[Exclusive Interview] Behind The Hits: A Candid Interview With Songwriter And Producer Matthew Tishler

Songwriter and music producer Matthew Tishler has worked in the industry for over a decade, producing and writing music across film and television, musical theater, and the pop genre, and is known for his upbeat pop songs and larger-than-life melodies. He has worked with Kpop bands like BTS and TWICE, and has collaborated with American pop sensations like Olivia Rodrigo, Dove Cameron, and JoJo Siwa. Matthew co-wrote the song “BFF,” for P1Harmony, which was on their setlist from their recent 2023 P1oneer tour. He has also produced and co-written original music for Fancy Nancy, an animated show from Disney Junior. 

We caught up with Matthew to talk about his career as a songwriter and music producer, his extensive work in the Kpop industry, and his plans for the future as a songwriter and producer.

Could you introduce yourself and share a bit about your work in the industry?

Yes! I’m Matthew Tishler, a songwriter and music producer with a deep love of Kpop, Disney, musical theatre, and pop music. I’ve been writing songs professionally for about 12 years, and have had the good fortune to work with so many of my favorite artists, including BTS, EXO, TWICE, Red Velvet, Taeyeon, and Stray Kids, to name a few in Korea; and Olivia Rodrigo, Dove Cameron, and JoJo Siwa in the USA. 

Do you have a favorite genre you like to write or produce for? 

I love so many different styles of music that it would be hard to pick a favorite. But I’ve become known for writing big, powerful ballads, hooky uptempo pop songs for young pop artists, and songs for film and television that have a theatrical-pop twist. I love melody, and so I’m drawn to any genre that allows for big, catchy melodies! 

You write and produce for many different genres and projects, but Kpop is such a niche genre. How did you get into the Kpop Music scene?

My first Kpop cut was “Don’t Know What To Say” by BoA, way back in 2010! My co-writer shared our demo with SM, and that began my love of Kpop, and was the start of my long-standing collaboration with SM! As it turns out, most of my musical strengths are a perfect fit for Kpop. 

How does creating music for Kpop differ from some of the other genres you’ve worked with? 

One big difference is the process of writing lyrics, since most of the time, some (or all!) of our original lyrics are translated or completely re-written in Korean. Also, since Kpop is such a visual medium, I have shifted my songwriting process to help gear my ideas towards things that are going to LOOK good with choreography, on stage, or in music videos, etc. I also love that creating Kpop is often a massive collaboration with other songwriters, producers and sometimes even artists themselves. As a result, I get to regularly work with lots of very talented people in Korea and other countries around the world–sometimes in songwriting camps in Seoul or LA, but usually via the Internet! 

What do you enjoy most about writing/producing for Kpop? Any challenges?

For me, I love that Kpop doesn’t seem to have any “rules.” The only “rule” might be to keep things interesting at all times, which presents a fun challenge with limitless possibilities. You really get to be playful when you’re writing–anything goes! I also love that Kpop isn’t afraid to be very vocal-heavy. Lots of harmonies, lots of overlapping parts, and lots of singers and singing styles all in one song. 

Do you have a favorite Kpop song that you’ve worked on?

Oh wow, I’m proud of so many of these songs, they’re like my babies! “For Life” by EXO is one I’m especially proud of. The melodies and chords go to such interesting and unusual places, that I’m still musically surprised when I listen to it, even after all these years. “Dimple” by BTS will always hold a special place in my heart–it’s not every day you get to collaborate with RM!

Is there a Korean artist or group that you have not yet worked with that you would like to in the future?

I’m a huge fan of so many artists and groups!! ITZY and BLACKPINK are definitely dream collaborations, and same with doing solo music for members of BTS! 

P1Harmony was recently on tour, and they had “BFF” on their setlist. It’s an amazing 
song, and you worked on it. What was that creative process like working on the song? 

Working with P1H was such a fun experience–the members of that band are so talented and I was lucky enough to see them on tour in LA and finally meet them backstage. That song started at a writing camp for their label in LA. We had the start of a track with that groove and guitar hook, and were given the loose concept of what the visuals and feel would be like for their upcoming EP, and quickly the title “BFF” came up. From there, we worked out all the melodies and English lyrics, and pretty quickly Korean lyrics were written and finishing touches to the track were added. It was a big collaboration between a lot of talented people and so fun to work with P1H long distance!

You’ve achieved quite a bit in your career. Is there any goal you have not achieved yet that you are currently working towards?

What a great question, and thank you! I’m very interested inand actively working on–developing my own projects, including music-driven TV shows and movies, stage musicals, and young pop artists. I will always love writing individual songs, but I am excited about the possibilities of writing ALL the songs for a particular project, to really help shape its sound and define its musical identity. 

You now have your own official Spotify playlist! Is there a song that you would like to add 
on there that isn’t already in your playlist?

I was so surprised and honored to be included when Spotify began launching songwriter playlists! So far, the playlist has most of my Kpop songs, and as of recently, some of my Disney songs. But I wish it had everything. All the songs I made with JoJo Siwa are missing, and same with all my Jpop cuts! I’ll have to work on that, hmmm…  

Do you have any exciting projects coming up that you would like to share?

There’s one thing that immediately comes to mind that is juuuuust too early to speak about. But at this point it’s safe to say that it is a very cool and surprising collaboration between a big Kpop group and an animated movie! Shhhhhhh. 

It's clear that Matthew's passion for music and dedication to his craft are what sets him apart in the highly competitive world of Kpop. His insights into the creative process, the industry, and his future plans have been both fascinating and informative. It's no wonder that Tishler is highly sought after as a producer and songwriter, and we look forward to seeing what he has in store for the Kpop world in the coming years. KpopWise thanks Matthew Tishler for taking the time to do an interview us and wishes him continued success in all of his endeavors.

What is your favorite song that Matthew has worked on? Let us know your thoughts by leaving a comment below, or send us a tweet @KpopWise on Twitter! 

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Huge thank you to Matthew Tishler and Impact24 PR for this interview opportunity!

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