We all trust each other’s judgement. Sometimes I’ll be like, “I really don’t like that.” And both Ari and Phil will be like, “You’re trippin’, dog, you’re trippin’.” Or I’ll play something, then Phil will sing it, and then we’ll find it. We’re not the greatest musicians in the world, but we can make some hot shit.
“This was taken right after a portrait session with Bruno Mars and his production partners The Smeezingtons (Philip Lawrence, left, and Ari Levine, right) at their tiny Hollywood studio in January. When I finished the portraits and started packing up my lights, Mars suddenly began playing his partners a new keyboard track he’d been working on. I snuck over and poked my camera through their keyboard equipment, which framed the guys nicely. They were temporarily absorbed in the music, so they didn’t seem to mind.”
Sometimes, they're not even instruments. "On ‘Locked Out Of Heaven’ Bruno was like ‘we need a dep-dep-dep-dep’ sound,'" Ari Levine recalls. "I said, ‘Sing it into the microphone’ and then I chopped it up. It sounds like it’s a instrument, but it’s really his voice. We do that a lot."