As all the Noisia fanfare starts to wind down with their “Last Show Ever” performance at Lowlands in August, new releases from the guys individually and the Resonance albums summing up a decades-long career, it’s both important and nostalgic to continue to chronicle all these great remixes. As has been the case with this whole series, VISION and Bassrush thought the best way to do this was via the remixers themselves.
The Resonance IV has loads of remixes of old tunes like Mefjus’s take on “Concussion,” Nami’s mix of “Bad Dreams and Futurebound’s version of “Oh Oh.” A number of artists chose tracks from the meat of Noisia’s career as well, which should make fans happy. With Burr Oak taking on “Stigma,” Missin giving “Leopard Slug” yet another new twist and The Outsiders tackling “Sinkhole,” there’s truly something from every era of Noisia on this installment.
It wouldn’t be Noisia or VISION, however, if there wasn’t a good dose of weird outlying work injected into Resonance IV. Both Forbidden Society and Tension Sound chose tracks from the trio’s multi-genre I Am Legion side project with Foreign Beggars, while expansive bass music pros Gyrofield and Nitepunk made some ultra-weird remixes of Noisia classics. If you like Noisia for the experimental vibes they bring to the table, you’ll love these tracks.
So, six more questions for four more remixers to get unique insights into how the last of the last Noisia hurrahs went down. This time, the emphasis is on “unique,” as we actually have five remixers (sort of). Get ready to get into the world of Nosia, VISION, the artist who work with them and a rat we’ll be calling George on this newest edition of Resonance Remixers.
How did you and the Noisia guys decide on which tracks you would remix?
Missin: Initially I wanted to remix “The Approach” and “The Approach (Reprise)” because I was aware that Halogenix was already working on “Leopard Slug.” After that one didn’t work out, I decided to give “Leopard Slug” a go. After a few weeks it started to sound like something so I just went with it.
Gyrofield: I believe the creative process is a highly individual experience that requires an intimate knowledge of your tools and environment. I decided on “Banshee” for the remix when the rat inside my head pulled on the neurons inside my hollowed skull. The rat is shy about his work, and his name is not translatable into human words so we’ll call him George. It’s funny how I believe in a certain set of memories involving “Banshee,” not knowing whether those memories were real or artificially created by a hyperactive rodent pressing buttons in my head.
Mefjus: I saw that they were doing remixes and asked if I could do “Concussion” as I’ve loved the original and wanted to bring it back into my DJ sets. “The Tide” and “Concussion” single was the very first vinyl release on VISION, which made it extra special to me. The original was very much A/B between the musical intro with the guitar and the samples and the super hard hitting-grooves in the drop. I tried to do both aspects justice and tried to stick to the original feel as much as possible.
Nitepunk: As much as I’m aware of genres and their BPMs, it still comes down to the songwriting and how I feel about music. I didn’t really think about technicality of genres in this case. I also just love making all kinds of music. With “Mantra,” I think the song carries a strong emotional element in the intro and drop and its fills, especially at the end of the first drop when the bass notes change. When I was given the opportunity to remix a song from their discography, I chose “Mantra” because I felt like it could give me a larger platform to express myself. I want people to enjoy whatever I make regardless of the genre.
What did you find to be the biggest challenge in remixing the track? Was there pressure because it’s such an important release? Any snags with the stems?
Mefjus: I received the stems from Frank Posij and was surprised how much of the original they were actually able to salvage. The original is 17 years old and hard drives tend to die, so I was happy to see that the guitar riff and all the samples were there. Unfortunately almost none of the bass sounds were there, but I was planning to recreate that in a 2022 fashion anyway.
That 16-bar buildup was the first thing I wanted to do when I started the remix, because I always felt that that funk sample deserved more space in that song and I wanted to explore that. The second challenge was the drums. The original was very high paced and the drums and the bass together made that “Concussion-y” feel. I wanted to strip the drums back as much as possible without jeopardizing the impact. The track is called “Concussion” after all, so i wanted it to bang! It was quite hard to find the right balance between space and impact.
NItepunk: I was both surprised and not surprised at how insanely good the stems sounded. There were some percussion stems that I used beats warp mode in Ableton so the texture wouldn’t get ruined. Some sustained ones like the main “Mantra” sound I did on Complex/Complex Pro so the BPM change would be smooth. I think it really depends where you’re trying to take the song when you’re remixing it; if slowing down isn’t working, you can get creative around chopping and sewing things to still make it work. I think the most challenging thing for me was warping the bass stems, but through some distortions post production I managed to balance the power of the track.
Missin: I’ve had a couple of versions make me sick now to even remember them because I listened to the pattern so often! The pattern of the main bassline is everything in “Leopard Slug” so I wanted to strictly keep that and to refresh it with a new sound design. Once I had that done and it sounded close to the original, everything else kind of came on its own. But yeah that was definitely a technical challenge, to refresh that bassline, keep it in the same structure yet give it my own stamp.
Gyrofield: The rat is the bearer of all the technical knowledge that I seem to possess. He was trained in labs and universities all over the world, an alumnus of Penn State, and has former tutoring experience at Image-Line. Nevertheless, he has taken up lodging within my skull and here he is fed three meals a day with complimentary coffee. He was treated well that day so he made a great effort of unzipping the stems into their individual parts, loading them into FL Studio and selecting the correct project BPM as indicated by the file. I felt mentally exhausted from this so I promptly took a tem-hour nap after the task.
