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A: We're super-excited, because there is no fanfare
with the song, and it's the first song that she's ever
done that's like from her actual heart. You know,
there's talking in it. It's very zeitgeist, because it's
sort of talking about her and Justin and stuff. It's
like a miracle when a song just hits every single little
point, you know, and does well.
When you guys do something like that, do you start
out with her in mind, and how long is the process? Or
did you have the song and she decided to cut it? How
does that work?
T: No, we spent a lot of time with Selena, so there's
a lot of time where we discuss ideas and write. You
know, at the time that we wrote it, it was a real
moment and we just kind of captured it. And then it
was about being patient, because it's been about a
year. So being patient from when she was ready to
release it, and when she felt really good. Her vision
on the video, it's amazing what she did.
A: It was incredible.
T: And it actually elevated the song. I think the
song is fantastic; I'm really proud of it. But I also
think that in this world we live in, an age of where
the video and the song have to collaborate and
become something else-something even more
powerful-Selena really did it on that end.
A: I think one of our "keys" as a company now is
we have a studio in Santa Monica and we get really
close to the artist... we really care about everyone
we work with. We're not just pitching songs, and I
think that that makes a difference, because we don't
have a sound, we are sort of more "couture." So
when we meet an artist, we get to know them really
well and then we figure out what their DNA is.
T: We're a little different than the pop producers.
We are all really great at what we do, but I think we
have just a bit of a different philosophy in the sense
that it's really about the artist; it's really about the
artist's vision, and how can we help them achieve
that? We're sort of aiding and abetting the artist in
what they want to accomplish.
All songs begin with a great idea, but today everything
is so beat-driven. Where do your ideas start?
A: There are lots of times when Tim will come up
with an idea in his head just out of the blue and
kind of bounce it off of me. A lot of times I'll come
up with ideas and he tells me they suck. But every
once in a while... Seriously, because we have to be
our own police with each other, and we have to get
thick skin... First of all, the music business is so
tough, and you have to have thick skin anyway.
T: We are our own toughest critics for what we
do, and I think that surely five or six years ago
things were very beat-driven. But I think beats
have been commoditized to a point where they
are just so easy to get-they are everywhere-
that now it's just about the song. The song is
king. Give me a great pop line and I can put a
120 different beats on it in five minutes with the
technology we have now. And then you go,
"That beat works, or this beat works." Surely
there are genius beat guys. We collaborated with
Hit-Boy who is an absolute genius at it. But I
think in the sense of just getting your song
across for songwriters, today you are more apt
to getting that song idea across by just simply
looking at it like the song is king, the beat is secondary. I think that's a big shift from what it
was. Five years ago it was different.
A: Does anybody have a guitar? Tim could sing for
us while we're waiting for the sound guys to get that
problem ironed out. By the way, one of the best
things... We were talking about how he played gui-
"Pressure makes diamonds."
tar or keyboards when he was in utero, or whatever.
But one of the greatest instruments Tim has is his
voice. That's what I'm really the most excited about,
because he's going to be featured on a lot of new
DJ'd singles coming out, like Zedd and Armin van
Buuren and Cedric Gervais, and he sang "The Big
Bang" that you heard at the very end of the mix
Michael played. So, I mean, he started out that way
too, so that to me is the most exciting part.
digm rules of what used to work out the window,
and you kind of apply this new idea that great wins.
People are dying for great music, and you can watch
it happen pretty quickly when someone drops
something hot, whether it's Bobby Shmurda. I
mean, that was amazing. It took like three months
for it to blow up.
A: Who's Bobby Shmurda?
T: He's just an amazing hip-hop artist out of
A: I think the encouraging thing-especially for
everyone in this room-is to know that there are
ways to kind of get into the music business; there
are ways to be noticed if you're great. I mean,
because that's kind of true about anything, which is
what I think is exciting. [applause]
We used to joke around the office that labels only
want to sign acts in utero-using your phrase, but we
used it as well. I've got a 14-year-old daughter who is
at that perfect age where it's all about music discovery, and I'll say to her, "Who is that?" And she'll say, "I
don't know, but I love the song." They don't care about
what the artist looks like, what their ethnicity is, what
their age is, what their gender is. None of that matters. It's all about the song and the performance.
T: That's the paradigm shift that I'm talking about.
The public, now they are the star, and their music is
the songs that they love and how they share their
life. I think that's the different thing. Social media
has empowered people to...
It's kind of amazing, because you guys are a brand. You
are not just songwriters; you're not just producers, but
you're a brand, and you get the whole brand concept.
But come on, you're not 21 years old; you're not 16
years old, and yet voice is on hit records. How did you
make that happen?
T: Obviously, I can't tie my shoelaces, but I can
make great music.
A: What did you say? Who is the star?
A: I'm going to answer this question. You know,
he's not 18, but I really think more than ever,
right now there's like a little chasm in the music
business where it's not really about how you
look. I realize there are all these young girls that
are showing their bootie and doing their twerking, and it's all about that. But I think it's
shifting now so that if you have a great voice and
a great song and you put it out there... I mean,
look at the Avicii song, he didn't even say Aloe
Blacc was on it. Or look at Sam Smith at first
with Disclosure. No one really knew who it was
at first. You don't have to be a kid and be all of
that, just so long as the song...
T: Is that too deep?
T: Yeah, I think we're seeing a shift from productdriven music where it needed to be something that
could be marketable, to just kind of this new conversation like these. How can we motivate the
public by something that is fresh and different?
Well, I think that means you throw all the old para-
T: The public, the public itself. Like my life is awesome. I'm #1 in my life, and I have my songs. I don't
know who they are, but they are my songs and I'm
A: I'm just thinking about that. You're a 100% right.
A: No, that's really cool. It's true though, because of
Instagram and all the different social media and all
of the things that we're doing. And it's amazing
how excited you get when you share your music and
you get even like 10 "likes," or you get people
responding to it. It makes you feel like if I can get
that many then maybe I could get even more and
more, because it's just a validation of what you're
doing. It's great that people get to do that now.
T: It's the best feeling. Somebody told me they only
have 330 followers on Twitter, and I said, "Well, so
do I." That's great, just keep it going, keep building.
So let's get into the personal stuff. You were talking
about before that you've got thick skin and you
bounce stuff off each other. Do you ever go to bed
angry over a song or a production?
Continued on page 59
Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Recording - September 2015
Recording - September 2015 - Intro
Recording - September 2015 - Cover1
Recording - September 2015 - Cover2
Recording - September 2015 - 1
Recording - September 2015 - 2
Recording - September 2015 - 3
Recording - September 2015 - 4
Recording - September 2015 - 5
Recording - September 2015 - Contents
Recording - September 2015 - 7
Recording - September 2015 - 8
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Recording - September 2015 - Cover3
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