‘thank u, next’ genre: Social House prepares for solo work

Grammy-winning duo talks Ariana Grande partnership, debut single and March ‘Sweetener’ show

thank-u-next-producers-interview

Social House is more than a social experiment.

It took Scootie Anderson and Mikey Foster eight months to rack up over 65 million Spotify streams on their debut track. It took a smash hit for them to score a slot at Coachella. And it took a flight to Los Angeles for them to produce their first two No. 1 singles and the biggest hits of 2018 and 2019, respectively, Ariana Grande’s “thank u, next” and “7 Rings.”

The group — which just earned their first-ever Grammy Sunday night for production on Grande's "Sweetener" — will join the biggest name in pop music on her “Sweetener World Tour” at the KeyBank Center on March 22.

I had the opportunity to chat with the duo last month about the magic that they create both in the studio and in the Hamptons. 

Shortly after I talked with the group, Grande dropped her fifth studio album “thank u, next” on Feb. 8. The new record features Social House production throughout and shows off an undeniable chemistry between the two forces. 

The only fair way to start this interview is to congratulate you both on having the No. 1 single in the country for two months with “thank u, next.” How did you guys react when the song went No. 1?

Mikey: ‘Oh s--t.’ It was just unbelievable. Like, actually having a piece of something you dreamed about your whole life. 

You met Ariana through fellow producer Tommy Brown and you’ve seemed to form some type of musical dream team since. At what moment did you realize this partnership would be a lasting one?

Scootie: I mean, I feel like it just really happened so organically. We just really gelled with each other. We became friends before we even started making music. 

Mikey: I feel like the friendship is what took it to a new level. 

You both knew of each other in your hometown of Pittsburgh before eventually linking up in Los Angeles. Why do you think you had to move to a new place to find your chemistry?

Scootie: Actually, we had only met once or twice in Pittsburgh and we really started working together and started our chemistry in LA.

Mikey: I think the reason why the chemistry works so much better out here is we both happen to be very out of our comfort zone. We had made the choice to jump into this LA life and go as hard as we can and fight for the dream. … Doing that and stretching ourselves thin I guess worked for us because we were going through it together.

Scootie: Also, we were working on a lot of artists’ projects together so I guess the chemistry kind of transferred from working with other people to each other.

We can’t talk about Pittsburgh without so many talented artists coming to mind — Mac Miller being one of them. I saw a picture on Tommy Brown’s Instagram of you guys with Mac. What did he mean to you coming from your city?

Scootie: Mac was a pioneer. He is an artist that all of us look up to in Pittsburgh. When I met him, he was the most chill, inviting guy ever and he was always smiling. Mac gave a lot of other artists — including myself — hope in music. You can’t really just sum up what he meant, though. He meant so many things.

“Magic in the Hamptons” has been a big hit for you guys and Cole Bennett’s video brought out the best in it. Whose idea was it to go full-out “Uncle Drew?” 

Scootie: Cole is a genius first off. He pretty much put the treatment together and sent it to us and when we seen it we were like ‘Woah, this is crazy.’ And it wasn’t so militant where everything was planned out here and here and here. When we were on set he sort of improvised certain things and it made the video so much crazier and more personable.

The “Magic in the Hamptons” video and track immediately reminded me of the label-defying stuff that we’re starting to see a bit more of and you’ve both mentioned that you want Social House to be a melting pot of sounds. Do you like putting a label on yourselves?

Scootie: One of our main points we made from each other is that no one has ever had a nomination in every category for an award or something. That’s like a crazy goal. 

Mikey: No. Boxing yourself in like that creates limits. We like all music and want to do it all.

Scootie: I like to think we have freedom in being ourselves. We’re not limited to living, thinking or feeling one general way. I think music reflects mood. Sometimes I want to make trap music and sometimes I want to make guitar ballads. Also, it’s better for us to be more well-rounded since we make music for other people as well.

What sounds can fans expect from your debut project?

Scootie: You can expect to be surprised. 

Mikey: An interesting perspective on things. 

Scootie: [You can expect] a mix of stuff, but we can’t give you the secrets. Just know there are some gems on there.

 

Q: You’ll be in Buffalo on March 22 opening for the “Sweetener World Tour” at the KeyBank Center. What are you looking forward to most about coming here and what do you hope you leave people with at the end of the show?

Mikey: I hope we leave people with hope and fun. We want people to have enjoyed an experience with us.

Scootie: I’m looking forward to traveling the world and experiencing everything ahead with my friends and being inspired to make more music. Also, connecting to all these people at our shows is going to be incredible.

Brenton J. Blanchet is the managing editor and can be reached at Brenton.Blanchet@ubspectrum.com and on Twitter @BrentBlanchSpec.