Gottwald also spent some time DJ-ing at New York City clubs, where he met Max Martin, the Swedish pop producer best known for his work on Britney Spears' breakout hit, "Hit Me Baby One More Time," in 1999. He joined with Max Martin again for Spears' other hit single, "Hold It Against Me," a song he said he found himself re-creating on the fly when Spears wanted changes.
"I don't want to disappoint people," he said, laughing. "Especially with an icon like Britney. You don't want to be the one who messed it up. Hopefully, I won't fail, you know?"
When asked what it was about pop music that made it all worthwhile, Gottwald said the songs were all about "feeling good."
"I wanna feel that way," he said. "I feel like if you can make music, and get people to, you know, evoke that feeling out of other people through writing songs, that's a pretty cool thing to do."