Photo Credit: Averie Cole for Okayplayer
"I Never Meant To": Pharrell Says His Trademark Four-Count Production Start Was Not Intentional
Photo by Vickey Ford (Sneakshot) for Okayplayer
"I wish I had some kind of profound answer, but I'm really a feeling guy," the artist said on his signature four-count start.
A handful of songs Pharrell has either made for himself or other artists begin with his signature four-count start. "Frontin'," "Happy," Frank Ocean's "Sweet Life," Snoop Dogg's "Drop It Like It's Hot" — the four-count loop Pharrell uses to start his songs has transformed into his producer signature.
Well, turns out that it's not intentional.
Speaking with Vulture, the producer discussed how beginning his songs with a four-count loop came about.
"Sometimes you put a count in so you can start on a beat versus just doing a metronome. If you want to sing at the top of the song, sometimes you just end up leaving it in the song. But I never meant to," he said. "I didn't even realize until someone pointed it out. I was like, 'Oh yeah!' I wish I had some kind of profound answer, but I'm really a feeling guy; I don't always look at what it is that I'm doing on paper conceptually."
Elsewhere in the interview, Pharrell was asked about the "Blurred Lines" trial and if that affected the way he recorded and collaborated on music, to which he said, "No, no." He also discussed why he feels like he's not a solo artist.
"...my perception of being a solo artist was not really what a solo artist is. A solo artist is just, like, a single artist, a person, a single entity. And for me, there was so much built into that," he said. "I looked up to Jay, and I looked up to Puff. So I felt like I was making a record that would posture next to them. In My Mind wasn't Reasonable Doubt, and I didn't think it was. But I thought that was the guy I needed to impress lyrically. I don't know that I did. I have no idea. And when it came to being musical, giving people music they could feel, I thought I needed to impress Puff. But that wasn't really for me. That’s not what being an artist is really about. When I put that album out, I realized I didn’t feel fulfilled because there wasn’t really enough in it for me, personally. It wasn’t me really living out all my dreams, as much as I was just living out what I thought were my dreams based on the people I looked up to. It really had nothing to do with me. It was like, 'Look, I can do it, too.'"
Read the interview in its entirety here.