EXCLUSIVE: Songwriter Tushar Apte on working with BTS, BLACKPINK and hopes of collaborating with EXO

Songwriter, music composer and producer Tushar Apte spoke with Pinkvilla about working with BTS on the track Home, BLACKPINK on their latest track Love to Hate Me and expresses his hopes of collaborating with EXO soon.
Tushar Apte on working on BTS, BLACKPINK and EXOEXCLUSIVE: Songwriter Tushar Apte on working with BTS, BLACKPINK and hopes of collaborating with EXO
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The BTS ARMY isn't unfamiliar with the name Tushar Apte. The fandom showered him with purple love after he worked with the Bangtan Boys on their hit track Home. The song was performed at the Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon during BTS Week as well. The music producer, composer and songwriter caught our attention again when he collaborated with BLACKPINK on a track in their latest LP, The Album. He worked with the Korean girl group on the track Love to Hate Me. 

In an exclusive conversation with Pinkvilla, Tushar revisited his collab with BTS, spilt the beans about his work with BLACKPINK, shared his thoughts on watching BTS perform Home and his wish to work with EXO soon. Read the excerpt below: 

-- You've been in the K Pop scene for a while now. How did it all start? Was it something you aimed for or did it just happen? 

It really happened by accident. A close friend of mine in Sydney knew a Kpop singer whose cousin Alex was an Australian-Korean producer based in Seoul. We got connected online and initially, we just did a bunch of Skype chats and he became a sort of my Kpop mentor and really showed me the ropes in terms of production and writing in the K-Pop style. I truly had no idea how big KPop was before we’d met. The first record we produced together was ‘Take It Out’ by MYTEEN, which is still one of my favourite K-Pop records I’ve worked on. Alex also introduced me to another L.A.-based K-Pop producer, A-Dee, who I worked with on ‘Roleplay’ by Luhan. Alex has since become one of my close friends (he moved here to LA a few years back) and regular collaborators on K-Pop work. A lot of my journey in the music world has just been developing good relationships, learning from people and following music and ideas that feel right.

-- BTS is today among the biggest K pop acts in the world. How was your experience working with them on Home?  

By the time I was contacted by BigHit, I was actually deep in the world of producing and writing for US and UK acts, and I’d been on a bit of a hiatus from working in the Asian pop scene (although during this time I had a couple of big records out in Indonesia – check out ‘Sweet Talk’ by Sheryl Sheinafia). BigHit got in touch with me through email and asked if I’d like to work with BTS. This might come as a surprise to some, but as I was on a bit of a break from the KPop space at the time, I actually had no idea how big BTS was (and obviously still are)! They sent me some music to write to and it was a very late night in December, for some reason I couldn’t sleep and I went to my studio at 2 am (at that time I had a room above a barbershop in West Hollywood) super inspired and did some ideas that would end up in ‘Home’ – and the rest is history. It was totally a career-defining moment for me and I couldn’t be prouder to be a (small) part of the amazing BTS legacy. Obviously, I’m a bit biased but I do think it's my favourite song off the album haha. It’s been truly inspiring, the message the boys bring to the world through their music and engagement with their fans is awesome.

-- Did you see their performance of the song on Tonight Show? If yes, did it bring back memories of working on the song? 

I did! It totally came by surprise and definitely brought back memories of our whole journey with that song. I loved what they did with the set pieces in that performance!

-- The ARMY has shown massive support to you and the song on social media. How does it feel to be showered with the Purple Love?

It’s incredible – I’m truly so appreciative and humbled by all the support from the ARMY’s worldwide. As producers and writers, we’re generally in the background (where we like to be actually) but it’s nice to get noticed for our work, particularly by fans that truly love the music.

-- Do you have a special message for the BTS ARMY in India? 

We see you! We hear you! We love you, and it’s just a matter of time before you get the recognition you deserve. 

-- Are there more BTS X Tushar collab in the making? 

I certainly hope so! 

-- Shifting to BLACKPINK, you worked with them on The Album. What was the brief given to you regarding the song? 

There was no specific brief for BLACKPINK. I and my super talented collaborators on that song (Steph Jones, Chloe George & Rob Grimaldi) just wanted to write a really empowering girl-group anthem – but one that was also fun, energetic and a little bit sassy and tongue-in-cheek. I think ‘Love To Hate Me’ is so many things but it’s really a love letter to the haters – which we thought was a cool twist on a concept that’s been done before. Of course, it needed the right group to perform it – and Blackpink obviously connects with the idea of ‘Love To Hate Me’ as much as any group. We were so fortunate to have the Midas touch of Teddy and the YG team to finish the record, and the girls sound absolutely incredible on it of course!

-- Was the first draft you submitted instantly approved or did the members share their feedback with you to rework on? 

We pretty much got it right the first time on this! Which isn’t common at all, but of course Lisa and Danny Chung had to go and write the amazing rap verse that really takes the record to a whole different level!

-- Was there a particular moment from the collab with the girl group that you will cherish for years to come? 

It’s still only a few days since the album came out so I’m still soaking the whole experience in, to be honest! It’s been an amazing (and slightly unexpected) ride so far. It was awesome getting the record back and earing their voices on the song the first time! That was a very cool moment. Having said that, I’ve had songs out with big artists, songs on the radio, some chart success, but the most rewarding experience as a writer is still the very first day you write the song, and leave the studio thinking ‘wow I think this one is really special’. I know after we did the initial demo of ‘Love To Hate Me’ we all had such a fun day and left the studio knowing that it was a special song. 

-- This is obviously the first of the many BLACKPINK X Tushar collabs, right? 

No comments yet (winks)

-- You have worked with BTS and Blackpink, can we see you collaborate with EXO next? 

Absolutely! I have a few other KPop collabs I’m working on at the moment and EXO is certainly on that list. I’ve been a fan for a while since Wolf and Call Me Baby and would love to contribute to their next record!

Stay tuned to Pinkvilla for more updates! 

ALSO READ: EXCLUSIVE: Armaan Malik on MTV EMA 2020 nomination, Eric Nam praising his music & his admiration for BTS, EXO

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Anonymous 2 months ago

I cant believe that a indian is working with/has collabed with so many big kpop artists , m looking forward to the EXO collab ;)

Anonymous 2 months ago

An EXO Collab!! Hell yes !!

Anonymous 2 months ago

I'd love an EXO collab in the future!!

Anonymous 2 months ago

Idols often write verses which are later on rejected. If she hasn't been credited then I'm assuming that's the case

Anonymous 2 months ago

So Lisa has been part in writing the rap verse in Love to Hate Me? Or am I reading it wrong? Because she hasn't been credited for it.

Anonymous 2 months ago

An EXO Collab!! Hell yes!!

Anonymous 2 months ago

thank you

Anonymous 2 months ago

No she wasn't in that rap writing plot..tushar has clear everything on his Twitter.