K-Interview: Songwriter and Producer Carlyle Fernandes

Kaamaakshi Bhat, Zirakpur, Punjab

Carlyle Fernandes is a Swedish-Indian songwriter and producer who has worked with several K-pop artists such as SUPERKIND, ASTRO, THE BOYZ, KINGDOM, Red Velvet, TRENDZ and many more. His songs have reached #1 on Billboard Music Charts and have sold Multi-Platinum. First of all, thank you so much to Carlyle Fernandes for taking out time for this interview on behalf of our Hallyuism Team. Please take a look at this interview to know more about him and his music:

Could you please give a brief introduction to our readers about yourself and the work you do?

Hi Hallyuism, thank you so much for having me. Nice to meet you! My name is Carlyle Fernandes, I am a Swedish/Indian K-pop producer. I was born and raised in Gothenburg Sweden, but both my parents are native Indians from Mumbai, but originally with roots from Goa. My music has placed #1 on several Billboard charts and has sold Multi Platinum, nominated for prices and given me a total of more than +100 million streams.

When did you think that music was the field you wanted to start your career in and how did your journey in this field start?

I started playing guitar in high school, 9th grade. I fell in love with music already back then and kind of had a dream to work with music in some way, but didn’t really know how or what to do.

Since I’m not really raised with music, nor do I have anyone in my family pursuing music, I felt a bit frustrated, not knowing how to push forward or what to do. At times it was very lonely, not having anyone closely doing the same as me.

I’ve kind of always known that I have been very motivated, very driven and had a lot of determination, but it took quite some time until I found myself on the right path. My early passion for playing guitar took me into the band scene in my early 20s, playing for numerous bands in Gothenburg, and doing several recordings. In my early 20s, I started out in metal & hardcore bands. And I spent a great amount of time doing shows on a weekly basis & touring before starting with music production. Eventually, I found my niche in music production around 9 years ago. In June 2023 I’ve been producing for about 9 years.

How did you discover K-pop and how did you start songwriting in the K-pop industry? Please give an insight into how your journey has been so far.

I discovered K-pop around 6-7 years ago when I studied music production in Northern Sweden, north of Skellefteå in a small village called Frostkåge. Most of the year was called and there wasn’t much to do other than working on music really. A classmate of mine told me my music reminded him of K-pop. Since then I’ve been a bit interested. In that same class, another classmate and I started to get more interested in the K-pop scene. We found more songs online, we saw music videos and got insight stories from other music producers. So that’s basically how my interest in K-pop started.

Since then I’ve worked myself through and built up my network with songwriters, producers and industry people. And some people I had contact with back then are today people that have written some of the biggest songs in K-pop. Fast-forwarding a couple of years, I’ve now got myself a few releases in Korea. And I’ve also been lucky enough to have some songs and records being #1 on Billboard and in the Korean charts. Today I work on a regular basis with other collaborators doing music to be pitched to Korean labels and companies.

You have recently co-written and co-produced MOODY by SUPERKIND which is the first-ever AI + Human K-pop group. How was your experience writing this?

This was a very exciting project! Such a fun song to create. I did the track along with SOFTSERVEBOY. Shout out to him, one of the best guys I’ve worked with. The song is toplined by Gabriel Brandes and Josh McClelland, credits to them as well, amazing topliners. My initial idea for the track (instrumental) was to create a hybrid Latin K-pop song, very much drum focused but still very minimal. Kind of like ROSALIA in terms of production and music style. The label singled out the song and liked it very much from the early stages but wanted to infuse more K-pop to it. That’s when SOFTSERVEBOY was brought in, to “K-poppify” it. A couple of revisions later we landed in what would later be released as MOODY by SUPERKIND.

Video Credits: PlaySUPERKIND

Yeah, it’s said that SUPERKIND is the first ever AI + Human K-pop group, which I think is very cool. I like how their AI members interact as part of the band as members, both in the music videos as well as the band’s socials. We’ve seen some bands previously that have AI incorporated in the bands’ concept, but I feel like SUPERKIND has definitely levelled up that idea making their AI far more human and let the AI be more part of the entire band rather than just a side-piece. They’ve definitely packaged their concept very well and made it unique! And that’s something I really find unique about K-pop.

It’s just very cool and very out of the box, but yet so right in time and technology, I think that’s what somehow makes it kind of K-pop; “unique and out of the box”. Overall I am very happy and thankful to be part of this song and experience. And I am very much looking forward to following SUPERKIND to see what endeavours are ahead of the band.

