Filipino songwriters worked with BTS’s Leader RapMon upon the making of the song, “Black Swan” alongside producer Pdogg and rapper Clyde Kelly. It is the first single for their upcoming album, “Map of the Soul: 7”, that is currently charting in 88 countries- which broke the record of “Gangnam Style” by a few margins on its first day.
“Our vision was to make a song that best represents BTS, and of course, something that their fans can love and enjoy,” Nantes said. He was a music assistant to apl.de.ap of The Black Eyed Peas, where he learned the ins and outs of the industry.
On the other hand, Rigo has produced several pieces of songs in Hollywood such as Justin Bieber, Musiq Soulchild, and Kehlani. He also launched his own label, Summerchild records, with Brian Puspos, Ginette Claudette and Andrew Garcia. He already has working experience with several K-pop acts since 2013, namely, EXO, TVXQ, SHINee and NCT. In this context, he has the gropes with the laborious process of producing for artists miles away, allowing him to acquire flexibility in terms of distance and time zones.
“A portion of the process was recording in our living rooms, and sending the ideas back and forth via email,” Nantes divulged.
“When I was working on this, Ruby (his daughter) was just born and I didn’t want to leave her to go to studio… so I brought the studio to her,” Rigo said.
Despite the two of them not having a chance to meet, they were given praises from their coproducers on the other side of the pond.
“I’m just a regular guy, and to have people telling me that I’ve inspired them or that the song made their day, to know I made an impact on their lives really shows me how blessed I am to be in this position,” Nantes said.
The members of BTS have always been a master of storytelling, providing comprehensive yet relatable narratives of self-exploration through their upbeat but also complex-style pop music.
In this case, however, “Black Swan” explores BTS’ relationship with their artistry—straightforward, simple and nearly hopeful. It has melancholic indie-like strings with mid-life crisis-like undertones that are quite different from their usual take and context of music. It almost felt like after all those Blood, Sweat, and Tears they’ve done with their music they gradually felt more and more Lost and waning with their passion, but still fighting through for better beginnings, a better Spring Day.
“RM and the team over at Big Hit really helped take the song to another level with top-notch production… they really put together a masterpiece,” Rigo said.
“RM provided the additional touches needed and really sprinkled on the magic of what the song has now become,” Nantes added.
According to Rigo, “Black Swan” is also an expression of his frustrations with the industry.
“The song really hits home for me. Artistic inspiration sometimes is hard to come by after being in the grind for so long. There are always times where you want to give up,” he said. “It’s definitely hard on the soul so seeing how the song resonated was really inspiring and to be a part of the creative process for that song with my team makes me proud,” he added.
BTS has always used their influence to curate spaces where many across the world can connect through art and shared experiences, despite being from different backgrounds.
“I think music has gotten to a place where we can all sing and dance to the same melody and fall in love with the narrative of the song no matter what language,” Nantes said.
“Black Swan” is expected to chart in the Billboard Hot 100.
“I’ve been on a quest to be more involved in the Filipino music industry. I want to help raise Filipino music to an international status. So the reception of the song was a great motivator for me… I am a proud Filipino and culturally it is very relevant in my life so to have a song that is being loved by the homeland makes me feel like I’m on the right path,” Rigo said.
“We feel that with the right resources, we can help mold artists in the Philippines to be on the same playing field as the rest of the world. We should be included in that global conversation,” Nantes added.
“It’s nice to see that Asians are now coming to the forefront of pop music, or at least getting that attention. Growing up, I never had many artists to look up to that I could relate to on a cultural or heritage level so to be able to be a part of something like this just feels right,” Rigo said. “It goes to show that music has come a long way and that Asians can do it just as good,” Nantes added. “It’s empowering knowing that we’re bridging that gap.”
BTS continues to be history-makers, scheduled to perform at the 62nd Grammy Awards on Jan. 27, first-ever Korean act. The boys will also debut the first live performance of “Black Swan” on Jan. 28, on “The Late Late Show with James Corden.”
For the meantime, enjoy the music: