ARTPOP Producer DJ White Shadow: The Inside Scoop Behind Gaga’s New Music
Have an opinion on Lady Gaga’s re-entrance to 2013 pop music? “PropaGaga contributor, Marc spoke with DJ White Shadow in New York City about Lady Gaga’s new single “Applause” and her upcoming album ARTPOP. He was more than happy to stay and chat and had some really great answers to many of your questions!”
How much has the change in the sound of Top 40 influenced the choice of single and the sound, and to what extent the need to get airplay and hits define how you and Gaga approach the writing/producing of songs?
Most of these songs were written like 2 years ago, you know? So, we didn’t know what was going to happen this week two years ago. I mean, we just wrote songs that were fun. We weren’t necessarily trying to go for anything. I made all kinds of crazy shit, I’d throw it at her and see what sticks.
How much has ARTPOP evolved since 2012, when Gaga said it was done? Did you guys write new material or re-work any older songs to keep them fresh during Gaga’s gazing period and rehabilitation?
A little bit of both. Like I said, we had written for 2 years. When she said it was done we already had the feeling. We might’ve changed a couple tracks back and forth, or done different shit, but for the most part when she said it was done it was like “Oh, shit, we got what we’re going to do for the record.” It wasn’t like we had every song done and ready to go. Things change and evolve a little bit, but things are pretty much the same feeling they were when she said it was done.
What’s different now, working on ARTPOP, compared to the process behind Born This Way?
It’s a lot different for like 25 billion reasons. The last record was a different time and we were trying to do something different. Fernando oversaw that, and I over saw this record. You’re going to be able to tell the difference, just based on the fact that two different people had a different role. “Applause” is the kind of music that I make, and we started with a lot of that on Born This Way and then it found its way into being more rock influenced, just because that was where Gaga’s head was and Fernando was producing. This time around it’s a different style of production, more the way I do things.
Were you a fan of Gaga prior to working with her? Has working with her helped you respect pop music more?
She was such an overpowering force when I was a DJ and playing her remixes. She was just everywhere. I’m not a huge pop music guy. I respect her, she’s the hardest working person I’ve met in my entire life – a fucking genius. For lack of a better word, she’s just a G [laughs]. She works non-stop. You have to respect that. I don’t think people give her enough credit for how hard she works and how she tries to do stuff that is different than everybody else. It would be really easy to make another “Just Dance” and I’m sure people would love it and we’d sell a ton of records. Neither one of us wanna do that. We want to make stuff that people like, but it’s for you guys first. We never sat down and were like “let’s make this song so we can sell.” I think we both see eye to eye on that and she works hard to make sure it’s good music.
What do you think about the leaks?
So fucking terrible [laughs].
What did you think about “Aura” leaking? Do you fear the album leaking early, since they have access to something like that?
I don’t include myself in how they figured out how that happens, but they’ve already figured out how and are dealing with that. That day that happened, especially “Applause” – “Aura” was just in one shot and it wasn’t the single, but then right after “Applause” started leaking in pieces and I was like “What is going on?” it’s like somebody breaking into your house. It was a big deal. She [Gaga] was like “get over here now!” so we went over and sat trying to figure out where it got posted first by reading people’s tweets and Facebook posts to see if we could stop it. Then we figured out it wasn’t going to stop, so we figured we’d put out the real version and not some piece of shit version, especially since people are so negative nowadays. It’s insane. It’s like crazy, like people would rather read about people tanking instead of somebody doing well.
You mentioned that you oversaw the album, but how much of ARTPOP did you produce?
And for “Applause” did the instrumental or lyrics come first? Usually when we work, the instrumental comes first, it’s like a business transaction with me and her a lot of the time. It always works different. A lot of times I will come to her and be like “here’s this track” or “here’s this idea,” and she’ll be like “oh, cool I have this idea” and then I’ll go do something to the track and then she starts writing to it and then it flip flops and then she will help me with the track and I’ll help with the writing.
-Def. an interesting read.
(full interview here)
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