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Bieber, Diplo And Skrillex On How To Make An EDM Hit

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The New York Times detailing of the making of  Justin Bieber, Skrillex And Diplo’s  huge “Where Are U Now”  “Make A Hit
(see below) was remarkably lacking of any form of illumination for around seven and a half minutes of its eight minutes in length. Oh, I get it, they took the demo, processed the vocal, and added two drum lines. Talented, sure, but surprising? Who didn’t realize that’s how it done? Ever since New York Magazine published their Dr. Luke profile by Adam Sternberg (here), every last bit of mystery was removed from the process. Here, Bieber had the demo, Skrillex handled the beats, Diplo the sounds and that “dolphin” is a couple of seconds of Justin, doctored and rejiggered so it sounded like nothing at all you’ve ever heard and works as a gigantic hook. The point of most interest.

But when you think of EDM this is how you think it is made, folks sitting at computers listening and manipulating sound waves. However, as  Skrillex notes towards the end, to claim that the people who compose EDM aren’t real musicians is completely ridiculous, if everybody could do it, everybody would be multi-millionaire Skrillex’s. It is a musician’s ear we are hearing and more it is a musician’s ear for detail. As Dr. Luke said about Max Martin, discussing comping (the way a producer will go through every single vocal track for the best SYLLABLE of every single song: “Comping is so mind-numbingly boring that even Dr. Luke, with his powers of concentration, can’t tolerate it. However, ‘Max loves comping,’ Luke said. ‘He’ll do it for hours.’ Do you think you could have found that hook on “Where Are You Now”? I couldn’t if my life depended on it… Diplo invented the sucker.

This is the art of the art, this is how hits are made in 2015 and whether you or I think it is real music, it is really real hit pop. In 2015, at least in theory, on stage the likes of Skrillex will improvise to a setlist and in the recording stufio nothing is ever left to chance.

Where Are U Now – Bieber, Diplo, Skrillex – B+

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