Hwang Hyun and G-high of MonoTree (EXO, Girls’ Generation) on the defining elements of K-pop

MonoTree is a Seoul-based music production and publishing company that’s a trailblazer in the ever-changing sound of K-pop.

In the five years since it was founded, MonoTree has worked with a wide array of artists and groups including the likes of EXO, Red Velvet, Girls’ Generation, Super Junior, and more. In the videos below, founding members Hyun Hwang and G-high discuss the defining elements of K-pop, their approach to music production, and their new sample packs.

Both Hyun Hwang and G-high align on the fact that while K-pop is extremely broad and diverse, one through line is the fact that songs in the genre commonly incorporate a wide array of influences. A single track regularly blends numerous elements such as hip hop drums, jazz chord voicings, and pop melodies; in his video, Hyun Hwang discusses how composing K-pop music is all about creating harmony out of elements that are ostensibly inharmonious. G-high puts this idea to action when demonstrating his creative process, juxtaposing soulful chord progressions with atmospheric synths.

Hyun Hwang and G-high’s sample packs reflect the eclectic sound of K-pop, featuring everything from vintage horn stabs to cutting-edge EDM snares — check out Hyun Hwang’s sounds here and G-high’s sounds here.

October 9, 2019

Harrison Shimazu

Harrison Shimazu is a composer, content strategist, and writer who’s passionate about democratizing music creation and education. He leads the Splice blog and produces vocaloid music as Namaboku.