The genealogy of a hit: the complex crafting of Zedd’s ‘The Middle’ [Watch]

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From his Grammy-nominated Alessia Cara feature to his comparatively more recent release, “The Middle,” Zedd makes music production look easy. The mastered singles that infiltrate radio air waves, though, bespeak layers of complexity that are not immediately perceptible to listeners. “The Middle’s” seamless amalgamation of Maren Morris’ vocals with chord progressions outside of Morris’ country aesthetic effects a smooth pop listening experience that has resonated with many listeners, even those who normally eschew electronic music. Yet the fluidity of “The Middle” masks an intricate developmental process leading up to the single’s official release, one that notably almost never reached conclusion.

In what might arrive as a surprise to fans of the Zedd/Morris collab, “The Middle’s” origins extend well beyond Zedd’s studio. “The Middle” that listeners both know and belt in perfect synchronicity today was originally conceived as a demo by the Monsters and the Strangerz, a Los Angeles studio group and 23-year-old songwriter, Sarah Aarons. Aarons’ name doesn’t appear alongside Zedd or Morris’ on the track, but it was Aarons who would type out the lyrics and melody to “The Middle” on her iPhone. She then headed into the booth to record the demo of the song, which would later fall into the laps of electronic, silver haired duo, Grey. Adding what they call a “medieval axe whipping noise” to the demo — in other words, the sound that you hear in between the lyrics “baby” and “why don’t you just meet me in the middle?” — Grey would then forward the still unfinished track to Zedd.

“They played it for me they were like what do you think, and I thought if done right, this could be a huge smash,” Zedd said of the demo. To be “done right,” the track necessitated the right vocalist, and tracking down the choice voice for the song was quite the feat.  “There were months where we almost gave up, because we couldn’t a vocalist,” Zedd revealed. 14 demo vocalists later, including the likes of Bebe Rexha and Demi Lovato, “The Middle” had found its vocal match in Maren Morris. “I had never heard her music until I heard her demo,” Zedd noted, “I was like who’s Maren Morris? She sounds really good.”

“The Middle” currently enjoys the success that an approximate year of production effort, and a team of “no fewer than eight collaborators” warrants, but as the making of “The Middle” video clearly conveys, crafting a hit single is anything but simple, and oftentimes requires some meeting ‘in the middle.’

Via: The New York Times

Claptone discusses ‘FANTAST’ album in new video series, Track By Track [Watch]

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Claptone’s second long form outing, FANTAST will arrive via Different Recordings and [PIAS] on June 8, but electronic music’s resident ‘Charmer’ will heighten anticipation for the album’s official release through a video series that will chronicle the album’s completion, as the title suggests, “track by track.”

“I decided to create a video about every track on my upcoming album…to tell you more about the background, the collaborators, and what each song means to me,” Claptone wrote in an Instagram post that simultaneously premiered the first song history, that of recent single “Under the Moon.” Claptone did not specify a video release schedule during the series’ debut.

Hardwell: a Swedish House Mafia reunion at Ultra ‘has to happen’ [Watch]

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Hardwell

Netherlands radio station,SLAM! recently got Hardwell on the phone to talk Miami Music Week, his upcoming Main Stage slot at Ultra Music Festival‘s opening day on Friday, March 23, and, of course, speculation that Swedish House Mafia will reconvene for a special anniversary performance.

“Most of the DJs have some free time in January and February, and that results in new music,” Hardwell said when asked if he would debut unreleased material in Ultra tradition during his headlining set. “I made lots of new music and I’m going to play [it] on Friday,” Hardwell added.

And like many ticket holders, Hardwell is holding out for an SHM reunion. “I think it’s going to happen,” Hardwell stated in response to the question as to whether he believed the Swedish super group would indeed appear at Ultra 20. “There are a lot of rumors, the deciding factor for me was that Steve Angello, one of the three members of SHM, cancelled his Asia tour out of the blue, suddenly doesn’t have any shows planned, and is now in Miami. For me, this means that it has to happen.”

Those attending Miami Music Week can peruse the best parties of the biggest week in electronic music as curated by Dancing Astronaut, here.

[WATCH] deadmau5 offers another glimpse of his enigmatic orchestral project

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Deadmau5

Deadmau5 piqued the collective interest of his fan base when he previewed a short clip of an orchestral version of “Strobe” during one of his live streams on Twitch in December. The sample led some fans to speculate that the mau5trap label head was at work on a full-length orchestral album, while others proposed that the artist could be in the process of crafting a film score. Divergent conjectures aside, all listeners could agree that they would like to hear—at the very least—a complete orchestral version of the electronic classic.

In Janurary, deadmau5 tweeted that he was currently engaged in “the most epic thing [he’s] ever done with [his] music.”

Twitter user @cubertmaster responded to the post, asking if deadmau5 would provide “any hints” regarding the project, to which deadmau5 replied:

Deadmau5 has now sharpened the shape of the orchestral endeavor in a video recently uploaded to his Facebook page. The video offers fans a preview of a classical rendition of “Invidia,” the lead single off of deadmau5’s 2014 album, while(1<2).