You have worked with artists such as ASTRO, The Boyz, KINGDOM, Red Velvet, Kim Jae-joong and TRENDZ. Do you have any memorable experiences with any of these K-pop artists that you would like to share?

I feel like all releases have special memories. To mention a few here are some stories of mine. For KINGDOM Long Live The King a special moment for me was when I received the artist’s signed album record home to me in Sweden. That was a cool memory, from unpacking the CD and holding a physical record. I don’t take any of the songs or releases for granted. So knowing that some people listen to the songs & appreciate the music makes me happy. And knowing that some people actually bought the records is mind-blowing for me. So to hold a physical copy of a record and know I have a song on this record will always be very special.  (I sent along a picture of the signed record).

It was very special as well when I saw Long Live The Kingmusic video hit +10 million streams. Upon the release, I said to a friend of mine, that all previous KINGDOM title tracks hit around 2-4 million streams on YouTube, while my friend was certain and said “Nah, this song you did with KINGDOM will be their breakthrough, it will stream far more.”

Video Credits: KINGDOM (킹덤)

So, hearing my friend say that, and that my friend was very much correct is also a good memory, since Long Live The King, is by far their best-streamed title track and song on YouTube.

Also seeing the title track After Midnight by ASTRO generate combined streams of more than +50 million was mind-blowing for me. As well as receiving their signed album home with a personal message to me. That gave both warmth and inspiration to my heart. Thank you ASTRO!

For Jackpot” with Red Velvet I am just very happy & thankful that I actually saw the daylight of this song. I originally did the track 2018, ONLY having Red Velvet in mind for it. When the track was done, I shut my eyes and visualised Red Velvet performing it.

Video Credits: Red Velvet

Originally Jackpot was meant to be released pre covid, around spring 2020. Then covid came and the release got postponed, leaving me a bit hopeless if I’ll ever see the song released. Eventually, the record was released on April 6th 2022. So being able to just listen to a song that Red Velvet is performing, knowing that I played a part in it, makes me very happy.

Another fun story about Jackpot is that, if you listen very closely to the song, you will hear a chipmunk voice here and there saying Casino Night (0:07 seconds) and Go Girls (0:23 seconds).

All those chipmunk voices are actually done by me. I kind of laugh all the time I hear that song, knowing that those chipmunk voices are recorded & manipulated by me. Also fun to know that Red Velvet and SM Entertainment decided to keep my original voice recording on the release and not re-sing and replacing it with someone from the band.

For All About You” with The BOYZ I am just very happy & thankful that they released the song. I’ve always wanted a song with The BOYZ, so seeing them release All About You and co-release it with the celebration of their anniversary makes me indeed very happy too.

Video Credits: THE BOYZ

How and where do you find the inspiration to write your songs? Are there any artists that inspire you to write?

When doing songs and K-pop, we usually split the song between producers and topliners. Producers handle the track/instrumental/production. And topliners writing the lyrics and vocal melodies and doing the entire vocal production.

I usually handle the production and the making of the tracks (instrumentals). I usually get inspired by music that “hits me.” Mostly right now, it’s American trap and hip-hop or anything else that truly stands out for me, it can many times be K-pop as well or even Indian Music. It can literally be anything. Something as simple as a small sound can trigger my inspiration. As long as I feel that inspiration, that it translates and speaks to me and drives me – then I am sold and fully ready to create.

What is the typical day for Carlyle as a songwriter/producer? How is it different from when you are not working?

Like many other people I start my ideas by checking notifications on my phone, to see if I have received any urgent messages or mail that need to be handled right away. If not, then I usually try to create music or be productive every day. So my days are pretty similar. I mostly work from home doing music. Sometimes I do sessions in Gothenburg with co-producers. Sometimes I do Zoom or Muse sessions with collaborators all over the world. My goal is to do something every day that brings me forward and closer to my dream. A small step as simple as sending mails is still to me, work to some extent. So I try doing something at least every day that is work-oriented, no matter if it’s creating music or sending some e-mails. The amount of work you do won’t always matter – I consider it more important to be consistent rather than being “on and off.” At least that’s my motto and what I strive to do.

You have also co-written and co-produced “So Long” by SuperM for their debut full-length album “Super One”. The album charted #1 on Billboard. How did it feel when you achieved this milestone? Could you tell us more about the creation process of this song?

