Hitmaker of the Month: The Audibles on Why Justin Bieber’s ‘Intentions’ Is What the World Needs NowVariety — James Patrick Herman
Dominic âDJâ Jordan and Jimmy âJimmy Gâ Giannos, the Grammy-nominated production partners collectively known as the Audibles,Â joke that theyâre basically the same person. And theyâre certainly in agreement that âIntentions,” their latest collaboration with Justin Bieber, is perfect for these uncertain times. Not coincidentally, itâs also their first top 10 single.
âWe were just trying to make something a little R&B that the kids would love, more like a New Age turn-up type,â says Giannos (pictured at right). âThe record is so upbeat and the concept of having good intentions is needed in a time like this,â adds Jordan. âMore than anything, people need love and support and music to reflect that. There has to be positive and uplifting music on the radio so people can understand that there is hope.â
Giannos, who calls Las Vegas home, understands the need for hope right now. When the neon lights of the Strip went out earlier this week, the darkness was both literal and metaphorical: âItâs extremely scary here,â says the writer-producer.Â âThereâs no food on the shelves, no guns in the stores. We’ve heard from our local police to not answer your door because people are saying that they are testing for coronavirus and robbing people.â He feels the impact onÂ the thousands who lost their jobs after Nevadaâs governor shut down casinos, hotels and restaurants in the wake of the coronavirus outbreak.
The future of the music industry can best be described as a crapshoot, according to the prolific hitmakers. âThere are conflicting views,â says Jordan. âFacts support that streaming is up because everybody’s at home so some people we work with are like: âWe should be creating better songs than ever now because all we can do is focus in the studio.â And others are like, âI just want to stay home with my familyâ â because if something does go down and I’m in the studio, then how do you handle that? Itâs a case by case basis.â
They remember crafting “Intentions” in what now feel like much simpler times. The hit had relatively modest beginnings, born in a humble North Hollywood abode. “It was super-late at night, and we’re set up at our boyâs (Jordan’s) little kitchen table,â recalls Giannos. âDJ made a really cool rhythm and then I added some melodies on top. I relate our process to how a band might start just jamming together. DJ may do a rhythm that I love or I may do a melody he loves and then we go back and forth until the house is built.â
Together they contributed four tracks to Bieberâs new album, âChanges,â and thereâs no confusion about the division of labor.
âEverything you hear that is music? Thatâs us,â says Jordan. âJustin and Poo Bear [longtime collaborator Jason Boyd] work out the lyrics together. Theyâll bounce ideas off each other â like how Justin wants to express his feelings toward Hailey [Baldwin], and Poo Bear helps articulate that into the song.”
Has Bieber matured since settling down in their estimation? âI donât think youâre going to hear him talking about flirting and pulling another girl,â says Giannos. âHeâs in a different place in his life.â
âI think the lyrics are what grabbed people from the beginning,â says Jordan. âBut from the technical standpoint of how it sounds, the music melody is in perfect harmony with the lyric melody and that added to its continued success.â
Currently, the duo are at work on an eclectic compilation under the guise of Do Cool S— With Your Friends, which will feature an array of artists theyâve bonded with over the years. âWeâre not going to be confined to a box,â says Jordan. âMost producers who release compilations stick to one genre but very few get to be artistically free. You haven’t heard anything like this since Timbalandâs âShock Valueâ or âThe Neptunes Present â¦ Clones.â Those albums hit different genres but ours is literally no boundaries because we listen to everything.â
Show tunes included. âMy friends make fun of me because I love musicals â they think Iâm corny,â says Jordan, who adds: âHave you seen âWicked?â Oh, my gosh. Itâs my favorite musical ever. Iâve seen it three times.â