Whether the video of the orchestral offerings signals an upcoming live orchestral tour, or an album — as many fans suspect — remains unknown, but the short preview should satiate fans until deadmau5 reveals the next step in the orchestral equation.

WATCH: Bon Iver play unreleased ‘For Emma, Forever Ago’ track on album’s 10th anniversary

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Bon Iver

As Bon Iver’s debut studio album, For Emma, Forever Ago, turns ten this week, Justin Vernon and his bandmates are celebrating the seminal album’s milestone with two special releases.

Bon Iver commemorated a decade of For Emma, Forever Ago at the BMO Harris Bradley Center in Milwaukee, Wisconsin on February 17, where the band delivered a full performance of the album. Interspersed among the album staples like “Skinny Love” and “Blindsided” was “Hayward, WI,” an unreleased song that Vernon composed during the time span in which he was at work on For Emma, Forever Ago. Fortunately for those not in attendance, a fan captured live footage of the indie gem as Bon Iver debuted the track.

In addition, Bon Iver released a limited-edition reissue of For Emma, Forever Ago.

Setlist:
Lump Sum
Blindsided
Skinny Love
Creature Fear
Team
For Emma
Hayward, WI (Debut)
Woods
Brackett, WI
Blood Bank
Simple Man (Graham Nash cover)
re: Stacks
Flume
The Wolves (Act I and II)

Encore:
Holocene
Lovin’s for Fools (Sarah Siskind cover) (with Sarah Siskind)

H/T: Consequence of Sound

Ultra Music Festival shares second episode in ’20 Years of Ultra’ documentary series [Watch]

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ultra-2

As Ultra Music Festival looks to its landmark 20th anniversary, the global festival brand has released the second installment in its ‘20 Years Of Ultra’ documentary series.

The second episode explores the dance culture of the early 2000s, the “growing pains and challenges” associated with electronic culture’s then rapid expansion, and Ultra Music Festival’s impact in the context of dance culture, given the festival’s ability to consistently bring electronic and live groups together. Despite other cities’ struggles to legally host large scale electronic events, Miami emerged as a choice destination for electronic activity during 2003 and 2004, years credited as “turning points” for electronic music and festival culture in America. Miami has since maintained the premium it placed on electronic events in the early 2000s, and is accordingly preparing to celebrate the milestone birthday of its electronic cornerstone, Ultra Music Festival, from March 23-25. Those interested in purchasing tickets to Ultra’s 20th anniversary can purchase tickets to the festival, here.

See The Chainsmokers perform an unreleased song in Prague [Watch]

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Chainsmokers-Australia-Adelaide_Show_0139-med

Preceded by Andrew Taggart’s question (“Prague, are you ready for some new sh*t?”) the new and unreleased song debuted by the American duo during their recent performance in Prague is one that makes use of classic Chainsmokers conventions, namely Taggart’s vocals, a lyrical hook with both an irresistible sing-along quality and a raw personality, and an undeniably catchy drop that serves as the song’s sweet spot. Centered around the hook “walk into the club like everyone hates me,” the confessional ID, presumably titled “Everybody Hates Me,” foreshadows what very well sounds like another high-grossing hit for The Chainsmokers pending its official release.

H/T: Billboard

Watch John Mayer sample ‘Slide’ during a live performance in San Francisco

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John Mayer

While Calvin Harris recently announced that he will be “movin’ on from Funk Wav sound” in 2018 via Twitter, the 70s inspired sonic stint that diversified Harris’ catalogue will remain an exemplar of a well executed aesthetic experimentation for years to come. The feel good “Funk Wav” vibes exuded by album staples like “Feels” have proven to be irresistible since Funk Wav Bounces Vol. 1’s release, and it seems that John Mayer remains all aboard the “Funk Wav” train as evidenced by a recent performance in San Francisco.

Mayer has cultivated a reputation for spontaneously sampling songs during his live shows — in the past, Mayer has astounded audiences worldwide with unexpected mini renditions of Rolling Stones and Bruce Springsteen classics. As of late, however, Mayer’s tangents involve something slightly more current, Harris’ Frank Ocean-assisted hit “Slide.” Mayer wove Ocean’s vocals from the intro of “Slide” into a live version of “Moving On and Getting Over,” a track off of Mayer’s seventh studio album, The Search for Everything, released in April of 2014. A YouTube video captured by JDWorldReviews shows Mayer cover his original song prior to sampling Toto’s “Africa,” closing out the surprise dual sampling with the intro to “Slide.”

You can see Mayer’s live mashup here, beginning around the 5:40 mark.

 

Stream deadmau5’s set as techno alias Testpilot on Holy Ship! 11.0

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Watch: Afterlife blends into real life in Jai Wolf’s music video for ‘Starlight ft Mr Gabriel’

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