Montreal

Young Montreal producer composed K-Pop hit song in his Dorval bedroom

Evan Berard produced the song Electric Kiss by the Korean Pop sensation EXO on a laptop in Dorval, a Montreal suburb. So far, it’s racked up over 14 million views on YouTube.

Evan Berard, 23, composed Electric Kiss on his laptop at home in Dorval. It has 14 million views on YouTube

Evan Berard, a 23-year-old producer from Dorval, is living a dream right now: he's one of the producers on a new record by the K-Pop sensation EXO. (Annie Deir/CBC)

When Evan Berard created his song, he never expected that the group that inspired him would end up being the one performing it.

But the Dorval native is living the dream: he's the producer of the newest single by the Korean Pop (or K-Pop) sensation EXO. Berard composed the song, Electric Kiss, on his laptop in his father's suburban home — and so far, it's racked up over 14 million views on YouTube.

"Social media, it's amazing," Berard laughed, speaking to CBC's Daybreak. "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."

Berard never expected the song to make its way to EXO. But a producer in Sweden picked up his beats, and presented it to the nine-member group.

"They absolutely loved the song. They loved it instantly," he said.

Inspiration to collaboration

Before he came up with Electric Kiss, Berard said that he was looking for inspiration by listening to international music. He had heard of K-Pop before, and knew it was popular, but had never immersed himself in the genre.

"Originally, I was just looking to break the mould," he said. "I wasn't intending on making K-Pop. I was just looking to make my sound different."

But then he heard one of EXO's songs, called Call Me Baby, and said he was blown away by the music.

"I just loved that beat, so I wanted to create something in the same vein. But I never thought it would end up getting sent to EXO!" he said. "But just, amazingly, I found a publisher and they sent it to EXO — and that just blew my mind."

When his publisher presented the song to the group, at first, Berard didn't believe it.
EXO has released albums in Korean, Mandarin, and Japanese, and is one of the biggest, best-selling boy bands in Asia, with a fan base around the world. (Wikipedia)

"They 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.'"

Despite this, Berard said he didn't really believe it was happening until he got a call in the middle of the night. The group was in the studio recording the vocals and they needed him to send over some files.

"[Until then] I didn't think they would end up actually following through with the song," he admitted.

"But it really, really hit me the day after it was released," he said. "Because all the fans, they found my Instagram and they just took it over."

Immediately, he said his inbox was flooded by EXO fans from all over the world, thanking him for the song and messaging him about how much they enjoyed Electric Kiss.

"The fans are some of the best fans I've ever seen."

A self-made producer

Despite his success, Berard has no formal training — and has never performed as a DJ, either.

"I took piano lessons at a young age, and that helped a lot, especially for being a producer," he said. "But for producing itself, I'm completely self-taught."

He enlisted his dad's help to soundproof his bedroom, where he records his work.

Berard admittedly called himself an "unknown" before Electric Kiss was released. He has sold a handful of songs before, but never anything as popular.

All of his music is composed on his laptop at home, using the music program Ableton. When asked how he would describe his style, Berard said that he focuses on building energy into his work. "I like to use a lot of hip-hop sounds, but I like to structure it in a very pop way. So the song is always changing, it's always building,  it's always releasing."

Now, he said he's getting offers and opportunities from "all of the biggest artists over there," and so far hasn't felt too affected by the pressure. If anything, he said he hopes to be able to continue to work in K-Pop going forward.

"I found so much inspiration in it. Some of the beats are the hardest beats I've heard," he said, smiling. "It's unreal."

Electric Kiss is available on EXO's newest album, Countdown. It is available on iTunes and Spotify.

With files from CBC Daybreak

now