He manages to make the ballad dance-floor ready, all while keeping Jess’ amazing voice front, and centre. Lots of interesting layering makes for a remix that isn’t just another generic dance remix. This coming from someone who is normally very picky about remixes unless it’s by RAC. Bahner’s imaginative remix definitely holds its own.
While only having dropped his first remix in May of 2015, Bahner has already managed to work his remixing magic on the likes of Wild Party, The Wombats, Night Riots, and Hippo Campus. With eight more on the way, Bahner shows no signs of stopping anytime soon.
Today we “sit down” with Bahner, and get to know what it’s like to be inside the mind of a remixer. Follow updates from Bahner, indulge in our interview, and exclusively stream the remix of Aphrodite below:
AMBY: What was your thought process like, for Aphrodite?
Bahner: I originally intended for this to be a bright happy “dance remix”, but as the track developed it pulled me into a darker direction. Maybe dark isn’t the best word… maybe “brooding” or “churning”? Although it didn’t turn out exactly as I had planned, I try to “trust the song” and let it tell me where it wants to go rather than forcing myself onto it. Remixes always seem to turn out better and more interesting if you keep the focus on the song rather than my own ideals.
AMBY: How did you connect with Aeroplane Mode?
Bahner: Alex and I have known each other forever – we were in a band together years ago and he was even the best man at my wedding! When the opportunity arose to remix “Aphrodite” I jumped on it. It was a no-brainer.
AMBY: Did you have a reference track for Aphrodite?
Bahner: In the beginning I did – I know there was a song by The Weeknd that I thought had some really cool tones to it. I generally don’t listen to my reference tracks much once I begin actually producing the track.
AMBY: What is your creative process like, in general for remixes?
Bahner: I usually start by listening to the original song many times. Like, DOZENS of times. I want to know every little piece of melodic content like the back of my hand – not just the lead vocals. There are often some really beautiful melodies that are just buried in the mix, and I really enjoy bringing them to the forefront.
Once I know the song inside and out, I try to imagine it in a few different styles to see what “fits”… in my head anyway. After I have a clear vision in my head, I’ll make myself a Spotify playlist of songs that remind me of the vision in my head.
It’s a little counter-intuitive I guess. I used to start by making a playlist intended to inspire me to cultivate a particular sound… like an “80’s Action Movie Soundtracks” playlist that would make me approach a remix from that particular viewpoint. Stylistic inspiration. But now, I try to let the words and other melodies dictate the style, and the playlist just contains songs that contain some of the sonic characteristics that I think would work well in the remix.
After that, I tend to add lots and lots and lots of layers – way more than I’ll actually need. Once I have a structure worked out I’ll start to chip away at the layers until I have a track that I feel is dynamic and keeps the listener’s interest.
AMBY: What do you love about remixing?
Bahner: I love the challenge of taking a great song and re-framing it in a new way without putting the focus on myself. My wife used to always say that whenever Jose Gonzalez would do a cover, he made it sound like his was the original. The first time I heard “Heartbeats” by the Knife I honestly thought it was a cover of a Jose Gonzalez song! He puts so much love and care into the melody and does an incredibly convincing job with those covers. That’s the challenge I put onto myself when I remix – I don’t want my remix to feel like a “remix” – I want to convince the listener that the song is just as close to my heart as it was to the songwriter.
AMBY: What’s in store for 2016?
Bahner: Tons! I have two other remixes coming out this month, and quite a few on their way. “Aphrodite” is the first remix I’m putting out solo (instead of under the Cheerleader moniker) and only my 5th that’s public. I think I have another 4 or 5 that are finished and an additional 3 or 4 that I’m working on at the moment. Expect a lot of new tracks from me in 2016! I hope to continue growing as a producer and that every remix is better than the last.
AMBY: Tell us a fun fact about Carl Bahner.
Bahner: I can snap my fingers freakishly fast.
[soundcloud url=”https://api.soundcloud.com/tracks/244903292″ params=”color=00aabb&auto_play=false&hide_related=false&show_comments=true&show_user=true&show_reposts=false” width=”100%” height=”166″ iframe=”true” /]
Piece by Mark Anthony | @m_plus_a