I am very thankful for being part of that album. It was definitely a great moment. I love SuperM, so being able to have a song with them & seeing the album earn several #1 on Billboard is something I am very happy and thankful for. The track “So Long” is co-produced with ALYSSA. The vocal topline is done by Andy Love and Andreas Öberg. Great collaborators all of them!

Video Credits: SUPERM

Go listen to the song and I’ll walk you through the creation process and production:

I started the original song with a couple of loops.

The original sine synth you hear in the intro is a Splice loop I found and instantly fell in love with. That’s what carries the song almost from start to finish.

The 0:31 drumbeat mixed with a beat-box mouth sound is another loop I found on Splice. I blended both together and that’s what initially builds the foundation for “So Long”.

That same base core with beatbox-drumbeat and sine synth can also be heard in the chorus.

Is there any artist you would like to work with whether it be a K-pop artist or any other artist in the future?

For K-pop I would love to have a song with any NCT unit. No matter if it’s NCT, NCT Dream or NCT127. I feel like my K-pop journey started pretty early with being a big fan of Cherry Bomb for NCT127. It’s an amazing song and great production.

For me to have released with NCT would somehow mean a lot personally, because NCT is one of my favourite bands but also the band that started my K-pop journey. So it would be like closing the loop. Let’s see what happens in the future, but an NCT song is definitely something I am striving for. Stray Kids is another band I hold close to and would love a song with. Either way, you never know what happens in the future and which bands will release your songs. Competition is fierce and a lot of people want to get into songwriting for K-pop these days. So for me, every release, no matter the artist, is still worth celebrating.

For any other artists, I want to have releases with: Drake. And Bring Me The Horizon. I am definitely getting myself a song released with Drake in the future.

Is there any music style/genre that you haven’t tried yet but would like to try in the future?

I feel like when you start out doing music production and doing tracks, you usually try a lot of different styles and genres. I’ve tried producing a lot of genres these days; pop, rock, EDM, K-pop, Latin, Hip hop & Trap and Swedish music etc.

It’s necessary to try different styles of music to learn what you like and enjoy but also what you are best at. Another aspect to whey in is that you can always learn something from other genres and music styles and infuse them into the genre you work most with. And this is very important when you do K-pop. For example; K-pop for me, is typically a blend of several influences, genres, styles etc. So for me to be able to navigate through several different genres helps a lot when creating K-pop.

I have a vision though for the future, to somehow, produce/write or co-produce a record or a lead single with some metal band. I’ve been interested in metalcore/hardcore since my early band-days in my 20s. So being able to produce something for a metal band would again (just like my dream for an NCT song) be like “closing the loop” again.

Bring Me The Horizon is still today one of my all-time favourite bands. So yes, I would very much like to do something with them. I’d also love to do something with any Indian artist, or something for a Bollywood Movie. Having Indian roots, that would mean a lot for me!

If you could recommend one of your songs to a new listener which one it would be and why?

Interesting question! Haha! I think I would have to go with After Midnight by ASTRO.

Without really knowing who the listener is or what preferences the listener has; I feel like After Midnight would be the safest tip. I’ll pinpoint the reasons why below.

I feel like After Midnight is usually the song most listeners and people appreciate when I play some of my music. After Midnight music video is also very colourful and joyful, which first-time listeners usually appreciate.

It could also be a very nice & easy-going introduction to K-pop (if you are not familiar with K-pop) where you get a “little of everything” – rather than maybe showing something very tough and more niched. The simpler something is, the easier it is to get appreciated by the masses. So that would be my motto when I play something for a first-time listener unless I really know what preference the listener has.

It’s also easier to get people to listen to something when they can relate because then they more easily appreciate it. So with After Midnight, I feel like that one is more simple but still has some fun K-pop elements such as rap, dancing and the typical “boy band aura.”

Video Credits: Fantagio

After Midnight is also inspired and a blend of Michael Jackson, Bruno Mars and Charlie Puth kind of a bit K-poppified. So since most “new listeners” know Michael Jackson, Bruno Mars and Charlie Puth, my guess is that they would much faster appreciate and like this song.

Could you please elaborate a bit on your upcoming projects in 2023? What can the readers expect?

