Entertainment Weekly has published a new article and interview with DJWS about ARTPOP and the infamous unreleased ARTPOP Act II.
Read an excerpt of the interview below.
ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: What is it like for you to see ARTPOP's resurgence eight years later?
DJ WHITE SHADOW: Everything is weird! We worked hard on that record and I'm glad it impacted people so much that they're still excited about it. Obviously, people talked about Born This Way and the impact it had on culture, and ARTPOP got stuck in a weird spot. There were a lot of things going on behind the scenes — management shifts for her.... the changing of the guard at Interscope, Jimmy Iovine was [leaving] and John Janick was coming in, and people weren't buying CDs anymore as much as they were streaming. It was wildly confusing. What a f---ed up time to drop a record. In the way that it gets pushed out, the numbers don't always reflect how it went down. That record was in upwards of 3 million in sales. It was a good-selling record, but when you're following [Born This Way selling] 6 million copies, you look like an asshole.
EW: I think songs like "Tea" and "Onion Girl" are the two I've seen people talking about the most. Lyrically, what story did those songs tell?
DJWS: It's tough for me to talk about lyrics. If her and I were sitting next to each other, I would totally talk about it. But I don't want to step on her like that. I can tell you that they're both good songs. There is a song called "Onion Girl."
EW: There was also "I Wanna Be With You," which she performed at the iTunes festival and you co-wrote, morphing to become "Dope" on the album. What happened with that process — how and why did it go from performing that song publicly to it changing into a different song for the album release?
DJWS: When we did the iTunes Festival, we hadn't gotten to the point where we were sitting in the studio finishing things completely. So, she wanted to make changes! At the end of the day, it's her art. If we're talking about a car, she comes up with the concept, she goes in and draws it, and I come in with a screwdriver and some wrenches and try and put the car together. Sometimes you have to take the car apart to put it back together the way she wants it, and that's all that is. That's a song that we had a version of, she liked it, and she wanted to do something different. It's not up to me to say no. I would never say no. Let's get this thing out the way she wants to get it together! At the end of the day, "Dope" was the song she wanted on the record, and it just started as something else. I see that happen 500 times, and you guys get to see it once. That's a microcosm of how albums work. You build one idea as A, and you don't go to Z, you go to AAA to five As to five Zs. I'm sure there were 12 iterations between "I Wanna Be With You" and "Dope" that we did.
EW: You've played snippets of "Tea" on the road. Are there any other instrumentals you might've played on the road without telling people they're from the album or have any of these instrumentals snuck into other places — whether it's tour interludes or anywhere else?
DJWS: No! I asked before I did that. Even if I make the instrumental and I play it for her and she thinks it's cool, out of respect for another human being, I'd always ask. I twisted it a little bit at the end to fit where it was supposed to fit in my personal set. I reproduced part of it.
You can read the full interview at EW.com
DJWS was a producer on Lady Gaga's 2013 album, ARTPOP. The ambitious EDM album was met with mixed reviews from critics, but eventually became a cult classic. It is one of Gaga's most adored projects by her fans, and is now considered 'ahead of its time'.
Gaga had an entire second act that was set to be released, but it ended up being scrapped. Little Monsters have continued to campaign for it to be released one day, a dream that seemed like it would never be realized until April 2021.
On April Fools, DJWS posted a joke about one of the ARTPOP Act II songs, "Tea", and fans went into a frenzy. A petition was started to show the love for ARTPOP and the demand for the release of Act II. The petition got thousands of signatures, and ARTPOP went number 1 on iTunes Worldwide. The resurgence of ARTPOP got news outlets buzzing and Lady Gaga herself thanked fans for the love and support.