Mr. Kierszenbaum at this years ADE
One of the key ingredients of Amsterdam Dance Event is the search for the next big dance smash.
Everybody's looking for tomorrows hit and co-writing is in the DNA of this dance scene. Who better to ask about this subject than Martin Kierszenbaum, songwriter and executive A&R for Interscope Geffen A&M.
Mr. Kierszenbaum will be at this years ADE to share his vision and ideas about what makes great music, how he works with artists and what we can expect to see and hear from him next. In the last two years he has scored several hits with LMFAO, Far East Movement, Ellie Goulding and he is widely credited as being central to the development of the international careers of Lady Gaga, Eminem, Black Eyed Peas and Gwen Stefani.
Can you give a few examples of big dance hits that you have worked on where co-writing has taken place?
"Lots of songs are made through collaboration. I've had the good fortune of being involved in several successful songs as a songwriter and as a label head. As examples, the songs I've written with Far East Movement, Natalia Kills and Lady Gaga where all collaborations with the artists and fellow songwriters. It's fun to work together. There are other instances, like the song "Gomenasai" that I wrote specifically for t.A.T.u. in which I worked alone."
"As a label executive, I've had a chance to A&R songs like "Turn Up the Love" by Far East Movement which the group co-wrote with their Cherrytree label-mate Matthew Koma. The song became a big hit around the world and actually came together while Far East Movement and Matthew were sharing a tour bus on the Cherrytree Tour of Europe in 2011."
"As those that write songs know, songs can come together in many different ways. And collaborators can write together using different approaches too. On "Sexy and I Know It," co-writer George Robertson came up with a concept and a rhythm and Redfoo of LMFAO fleshed it out and turned it into an anthem."
How do you adapt to the fast changing landscape of pop music with the emergence of EDM and the growth of a new youth culture in the States? Does it take new strategies in writing?
"I think that electronic dance music has been in the culture for a very long time. I used to go dancing at the Limelight in New York City in the 80's. There are many talented people who have been committed to the genre and worked hard for a long time. There are also some exciting new artists as well as established ones infusing the tradition with innovation constantly. That's why it's remained so vibrant and grown by leaps and bounds. I stay immersed in the music and culture not as a strategy but because I love it."
Who do you think is the most clever in combining the EDM part and the pop part at the moment?
"There are some many musicians bringing creativity and innovation to electronic dance music right now. It's a joy to discover new sounds and directions. I'm loving what Disclosure are doing. They are on Cherrytree in the US through our relationship with maverick UK label PMR. I love Disclosure's live show which incorporates expert musicianship and informed references to deep house and Midwestern US influences. I think what the Far East Movement did to the Bingo Players track was witty and fun resulting in a no. 1 UK smash. Shout out to our friends at Spinnin and Ministry of Sound for helping put together that collab. I also love what Mike Einziger, Avicii and Aloe Blacc did when writing "Wake Me Up." That song is a beautiful amalgam of disparate influences that propel the song and tradition forward. On an up-and-coming tip, Kelvin from Cherrytree and I are working with a talented duo called La'Reda."
You will be part of a panel of top line and songwriters. They are a lot of the times the unsung heroes of this scene. How important are they and how do you use them?
"I love songwriters and musicians. I grew up in a house where music was important. My mom played the piano. My sister is a violinist and we both studied piano. I am first and foremost a songwriter. My passion for creating music led me into the music business. I studied piano from a young age and later music theory which really excited me and provided a framework to write songs and also communicate and collaborate with other musicians. I started Cherrytree in 2005 to help and nurture artists. So, I have the privilege of coming at the process of music creation and collaboration from different vantage points. I encourage collaborations to take place when there is an organic desire between artists to work together. If it's forced, it sounds forced. If it's natural and mutually desired then there are seldom any debates. I feel strongly that songwriters and musicians are the lifeblood of the music business and should be cherished, fostered and protected."
The Singer & (Top Line) Songwriter Session
Fruday October 18
15:15 - 16:00
Q&A with Martin Kierszenbaum (US)
Saturday October 19
14:00 - 14:50