Despite the split, you three still collaborate—as was the case with Netherlands-based Angela Vero on "Work It"—so there's presumably no bad blood here. Was there any particular reason for the separating? Both of you guys are working together under a single name so I imagine there's an understood synergy between you two. How are the dynamics of working on a song as a team? And in general, what would you say you individually bring to the table that the other half perhaps doesn’t?
We started working as D3O and it was a really good time for all of us. We managed to score a lot of cuts (cuts = released songs with artists) together and had some really fun moments! After 3 years we all felt like we needed to move on. The reason was simply because we wanted different things so we decided to split. And it’s no hard feelings after the break, we’re still really good friends working from the same house and we still write music together.
Since we’ve (Caesar & Loui) known each other for such a long time we have a really strong connection together. So after the break from D3O there was really no question about if we would continue as a team or not. We really trust each other and have always had the same goals in music/life so we’re probably gonna go on for ever! :)
Since we have different backgrounds, we have a wide range of skills together as a team. Daniel comes from a rock background playing the guitar and singing in different bands. So all the guitars in Caesar & Loui's productions are almost always recorded by Daniel. Ludwig on the other hand comes from a jazz/R&B background so he has a lot of knowledge about chords and of course playing the piano/synths. We are also both singers so we usually sing on our demos when we write music for boy bands and male artists. We also both produce, and it’s really nice for our workflow when we have a lot of productions to finish up.
Writing songs together is always different. Sometimes we come up with ideas on our own and then work together from the idea. Or sometimes we start from scratch. We also have sessions sometimes working with other talented songwriters and for those, we usually have tracks and ideas prepared for the sessions. We really like being prepared to make the workflow better. We both feel like when we write the best songs, the ideas come to us quite quickly. After we have the main ideas recorded we start to look more closely at the details of the song. Since we're both producers we can really go back and forth with ideas on the production, which can be really nice when we get stuck or when we just need some inspiration and push.
Sometimes we even split up and work alone or together with other songwriters. We just try to be open and let the inspiration flow. But for probably 99% of our songs we write them together.
The Kennel is based in Sweden and does indeed make songs for Swedish artists, as was the case for C&L with The Fooo. However, The Kennel has songwriters and producers who work with artists from around the world. Can you discuss your experience with The Kennel and explain what the process is like for getting songs for these international artists? For example, are record companies often coming to The Kennel to get a song written? Is there a pool of songs that artists/companies are free to choose from? On your Facebook page, you guys mentioned that it was your dream to write a song for SHINee back in 2013 and eventually did last year with "Wishful Thinking". Do you two have significant say in the artists you want to collaborate with?
Almost every time we write music for artists, we have some kind of connection with the label the artist is signed to. That connection is usually made through The Kennel via email. Then we get an email explaining details about the artist, maybe some links to their previous releases, and an explanation for what kind of songs they are searching for at the moment. Sometimes we have meetings directly with the artist/management. And sometimes we get the contacts on our own via networking and so on.
For example, with The Fooo we had a meeting with their previous manager and talked about what kind of music they were searching for at the moment. After the meeting we got into the studio and started working on songs.
We write a lot of songs each year and of course not every song will find an artist straight away. So all of these songs are available in our catalogue for artists to try out if they want. These songs are handled by our creative manager Pernilla Svanström who works at The Kennel. Her job is mainly to send songs and handle the contacts to score the best artists as possible. And of course we can pitch these songs ourselves if we think we have a suitable artist for the song.
We can of course request artists that we wanna write songs for but as we mentioned before, it’s really important to have a good connection with the label/artist first. For example, take the SHINee song "Wishful Thinking" that we wrote with Andreas Öberg. We wrote that song aimed for the Korean/Japanese market but didn’t have any specific artist in mind beforehand. Since we have good connections in South Korea/Japan via The Kennel, we managed to get the song to SHINee and they liked it. This is different with all the songs we write, sometimes we have a really clear picture of which artist we wanna aim for and sometimes we just write a song that we like.
How would you describe the Korean/Japanese market, and how would you say it differs from others you write for? And similarly, what keeps you interested in writing songs for this market?
What we’ve always thought was really interesting and fun with the K-pop/J-pop market was the variety of styles and sounds in the music. It feels like the labels are always looking for something fresh and new; they're not afraid of taking chances. If we compare this to writing for the Western market (US, UK, etc.), it feels like a music style will stay longer on the top charts and the leads (leads = what the labels are looking for) for artists refer back to the same songs for a longer period of time.
Also, what we really love about the K-pop/J-pop market is the effort put into the songs' videos and choreographies. It was the first thing that we really fell in love with when we heard/watched our first K-pop song!
It feels like the K-pop market especially has a really global and viral spread right now. And every year it grows a little bit more. We feel like it’s a cool journey to be a part of and also, of course, it gives us a lot of opportunities to get our music out. Since we have both the K-pop/J-pop world and the US/UK market to write for, we tend to always find a home for our songs!