I was pretty set on becoming a full-time musician. Inspiration at first was definitely my band mates, teachers who coached us in school and listening to a long list of bands anywhere between Metallica to The Eagles! Big thanks to all of them. But as I got serious about making my own music, I would read all the CD liner notes to see who all the producers and songwriters were. People like Max Martin, A.R. Rahman, Quincy Jones, Mutt Lange, Mirwais, so many became heroes to me.
Q. Since K-Pop is not that renowned in India although we do have a lot of fans here, it’s really a proud moment to see an Indian Music Producer to be a part of such projects with top K-Pop groups in South Korea. It will be great if you can tell us how you got acquainted and how everything started?
AK: Thank you for your kind words and I feel extremely blessed to be part of the K-Pop industry and our community. It all started when a few of us, frequent Los Angeles music collaborators started a demo for a boy group. CJ E&M label was, at the moment, looking for a song for the Produce 101 competition. Our song eventually became Wanna One’s It’s Me (Pick Me)’. We felt very lucky to be ‘picked’ as the song for the show. So, thanks to Wanna One, Ryan Jhun, Emile Ghantous and everyone involved at CJ E&M who later helped us, shape the song.
Q. You composed and arranged the song ‘Trust My Love’ from GOT7’s mini album ‘DYE’. How was your experience? Did you get to work with the artists closely? Please share some experience!
AK: ‘Trust My Love’ was born out of a songwriting camp that South Korean publisher Number K company did in LA. I got to work with two of my favorite collaborators and dear friends, Keith Hetrick and Davey Nate on this project.
Keith and I, we had the skeleton of a new track the very first morning of the songwriting camp. I remember the music coming together real quick and it really stood out from all the other ideas we were working on. At Davey’s studio, it was the first thing we played and remember everyone literally jumping up and down about it right away! Even though we played a few more tracks I don’t think anyone wanted to work on anything else. Davey and our team started writing as Soyeun (from Number K) cheered us along and got us the best Korean lunch.
Everyone was so inspired, and melodies started flowing real easy. We all later went to work on it separately in our studios. Earlier this year, I got a call about GOT7 and JYP wanting to record the song! Honestly, we couldn’t dream for a better artist, perfect match for the energy and vibes! We then finished the record with B-Rock and 10YEARS. Then the most exciting part-GOT7 vocals! This had to be done remotely due to being in different locations and schedules as you can imagine. We went in again after the vocal sessions and tailored everything in the song to fit the artist perfectly. Felt really inspired and proud throughout this project. I really can’t wait for you to hear it!
Q. Please tell us about your previous collaborations with other Korean Artists.
AK: After Produce 101, I felt so excited by K-Pop and started collaborating with producer Kevin Cho and publisher Number K Company in Seoul. We managed to work with some amazing K-Pop talent like N.Flying (Yoo Hwe-seung) and Jus2. The N.Flying collaboration was a double win because we got the song placed as the OST for ‘Criminal Minds’- the South Korean TV series! The next project was Chinese/Kazakh superstar Dimash Kudaibergen’s album ‘iD’. Thanks to the awesome fans, we went No. 1 on QQ Music in China in no time! Idol Hits, X Nine and many projects came soon after. It has been a wonderful journey since then in K-Pop and Asia.
Q. You have worked with K-Pop Artists. Please tell us your story about working with them?
AK: For sure! Last year writer Jayrah Gibson and I got to do collaboration on an amazing song. We met in the studio for first time and in probably 20 minutes we had seeds to a great idea. We finished the whole song and sang demo all in like 3 hrs! Lightning fast! He is such a larger than life personality with great talent and so much fun to be in studio with. Songwriter Mayu Wakisaka (Twice, Oh My Girl) is a dream to work with. No one does vocal harmonies like her. I’m constantly amazed by her pitch perfection and her engineering skills in studio will make producers jealous. She is that good! Lol! Japanese super producer Her0ism is one of the classiest people you will ever meet. A true gentleman! So is the producer, David Amber with his countless list of K-Pop hits, such a fun and talented person. I’ve been so blessed to have known all these amazing people. Makes me proud about my friends and keeps me humble!
Q. Which is your personal favorite Korean song that you worked upon?
AK: Ok, so this is the hardest question! Haha! It’s really like picking your favorite child and I honestly feel that anything we are working on currently will be the closest to me! That said, ‘Pick Me’ will always have a special place in my heart, because it was the first, my intro into the K-Pop world. So again, a big thanks to all my co-writers Keith Hetrick, JJ Jones, Che’ Nelle Lim, Emile Ghantous and Ryan Jhun’s team.
Q. So, as we have seen you have worked with artists from various other countries, so when you compare doing work with artists from all over the world, how different it is while working with Korean Artists?
AK: The biggest difference I feel working with Korean artists is their dedication and discipline that goes into each detail of every project. We as songwriters and producers feel much validated for our work because nothing less than 100% is put into it by the artists and their team. It is so inspiring!
Q. K-Pop is setting a trend in the world. In continuation of the previous question, what are some things according to you that make Korean Music Industry, a trend setter?
AK: If I can summarize K-Pop in two words, it is – Fun and Energy. I think, as humans anywhere in the world, we all need it in our lives. Then there’s the fact that K-Pop as a genre is very open to musical variety. So, it always stays fresh and keeps re-inventing itself. We have such different talent in each group. So, there’s always someone in there every fan can relate to. I believe that’s why it is taking over the world and will continue to keep getting bigger.
Q. Can we expect some more such collaborations in future? If you can, please give us a hint!
AK: Haha! Please stay tuned for so many exciting collaborations. We are all working hard actually in the most fun way for that. The hint I can give at the moment is Girl Groups!
Q. Have you ever been to South Korea? If yes, how was your experience?
AK: That’s my only regret now. I haven’t been able to visit yet. We were planning something at this time exactly, but unfortunately due to the COVID-19 situation as you can imagine, all travel is on hold. Really hoping South Korea to be my first destination, when things get back to normal. Till then let’s all stay safe and support each other remotely.
Thank you, for taking out time for us from your busy schedule. We wish you the best for your work and career and we hope that you visit South Korea after the situation comes under control. Please stay healthy and safe. Best wishes to you and to your team! We are eagerly waiting for GOT7’s song ‘Trust My Love’ to release!
You can take a glimpse of the song ‘Trust My Love’ below where Mr. Appu Krishnan helped in composition and arrangement.