'Map of the Soul: 7': Co-writers say working with BTS was 'so special' and 'they're the best at what they do'
Ellis Miah, Ryan Lawrie (KOOLKID), Max Graham and Matthew Thomson (ARCADES), and Adien 'ADN' Lewis spoke to MEAWW
Only a few hours in and BTS' 'Map of the Soul: 7' is already breaking records, climbing charts all over the world, and making history!
It's safe to say the mammoth of a project that has included everything from star-studded collaborations to global art projects is a superhit. But how exactly did this album come to be? And just what does it take to put a project like this together?
MEA WorldWide (MEAWW) chatted with five of the co-writers on the song 'Inner Child', a solo from BTS member Taehyung (or 'V', as he is known to fans).
Speaking on how 'Inner Child' came about, singer-songwriter and producer Ellis Miah says, the song was created by exchanging ideas, melodies and grooves from Korea to London to Los Angeles. V, RM and PDogg had a specific vision for this song.
"We are so thankful to be a part of the team and that they invited us along to make this project!" Max Graham and Matthew Thomson of the British Electronic group ARCADES add, "There are lots of sending files back and forth to the boys and the BigHit team but they always allow us to be creative which is amazing but they essentially have an exact idea of what they are looking for and are complete professionals."
Songwriter and producer Adien 'ADN' Lewis agrees, stating "BTS are true artists and so working with a group like them (and on a project as big and expansive as MoTS7) requires a love for collaboration and an openness to new and different ideas. The boys and BigHit always have such a specific vision for everything they do."
He continues, "one of the best things about BTS is their knack for writing really personal songs that pull from their own reality, and our job as collaborators is always simply to help them do that as best we can. A lot of people don't really know the process behind the scenes, but it truly can be quite a long roadmap. It involves a lot of rewrites. The boys, the co-writers/producers, and BigHit and their in-house artists all operate as a team. So someone may come to the table with something, then from there the fun part is working together to mold that something into a full-fledged 3 and a half minute sonic experience!"
Speaking about the song itself, Lewis adds, "working on 'Inner Child' was such a natural experience from the get-go. It was a true collaborative effort, and none of it would have been possible without the boys' creative genius."
Singer-songwriter Ryan Lawrie (KOOLKID) says, "It takes a lot of love and feeling to create an album like this. BTS are true artists and being able to give my creative input also is honestly such a special thing. They want to give the best they can to their ARMY and they do this every time. It takes a lot of hard work, a lot of heart and a lot of emotion, which you are certain to hear in this album. BTS are the best at what they do."
Speaking of BTS and their creative genius — what was it like working with them?
For Miah, it meant learning to keep up! "From our end, it required keeping up with the fast pace that the band keep. They have a tremendous work ethic and you have to try and catch up," he says. "What is fascinating is that while everyone from musicians, engineers, producers and the band are working on these songs, the band is still out, performing and meeting fans! They do double duty!"
Speaking about the experience of working with BTS, Lewis says, "It's surreal to work with artists like BTS as a co-writer because you get to witness the time and dedication it takes to be superstars at their level. They're the biggest group in the world and you can really see why. BTS are such hard workers and they move at such a fast pace. Always recording, always writing, always performing, doing shows, talking to fans, etc. At the end of the day, the number one goal is to build something emotional that ARMY can connect with, and I think the boys have done that yet again with Map of the Soul 7!"
Lawrie, on the other hand, says, "it has been one of the best experiences of my life. There is so much talent involved and to have the opportunity to work with BTS is honestly a blessing. They are the hottest band on the planet and I am so thankful to play a small part on their album."
Graham and Thomson also point to BTS' power and appeal, saying "as a contributor on the album we are truly grateful that the boys give producers like us a chance and bring us on board to be part of their journey. Their pre sales figures are astronomical which shows the power of the boys despite who they work with, so we are truly glad to be given the opportunity."
But even with their monumental success, BTS remain grounded and never lose focus. "Working with BTS is as incredible as I’m sure you can imagine. They are the sweetest, kindest and most professional guys not to mention humble given their current status as the biggest band on the planet!" say Graham and Thomson. "'Persona' and now 'MOTS7' have changed our lives as music producers as we are being given so many more opportunities than we could have dreamed of so we owe BTS and BigHit everything and it’s great to see them get bigger and stronger with each release."
Lewis adds, "I've been a BTS fan for years, so to see them reach such heights with such astronomical numbers is so beautiful and humbling. Even getting the chance to work on a track with them is like being embraced and brought into some other fantastical universe for a bit. I feel like I'm opening up the wardrobe to Narnia or something! I gotta give a huge thank you to BTS, BigHit and ARMYs for being so warm and welcoming. I really hope you guys enjoy this album!"
Scottish singer-songwriter Ryan Lawrie (who also goes by the name KOOLKID) has collaborated with BTS before as one of the writers on 'Mikrokosmos' from their previous release 'Map Of The Soul: Persona'. Check out more of his original music on Spotify and YouTube.
British group ARCADES have lots of new music coming out over the next few months, so be sure to keep an eye out for those and check out some of their original music on their Spotify page.
Find songwriter and producer Adien 'ADN' Lewis' original music on his Spotify and YouTube. And if you're looking for more KPop content, peaks into the behind-the-scenes of the songwriting/production process, and just general hijinks and shenanigans, follow him on Twitter and Instagram as well!