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JR Rotem: Fall Out Boy 'Centuries'

Video Feature
Published April 2015

Producer JR Rotem is no stranger to success but, until 'Centuries', it was confined to pop and urban genres. We find out how the song was constructed and walk through the session files.

This isn't the first time we've caught up with JR Rotem. Back in March 2012, we spoke to the producer, songwriter and label owner about his approach to making records for the likes of Jason Derulo, Nicki Minaj and Rihanna. However, his recent hit ‘Centuries’ by Fall Out Boy is rather a departure for a man who has been called ‘The White Dr Dre’.

JR has become known for using famous samples in his tracks, and there are no prizes for spotting the one used in 'Centuries'. The earworm that is the refrain from 'Tom's Diner' by Suzanne Vega formed the basis for the track, but it's the melding of rock guitars and vocals with hip-hop elements and pop production that makes the piece interesting. 

We examine the production, listening to individual parts and discuss the techniques used to get all those seemingly disparate elements to work together as a cohesive whole. We also find out how the track was conceived, how Fall Out Boy came to record it, and get some of JR’s top tips for crafting a successful track.