Boyfriend Academy Remixes: Switchfoot, Beyoncé and Theophilus London
I cranked up the heat and got busy producing remixes this winter. My initial approach to remixing was somewhat non-traditional. Instead of chopping it up and dropping it over a beat, I tried to honor the integrity of the original song structure while creating an entirely different interpretation and expression of the song. Usually this means leaving the vocals relatively intact (with some creative embellishments) and creating from the ground up a new song. It’s kind of similar to my process for film scoring, where the vocals are the film and dialogue and the music is the underscore. I also try to isolate and play with what I think is the most unique or interesting ingredient from the original song, whether it’s a guitar lick or a percussive sound that inspires me as a jumping off point.
I’ve been a fan of Theophilus London for a while now. I started writing with a signature bass line in mind but I wanted the song to be more downtempo with a dubtronica gangsta feel. I kept parts of the guitar but heavily processed the guitar stem for the last part of the song to the point where it started to sound more like a swooping synthesizer effect.
When I first heard Jon Foreman’s vocals for Switchfoot’s “Afterlife,” the tonality and lyrics reminded me of the ’80s style of music popularized by Depeche Mode and Duran Duran. I was hearing a dark electro New Wave drum and synth atmosphere and immediately started assembling my sound palette and composing the drum, bass and synth lines. The sonic ingredient from the original song that stood out the most to me was the percussive whack of a drum stick against the side of something metallic. With a bit of reverb judiciously applied, it took on the nature of something you might hear in a Peter Bjorn and John album.
Beyoncé’s vocals are so full and powerful, I found it challenging to create a wall of sound that felt right with her sound. My goal was to create a signature bass line in the tech house style of Benny Benassi’s “Satisfaction” as a fun counterpoint against the vocal melody.