The man who slowed down Justin Bieber: 'It was a joke, and now it's this phenomenon'
Image Credit: Courtesy of Nick Pittsinger / Chris Hatcher/PR PhotosIf you were anywhere near an Internet connection yesterday, you heard the hauntingly beautiful ultra-slow Justin Bieber track. Florida-based musician and producer Nick Pittsinger, 20, dramatically slowed Bieber’s “U Smile” down, and the result has been and burst of Internet fame he never expected. “I’m a producer, so I just like to mess around with audio. It was a joke, and now it’s this meme, this phenomenon,” he says. We talked to Pittsinger this morning to get the skinny on his Bieber fever.
ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: Walk me through the process. How did this all start?
NICK PITTSINGER: Me and a friend have inside jokes about Justin Bieber, and I thought it would be an interesting idea to slow it down. When you slow down a video by 800 or 1,000 percent, every detail is seen — you see exactly how stuff breaks or people sneeze. I decided to take that and apply it to this Justin Bieber song. It has a nice melody, and I was pretty sure it would yield a decent [result]. The result was amazing, totally unlike anything I’ve ever heard — and I listen to a lot of stuff. It’s mind-blowing.
I shared it on Reddit, and it got popular on the site. I was watching it on SoundCloud go from 50 to 100 [listens], to 1,000, to 5,000. I was joking that it would be funny if it hit 10,000. By the time I woke up, it was over 100,000. It was everywhere.
Have you heard from Justin Bieber or his people or anything?
Not at all! A lot of people are speculating that he should have heard it by now.
Not that long after the track started gaining popularity, there were people saying it was fake, and then that it was a hoax, and that it was actually a track from a band…
It’s the funniest thing. At first I was stressing out — if I’m using this to promote myself, I don’t want the terms “liar” or “thief” attached to me. “Photon Wave Orchestra” is a hoax band started by 4chan. They didn’t realize my track was getting so popular. The timing was horrible. I had to show photo proof that it was mine. [Ed: here’s an example.]…
[As for people saying it’s fake], the program I used is specifically for slowing songs down that much. If you take a normal audio file and slow it down that much, it sounds robotic and digital. But [PaulStretch] makes a cool texture out of it.
What do you hope comes of this?
I’m a producer, and I have some great managers, so I’m trying to score a career in the music business, either song-writing or producing for a record label. I saw this as an opportunity. once it became absolutely famous, I took a step back and realized I can use this to promote myself; it’s a good bump in the direction I need. …. I do have actual serious projects. Tis is a joke, but I do music all day every day. I do have a project that’s very sincere — Shamantis, which is chill-out down-tempo electronic music. People think I don’t write music, that all I do is slow down songs. But that’s not true.
Also, for everyone who wondered, when you speed up Sigor Rós, it doesn’t sound anything like Justin Bieber