Inside the Remix: Deconstructing T.H. White’s “How Bad do You Want Remixes”
August 20, 2012 by David Weiss
Last year, the adventurous NYC electronic producer T.H. White knocked our socks off with his hallucinatory album How Bad Do You Want It?
Now he’s back to bedazzle our brains some more with the just-released How Bad Do You Want Remixes. Since we were already fascinated with the music, for Remixes we were extra-fascinated by the workflow. We wanted to know: How did this EDM specialist with a flair for the surreal pick his remixers? How did he choose which tracks they should tackle? And yet more privileged info.
Here, T.H. White goes inside three of the five selections on his new EP, which comes out today. Listen along right here via the convenient SoundCloud stream, and you’ll understand exactly what this inspired artist was thinking.
Track# 1 Extra Sensory (Dub City remix)
– Why I Remixed It: I felt that since the original version of this track is such a tour de force of energy and rhythm, that there was a lot to pull from. I knew that accentuating and re-working some of the existing layers of this track and adding in some additional elements, something totally new yet equally powerful could emerge – which I feel did happen.
– Picking the Remixer: Dub City is a side project of mine that I use when collaborating with different producers and sometimes when remixing other artists. It allows me to take a different approach to the process. I am aiming to release a Dub City full length next summer – so it was a natural fit to incorporate that vehicle in this project.
– Advance Planning: I set out to showcase some of the cool elements that ended up playing a more supporting role in the original mix. For example, the vicious bass line that opens up the remix isn’t featured until halfway through the album cut, so I definitely wanted to build things up around that. I re-filtered a couple of the more subtle synth parts and really brought them out front. I really like the new picture it painted. It tells a new story with the characters you know.
– How It Went Down: Since this was a “remix project”, I decided to work in a few different studios (other than my own Sky Council Studios) and run things through new gear, be in a new space etc. I worked quite a bit at Engine Room Audio here in NYC. They’ve got the million dollar SSL console and tons of high end gear. My experience is that each piece of outboard gear naturally favors different frequencies and tones. Pairing the equipment / instruments you are using with the tube compressors and channels that will bring out their best can really help bring more richness and depth to record making. Since Dub City is my outfit – I used new environments and gear as a form of remixer.
– The Outcome! The track smokes and sets the tone for the rest of the EP nicely. I enjoy that the rawness and power of the original carried over, yet the remix has a more delicate and floating feeling.
Track #2 Music Machines (Certain Creatures Cloned Remix)
– Why I Remixed It: I let Oliver choose whatever he felt inspired by and wanted to take on. He’s got a brilliant and unique sense of electronic music and I wanted something purely from his mind.
– Picking the Remixer: Certain Creatures is Oliver Chapoy. I have known him for a long time and have always dug what he’s about. He is a really diverse musician. He has written, produced and toured with Saxon Shore, Helado Negro and Warm Ghost. We met back when he was roommates with my then-manager. I also used to play shows around NYC with Saxon Shore.
Oliver is a true part of the Brooklyn scene and has been since the early days of its current status. I love the sense of texture he brings, whether on guitar, programming or synths. He and I have been trying to work together for some time and this was a cool
– Advance Planning: I really wanted CC to bring his full vibe into the mix. We talked a little bit while we was working on it, and I knew it would be a drastic re-interpretation. He’s so good at makingthe abstract structures highly listenable, so I encouraged him to take his path.
– How It Went Down: Oliver has an incredible collection of vintage synths, drum machines and gadgets at his
Williamsburg studio. He’s got an original Moog Opus, an Echophon modular unit, a 1970′s 808, he’s got original gear from Datanomics. The kind of gear you’d find back in the studios of Ultravox and Gary Numan, You can clearly hear those rich sounds in his mix.
– The Outcome! I think the Certain Creatures mix is really beautiful and quite interesting. It flows smoothly and is just so different than the original. I really dig it and hope to work with Certain Creatures again on the Dub City LP.
Track #4 Character Diffusion (Andre Obin Remix)
– Why I Remixed It: Differently, than with Ceratin Creatures, I encouraged Andre Obin to take on “Character Diffusion.” Andre is a great house/dance music producer. I knew if he gave this track his treatment it would be bangin!
– Picking the Remixer: I have known Andre’s work for a while from his work with Ghostly International and the different compilations I’ve heard his tracks on. Not too long ago, I found out we have some mutual friends, so since then, we’ve talked about working together. When he wrapped his recent European tour with Washed Out, he had the time and signed on.
– Advance Planning: Again, I really like to let remixers do whatever is natural. He sent me a few rough mixes that I made small comments on, mostly tech-related like boost this, throw more limiting on that…very little. He knows his way around a studio as well as anyone.
– How It Went Down: Andre favors the buttery vintage gear as well. I know on this mix he used a 1979 ARP Quartet also a 1984 Electrix Vocoder . He often creates his own unique textures by blending the older stuff with a series of high end newer synths from Nord and Akai.
– The Outcome! What I love is that he’s a celebrated dance producer – but he SLOWED the mix down. Dig that! An unpredictable and capricious move. He was able to craft a mix with equal parts downtempo and dance floor. I really enjoy that and it marries the vibes of the other mixes nicely.
– David Weiss