How a Beat Made in a Bedroom in Canada Accidentally Sparked a K-Pop Smash

Evan Berard of Montreal scored millions of YouTube views when a production he made on a whim became the basis of EXO's single "Electric Kiss."
February 28, 2018, 7:17pm

The world is small and that rules. Musicians don't have to be physically next to each other to make great music, just as long as they have laptops, Wi-Fi, and probably a good amount of space on Dropbox to send files to each other. They don't even have to speak the same language. Montreal, Canada-based producer Evan Berard exemplifies these new globalized trends after a streak of good luck got one of his laptop-made beats into the hands of K-pop superstars EXO. The video for the resulting song, "Electric Kiss," currently has 15 million views (and counting) on YouTube. Not bad for something created in your dad's house.

Speaking to the CBC, Berard relates how, though he'd been making music for years, he was relatively unfamiliar with K-pop and was amazed by the genre's low-end-heavy production, saying that "some of the beats are the hardest beats I've heard." Inspired specifically by EXO's "Call Me Baby," Berard built what would become "Electric Kiss" on his laptop using the music software Ableton Live with no intentions of sending it to the group. He then shopped the beat around to publishers, one of whom managed to present it to a very enthusiastic EXO. "I can make a beat in my bedroom in Dorval, and get it placed and sung by the biggest K-Pop group halfway around the world," he told the CBC. He also recounts the initial wave of confusion over the song's approval:

"[My publisher] told me it was EXO, I was like: 'Can you spell it out for me?'" he said. The group was apparently already discussing what they wanted to do for the music video when Berard got the call. "My publisher told me: 'I'm 95 per cent sure you've got a single.'"

EXO themselves confirmed that they were officially working on the song when they called Berard "in the middle of the night" asking for instrumental stems. "[Until then]," he told the CBC, "I didn't think they would end up actually following through with the song."

"Electric Kiss" ended up as the lead single from EXO's most recent album (and first ever to be sung in Japanese) Countdown, which ended up reaching #1 on Japan's Oricon chart. According to the CBC interview, Berard is now getting offers from "the biggest artists over [in South Korea]." And in case you doubted the power of K-pop fandom, Berard notes that EXO-L (short for EXO-Love, according to the comprehensive EXO Wiki) "flooded" his Instagram with praise after the release of "Electric Kiss." He calls them "some of the best fans I've ever seen." You can read the entire interview here.

Phil is on Twitter.