Hailing from Trondheim, Norway, Dsign Music is a team of masterminds behind some of K-Pop's most influential hits! Formed in 2005 by Robin Jenssen, Anne Judith Stokke Wik, Nermin Harambašić, and Ronny Vidar Svendsen, Dsign Music has since been involved in numerous #1 singles worldwide. Chances are if you are even remotely into K-Pop, Dsign Music has helped to write one of your favorite songs. From hits like Girls' Generation "I Got A Boy" to NCT 127 "Simon Says," Dsign Music has continued to push the envelope when it comes to the evolution of K-Pop. This superstar team's latest endeavor is their involvement in TWICE's new release, Taste of Love! allkpop sat down with Dsign Music to talk about "Baby Blue Love," the writing and production process, favorite songs, and more! Keep reading for Dsign Music's interesting insight behind K-Pop songwriting!
allkpop: Hello Dsign Music! We’re excited to speak to you. Please give our readers a brief introduction as to who you are and what you do!
Anne: Hello allkpop, My name is Anne Judith Stokke Wik, I am a topliner, lyrist, singer, and songwriter. I have been working with Dsign Music since 2004, and I am from Norway, Trondheim. But I am a citizen of the world. (laughs)
Nermin: Hello allkpop, My name is Nermin Harambasic. I am a topliner, songwriter, and producer. Pretty much all of what I can be. I have been working with Dsign Music for almost 20 years. I was born in Bosnia and Herzegovina, but I spent my life almost half of my life in Norway. I just became a dad a year and a half ago.
Ronny: Hello allkpop, My name is Ronny Vidar Svendsen. I am a producer, and I have been working with Dsign Music since 2004. I am from Norway, Trondheim.
allkpop: Dsign Music has scored a total of 40 number one placements on Billboard charts worldwide. Share a bit about your journey as producers, songwriters, and composers and how you’ve gotten all these huge successes.
Anne: It all happened because of our publisher. Our publisher introduced us to K-pop back in 2008. We have never written K-pop and never heard about K-pop before, but we decided to give it a go, and we wrote a song that was not intended to be K-pop. But we pitched to SM Entertainment, and that song became one of the big hits of our songs with Girls' Generation - "Genie." We sold over 650,000 units only in Japan, and we won the Golden Disk Award, MTV music video award Japan with "Best Music Video" and " Best Karaoke Song." It became a huge hit not only in Japan but 6 other countries all around ASIA in 2009. That was our introduction to K-pop; after that, we got a great relationship with SM Entertainment. We have provided many songs for their artists, and not only SM but several Korean labels. We started our K-pop journey with the song " Genie." We just thought, "Well! We can do this! It was fun!". So we just kept on going.
allkpop: Your team has worked with a huge number of K-Pop and J-Pop artists, but most recently, Dsign Music co-wrote and produced the song “Baby Blue Love” off of TWICE Taste of Love. Please share with us your involvement in this song!
Anne: This was an in-house production, Ronny made the track, but we have written another song on top of the same track that we thought we were not so happy with and not 100% about. So we made another one. That's what you hear today on "Baby Blue Love," which we wrote with our friend Karen Poole. It was quite later after we pitched that song, but JYP came back to us and ask if that song was still available and that they would like to try for TWICE. I said, "OF COURSE! Whatever you like!!". (laughs) They recorded the song, and it became part of the album. We are super happy about it!!
allkpop: When you helped to create “Baby Blue Love,” did you travel to Korea or do all your work remotely? What was the process of working with the other folks credited on the track?
Anne: Usually, We travel to Korea a lot in a year and actually work there and have sessions out there. But in this case, we were in a worldwide pandemic, so we had to work on our own remotely, and Ronny put everything together. I recorded the song in Trondheim. We send it around, and we tweaked it until everybody was happy. This song was kind of done like a patchwork. We worked individually and did a session together remotely, kind of back and forth. It's a pandemic, so we had to do it this way, and things work a little different now. But always, we make it work no matter what the situation is.
allkpop: Where do you find inspiration to create such amazing and unique pop hits?
Nermin: It's the process that never ends. You are always looking for something that inspires you and to find that creativity that takes you to make something. For me, It can come from anywhere—anything from the outer world or within me. Then you take those pieces together and marinate it. When I work with other people, they bring their talents and energy, and we develop something magical together.
Anne: For me, listening to a lot of music. I always have a document on my phone, called titles. So when I am inspired, I write down a lot of stuff here on my notes. It could be song titles, it could be song sentences, it could be a concept. Just something that tickled me, I always write it down. So when I am in the session and need some inspiration, I look through my notes and I have a whole library of inspirations to work with. Pages and pages of ideas so then I can sit through and think of what I can work for this song. I always have a bank of ideas and inspirations to withdrew when I need it.
allkpop: Again, you’ve written a number of songs for many artists across the genre. Any songs that you are extra fond of? Any favorite tracks you’ve created that you have a little favoritism towards?
Ronny: If I have to pick one, it would be Taemin "Want." It's just my favorite one.
Nermin: My favorite one is actually "Genie" from Girls Generations. Because it's such a unique pop song. The success of this song was well proven that. But it's also hard to pick one song because there are so many songs that I have worked on that I love…. It's hard to pick one... Without "Genie," we would not be here, so I want to pick that song. That song was the beginning of K-Pop's history, and still to this day, I get messages from people that they love this song. It has been 20 years ago, so it is still a great song and I love it.
Anne: This one is a special song for me, it's "I Got a Boy" with Girls Generation. Because it was so different than any other ones for me, it won the YouTube Award with SONG OF THE YEAR. It was all over the papers. Rolling Stone even described the song as a "musical gymnastics routine." The Times said calling it a "pop phenomenon," and Pitchfork Media's said "perhaps the most structurally variable mega-hit since 'Bohemian Rhapsody.' Also, as a songwriter, there's always (some) kind of bias towards the newest release, and it seems like you love newer songs because your brain gets bored…and you want to get to the new stuff. I do have to say I love the new song " Baby Blue Love" with TWICE that is out now.
It has that great groove to it and a super summery vibe. It's light, fresh, and sassy. I love that song overall.
allkpop: Your trademark sound is cutting-edge pop with exquisite hooks and vivid arrangements and mixes. What artists would you like to work with in the future and what kind of song and soundscape do you want to create?
Anne: I would love to work with BTS and Black Pink. Obviously!!! If you are in K-pop, you would want them on your resume.
Ronny: Hmmm, about the future soundscape... Now that I see the Rock is coming back to Hip-hop Music, I think it is also a good fit for K-pop music; I would love to incorporate and create that type of sound.
Nermin: I agree with Ronny. Songwriting-wise, I see now more and more of "Classic Pop Rock" is coming back and bringing in more guitar sound and less the EDM sound. More "real" songs. When you can tell the story and have a strong chorus, (it's) like it used to be in "Classic Pop Rock" music, that would be interesting and cool to be a part of.
Anne: I love the fact that guitars are coming back. For my preference, I always lean towards darker sounds or mysterious sounds. It will be fun to explore that side of music. When I listened to the album " Sour" by Olivia Rodrigo, which is super popular right now, you hear those elements, and that is IT right now!!! But I would love to create those types of songs with the K-pop twists or with my twists.