The New York Times has a neat feature on the making of the song “Where Are Ü Now,” a single, or really the single off Diplo and Skrillex’s collaboration Jack Ü. It’s a catchy song, and the melodic flute-like riff that the song hinges on has been pretty much everywhere this summer. The compelling part of the producers’ story is just how they got the sample.

As they tell it, the song began as a very slow ballad with Bieber singing vocals. Bieber emailed the track to Diplo, who then brought it to Skrillex for their collaborative project. “Where Are Ü Now” went through several different iterations before it became what you hear now, but the kicker was figuring out that perfect little flute/violin sound, or “the dolphin” as Skrillex refers to the infectious little noise:

It’s not an acoustic or electronic instrument: It’s a brief snippet of Mr. Bieber’s vocal line, a subliminal reinforcement of the melody. It’s pitched two octaves above the original, run through various distortion and equalization effects and given a very short tail of reverb, creating a digital sound with a human core.

“Anybody can copy any synth now,” Diplo said. “But if you manipulate vocals, it’s really something original that no one can do.”

Hey, that’s pretty cool. This is also notable for the fact that it is one of the only times in recent history that part of this trio of men, often in the news for things other than you know, music, have made a positive contribution to larger society. There’s no denying that it’s a great song, and the story behind it makes it even more interesting. Hear the track in full below.

[via New York Times]