We feel proud to report, that Indian-origin music composer, Tushar Apte (@springloaded) has partaken in the production of BLACKPINK’s new track “Love To Hate Me”! He previously worked with BTS on “Home”.
Want to know what’s more thrilling though?
We knew desi K-Poppers would be really curious to know about the track and the master worker behind the addictive music production of it! So KHIGH had a chat with the very talented producer, Mr. Tushar Apte to bring to you all the exclusive details!
Starting The Musical Journey
Coming from an academic background where his Dad was an engineer and his mom, a doctor, Mr. Tushar Apte still drew from the musical influences of his home. His parents were a big fan of old Bollywood like Kishore Kumar and English music like Michael Jackson and Stevie Wonder.
Even though he went through the conventional milestones of life like high school completion, Undergrad (Psychology), Masters in Journalism and doing a regular job in IT, his passion for music was apparent to his parents who sent him to piano lessons and even supported his decision to pursue his music career.
After doing small gigs in Sydney for a while, he went to LA with literally nothing. An artist with no former connections, he built his own, in LA. He would hear other people/artists talking, he would go over, introduce himself, and mingle with them. In LA he played in a couple of small bands, mainly for Randy Jackson from the American Idol, and felt naturally pulled into the world of production and composition.
“When I moved to LA, to be honest, I didn’t even know that I would be doing production and songwriting…I didn’t even know it was a thing you could do full-time!”
He also received the support of the Director of APRA in Australia who got him into a high-profile writing camp where he created his first hit track with 3 of the other popular writers, “Zero” by Chris Brown, and then went on to work with other famous artists like Demi Lovato, Zayn Malik, and Nicki Minaj, Adam Levine, Steve Aoki, BTS, and Blackpink.
Tushar Apte an Australian-born 32-year-old is the perfect example of “Young and successful”!
Production & Writing Process
For Tushar Apte, it actually starts 90% of the time with getting a musical idea and then lyrically associating it with what it feels like. So, he spends the first 30 mins or so on what makes it feel good and then builds on the technical aspects of it. After this, he would go back to, “Does it still feel good?”, make the necessary changes if any, and then work on the finishing touches for 2-3 days.
“When I am composing and writing, I see music in colours so that is kind of how I feel like I put things together. When I hear it, I can hear a colour so that’s how I build the songs out.”
Entering the Asian Pop Industry
“One of my first income streams in the industry was actually Asian Pop and around 10 yrs ago I got introduced to an Australian-Korean producer, Alex Wright who is a well-known producer in Korea and he got me into early K-Pop. We did some stuff for RaNia, JYP, and Miss A’s Meng Jia and so I have been doing Asian Pop for about 8-9 years now. It’s just that I never really had anything super big until BTS’ Home.”
“I saw BTS perform ‘Home’ on Jimmy Fallon last night…it was so cool! It is so weird to see that this song has a life of it own even after all this time [since it was released last year]”
He has also worked with Luhan on his first solo-hit since he had left EXO, titled “Roleplay”. And with K-Pop group, MYTEEN on their track, ‘Take It Out’ in 2017 which was basically strung for the first time by Tushar Apte, on a 100$ kid’s guitar!
Q. What was the first K-Pop song you listened to? Any Favourite K-Pop artists you like?
Mr. Tushar Apte: “It was a BigBang song called ‘LA LA LA’ which is also one of my favourite videos. I like the track, ‘Fantastic Baby’ too. I also enjoyed listening to Lee Hi…we worked together on some tracks and even though they didn’t make her album, we are still in touch :)”
He further added, “Now that I look back at that time, I think that I really appreciate the Girls’ Generation time too and even the JYP stuff, like 2PM.”
“I just love GD…he was so ahead of his time in a lot of ways. G-Dragon at that time and even now was sort of the whole package! He was very fashion-forward, musically- super adventurous and the videos were just “wow” and the production value too…I was just blown away the first time I saw some of these BigBang and K-Pop videos in general.”
Working With Luhan:
He worked on the track Roleplay with a co-producer and made 3 versions of the track. They shared it with a freelance promoter of YG who was managing Luhan’s project at the time and got the song on Luhan’s ‘Venture’ album tracklist.
“It was such a crazy ride! Even though I had worked in the K-Pop scene, I didn’t think that the fandom was so intense. So, that was my first experience with that side of it where it is like okay… we sold two million physical copies in 24 hours…That’s crazy!”
Working With BTS:
Q. How did you end up working with BTS on ‘Home’?
Mr. Tushar Apte: “I got a cold email from someone at Bighit in early December 2018, which said ‘We love your work on Chris Brown’s Zero. We are just reaching out. We would love for you to write for our group BTS and would you be interested?’. I was feeling a little bit uninspired in that time period already and I just had no idea who this person was since it was a cold email but I just thought, ‘Let me just try it out’.
