Flume, The Chainsmokers, & Clams Casino reveal creative process behind their hits
Popular music is a combination of several appealing visual and audio artistic factors that target raw, overarching emotions to become an unstoppable, anthropological phenomenon. Many would agree the genre’s most noticeable feature is the vocalist, who might sing or rap verses that can be adapted to everyday life while using vibrant music videos as a way to express their art on a global scale.
Perhaps pop’s cornerstone and often understated component, however, is the underlying beat. Producers up until recently lived in relative anonymity, but as more instrumental and dance-geared trends began to populate the mainstream music sphere, so too did the star power of those behind the catchy beats that boost the vocals’ impact.
The New York Times sat down with three rising producer stars Flume, The Chainsmokers, and Clams Casino to explore the creative process behind recent hits which have brought them radio play, platinum records, and of course, international fame.
Clams Casino recently released his anticipated debut album 32 Levels, a project including several tracks where prominent rappers such as A$AP Rocky contributed their talents. The LP’s title track was an organic progression for the producer, who was working on a track with longtime collaborator Lil B when he suddenly remembered a sample he took with Alt J’s Joe Newman. From there, he decided to blend the two works together to create the haunting, and widely popular hip-hop piece it is today.
Flume’s “Tiny Cities” with Beck was a spontaneous production that came to fruition at a car wash, or so the Australian producer claims. The winning formula in this case was reorganizing bits and pieces of Beck’s improvised vocals into a cohesive body of work. On the other hand, his radio hit with Kai, “Never Be Like You,” required a more personal relationship between the two, in addition to a random quirk Flume discovered while toying around with synthesizers to inspire the finished product.
Meanwhile, The Chainsmokers stumbled upon fame with their experimental output “Selfie.” Since then, the duo have demonstrated their keen ear for hit-making. Their most recent platinum record “Don’t Let Me Down” underwent an extensive songwriting process, during which they discovered an infectious framework in combining airy indie guitars with a powerful backdrop. They selected Daya and her unique voice as the final touch, forging a perfect anthem for the festival season.