Rock band Panic! At the Disco’s popular new song “King of the Clouds” was co-produced by Cornell alumnus Alex Kresovich ’08. In an email interview with The Sun, Kresovich shared the story behind the song’s making as well as the influence of his alma mater on his career.
Released on June 18th, the song currently sits at #28 on the Billboard ‘Hot Rock Songs’ as of July 19th.
Kresovich told The Sun that he met Panic! At the Disco’s label’s Head of A&R Evan Taubenfeld through his friend and singer Max Schneider — popularly known as MAX — and has been producing music for the label for many years.
“King of the Clouds” stood out to Taubenfeld, who then gave the song to executive producer Jake Sinclair. A few hours before the album was scheduled for mixing and mastering, Kresovich was still making final changes to the song.
“I had to re-play some pianos and fix some vocals,” Kresovich said. “I didn’t get the parts I needed to work on until 2:30 a.m. With it due in just a few hours, I was really sweating bullets and just trying to stay awake. We worked until 4:30 a.m. and got everything done and turned in for mixing just in time.”
Even though he called it “a very tense 12-hour span,” he is glad everything worked out.
When asked about his time at Cornell, Kresovich thanked the University for shaping him both as a person and as a music producer. “Cornell showed me the importance of hard work and being organized and diligent. It’s pretty hard to make it through if you don’t develop those skills,” Kresovich said.
As a communication major and an applied economics and management minor, he said his professors supported and helped realize his music dreams.
“I actually got into the music business initially because one of my professors, Jeff Hancock, connected me to Allie Markowitz ’07 since she had interned at Island Def Jam,” Kresovich said. “That’s how I got involved there.”
Even though Kresovich said he enjoyed all of his communication classes, he singled out Digital Music Production taught by Prof. Kevin Ernste, music, as his favorite class at Cornell because, “[Ernste] was really awesome and I learned a lot in there.”
Kresovich was a two-time student of Ernste, who described him in an email to the Sun as “confident in his work” and “show[ing] real skill and imagination from the very beginning.”
“He would often arrive early or stay after class to talk through his latest creative project or ask advanced questions about its details. Several times these conversation ended with the handoff of his latest music in progress, a new song or EP, which he wanted me to hear or for which he wanted my opinion,” Ernste said. “The smile on his face when he made the handoff always said, ‘I think you’re going to like this’, and I almost always did!”
Ernste was “not at all surprised” at Kresovich’s recent achievements, and attributed Kresovich’s success to his “very real talent” that is “rivaled only by his drive and dedication to artistic self-improvement.”
Reflecting on his time at Cornell, Kresovich said, “Cornell was some of the best times of my life. Like those corny pamphlets they give you before you attend say, I really did make friendships and relationships that will last my lifetime.”
During his senior year at Cornell, Kresovich released his first self-produced album The Crowned Prince, a project he “really cherish[es]” because of the memories in making the album.
According to the University, Kresovich has also collaborated with X Ambassadors, Cee Lo Green, Jared Leto’s band 30 Seconds to Mars and Kanye West’s G.O.O.D. Music label.
As a child, Kresovich has always been interested in music and aspired to become a producer.
“I always loved the way the sounds and everything come together in songs to create something special so I became pretty obsessed with studying that and learning how to do it myself,” he said.
According to Kresovich, music has also helped calm his Generalized Anxiety Disorder.
“Growing up I’d use listening to music to distract myself from [anxiety] and to explore my imagination and dreams instead,” Kresovich said. “To make it in the music business, it’s such a tough business that there’s always going to be more than just, ‘I love music.’ For me and most others artists, songwriters, and producers I’ve worked with, [music]’s really therapy.”
During his interview, Kresovich said he is open to any students contacting him regarding music, adding that he’s “always here to help any Cornellian who asks.”