As some of you may know, I am unfortunately not allowed to say which projects I am working on or when the songs will be released. I know I have 4-5 songs in the pipeline waiting to see the sunlight, but I can’t say for which artists or when they’ll be released. But I am looking forward to the releases and there are some cool ones for sure!

Hallyu Wave/Korean Wave is growing rapidly in India and many fans love listening to your songs. Do you have something you want to share with your Indian fans? Also, are you planning to come to India anytime soon? We wish to have a face-to- face meetup one day.

Firstly, thank you again for having me. I appreciate you guys reaching out to me. Thank you for listening to my songs. If any of you have any questions or wonder about some stuff, feel free to drop a comment below. I’ll do my best to reply to any questions or reflections. You can also comment or DM me on IG: https://www.instagram.com/carlylefernandes

As well as reach out to me via mail (my mail on my IG).

I usually go to India every second or third year. I am planning to go to India sometime in December 2023. Since we have relatives in India we usually go to Goa, Sawantwadi and/or Mumbai. I’d love to meet up in India, for sure. Hit me up and let’s make it happen.

Thank you again for having me. Feel free to reach out and let’s talk more.

All the best,
Carlyle Fernandes

On behalf of our entire team at Hallyuism, we would look to extend our best wishes to Carlyle, and cheer for all his future endeavours.

19 Comments Add yours

  1. Moumita Mondal says:

    Wow such a great journey. I heard the songs,’after midnight’ by Astro and ‘moody’by Kingdom. Both are really good songs . Thanks to Mr.Carlyle for making this beautiful songs for us.Hope we will get more songs in the future. Wish you all the best for your future . Thanks to hallyuism for this great interview.♥️

    1. Moumita Mondal says:

      Sorry actually it’ll be moody by Superkind. I was listening a song by Kingdom so I mixed it up 😅

    2. Carlyle Fernandes says:

      Happy you like the songs! Thank you so much! More stuff will come out eventually 😊

  2. It was an honour to interview Carlyle Fernandes. Thank you for giving your valuable time for this interview.

    1. Carlyle Fernandes says:

      Thank you for having me. 🙏

  3. It’s so lovely getting to know him and his thoughts♥️ I’ve listened to some of these songs and didn’t know they were by him. Wonderful work🙌💛 Thank you for sharing such insights about the songwriting process

    1. Carlyle fernandes says:

      Thank you so much Archana! Happy you enjoy the songs and liked the interview 🙂

  4. Mamoni says:

    I listen his recommended song “After Midnight by Astro” And not gonna lie I love that song❤ Looking forward to his upcoming works😍

    1. Carlyle Fernandes says:

      Thank you Mamoni. Happy you like After Midnight by ASTRO. For sure! Check out my IG @carlylefernandes

      All new songs will be posted there

      thanks again 😊

  5. It’s so amazing to know about the artists who are working behind the scene for the songs we adore. Thank you Carlyle Fernandes for talking about musical journey. I am looking forward to see more of your works.

    1. Reading this interview I felt, you answered all the questions with such honesty and clarity. Appreciate your support, Carlyle 🙏🌻

      1. Carlyle Fernandes says:

        Thank you Ayushi. Happy you liked it. And yes! I wanted it to feel genuine 🙏🙏🙏

    2. Carlyle Fernandes says:

      Thank you for taking your time reading and commenting. Appreciate it. Yes! More is on its way. Stay connected and follow me on IG @carlylefernandes

      Some fun and cool stuff is on its way!

  6. itsdiyajain says:

    What an honour to have an interview with Mr. Fernandes!! Great interview ^-^

    1. Carlyle Fernandes says:

      Thank you! Honour for me as well!

  7. kylemyoxin78 says:

    All my favourite songs are produced by him! This interview was so insightful and getting to know so much from behind the scenes, hits different. Thank you for giving us your precious time🤞🏻

    1. Carlyle Fernandes says:

      Thank you so much Kylemyoxin. Your comment made my day. Happy you like my music. What are your favourite songs? Let’s connect in IG!

  8. anishanath says:

    Hallyuism is back with another amazing producer. He is so talented and I have heard some of the songs that he had worked in and I really liked that songs like After Midnight by ASTRO. I am looking forward to his new works and the interview was very good.

    1. Carlyle Fernandes says:

      Thank you ANISHANATH. Happy you liked the interview. Yes! Let’s connect and check out my IG @carlylefernandes
      All new songs will be posted there 🙏😊

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