Paul Jefferies was in his car, driving around Toronto, futzing with the radio. But Jefferies, who produces pop songs as Nineteen85, didn't hear the same song you and I did. This was months before "Hotline Bling" would be released. Rifling through station presets, Jefferies stumbled onto Timmy Thomas' "Why Can't We Live Together," a chintzy soul hit from 1972. The track is thin and demo-y and a bit like old elevator music. But Jefferies heard a song within the song. "As soon as I heard it, I knew exactly what to do," he says to me over the phone. He sped it up, threw some light drum programming behind it. Mostly though? He tried to stay out of the way.
Try your best to forget the video. The remixes. The parodies. The corny Super Bowl commercial. The time Trump danced to it, the time Jimmy Fallon did whatever he did to it, the hydrant of thirsty covers. Where were you the first time you heard Drake's "Hotline Bling"?