The BTS Team at BigHit
One thing you’ll learn about BTS is that their music is very collaborative. Far from creating a watered down product, this can mean an exciting combination of different ideas and talents.
All members are invited to collaborate and add ideas to songs that will be released under the BTS name. Although each member does tend to take the lead on their solo tracks, it’s definitely not unheard of for them to turn to other members for suggestions or guidance, and most of their songs have multiple songwriter credits.
In addition to the core seven members, there are several creative staff at BigHit whose names you will see turn up often. Who are these essential shadow members? Let’s meet them!
Bang SiHyuk a.k.a. Bang PD
Bang is the founder of BigHit and was its CEO for a long time. He then became the CEO of the larger conglomerate Hybe, before stepping down in 2021 so he could focus more on the music side of things and less on the business side of things.
Bang is the one who scouted and recruited all of BTS and put the band together. As a musician himself, he also has credits for writing and producing many of their songs and continues to take a hand in their sound today. He is extremely close with the members who view him as a kind of father figure, and they still consider him to be their “boss.”
Sejin is more of a behind-the-scenes leader for BTS compared to Bang, but there’s no question he had a huge impact on them, especially in the early days. He is the head of their management team and with them on a near-daily basis, and the members are also very close with him. He and Bang both wrote the members very touching and memorable letters on the final episode of Bon Voyage 1. You’ll sometimes catch glimpses of him with the boys at the airport in older clips, but otherwise he keeps a pretty low profile.
He’s moved on from the BTS team now and rumour has it he is now a manager for Enhypen.
Another OG member of their management team that you may see appearing in older pics is Hobeom. He was one of the sub-managers to Sejin but you can see him in iconic moments such as when Jin got shy at the airport and buried his face in Hobeom’s chest, escorting a very young Jungkook to and from school, or when Jimin and Hobeom went to Suga’s basketball game to cheer him on.
Most famously, Hobeom got married in 2019 and all of BTS (and Lee Hyun!) attended the wedding and performed a live version of DNA – you can find clips of it on YouTube.
Since the wedding, he appears to still be on the BTS management team but no longer travels with them and isn’t seen as much.
Pdogg (studio name: Dogg Bounce)
Pdogg has been BTS’ primary producer since day one and – fun fact! – is now the highest paid employee in the Korean music industry. He continues to control their sound and has both writing and producing credits on most of their biggest hits. While the members usually have the core and outline of a song ready before entering the studio, it’s Pdogg that gives it a richer sound, adds backing instruments and suggests things like rhythm lines and ad libs.
Slow Rabbit (Studio Name: Carrot Express)
Slow Rabbit has also been on the BigHit production team since the earliest days, despite his youth – he’s the same age as Jin. He’s now the primary producer for TXT but still works with BTS from time to time. He’s the producer and co-composer of many of their solo songs especially, including j-hope’s mixtape.
ADORA (Studio Name: Adorable Trap)
Adora was also part of the producing team from the earliest days after diverting into producing from being a full trainee. She’s worked on several BTS tracks and often lends supporting vocals to their work. Listen for her singing along with SUGA on the track “Seesaw” in particular.
Update for October 2021: Adora will be leaving BigHit to join Aura Entertainment and will debut as a soloist!
Hiss Noise is the other BigHit day one producer and he also has a lot of producing and writing credits on BTS songs. He’s worked with them a lot more recently, such as on the BE album.
Supreme Boi (Studio Name: The Supreme Escape)
Supreme Boi was an underground rapper with RM back in the day, and actually was one of the rappers originally recruited by Bang to join BTS. He was part of the initial group and even appears on some very early BTS recordings from back in 2011. After being a trainee for several years, he eventually left to move into producing exclusively for unknown reasons. He still works as a producer for BigHit, and produced some early work for BTS, as well as appearing vocally on some of their tracks – most notably Cypher pt. 3. He has appeared on stage with them at events like the BTS Begins concert and All Force One, a rap festival featuring RM and Supreme Boi as headliners.
Supreme Boi can be outspoken and as such sometimes falls into disfavour with ARMY. But he’s still part of the core production team at BigHit for now.
DJ Swivel (Jordan Young) is a Canadian producer and mixer who worked on many of the tracks in the Love Yourself era, along with his co-writer Candace Sosa. He has his own Forever Mix of Euphoria (which is gorgeous) and has a writing credit as well on many of their LY songs, especially the ballads.
You can see his deep dive into the making of Euphoria (the original track) on Youtube.
BTS works with many other producers – some you might hear about include JUNE (Studio Name: Imagine World), El Capitxn, and GHSTLOOP.
Son Sung-deuk is BTS’ performance director. He was their primary choreographer from day one and still choreographs many of their hits, although in recent times he’s kept very busy working for TXT and Enhypen, too. He travels with BTS when they are touring or making other performance appearances; it is his job to help them block out and rehearse their performances and sort out any potential issues that arise based on the stage and area they have been given to perform. As a result, you will often see him working with BTS in Bangtan Bombs where they are doing dance practice and rehearsal. Next to Bang PD, he’s probably the face you will see the most among BTS staff. You can even seen him performing alongside BTS – with a mask on – in their December 2013 award show performances, where he filled in for Suga who was recovering from appendix surgery.
Son Sung-deuk has been nominated for and won several awards for his choreography and is all-around pretty awesome. He created most of their early dances, including No More Dream, We are Bulletproof pt. 2, Danger, I Need U (absolutely iconic), Run, Idol, and more recently, Dynamite and Permission to Dance. He’s also married with two young sons (Moa and Hoa), who sometimes show up on set, causing V to be extremely happy.
Ghost was BTS’ backup band when they performed live in the Love Yourself/Dynamite era. You can see them in the Tiny Desk Concert, their Saturday Night Live performance, and on BBC Live Lounge, among other places. They tour with BTS and perform along with them to enhance the sound during concerts. Here’s a good article about Ghost if you want to know more about their members.
In more recent times, BTS will often bring in additional choreographers to work with Son Sung-deuk on their big hits and title songs, to create more unique dances and moves. Got a fave choreo? It was possibly created by one of these choreographers who have worked with BTS more than once.
Many of their music videos, from No More Dream forward, have been designed and directed by Lumpens. Lumpens is both a man – artist Choi YongSeok – and a company that he founded to produce MVs. Other directors from his company work with TXT and Enhypen, as well as other kPop artists, but BTS usually works with Choi YongSeok himself.
He’s the man behind most of their visuals but he’s particularly well-known for his bright use of colour, as in MVs like DNA, Idol, Stay Gold, Spring Day, and Fake Love. You can see him consulting with Jungkook and V on the Life Goes On video concepts in this YouTube Live video, and if you want to see his face you can see it in this Apple tablet featurette.
MU:E is an art direction/design firm that often works with Lupens on his lovely videos. Designer Bora Kim is the brains behind the look of Stay Gold and Dynamite, among other videos, and has won awards for her work with BTS. She keeps an extremely low profile but you can follow MU:E or Bora on Instagram.