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Billie Eilish sampled a Sydney pedestrian crossing in ‘bad guy’

Everything is coming up Billie Eilish at the moment. The American singer recently cleaned up at the Grammy Awards – taking home a whopping six awards, including that of Best Album and Best Song – as well as scoring the number one spot on the triple j Hottest 100 for her song bad guy. 

With all this exposure, a quirky fact about the Best Song-winning track, bad guy, has recently resurfaced, and it involves our very own Sydney.

Billie Eilish and brother Finneas surprised the world when they revealed the surprising sound featured in bad guy – a sample of a Sydney pedestrian crossing.

Whilst touring in Australia, Eilish became enamoured with the sound made by the call buttons at traffic light-controlled pedestrian crossings.

Making a recording of it in her phone voice memos, Eilish brought the sound back to brother and producer Finneas. With the help of a bit of pitch shifting, Finneas then crafted the sound into the distinctive hi-hat which serves as the foundation of the song’s chorus.

Interestingly, the sparseness of bad guy is part of what makes the track’s production so distinct. Once you know what to listen for, you can hear just how prominent the sound of the pedestrian crossing is.

You can hear the pair discussing the process in the video below.

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January 29, 2020