Justin Bieber, Skrillex, and Diplo are set to collaborate on the 21-year-old superstar’s in-progress new album. So said the trio, while promoting their new track “Where Are Ü Now” in interviews with Miami radio stations on Monday.
As yet, it’s not known how many songs will be worked on. The news comes after Bieber’s recent confirmation with USA Today that his anticipated new album will be co-produced by Def Jam Records founder Rick Rubin and Kanye West.
On Sunday, Skrillex closed his ferocious, headlining show at Miami’s Ultra Music Festival by seguing into his concurrent Jack Ü project with Diplo. Then, artists Kiesza, Kai, South Korea’s CL, DJ Snake, and Diddy took to the stage. But the spectacular finish belonged to Jack Ü and Justin Bieber’s numinous, vibey performance of “Where Are Ü Now,” to a wild crowd that neither knew nor cared that Bieber was lip-syncing.
Incidentally, the singer didn’t hide the fact that he wasn’t singing live, and is reportedly still getting over strep throat. During yesterday’s interviews with Miami’s Power 96 and Y100, Skrillex and Diplo discussed their organic approach to choosing collaborators, while Bieber expressed gratitude for the EDM duo’s support.
Zooming straight to Bieber and Jack Ü’s reveal about writing/producing on the Canadian’s in-the-works album, the singer was asked by Power 96 co-host Cato K if he had enjoyed Ultra and whether there are any plans to perform at other festivals.
“I would love to. I don’t think we have anything planned right now,” Bieber replied. He then referred to the festival, and said, “It was my first time experiencing anything like that and it was incredible, man.”
The singer added, “I think me and these guys [Skrillex and Diplo] are going to collaborate on my next album, and do something really special. Really world-changing.”
Over at Y100 Miami, Diplo said, “We got to do something for Justin Bieber’s album though.” To which, Bieber chimed back, “That’s next.”
So, those are the confirmations.
Power 96 co-host Lucy Lopez first asked Jack Ü “why this radio tour?” after talking up their typically Internet-based promotion of their music.
“I’ve never done any radio promo for any of my records. This is the first time,” Skrillex said. He went on, “We came up completely organically in our world, and I think there was never really an avenue in radio for what we were doing.”
Diplo agreed, and said, “It’s cool that these records [Jack Ü] have kind of like reached a critical mass, to where people are pretty much loving them all across the board.”
With a nod to “Where Are Ü Now,” Bieber said of the building buzz around it, “It’s all pretty much [word] of mouth.”
Replying to Lopez’s question on how each producer-DJ decides who to work with, Skrillex offered, “Music, for us, is just a really fun thing to do.” Explaining, he added, “We came up, you know, making records with our friends and artists that we collaborated with, and then careers came out of that.”
Separating Jack Ü’s philosophy from chart-or-die sensibilities, Skrillex noted, “It’s a whole different ecosystem of how we work, and a whole different mindset.”
Of his and Diplo’s wider intention, he continued, “Part of what we do is curating culture, of what we see as the future of music.”
Then, referring specifically to the Bieber track, he added, “Maybe it takes longer [with Jack Ü’s organic method] for a record like ‘Where Are Ü Now’ to become as popular as some of the biggest pop records. But at the same time, it’s breaking ground.”
After nutshelling his history with Bieber (Diplo co-produced “Thought of You” on the star’s 2012 Believe album, and said he has known manager Scooter Braun for over 10 years), Diplo revealed Braun sent him a piano-and-voice version of “Where Are Ü Now” while they were at the same party in New York City [coinciding with Justin’s notable turn at Fashion Rocks last September].
“It was like a really strong record that Justin wrote, it was like a ballad,” he recalled to the Power 96 hosts, adding that he told Skrillex [who was also at the same party], “We could f*** this record up.”
An insight into Jack Ü’s attitude toward working with Bieber was revealed, when DJ Cato K insinuated that Skrillex may have had more resistance to working with the heartthrob than Diplo. However, Sonny Moore immediately shut that idea down.
“Absolutely not. I’ve never been like that,” he countered. “If I like something I’ll work on it… I think it’s so easy to discriminate on people. Especially like Justin Bieber — who’s been a kid that’s been famous his whole life and [lived] his whole life in front of everybody, and it’s so easy to judge people…”
Elaborating, Skrillex praised Bieber. “But I think he’s one of the most talented singers and musicians all around… If you have good energy and we vibe together and it’s natural, I’m willing [to work].”
At that point, Diplo weighed in, saying, “One thing about Justin that’s really special; I don’t think there’s gonna be an artist as iconic as him.”
He went on to add the following.
“Furthermore: Where he came up from, and like how he exploded and like the place he has in culture is so crazy, and weird and so enormous. I don’t think there’s gonna be another artist like that for a long time. The Internet changed things you know. “
“He [Bieber] kinda came up when it was still grassroots. For us to work with him, and like f*** with people’s perceptions of what he does, or what we do is, like, important to us.
Because I think good music trumps everything.”
During the show, Lopez asked Bieber to describe the difference [if any] between writing for his own audience and working with Jack Ü.
“Well, what I think is just like, these guys are changing the game right now,” Bieber replied. “They’re doing something that’s never been done. I wanted to be part of that.”
Lopez then claimed she was “excited” that Bieber has effectively been given a “hall pass” to the dance world. To use her words, because the “Kings of this community [a community which she described as “mother*******”] said, ‘Come on we’ll co-sign you, lets’ go papa.’ “
For his part, Bieber replied humbly, given he punched in five No.1 Billboard albums before he was 19. He added, “I think that this is a transitional period in my life and in my career, and to have these guys supporting me means the world. So, thank you guys.”
Before the Power 96 interview wrapped, Diplo said the following of Bieber. “He’s been the homie since day one, and I think that he’s always been into good music and supported our movement. So I’ve got nothing but love for Justin.”
During the Q100 Miami interview, Diplo revealed that he and Skrillex racked up around 20 mixes and worked on “Where Are Ü Now” for about three months to make it “our style, our vibe.” The rest is almost identical content to Power 96.
Currently, the trio’s mid-tempo is No. 13 on Australia’s Aria chart, No. 9 on Billboard’s Hot Dance/Electronic Songs chart, No 4. on the Dance/Electronic Streaming Songs chart, and No. 98 on the Hot 100 chart. The track has generated impressive streaming numbers.
Who knows what will happen as Jack Ü and Bieber’s ad hoc radio tour continues, and the singer’s fans either respond (or not) to his encouragements to request the song at radio?
— Justin Bieber (@justinbieber) March 30, 2015
[Images via Larry Marano/Q100Miami]