C: [Brian from THE HUB] trusted me to collect everyone and say this person’s good. This person can do this. This person can do that and just get everyone on together. And when we had that camp, we called that the “Kang Daniel camp” only because we did a lot of songs for Kang Daniel.
S: And he was the—well, he still had, and back then he was the hottest.
C: Yeah, I didn’t even know.
S: Because he was chosen by the people to be number one. It’s not like you debut and you go number one. He was chosen before he debuted to be number one. He won Produce 101.
M: I did not know that.
C: He was in Wanna One, right?
M: I didn’t know he was the main like—
S: No, he was the main. He was the center.
M: No wonder!
S: So no, it’s kind of crazy. It’s like if you imagine the Korean people actually voting for this person to be number one. And you got a cut for that album?!
C: Yes, so Kang Daniel. At the time I didn’t know who he was. So Brian kind of explained, and I was like “Man, Brian. I don’t know who this man is. What do you mean?”
M: That’s you with everybody though, let’s be honest! And we’re like “so-and-so”, and you’re like “Who? I don’t know that.” And then later when you see a picture, [you’d] be like “OHH!”
S: So MRSHLL, is that how Charlotte is all the time?
M: Well, you know I don’t want to air out all her dirty laundry, but you know…
C: I kinda am. I’m like “Man, I don’t know who this person is. I’m like “Let me see a picture” and I’m like “Rrright… Okay, so he coming to the studio? Alright, just tell me ‘cause I need to look good that day. They have to remember me, alright?” So I didn’t know who Kang Daniel was. Andy and Charles were his A&R at the time. Dope guys. The song that I cut with him was called “Runaway”. And I wrote that on the first day of the camp. We had the producers advance give us 20 tracks to pick from. And I just went through them. I was like “Nah, this is it.” I just heard it and I was like “No, this is it. It’s different. And it’s just cool.”
S: The timing is crazy because you know when you’re an artist, it’s hard for you to go number one and start your own label. Right after he made a lot of money off that Produce 101 show, he got that investment and he started his own label. So musically if there were other Korean people involved in it, then you probably would have had a harder time making that cut. But it was him calling the shots. That’s why it was like if he liked it, it’ll— (nods)
C: And that’s what I was shocked about.
M: Which is rare with the artist actually calling the shots.
C: Right? He was personally invested. And so I was really shocked about that. I think at the time I didn’t know how significant that was. But now I do. Because now we have A&Rs, we have CEOs making the shots. But it was Kang Daniel that was doing it. He’s a very chill guy. When he came into the studio, he was just normal like… you know? And so that track. It was originally called “Yeah”. I think they called it “Runaway”, but it was just called “Yeah”. And when I wrote it, I imagined Kang Daniel singing it. So when I heard that it cut, I was like “Yesss, that’s so dope. We’re just gonna have a dope-sounding track, reggae vibes. And then I heard about YUMDDA. You know I didn’t know who YUMDDA was. So I’m like, but who is this guy now? Someone showed me his Instagram.
M: He’s been around for a while. But he blew up too recently.
S: It took him so long, but I think it was meant to be because back then he didn’t have that vibe and at the same time Korea wasn’t ready for that vibe either. And now… they’re flexin’, you know? Everybody flexin’.
C: He seems like that guy. Like he’s got that swag and stuff. And he’s that vibe. He seemed really cool as well. So then off of that first camp, we also cut a song called “Jealous”. And we wrote that at that camp too. So then obviously we built momentum now. We’re like “Yeahhh, let’s go as a team.” And then after that I think we got the ASTRO title.
S: That Kang Daniel title. That made the drive. I talked with Brian about this too. I don’t know if you felt it as much as he felt it, but if you could go out there and be like “Oh, who’d you write for? I mean, who did THE HUB write for?” (pause) “Kang Daniel.” “OH! Give us some tracks! Give us some music!” So I think that—even the “Tarzan” and THE BOYZ and all that, I don’t think that was—
C: No, it was Kang Daniel that really did it for THE HUB, and Brian was so proud of that. And I didn’t know at the time how significant that was. I really didn’t. I just didn’t know.
S: After you guys made that cut, I went out for a cigarette with Brian and he just had this aura. Like his shoulders were up there. Like “I made it.” (nods) “So Sam, how’d you get that investment? I’m trying to get the investment to what we’re doing.” Oh, so you want to talk business now, right? No, it gave him that boost. I was so happy for him. I was really happy for him because he worked hard to build that studio, run that studio, finding you, finding the right people.