How Skrillex And Diplo Turned Justin Bieber’s Ballad Into A Hit
25 August 2015
It’s been in your head, on the radio and played at probably every summer party you’ve been to, but you probably never realized how much work went in to creating the hit smash, “Where Are Ü Now”…until now.
The New York Times had an extensive sit-down down with Justin Bieber, Diplo and Skrillex to get the story behind the song and have them break down the decisions, beats and sounds that made this track such a success.
It all began at Fashion Week where Diplo saw Justin and had this idea to have him jump on his Jack Ü project with Skrillex “because no one would expect it.” Shortly after, Justin sent the two producers his version of “Where Are Ü Now,” a slow piano a cappella ballad.
“The song was a really slow ballad never had any drums even,” Diplo said. “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.”
Yes, it’s hard to believe that Justin never physically stepped foot into the studio for the song, in fact, he didn’t even know the song was being produced.
“I was like Diplo, Skrillex, I don’t know if that’s where I really want to go,” Justin said. “And they did it and I’m like ’Oh my God, this is blowing my mind.”
The catchy hit is now in the running for Best Song Of The Summer at the MTV Video Music Awards, has been streamed 236 million times on Spotify and peaked at #8 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart. But what makes this song so special? It’s the right beat, mixed with the right voice and that distinct “dolphin sound,” which actually manifested itself from Skrillex and Diplo taking Justin’s vocals as he’s singing “I need you the most” and distorting it.
“It was finding that one little thing which was the dolphin singing, the dolphin sound,” Skrillex said. “It’s pitched way up, distorted, bounced, rebounded again, so it sounds worse almost.”
The song is clearly working for the trio, and it has now introduced Justin, who is gearing up to release his next single, “What Do You Mean” on Friday, to a whole new audience.“Here we are dancing, everyone’s jumping giving me a reaction I would never get, especially for that crowd,” Justin said. “I think last tour, I loved the songs, but at certain times I was almost going through the motions and I just want to love every part of it.”