The man who slowed down Justin Bieber: 'It was a joke, and now it's this phenomenon'

Nick-PittsingerImage 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.

You can follow Nick on Twitter @shamantis or listen to more of his tracks on SoundCloud.

Also, for everyone who wondered, when you speed up Sigor Rós, it doesn’t sound anything like Justin Bieber

Comments (52 total) Add your comment
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  • sassyfras

    Whoa. Eerie and oddly soothing. Sounds like an underwater movie soundtrack or something you’d hear in a spa massage room.

  • megan

    ur awesome=]]]]!!!!

  • megan

    ur awesome=]]]

  • Laura

    Heard this on the radio this morning-it is really cool and sort of calming!

  • nodnarb

    I think a dozen friends of mine posted this on my facebook yesterday. Begrudgingly, I was forced to say something positive about Justin Bieber for the first time very. It really is hauntingly beautiful.

    • Bob

      Don’t mistake this beautiful song to be Bieber’s talents, it’s the guy who slowed it down who made it good. Bieber still sucks.

      • rupa

        I hope everyone understands this, anyone can sound good if a good sound engineer plays with it. Bieber howevcer is still white bread little talent

      • lilkunta

        rupa Thu 08/19/10 12:20 PM
        Bieber howevcer is still white bread little talent

        @rupa: i dont get your reply/comment. what do u mean by that?
        if he were afram would be be brown bead talent?

        if he were hispanic what kind of bread would he be?

      • Dexter

        The term “white bread” is not racial in meaning it’s an analogy because of the blandness, predictability, and banality of plain white bread.

  • Futaim

    Hey justin I loved your song I love all your songs but I love you more than your songs

  • Futaim

    I love you Justin

  • Katja

    Holy balls. Not only does this sound really cool…but the regular wooshing makes it sound like the music is breathing very slowly and deeply, and that is just SO relaxing. I tried getting into ambient stuff in grad school while writing papers/having panic attacks, but I didn’t go very far with it. But I might hang on to this…

  • Will

    very cool…reminds me a lot of John Murphys score in Danny Boyle’s “Sunshine”…along with some Sigur Ros.

  • BrandonK

    That was really nice! It was cool listening to the original and then the slowed-down version and seeing what sounds were converted into what, like the snare drum or whatever changing into the ocean sound (I think).

  • JS

    They should play this at aquariums.

    • AP


      best. response. ever.

    • Sam

      yes! this is totally aquarium music! good call!

  • mini

    This is absolutely gorgeous. Who would of thunk it?

  • Clay Aiken

    Current music sucks ass. The best music is from the 60’s and 70’s, bitches.

  • kmb

    It does sound cool. So, Justin Bieber is Enya on crack.

    • ani

      too bad bieber fans have no idea who enya is.

      • heather

        hahaha seriously!

      • PCNOTMAC

        I love justin bieber and i love enya, too. and im 13 so HA!!!

  • Matt

    So, in order to make Beiber sound good, one must slow down his developing pre-teen voice?

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