TRENDING: Diplo, Skrillex, Justin Bieber, and the “Dolphin Sound”

Anatomy of A Strange Summer Hit
Author:
Publish date:

If you’ve been in the vicinity of any radio (or any teenager) this summer, “Where Are Ü Now,” a collaboration by Diplo and Skrillex (producing together under the name Jack Ü) and Justin Bieber, has surely wormed its way into your head. And you are far from alone: The song has been streamed on Spotify more than 236 million times, with hundreds of millions more plays on YouTube.

Bieber and the production duo never spent any time in the studio together; Skrillex and Diplo worked with a cappella tracks sent from the teen idol’s manager, Scooter Braun, and massaged them into a slick EDM production. The most recognizable sound on the track, however is quirky Skrillex refers to as the “dolphin”: a sharp, repetitive Squeak built from Bieber’s vocals, pitched up two octaves, and run through a gauntlet of effects ranging from reverb to distortion.

To learn more about the making of this decidedly un-pop pop hit, read the complete story in the New York Times.

Check out “Where Are Ü Now”: