The NY Times just published an article and short video on the making of “Where Are Ü Now”. You don’t have to be a Bieber, Skrillex, or Diplo fan to appreciate the creativity that went into the making of this song. The most eye opening piece for me, was when Skrillex and Diplo discuss how they created the lead riff that sounds like some type of crazy synth string…You’ll never believe what it actually is!
Watch the video below, and read the full article HERE.
Originally posted by the NY Times on Aug 25, 2015.
By JON PARELES
On the radio, where it has been ubiquitous all summer, the million-selling single “Where Are Ü Now” by Skrillex and Diplo with Justin Bieber is four minutes of high-tech bliss: a sweet-voiced mixture of longing and recrimination, a lonely plaint with a dance beat.
The song arrives in a swirl of electronic sound and vanishes in a distant echo, like a phantasm. But behind it, as with most Top 10 hits, is a matrix of inspirations and decisions, coincidences and hard work, marketing and luck. In a series of interviews, the people behind the hit provided a detailed look at the work that went into “Where Are Ü Now,” for a case study in the way pop music is made today.
Like many current hits, “Where Are Ü Now” is an electronic confection facilitated online. Mr. Bieber was not in the studio with Skrillex and Diplo, and didn’t even know the song was being produced. “Where Are Ü Now” is also an alliance of musicians from diverse musical camps. It’s a mutually advantageous coalition, but an unexpected one: the electronic dance music underground meeting a teen idol. Diplo recalled thinking: “No one would expect it. It would be so insane.”
“Where Are Ü Now” is certifiably catchy. Since its release in February, it has been streamed 236 million times on Spotify alone (it’s also available elsewhere), and its official YouTube video has been played more than 100 million times in less than two months. It has been a Top 10 single across the English-speaking world. It’s also a contender for Best Song of the Summer at the MTV Video Music Awards on Sunday. Yet it is a peculiar, formula-defying song, with two verses and insistent hooks but — unlike the standard hit song — no big chorus. “The song wouldn’t be what it was if we tried to follow those radio requirements,” Skrillex said. “I just like it. It makes me feel something.”
Mr. Bieber, 21, has been a pop star since he was 13, a pinup for squealing fans. But teen idols don’t last, and his challenge is to make the transition to a lasting career. After a series of tabloid embarrassments, he had not released any music for more than a year. (Another song he was working on, he said, was titled “No Pressure.”)
Skrillex and Diplo have busy individual careers as producers, remixers and disc jockeys; teamed up, they bill themselves as Jack Ü. Diplo, born Wesley Pentz, is a 36-year-old connoisseur of bass-heavy styles from around the world. As electronic dance beats have infused Top 10 pop, Diplo has produced hits for M.I.A. (“Paper Planes”), Usher (“Climax”) and another of his collaborative groups, Major Lazer, which has a current hit with “Lean On.”
Skrillex, the stage name of Sonny Moore, 27, is better known as a D.J., headlining clubs and festivals and pumping out propulsive, crushing dubstep remixes. “Where Are Ü Now” has given Skrillex his first pop hit.
The song opens hushed and hovering, with a stereo-panning whoosh, four somber piano chords and Mr. Bieber’s electronically stuttered voice, leading into a mournful verse about a friend or lover he helped, who has now abandoned him. Eventually a dance beat kicks in and a mysterious, flutelike squiggle — Skrillex calls it the “dolphin” — announces itself again and again as the vocals all but disappear: There’s just the occasional refrain, “Where are you now that I need you?”