The man responsible for a bevy of our favorite hits — Ed Sheeran’s "Don't" and "Castle on the Hill", Justin Bieber’s "Love Yourself", Major Lazer's "Cold Water", Maroon 5’s "Moves Like Jagger", Katy Perry’s ”Teenage Dream", Rihanna’s "Diamonds", Kesha’s "TiK ToK”, and many, many more — Benny Blanco stopped by the studio on Wednesday, July 18, to chat his new single “Eastside” feat. Halsey and Khalid.
“Eastside” is the first song Benny’s recorded and released under his own name. The producer and songwriter, 30, shared with Ryan Seacrest that he decided to release his own music after a night with Ed Sheeran.
“I was on the road with Ed Sheeran and we were finishing the last album and we were watching that documentary, The Defiant Ones, and we were like, OK, we’re just going to watch one and we watched the whole thing in a row and we’re done and Ed stands up and was like ‘What are we even doing with our lives? We need to be doing more stuff!’ And then [his manager] comes in and was like ‘Time to play the show’ and Ed was like ‘I’ll be back’ … and I was sitting there and I was like, ‘What am I doing with my life??’ And honestly I was like … maybe I’ll try to make songs. I asked all my friends and I’m waiting for everyone to be like, ‘Yo, dude, shut up and just make our songs,’ but every single person was like you should totally do this.”
Benny added that the process came naturally to him, as it does when he’s working with his roster of artists.
“I never try to stress it,” he explained. “I go in and I have fun with my friends. I happen to make music with all my friends and I don’t usually go in the [studio] with someone unless we’ve had a drink, had a night out — relaxed. I’ve never made songs through a record label … I just get in and honestly I kind of black out. We might be eating or talking about jokes and before we know it there’s a song that just kind of happens.”
Speaking of which, Halsey, Benny and Khalid recorded “Eastside” at his home studio, with their shoes off and the dogs running around.
Halsey also joined the interview, phoning in from tour, and shared that after Benny and her worked on her self-described "revenge” album, Hopeless Fountain Kingdom, Benny encouraged her to do something different.
“‘Eastside’ [is] so sweet and nostalgic and pure and honest and one of the things that Benny said to me during the process was ‘Hey, it’s really cool that you make concept albums and I love seeing you play a character, … but I think it would be really cool if this was just about Ashley. Like if this wasn’t just a thing about Halsey and a character … you’re pretty cool how you are. Maybe you don’t need all of that this time.’” Halsey shared. “['Eastside'] is really personal … I think that’s what makes this song feel really special … It felt really [organic].”
In fact, Halsey surprised Benny by announcing on-air that “Eastside” is officially her favorite piece of work yet.
“It’s probably my favorite song I’ve ever made,” she gushed. “Yeah, I’m going to say that on record: This is my favorite song.”
And good news for all of us who have had “Eastside” on repeat:
“We’re working on an album together,” Benny confirmed to Ryan. “We had worked on her last album and now we working on a new album together and this was just a music baby for the mean time.”
Listen back to the full interview above for more, including how Benny hilariously stole Halsey’s manicurist.