Monsta X and Steve Aoki Talk Collaborating on Fiery Club Banger ‘Play It Cool’ (EXCLUSIVE)
On "Play It Cool," Aoki and Monsta X are more than an unexpected pair — they're a perfect match, complementing one another stylistically. Featuring slick club-ready beats and an instantly infectious hook, "Play It Cool" finds the mega-popular seven-member South Korean troupe teaming up with an American artist for the first time.
Meanwhile, "Play It Cool" marks yet another fiery K-pop collaboration for Aoki, the world-renowned DJ and producer who previously worked with BTS on both a remix for their 2017 hit "Mic Drop" and "The Truth Untold," a song off BTS' 2018 album Love Yourself: Tear. Last year, Aoki also released "Waste It On Me" featuring BTS members.
Listen to Monsta X and Steve Aoki's "Play It Cool":
Below, Monsta X and Steve Aoki sound off to PopCrush on working together and more:
What was the process like working together? What sort of collaboration took place to determine the sound for the track?
Steve Aoki: So first and foremost, I wanted to find a song that fit with Monsta X’s vibe, sensibilities and the general personality of the group. I think that’s really important for a producer to be able to match that as best as they can. When I was working on "Play It Cool," I felt like this was the song I could imagine them on, so I sent it to them with the hopes that they would love the song. They absolutely fell in love with the record and laid down their work on it. They sent it back to me and from there it was a game of sending files back and forth until we got to the place where we were both very happy with the collaboration. The process was a constant, collaborative work-in-progress that took time and tender love and care to get it to where it is now.
Monsta X: We are all big fans of Steve Aoki, and it was such a delight to see that he mentioned us as one of the K-pop groups he would like to work with from one of his interviews. We got in contact with him later, and he produced the right song for us. It was so much fun [working together]. We feel like we are so lucky to have had a chance to collaborate with a world famous DJ like him.
How was working on this track different than your usual work in the studio?
Monsta X: It was something unique and a challenge for us. This song was somewhat different than what we are used to singing as Monsta X. However, we liked the song so much and tried our best to make the perfect harmonies and sounds for the song. We hope everyone likes to listen to “Play It Cool” as much as we do. We loved the time we spent on the track and working with Steve.
Steve, do you hope to continue working with K-pop stars and Korean musicians?
Aoki: I absolutely will continue to work with K-pop stars and Korean musicians. One hundred percent. I’m in love with the culture, and I’m a big supporter of the K-pop sound and the artists that define the sound. There’s definitely more in the pipeline. I don’t want to give away any collaborative projects coming up in the future because they’re all very different, and I always want them to be special, but be on the lookout.
What was the best part about working with Monsta X?
Aoki: The best part of working with Monsta X was really working with their voices and their vocals on the track. They all have extremely dynamic and unique voices that really make them who they are. It was great to work with their voices. They’re so talented and sing beautifully. We have yet to see their choreography and dance to the song though. And I think when they do that, they’re really going to blow this song up and present this song in the way that it needs and deserves to be presented.
What was the best part about working with Steve?
Monsta X: He was such a nice guy and we felt so close, like brothers, after working with him. He tried to reflect Monsta X as much as possible in his production and also made us most comfortable in any circumstances. We learned a lot from the collaboration. I.M was involved even deeper as he wrote the rap lyrics for “Play It Cool." We would love to have another chance to work with Steve in the near future. He's the best.