Skrillex and Diplo's collaborative project Jack Ü skyrocketed with the release of their self-titled debut album and its single "Where Are Ü Now." While picking Justin Bieber didn't seem like the obvious choice, it was a good choice that demonstrated the singer's vocal ability that had been lost in the last year of roast-worthy headlines without any music being released. As Diplo tells The New York Times "No one would expect it. It would be so insane."
The producers tell the story of the song's conception from the chance meeting an Alexander Wang event at New York Fashion Week to Justin sending them a ballad he had been working on a week later through the song's final , chart-topping version. Since it's release in February, the song has been streamed 236 million times on Spotify alone with its official YouTube video being played more than 100 million times in two months going certified platinum in July.
In their new interview, Diplo demonstrates how he electronically manipulates Justin's vocals and added harmonies as Skrillex induces the song with high-pitched flute sound he dubs the "dolphin" before a drumline of claps stampede the melody into a head-rushing beat. Discussing the flute, violin sound more, Justin answers "That's actually my vocal and they messed with it." Skrillex then shows how they "bounced and bounced" the vocal again, distorting it until they got that high pitch they were looking for that seamlessly coaxed a human warmth into the track. "If you compare it to a painter; so much of the process down to the 11th hour is just getting the colors," Skrillex explained. "You mix a little, this color and that color and create a new shade and a new tone you maybe haven't seen before."
You can watch the entire interview here, where they break the song by step by step, including several alternate versions of the song that even Justin has never heard.