Thankfully the hell-storm that was the “Harlem Shake” takeover is now through. But Baauer, the producer behind the viral track, is still recovering from what seems to have been a traumatic experience. In an interview with Pitchfork Baauer spoke about his experience during the Harlem Shake blowup.
People started to call my phone, I’m like, “How did you get my number? Who the fuck is this?” People saying, “We’d like to have Baauer on ‘Good Morning America’ to do the ‘Harlem Shake’.” I’m like, “fuck no!” It felt invasive.
…I remember I was about to leave for Europe and all this shit was going on and I was feeling so bummed out. It was a good thing that I was in Europe while the backlash was happening. I feel fortunate for that.
Harlem Shake may have saved Mad Decent financially according to Diplo but that has not been the case for Baauer. “I haven’t seen any money from it,” he told Pitchfork, as it seems legal issues have caught up to him. You may remember that Hector Delgado, the man behind the “con los terroristas” sample, and Jayson Musson, who created the “do the Harlem Shake” line, both took legal action surrounding the track. When Baauer was asked why he still hadn’t seen any money he said he wasn’t sure but he hopes his lawyer can clear it up.
I’m meeting with my lawyer tomorrow for lunch, so I’m gonna find that out. I think it’s mostly because of all the legal shit. I didn’t clear the samples because I was in my fucking bedroom on Grand Street. I wasn’t going to think to call up (Delgado), I didn’t even know who it was who did that (sample); I knew the Jayson Musson (sample). So I found myself in that fucking pickle. Legal letters and shit. Ugh. Lawyers. So exposure-wise it was fantastic, but everything else…
Harlem Shake doesn’t only haunt him financially and legally but also gets in the way of his DJ sets.
Sometimes, when I don’t play it, people get really mad. I didn’t play it in Amsterdam and I overheard two people who were like, “Oh, did you hear he didn’t play ‘Harlem Shake’?” “Agh, that’s what he’s getting paid for!” But whatever, fuck ’em.
At this point, I’m trying to go from playing the original, to just playing a remix, to maybe putting in one little clip– sort of weening off of it until I can eventually not play it at all. That would be the perfect thing.