Diplo and Skrillex knew they were onto something when they collaborated with Justin Bieber. Not only was the once-troubled Canadian pop star able to strip away his bad boy past with a public apology, but he also released this summer’s smash hit “Where Are Ü Now.”
In an exclusive interview with the New York Times, Diplo and Skrillex explained the story behind the song. The highly-successful EDM DJs and music producers explained every detail of the song, including the beats and sounds they created to make the song a hit.
Diplo revealed that it all began at Fashion Week when he noticed Justin. He wanted the singer to work on his Jack Ü project with Skrillex because he knew that Justin’s fans wouldn’t expect this kind of music. Justin then played Diplo and Skrillex a version of his song “Where Are Ü Now” which features him singing along to a piano.
According to the Major Lazer producer, the song wasn’t intended to be a ballad.
“The song was a really slow ballad never had any drums even. We took a lot of his vocals and did a lot of different things to it, we added natural harmonies because we didn’t have anything from him so we created our own harmonies.”
Justin didn’t have to even step foot into the recording studio. He claimed that he had no clue that Diplo and Skrillex were working nonstop on the 2015 summer smash. After first, Justin wasn’t sure if he wanted to go the EDM route.
“I was like Diplo, Skrillex, I don’t know if that’s where I really want to go. And they did it and I’m like, ‘Oh my God, this is blowing my mind.'”
Then came the music video, all in its artistic glory. But what makes “Where Are Ü Now” special is the “dolphin sounds” heard in the background. Diplo and Skrillex said they took Bieber’s vocals as he was singing “I need you to the most” and distorted it.
“It was finding that one little thing which was the dolphin singing, the dolphin sound. It’s pitched way up, distorted, bounced, rebounded again, so it sounds worse almost.”
He knows what it takes to make a hot summer single. Diplo’s side project, Major Lazer, is sitting at No. 4 on the Hot 100 with their hit “Lean On.” The collaboration with DJ Snake and Danish singer MØhas already topped charts in several countries. Both Rihanna and Nicki Minaj passed on the song, but Diplo calls their rejection “a blessing in disguise.”
Diplo also revealed to TIME magazine that he’s been working with up and coming R&B singer Tinashe. During his interview, he let it slip that the singer will release her second studio album later this year. He says that he has a lot of faith in the “2 On” singer and believes that she will take the music world by storm.
“She’s also an international act – she tours all through Europe, she goes to Africa, she goes to Asia – and when she performs live, she wants to keep it uptempo. We’re giving her records that feel good. She’s beautiful, she can sing really well, she can dance and she lives right by my studio in Burbank, so it’s not hard to track her down. I really want to do more with her – I really believe in her as an artist.”
Find out what it took for Diplo and Skrillex to make a hit during their interview with the New York Times in the video below.
[Image: Mike Windle/Getty Images for Warner Music Group]