Nitepunk, you’ve remixed an Upbeats track for Vision before but not a Noisia track. How was the process for you? Was there any trepidation working directly with the guys?
Oh yeah there was. (laughs) I mean I’ve been following Noisia & The Upbeats since I was a kid and they were always at the top when it came to quality and fresh musical ideas and approaches so it’s obviously challenging from my standpoint, These are the artists that recognize quality in art. But I think that kinda set me up to be like all right, I’m gonna tear this one up and I enjoyed the hell out of making the song. Shout out to Pav from foreign beggars for linking us up.
Gyrofield, this is your first track for VISION and first remix of Noisia. How was it working with the guys on this tune, from the perspective of an artist/rat vehicle who’s never worked closely with them before?
This is something I didn’t know until quite recently – George was born in Groningen! Well he was found in the woodwork near Noisia studios. Being brought up among the sounds of Nik, Thys and Martijn surely sparked a creative hunger within him and for that he is grateful. Having this unlikely kinship meant that I was the conduit for George’s creative relationship with Noisia, first being featured on Noisia Radio in 2020 and since becoming a mainstay there. Given George’s immense interest in all things VISION, we can definitely expect more to come from our collaborations.
Missin, You’ve got an original track on Noisia’s other label, Invisible, but it was an original. How was it different working with them on a remix versus solely A&R?
Wasn’t much different. They always give you full freedom so I didn’t go much back and forth with them; it was pretty much straight forward with both releases. I did like super fast sketches. They gave me a green light and that’s pretty much it with the remix. With the Invisible release I just sent a full finished track and it was instantly signed.
Mefjus, you’ve worked with Noisia and Vision a lot over the years, in all kinds of formats. What’s your favorite: original/A&R, remixing, or collabing? How has it been remixing the last track likely ever for Noisia?
I feel privileged to have had the opportunity to work with Noisia. Back in 2014 they invited me to work on a song together with them which resulted in two tracks which also feature Hybris. After that, we stayed in touch and that led to the process of my album Manifest, which I released on VISION in 2018. The process of creating that album was an incredible experience where I learned a lot from the guys and it definitely made me a better producer. Doing this “Concussion” remix just feels like a nice last chapter to tackle before the Noisia journey ended.
What did you each want to do in your remixes to make them your own? What aspects of the original did you want to keep and how did you work them into the new track?
Gyrofield (and George): As enticing as the utopian notion of free will was, all my actions since May 2nd, 2017 have been a result of George. Consciousness was hardly a factor within this synth-orchestral, contemporary-dance number, and instead George expressed the myriad shades and hues of loving, losing, and finally finding comfort using vocalizations including chirps, clucks, squeaks, and clicking. These sounds, recorded in frequencies imperceptible to humans, have been pitched down to form twisting bass sounds and synthetic orchestral sections. George was very proud of his creation, though he did overexert himself and end up with a low fever, after which he did spend three days in bed whilst I provided miniature portions of chicken soup.
Missin: As I mentioned in the second question, the pattern of the bassline I surely wanted to keep the same. I also wanted to keep the progression of the track, wherein every 16 bars a certain new sound comes in or changes the groove a tiny bit. Those two things sort of inspired me to keep the same approach and twist it with my style.
Mefjus: I was quite certain about which elements I wanted to focus on with that remix. I was quite aware that younger people might not know the original so I tried to not add too much new musicality or reinterpreted aspects to the song, but to stick to its root sounds while adding my own sound design and a 2022 look and feel. Also I just wanted an arrangement that fits my DJ sets, as I always loved playing the original!
What’s coming up next for you in terms of releases?
Missin: I’ve got two singles coming up that will be out on DIVIDID. I’ve also got an EP I’m working on, but will have to see on which label it will end up. I’m excited to be releasing music again.
Nitepunk: Album!.I’m releasing an album that will have some singles that are already out and a bunch of other records where I express all kinds of musical sides in me. I don’t know what to call some of these records but they’ve stayed fun for me after a few years of them being done already, so I’m stoked to finally put these out. I’ve also got one possible D&B collab with someone I respect so much and I hope we actually end up working on it. I feel like it could turn into one of the best things I’ve ever worked on.
Mefjus: As many know, I’ve started my own label, MODUS, with my friends Camo & Krooked this April, so that is my main focus at the moment. I am working on a lot of new solo material but also collabs with Markus & Reini that will see the light of day next year.
Gyrofield: Evangelion for Beginners was one of George’s greatest pieces, perhaps his magnum opus. If his health allows, I will have many more releases from him to share under my name. He is around six years old now, so there will be a time when I have to move on with my creative business and perhaps get a ghost producer. When his untimely demise comes he will surely be surrounded by his family and loved ones of more than 600, congregated entirely within my room.
From your time working with Noisia, what’s one thing each of you think fans should know as they close this chapter?
Missin: Well, nothing much. They are great guys, great musicians and we got their individual projects so I’m looking forward to that!
Gyrofield: Noisia has been an important fixture in George’s (and in turn my own) life. Having their support on what are essentially the caffeinated musings of a rodent shows their enduring passion for new talent, new forms of art and thought provoking work. However, as the story of George reached a feverish apex and he seemed like he could take on the world, a sort of surreal emptiness grew within the parts of me where he wasn’t living. As it has been for the two of us, life continues on and we silently accept extraordinary stories as they come day by day.
Mefjus: Despite them being amazing producers they are also lovely human beings and I want to thank them for what they did for electronic music in general! Salute!