Dominic “DJ” Jordan and Jimmy “Jimmy G” Giannos, the Grammy-nominated production partners collectively known as The Audibles, joke that they’re basically the same person. And they’re certainly in agreement that “Intentions,” their latest collaboration with Justin Bieber, is perfect for these uncertain times. Not coincidentally, it’s also their first top 10 single.
“We were just trying to make something a little R&B that the kids would love, more like a New Age turn-up type,” says Giannos (pictured at right). “The record is so upbeat and the concept of having good intentions is needed in a time like this,” adds Jordan. “More 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.”
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: “It’s extremely scary here,” says the writer-producer. “There’s 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.” He feels the impact on the thousands who lost their jobs after Nevada’s 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. “There are conflicting views,” says Jordan. “Facts support that streaming is up because everybody’s at home so some people we work with are like: ‘We should be creating better songs than ever now because all we can do is focus in the studio.’ And others are like, ‘I just want to stay home with my family’ — because if something does go down and I’m in the studio, then how do you handle that? It’s a case by case basis.”
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 boy’s (Jordan’s) little kitchen table,” recalls Giannos. “DJ 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.”
Together they contributed four tracks to Bieber’s new album, “Changes,” and there’s no confusion about the division of labor.
“Everything you hear that is music? That’s us,” says Jordan. “Justin and Poo Bear [longtime collaborator Jason Boyd] work out the lyrics together. They’ll bounce ideas off each other — 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? “I don’t think you’re going to hear him talking about flirting and pulling another girl,” says Giannos. “He’s in a different place in his life.”
“I think the lyrics are what grabbed people from the beginning,” says Jordan. “But 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.”
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 they’ve bonded with over the years. “We’re not going to be confined to a box,” says Jordan. “Most producers who release compilations stick to one genre but very few get to be artistically free. You haven’t heard anything like this since Timbaland’s ‘Shock Value’ or ‘The Neptunes Present … Clones.’ Those albums hit different genres but ours is literally no boundaries because we listen to everything.”
Show tunes included. “My friends make fun of me because I love musicals — they think I’m corny,” says Jordan, who adds: “Have you seen ‘Wicked?’ Oh, my gosh. It’s my favorite musical ever. I’ve seen it three times.”