Still dominating the top 10 on all Korean charts after 6 weeks, “Psycho” is shaping up to be one of Red Velvet’s biggest hits to date. There’s no doubt that Korean and international fans are still addicted to the song, but why? In an interview with Korea Herald, the producers of the track revealed just what makes it such an earworm.
If you’ve ever described “Psycho” as a ‘bop’, then you have it in a nutshell. According to one of the producers, Andrew “Druski” Scott, ‘bop’ is actually the music term they’d use for a song like this—because it keeps your head bopping while you listen.
That’s because of the percussion. A drum beat and hi-hats set a steady rhythm that turns the song from a “laid-back ballad” into a danceable R&B song.
The syncopation of the hi-hats in the chorus on top of the trap-friendly melody keeps the listener engaged, like if Beethoven’s ‘Fur Elise’ had 808s and hard hitting-kicks.
— Andrew Scott
“Psycho” was born at one of SM Entertainment’s regular songwriting caps, where top producers are put into groups and tasked with creating the next big hit. Scott was put in a group with Cazzi Opeia, who also made “Peek-a-Boo”, “Power Up”, and B-side hits like “Sunny Side Up!” and “Blue Lemonade”. Together with them was singer-songwriter EJAE.
First, Scott came up with the piano chords. When Cazzi Opeia heard them, the unique, operatic melody came to her instantly. Then, they pulled it all together with sophisticated strings and sound distortion.
Just like “Peek-a-Boo” and many other recent songs in Red Velvet’s discography, “Psycho” is a blend of the bold ‘Red’ concept and the classy ‘Velvet’ concept. Scott has a background in classical music and experience with R&B and hip-hop, so blending a range of genres was no problem for him.
The distortion against the classical chords is psychotic in itself and once Cazzi laid down a couple of ad libs, I took them and added a delay filter that I created called ‘Psychodelic.
— Andrew Scott
Now next time someone asks you why you won’t stop blasting “Psycho” in your room or your car, you know exactly what to say!