Axident songwriting profile

Songwriter Profile: Axident (Bieber, Derulo, Zedd, Kaskade)

He doesn’t set out to craft global pop anthems, explains songwriter and producer Axident. “In a writing session with me you’ll know I have no clue what I’m doing,” he laughs. The serendipitous approach seems to be working, as key cuts with hitmakers like Justin Bieber, Jason Derulo, Pitbull, Sage the Gemini, Semiprecious Weapons, Far East Movement, Zedd and Tim McGraw––two double platinum singles, over a dozen Top 10 singles, two global Top 10 hits and a 2017 Grammy nomination––confirm.

Raised in Drøbak, Norway as Andreas Schuller, Axident grew up surrounded by musical instruments and computers. Although he loved making music, he envisioned a career as an architect until he was accepted to Liverpool Institute for Performing Arts (LIPA) in the U.K., the prestigious music college co-founded by Sir Paul McCartney. Seven years ago, Axident moved to the U.S. “Sometimes people ask, ‘Weren’t you nervous moving to L.A. from Norway?’ Not a single second. Because the aim of trying to make this work and the passion for music is so much bigger than any fear you can ever come up with.”

One of Axident’s most effective creative methods involves writing camps. Along with Joe London, Tom Peyton, John Ryan and recent MC cover subject Ricky Reed, he formulated “Start From Infinity,” renting houses in Los Angeles through Airbnb for collaborations. He later initiated the “Beet Retreat” with writers and producers James (Gladius) Wong, Leroy (Big Taste) Clampitt, Joe London and Ian Kirkpatrick. “What I look for is to remove any pattern of how we’ve done it before,” explains Axident.

“Company,” a track he co-wrote on Bieber’s Purpose, also had its origins in experimentation. “It was Thomas Troelsen and me in his studio in Denmark, running from instrument to instrument. We listened back and found this small moment of him banging on the tom-tom and me closing a door and making a noise. And that triggered us to create some chords that together sounded unique. That’s what I brought in to Poo Bear (co-writer and producer Jason Boyd). That song started with a sense of complete creative freedom, and then turned in something more tangible.”

Axident reveals that one of his secret instruments is the humble recorder. “It’s a great boundary of where to go with melodies and rhythms and not overthink,” he says. He utilized the instrument on Derulo’s “Wiggle,” one of the breakthrough hits he co-wrote with Reed and others when the two were on hiatus to recharge their creative energies in Joshua Tree, CA along with friends. Axident recalls, “I picked up the recorder, and made that instrumental in like a half an hour. I would never bring out a recorder in a session with Jason Derulo. I bring this song up because it changed everything about the way I work now. I am way more ruthless about trying ideas and making the atmosphere in the studio be, ‘You can do anything.’”

Making beats is key among Axident’s favorite endeavors. “It’s like going to a party where you don’t know anyone. Then you meet that one person who’s different and insane and you say, ‘I’m going to follow this guy tonight.’ That’s what beat making is: a completely loose browsing of ideas until you find one thing that triggers the rest. You can’t put too much into your beat. I make sure there’s room for the artist and the songwriters to make something groovy, tangible, catchy, interesting and beautiful––a blank canvas for someone to add their personality to.”

Joining forces with executive Ron Moss, Axident created Honua Music LLC, a publishing and management company whose signees include Gladius, Big Taste and MZWÈTWO. Working with collaborators, inventing tracks for artists and following the creative flow––Axident says staying ahead of the curve is key.

“What I bring to the session is the ruckus,” says Axident. “I’m really not technically good at what I’m doing, and I think that’s the beauty of it. I’m fearless in the sense that I will try anything. I’m not good at doing things on purpose, but I’m really good at capturing the right accidents. That’s where I get my name.”

Contact Hanna Bolte, Bolte Media, hanna@boltemedia.com.