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Remixes, and other wild beasts.

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It’s been a rather good couple of weeks for Hottwerk.  The wheels are in motion for some exciting big developments which should unfold over the next few months...  Our release schedule for the remainder of the year has been nailed down and there are some absolute corkers in there.  Our artists (N.B. We don’t actually own the artists. Just their mortal souls) are continuing to make us proud – Punx Soundcheck have recently completed a sample pack for Loopmasters which will be released to coincide with their forthcoming Ghost House Remix EP (which features some heavyweight remix action).  DPPLGNGRS appear in the current issue of DJ Magazine with their guest chart:

DPPLGNGRS_DJMag Chart_July11 

And their lovely new website – (somewhat unsurprisingly)- has now gone live.  Go check it out, it’s good, you’ll like it.

Also causing a large buzz at the mo are the remixes that have recently been released, for Losers & Brian Molko, Baddies, and Hoodlums.

Which brings us neatly round to what the title bit is about – remixes.  J. Saul Kane once told me (with a cynical sigh) that remixes were “only about money”.  Whilst that may be true for certain people at certain times in certain situations, I don’t believe that it really holds true, or ever has done.  One merely has to look at (or more helpfully, listen to) the plethora of re-edits and booties on Soundcloud, the vast majority of which are unsolicited labours of love, or maybe even unsuccessful on spec official remixes.  Or historically, the unpaid remix work of the likes of Larry Levan, Walter Gibbons, or Tom Moulton, purely for the love of the track.  A few years ago, having got hold of an acapella of We Want Your Soul, I did a remix and fired it over to Adam Freeland.  He replied very quickly – “Thanks for the effort, but I really hate what you’ve done with it.”  The fact that he fed back so honestly and candidly far outweighed the fact that he didn’t like it, in fact it did me a favour.  I wish more people in the industry could be more open like that.

There is as much of an art to remixing as there is to producing original material.  What gets annoying is when people who you would have thought would know better have a fundamental misunderstanding of what a remix is.  Demanding changes to a remix on a technical level is one thing – if the mixdown sounds wrong, there are phasing issues in mono, the kicks not loud enough, etc etc. But there are certain labels, artists, A&Rs who insist on sending back remixes (often repeatedly) and demanding changes to make it conform to their vision of what the remix should be.  Which kind of defeats the object of getting a remix.  It crosses a line... If you ask (or permit) someone to remix something, you’re asking for their creative interpretation.  Otherwise, wouldn’t it just be more straightforward to learn to shape it to what’s required oneself, or hire a competent engineer to do it.

I shall close with one of my favourite stories.  Upon realising that he’d reached a deadline for a remix that he’d been contracted to do but had presumably forgotten about, Aphex Twin grabbed one of the multitude of random tracks from his harddrive and took it to the offices of the [major] label to whom the artist in question was signed. Upon hearing it, the label asked him why there wasn’t any of the original track on there?? In a stunningly audacious move, he replied that there was.  He’d simply sped the entire original track up to such an extent that he’d used it as a snare sound in the “remix”.

Of course, they accepted it and told him it was great.


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