Greg Wells spoke with Music Connection and talked a bit about “Cozy Little Christmas” and Katy Perry.
Music Connection: Pop music produc- ers historically do not enjoy long shelf lives. You, however, have sustained a career as a producer and a songwriter since the mid-’90s. Does musical diversity keep you from being pigeon-holed?
Greg Wells: As if my discography wasn’t nuts enough––it goes from “Cozy Little Christmas” with Katy Perry to “Suicide Trees” with the death metal artists Otep––both projects of which I’m fiercely proud. I like it that way.
MC: “Cozy Little Christmas” was a highlight of the recent holiday season, a song by Ms. Perry that didn’t drench the listener in clichés, bells and dreck.
GW: I tried to steer us musically to write a real song we’d be proud of in five or 10 years. It’s a classic sort of throwback, hopefully with a modern presentation. It was so much fun making the song; the most fun I’ve had all year working on a project. Ferras Alqaisi, who is one of the best songwriters today, was a co-writer.
MC: In past conversations, you’ve related that Katy is her own woman.
GW: I’m not sure if people know that. They think she’s handed a script like a Britney Spears and told what to sing. It’s the exact opposite. She is telling people like me or Max Martin what to do. She tells her management who will direct her video and she tells her label what the first single will be. She drives it. She’s been like that since the first album.
MC: She had been making the scene in Los Angeles long before her breakthrough. When did you meet her?
GW: I met her when she was 19. She just turned 34. She was this super-brilliant, funny, irreverent, slightly hyper, great singer. She would come here and we would have the most ridiculous time together. I actually had to kick her out of the studio a couple of times because things elevated to such a hyper level––which was partly my fault, too. I’d be trying to mix and she’d be throwing food at me. I had to say, “Look, we can have a food fight in my studio or I can make your record. I think you have to leave.” She left with a smile. Nobody got angry. I really love her. She’s a good egg.