Graeme Ronald – the driving force behind Rock Action signings Remember Remember – has despite his youthful appearance been around the Scottish music scene for quite some time., as a member of a plethora of acts including Flying Matchstick Men, Multiplies, and The Royal We.
So when the Glasgow multi-instrumentalist decided to commission remixes of second album The Quickening, getting together a team of remixers was no problem. It follows labelmates Errors’ Celebrity Come Down With Me, but with a not-as-funny title, but with a just as impressive lineup of familiar names to reinterpret his tunes.
‘John Candy’ – Ben Butler and Mousepad remix
Joe Howe (aka Ben Butler and Mousepad) is one of the most talented musicians I’ve ever met. When I first saw and heard him play his music almost ten years ago, when he was still performing as Germlin, I was actually frightened by how good he was. It’s been a pleasure watching his work progress from then, through being a member of Gay Against You and now onto his current incarnation as Ben Butler. I was perhaps anticipating some kind of 80s electronic funk jam from this remix, but what he provided was even better, and stranger than I could have expected. A total deconstruction of the original elements of the song, rephrased it into 7/4 time…it makes me feel seasick (in a good way).
‘White Castle’ – The Twilight Sad remix
I’ll always have a fondness for The Twilight Sad because they come from Kilsyth, which is just down the road from Lenzie where I grew up, so this track is a prime example of the burgeoning East Dunbartonshire sound. They were one of the first folk to volunteer a remix which was, of course, really exciting. I was a little taken aback when I first heard what they did with White Castle as I wasn’t expecting the minimal, almost industrial, electronic take on the track, then I heard the direction they took with their latest album and it fell into place.
‘A Larger Demon’ – Quickened by Remember Remember
This isn’t really a remix, more an alternate version. Originally I had intended this piano piece to start slow and spacious (as it is on the album) and then develop into this faster, arpeggiated piece. The rest of the band convinced me that, on the album, it worked better as simply a slow, ambient piece, to provide a break in the pace of the album. I agreed, but since I’m stubborn I insisted that I get to record the faster version too. The remix album provided an opportunity to get this side of the song revealed.
‘One Happier’ – grnr remix
I first came across grnr around the same time I heard Joe Howe’s music, as grnr and Joe (as Germlin) would often play shows together. Gav’s music is equally astounding and his considerable production and arrangement talents have been heard in a number of bands (Flying Matchstick Men, Findo Gask) and he is also Remember Remember’s live sound engineer, so was one of my immediate choices as a remixer. His take on One Happier is tremendous. Keeping the song’s structure more or less intact but transforming it into a beast which is part melancholy dustup, part ripping synth solo, even managing to incorporate RM Hubberts flamenco guitar cohesively into an already heady mix.
‘Hey Zeus’ – FOUND remix
I must confess I was a newcomer to FOUND’s music before they got involved, but I had heard and read really good things said about them from friends and other people I’ve worked with, so was really happy to hear they were up for contributing to the remix album. This mix begins by focussing on the string arrangements, really pushing the Morricone feel with an epic and sinister introduction. Where it goes afterwards is totally unexpected, morphing into a squelchy, electro-shuffle beat underwater adventure.
‘Unclean Powers’ – Nobodaddy‘s Phantom Band mix
The Phantom Band seem to share some touchstones with Remember Remember; A multi layered, large ensemble approach to music, shared Geman and 70’s influenced, but there concoctions end up in a similar yet different world from ours. Nododaddy is the Phantom Band’s Andy Wake, and I actually asked him if he up for doing a remix when we were both out at Hogmanay. Thankfully, he remembered and the results are glorious. Again, this is a thorough deconstruction of the elements of the original song, resulting in a multi-movement disco adventure that threads the originals spindling guitars through broken, primitive house into some audacious gothic horror synth sounds before ending up riding somewhere unknown on Trans Europe Express.
‘White Castle’ – Jack Senap remix
Jack Senap is the scandinavian alter ego of James from Remember Remember. Initially, we had planned to get a series of remixes of white castle, before opening up the idea to an entire remix album. James has already begun work on his reinterpretation of White Castle and as his menacing yet ambient approach is so different from that taken to the song by The Twilight Sad, I had to include it to showcase the radically different results that can be yielded from the same source material.
‘Scottish Widows’ – Enoch Point‘s Scottish Wido remix
Enoch Point is David McAulay, who engineered and mixed The Quickening, so it was a natural choice to ask him to reinterpret one of the songs as he had worked so closely in their creation. Davey has very strong musical ideas and sensibilities and was always leading the songs in the studio into directions that we as a band might never have considered. Here he reconstitutes various elements of Scottish Widows into a completely new, original composition. I was happy to hear my slightly out of tune thumb piano line that was rejected from the original mix of the song make a reappearance in his ambient tone collage.
‘Ocean Potion’ – Dam Mantle remix
This was the first mix that we received. I was keen to get Dam Mantle involved in the project after listening to the excellent remix he had already done for Errors. Honing in on the hypnotic aspects of the song, the backgrounded drones of the original are brought to the forefront as all of the possibilities of the melodic elements are explored and meditated upon against some skittering, frenetic drum programming. Musically this reminds me simultaneously of both The Boredoms and 90’s Drum and Bass, a combination I couldn’t have possibly arrived at myself but wish I had.
The Mixening is available on Rock Action later this month, or as a tour CD. More at rememberrememberband.blogspot.com