Ezra Koenig and Father John Misty Explain Their Roles on Beyoncé's "Hold Up"
The second song on the album (perhaps better known for accompanying the video in which Bey sports a frilly yellow dress and goes HAM on the streets of New Orleans with a baseball bat) gives credit to Thomas Wesley Pentz, Ezra Koenig, Emile Haynie, Joshua Tillman, Uzoechi Emenike, Melo-X, Doc Pomus, Mort Schuman, Deandre Way, Antonio Randolph, Kelvin McConnell, Brian Chase, Karen Orzolek, Nick Zinner and Beyoncé herself.
Among the impressive list, some might recognize the members of Yeah Yeah Yeahs, whose lyrics to "Maps" get reinterpreted in the hook. You might also know Koenig as Vampire Weekend's frontman, who explained his involvement on the song in a tweet:
it's not that complicated - but some ppl are confused so here's the short version: pic.twitter.com/Ma7P4HEngP— Ezra Koenig (@arzE) April 25, 2016
Joshua Tillman (a.k.a. Father John Misty) might have the best story so far, though. He took to Twitter to tell the epic tale of his airhorn playing prowess.
Woke up this morning in an unmarked car with a band aid on my temple, a slight metallic taste in my mouth and a Beyonce writing credit— FATHER JOHN MISTY (@fatherjohnmisty) April 24, 2016
For those wanting to know my involvement in "Hold Up" - I make ends meet taking the occasional session playing airhorn...— FATHER JOHN MISTY (@fatherjohnmisty) April 25, 2016
I was in Studio B at Ocean Way, listening to some playback of a recently completed job for a cereal I am not at liberty to name here...— FATHER JOHN MISTY (@fatherjohnmisty) April 25, 2016
Next thing I knew I hear this virtual stampede of footsteps from Studio A...— FATHER JOHN MISTY (@fatherjohnmisty) April 25, 2016
Most airhorns you hear on contemporary recordings are samples, they lack the roundness and articulation of a live performance...— FATHER JOHN MISTY (@fatherjohnmisty) April 25, 2016
The oscillation between neighboring harmonics is audibly palpable in a studio setting, particularly with the wide range of iso rooms at OW— FATHER JOHN MISTY (@fatherjohnmisty) April 25, 2016
TBH I'm something of a dilettante when it comes to airhorn, and I required quite a bit of guidance (and extensive comping) to nail the take— FATHER JOHN MISTY (@fatherjohnmisty) April 25, 2016
Ultimately, you never know who's listening... sometimes it might even be your dreams— FATHER JOHN MISTY (@fatherjohnmisty) April 25, 2016
Can't take credit for "Imma fuck me up a bitch" though— FATHER JOHN MISTY (@fatherjohnmisty) April 25, 2016
He's since offered up an actual explanation of his involvement on the song, which is slightly less dramatic. It reads [via Pitchfork]:
About a year and half ago, my friend Emile Haynie played Beyonce some of my music, along with some tunes I've written for other people, back when she was looking for collaborators for the record…Pretty soon after they sent along the demo for "Hold Up", which was just like a minute of the sample and the hook. I'm pretty sure they were just looking for lyrics, but I went crazy and recorded a verse melody and refrain too that, unbelievably — when you consider how ridiculous my voice sounds on the demo – ended up making the record — right between picking up the baseball bat and decapitating the fire hydrant.
I was mostly kind of in the dark, my involvement with the record kind of ends with me just sending off the demo, it wasn't until she came to my Coachella set in 2015 and told me personally it had made the record that I really had anything concrete with which to convince my friends that I hadn't actually gone insane.
If you want to see the fire hydrant decapitation in question, Lemonade is currently streaming exclusively on Tidal, but is available for purchase through Tidal, Amazon and iTunes.
UPDATE: A physical release of Lemonade has been set for May 6. It will arrive in a package that includes both a CD and DVD.