The remix album has become de rigueur for giving records another life. Some pay tribute to legends, others continue the success of the original release with a fast follow-up. Take Remik''s Cube, the reinvention of Vancouver-based You Say Party! We Say Die!''s celebrated sophomore album, Lose All Time. After its successful release in 2007, unsolicited remixes started popping up, beginning with the RAC''s version of “Monster.”
“Everyone in the band was [so] excited by the 8-bit keyboard lines [that] it was included in the UK single as the B-side,” says YSP! WSD! bassist Stephen O'Shea. Soon after more intriguing remixes like that of “Kevy Mental” and “Stop.Die.Resusitate” showed up and YSP! WSD! suddenly had enough material on its hands to compile an album since they had taken a break from producing after last fall''s non-stop, 16-week Lose All Time tour.
So, will the electro-punk band''s fans pick up YSP! WSD!''s first digital-only release? “I can only imagine,” says O''Shea in an e-mail. “Some will hate the remixes of the songs they liked and vice versa. To be able to create that in a music listener is a rare but special thing, forcing them to embrace more than just the writing style of the five original band members.”
Among the list of remixers, including The Octopus Project and Wallpaper, is Antoine Bedard, aka Montag, who''s returning to Montreal from Vancouver after the free-for-all experience. “The best thing about a remix [is] you can really push your ideas to the extreme because the words are not yours and the music is not entirely yours either,” says Bedard, who reinvented “Opportunity” with a Moog MG-1, a Micro-Moog and his own added vocals.
“I could feel drama in the music but not so much in the lyrics so I decided from the start that it was going to be a pop remix, nothing too melancholic. To survive the endlessly rainy winters [in Vancouver], I had to create really summery music.”
While the band gave each remixer creative freedom, vintage gear was a popular choice. On DJ Rexford''s remake of “You''re Almost There,” he used a 1970 Toshiba amplifier, a tiny Behringer mixer as a quick fix when his main mixing board crashed, as well as the Waldorf A1 soft-synth that comes with Cubase SX.
“Most of the beats were in audio format that I chopped up, messed around with and tempo-shifted from a top breakbeat CD I have had in my collection for years,” DJ Rexford says. “I also used some Hindustani vocals from a world music sample CD, and although I know it''s the last thing you would expect in a YSP! WSD! song, they just fit. For effects, believe it or not I mostly just used the NaturalVerb plug-in because it''s simple and does the trick.”
If Remik''s has had any impact on YSP! WSD!''s next album, it''s shown the band a different way to approach their songs—and possibly garner a wider audience. “It's allowed us to rethink how we write…how by just changing a few things, our songs can be totally different.”
The digital-only release of Remik's Cube available via Paper Bag Digital on August 26.