I then started looking up some of the BTS videos and I’m looking at the view count, going ‘Woah, this is a real thing. These guys are legit!’”
Long story short, he received some starting ideas from Bighit and just started working on them in an early winter morning, sent his demo to Bighit for which he got a positive response back and the track was mixed and finished.
“After it was done, I just thought, ‘Cool, another K-Pop thing’ because I still didn’t know how big K-Pop was. But then the song comes out at the end of January and all of a sudden, I’m getting DMs from BTS fans…like it’s going crazy! And then within a week, The Persona Album scored #1 spot on Billboard Charts and I got a call from the Korean Embassy in Australia too and through them, I got to actually run a K-Pop writing camp in Seoul in 2019. And so the BTS thing has opened so many doors for me, there’s no question of that!”
He also further shared that on his trip to Korea sometime after the track was released, he went to the Bighit office and met the music team there but unfortunately, the Bangtan Boys were away performing on a tour and he was unable to meet them in person.
Q. What was the best part about the track, Home for you?
Mr. Tushar Apte: “What I really loved about the track was the message of the song where it’s like a ‘Home is where the heart is’ kind of thing and how it is also like a love letter to their fans which I thought was really cool!”
Working With BLACKPINK:
Q. Did you know about BLACKPINK before working together?
Mr. Tushar Apte: “Of course, I did. When I was working on Miss A’s Meng Jia’s EP, Drip, we actually referenced to the BLACKPINK track, ‘Whistle’ in Drip!
Q. How did working with Blackpink happen? What was the idea behind the track?
As mentioned “exclusively” by Mr. Tushar Apte on KHigh’s Instagram Live, the song with Blackpink was actually one he was working on with co-writers, Rob Grimaldi and Chloe George, for another (non-K-Pop) girl-group but he also pitched it to Interscope and the main A&R for the BLACKPINK music who absolutely loved it and so the track, Love To Hate Me was born!
“When I listened to the finished track, with the rap, it was like…my mind was completely blown. It was amazing, just so cool!”
The idea behind the track was drawn from their experience of how every time they get successful, they would have haters hating on them too and how they would just think, ‘I am definitely doing something right if you love to hate me’. So, the track originated from the idea of ‘A love letter to the haters’ even though it became an anthem about self-confidence 🙂
Indian K-Pop Community:
Fans showered Mr. Tushar Apte with DMs full of love and support and he delighted told us that, “It is the best thing for people like us who work more or less behind the scenes and so it’s nice when you get acknowledged by the fans. It’s great, it’s awesome! It is also pretty much a thing exclusive to K-Pop Fandoms only where they go out of their way to appreciate all the people involved and this actually feels like something that is there in our Asian culture only!”
“Expressing his happiness at the Indian K-Poppers among the rest of the global fandom, he added, “I am so proud of the Indian fandom where they are just so proud to see an Indian name next to one of these artists that they like. Representation is so important and I’m happy and really proud to provide that and it probably wouldn’t be the same if I had a different producer name too.”
Advice for Upcoming Indian Artists:
When asked for what advice he would like to give to the upcoming Indian Artists who want to pursue the music industry, Mr. Tushar shared, “You just have to be making stuff and just putting it out there. Let the world be your sounding board for a bit. When you get to the right level, the right people will take notice and help you up from there. That’s the key ingredient: Do the work and just try to learn one new thing every day even if it’s the smallest little thing.”
“Everybody gets that one shot and what you do with it is up to you. It just takes one song, just one for you to make your name.”
Also, for people who are aspiring to work in K-Pop specifically, he said that one of the advantages of aspiring for this industry is that it truly is a very inviting and welcoming environment!
Upcoming and Dream projects:
Talking of his dream project, Tushar shared enthusiastically, “My ultimate, ultimate unicorn thing which feels like I’m working my whole career towards it, is, I want to work on a Rihanna single! It is the one thing that I have wanted to work on forever and ever.”
Already back on the grind, Tushar also gave us a sneak peek into the list of his upcoming projects which included a track with Indian Hip-hop Queen, RAJAKUMARI, a big release in Indonesia, and a single he worked on with Tayla Parx which would be released this month.
He had also recently met up with Farhan Akhtar on his visit to India 🙂
He further teased, “K-Pop wise…there’s always things in the mix! We are in talks with stuff with Bighit and right now I have a couple of K-Pop things coming out but maybe I will write a track that beats all of them and becomes something else ;)”
Thank you so much Mr. Tushar Apte for working on such amazing music and inspiring others, we are sure what you have managed to achieve and what you have said will inspire a lot of Indian fans to strive for their dreams as well. We will always cheer you on and are patiently waiting for your next big project!
Interviewed By – Nikita Gupta