K-Pop Producer Spotlight: Hwang Hyun (Monotree)

If there’s anything I’ve learned from covering pop music for over a decade, it’s that songwriters and collaborators are just as important as the artists themselves. Though they often work behind the scenes, this feature is a chance to shine the light on some of k-pop’s most innovative and accomplished producers and composers.


Years active: 2011-present

Associated Acts: ONF, LOONA, Super Junior, Red Velvet, Elris

His sound: Bright, retro synths and daring arrangements that often feature shifts in tempo and style. An overall robust production style, layering elements on top of each other for a larger-than-life sound.

Why you should love him: I’ve already featured Monotree on this segment, but Hwang Hyun deserves a post all his own. He’s my favorite talent within the production group, and his work only seems to be getting better and more adventurous as time goes on. He’s composed boy group ONF’s entire singles run, splitting the rest of his time equally between second-gen legends and newer rookie groups. His arranging skills are second-to-none, with an inventive touch that forgoes trends in favor of classic synth textures and big pop melodies. Basically, if you know that Hwang Hyun is behind a song, you know it will be great.

Examples of his best work:

21 thoughts on “K-Pop Producer Spotlight: Hwang Hyun (Monotree)

  1. I Love his productions so much! My Favorite of his works are She’s My Girl (Golden Child Bias intuition but I am not sure I like their new comeback……….. So many mid-tempos but at least there is an OMG) 2nd is Complete , New World might be a grower And Difficult is my favorite of their debut album! BTW , What Theme do you use for your site?


  2. i love his work, it’s very 2000s “Japanese pop culture” sounding to me (Nintendo video game soundtracks, pop groups like Perfume, Anime culture) to paint a picture in your head


  3. i love his work, it’s very 2000s “Japanese pop culture” sounding to me (Nintendo video game soundtracks, pop groups like Perfume, Anime culture) to paint a picture in your head. He’s like the Korean version of jpop producers like nakata yasutaka (perfume, kyary pamyu pamyu) or mondo grosso (after school shh, namie amuro what a feeling)

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Tbh before I started reading your blog, I didn’t really care about the producers behind my favorite songs. Maybe, I was too overwhelmed with kpop in general. But because of this feature (and your reviews) I began to recognize names in track lists and started to look up song credits of certain songs. That’s why I just want to thank you, Nick!

    I hope ONF will use their RTK fame and come back soon (with Hwang Hyun behind them)

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Would NOT mind this dude writing some upbeat songs for SHINee on their next album….*insert eyes emoji here*. His complex songwriting would bring back some elements I sorely miss in their discography, not that I haven’t loved their recent stuff too.

    I know you weren’t a huge fan of it but I gotta give props to him for his co-write with Taemin on Day & Night as well. They whipped that single up together right before his repackage because SM was too lazy to do anything and just wanted to ca$h in, and personally I thought the results were decent. Mr. Hwang has a magic touch, for sure!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Ah yes Hwang Hyun. He’s one of those people where if you were to see his name under a song, you’d know what to expect. He’s been around for quite some time! Flying under the radar composing some of my most favorite b-sides from SNSD, SUJU. I was glad to see him coming out onto title tracks.

    BTW he has a Youtube channel in case you didn’t know. Well, not him, but Monotree does and he regularly features on it showing behind the scenes production. I think they do English subs for some of them. If you understand Korean then that’s a big bonus!


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  8. I got to know Hwang Hyun because of Road to Kingdom, and because I was so impressed with ONF’s second and third stages, I went to check out the songs that he produced and wrote. ONF’s Complete is probably one of the best songs he has produced, and a good contender for one of Kpop’s best songs of all time.


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