Who knew Justin Bieber wasn’t sure whether working with EDM stars Diplo and Skrillex was the right thing to do? He makes the confession in an interview about how the hit “Where Are Ü Now” came together.
Justin Bieber, 21, didn’t always have Diplo, 36, and Skrillex, 27, in mind when it came to mixing his mega-hit “Where Are Ü Now.” Though it’s hard to imagine the song without those insane, unique beats and mysterious whistles, the song was set to take an entirely different direction — until the EDM greats, working together under the name Jack Ü, swooped in. Justin spoke to The New York Times, along with Jack Ü, about how this all came together; watch their interview below!
Diplo and Skrillex ran into Justin’s manager Scooter Braun during Fashion Week 2014, and asked him if Justin had been working on anything new, according to The New York Times. It turns out he had; just a week earlier, Justin had laid down a simple version of a new track called “Where Are Ü Now” with frequent collaborator Poo Bear (“Hard 2 Face Reality”). The rest was history. Watch their interview here!
Justin told Scooter that he didn’t want the song to be “raw,” but he certainly didn’t think about EDM, either. He was about to be surprised. Scooter promptly sent the song to Diplo, and the Jack Ü duo got to work, laying down something completely different after four months! “We made it a song that feels like it’s from the future,” Diplo said.
“I was like, ‘Diplo, Skrillex, I don’t know if that’s really where I want to go,'” Justin said during the interview. “Then I heard it and I was like, ‘oh my god, this is blowing my mind!'”
They manipulated Justin’s vocals so it sounded like he was harmonizing with himself, and added that distinctive “dolphin” sound; instead of using a synth or acoustic noise, the guys took a snippet of Justin’s vocals and played around with the octave until it sounded almost digital. How cool is that?
The best part about this insane collaboration is that Justin didn’t have any idea it was even happening! He was only notified after those four months were up; Diplo and Skrillex sat Scooter down to have him listen to the finished track. He was blown away, and needed to tell Justin right away.
“He goes, ‘What do you mean?'” Scooter said. “I said, ‘Remember “Where Are Ü Now?” — well, I got a version with Skrillex and Diplo. ‘He was like, ‘Really? When did that happen?’ I played it for him and he was like, ‘That’s dope.'”
Justin couldn’t believe what happened to his track, a simple song that he thought would just be vocals and piano. Now, it was a complex EDM banger with layered vocals, manipulated, digitized acoustics, and backups like he’d never heard before. “It totally took it to a whole ‘nother atmosphere,” Justin said. “I totally didn’t see that coming.”
We didn’t either, Justin. But we’re so glad you decided to get together with Jack Ü, because this is one hit that we couldn’t live without! HollywoodLifers, do you love “Where Are Ü Now” as much as we do?
— Samantha Wilson