Local Hype

What Is Hip? Top Remixers Update the Classics

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Warner Bros. Records has announced the release of “What Is Hip: Remix Project Volume 1,” an innovative musical marriage of hot young remixers with vintage hits from the label’s catalog, including classic tracks from Seals & Croft, Rod Stewart, America, Devo, Doobie Brothers, Todd Rundgren and more. The album is scheduled to hit stores on October 19th.

Executive Producers for “What Is Hip” are Philip Steir, an acclaimed remixer and producer with credits that include No Doubt, Lillix, Moby, Rob Zombie, Bush and the “Magic Carpet Ride” remix by Steppenwolf, and Leah Simon, best known for her work with Arms Division and Ripley Records.

Other remixers lending their artistry to “What Is Hip” are Mocean Worker, DJ Malibu, Halou, Meat Beat Manifesto, Supreme Beings Of Leisure and Nightmares On Wax.

Among the songs selected for this exciting melding of new and old is the Doobie Brothers’ 1972 debut single “Listen To The Music,” with a remix by DJ Malibu; Rod Stewart’s 1978 chart topper “Do Ya Think I’m Sexy?”, remixed by Halou; Maria Muldaur’s 1974 signature tune “Midnight At The Oasis,” remixed by Cuica; and Gary Wright’s 1976 smash “Dreamweaver,” as updated by Supreme Beings Of Leisure. Executive Producer Steir remixed Devo’s 1980 breakthrough “Whip It” as well as reimagining Todd Rundgren’s 1973 classic “Hello It’s Me.”

Other standout tracks on “What Is Hip” include America’s “Ventura Highway,” remixed by Deepsky; Tony Joe White’s “Rainy Night In Georgia,” remixed by Boozoo Bajou; a Soul Hooligan remix of Ambrosia’s “The Biggest Part Of Me”; George Benson’s “Masquerade,” remixed by Nightmares On Wax; “What Is Hip?” the Tower of Power perennial remixed by Meat Beat Manifesto; a remix of Nicolette Larson’s 1978 hit “Lotta Love” by Nic Jodoin; and Charles Wright’s “Express Yourself,” remixed by Mocean Worker.

Also spotlighted on “What Is Hip” is Seals & Croft’s 1972 hit “Summer Breeze,” recently featured on a nationally aired Gap commercial. The remix, by Philip Steir with Ramin Sakurai, has also been receiving significant radio airplay nationwide.

“These songs are all from a time when music and radio seemed so much more of an important aspect of daily life. There weren’t so many other media distractions pulling us in so many directions,” remarks Steir. “We also attached so much of our emotional experiences to the songs that we heard on the radio back then and the songs we grew up with. ‘What Is Hip’ is both a way of acknowledging the incredible musical heritage of Warner Bros. Records, as well as showcasing some of the best and brightest studio talent in the world today. These are classic hits no matter how completely new they sound. It’s a great combination.”

“You have to approach these songs with great respect,” adds Mocean Worker, the remixer on Charles Wright’s “Express Yourself.” “It’s a sacrilege to mess with a classic, but what you can do is contextualize it for a new audience. Charles Wright is a natural choice for that process, because his music is so clearly built around hooks and grooves. That’s a quality that transcends time and taste.”

“This is one of the more difficult projects I’ve done,” remarks Halou, the remixer for Rod Stewart’s “Do Ya Think I’m Sexy?” “The original is definitely a happier sounding song and I wanted to give it a weirder edge, which meant writing new parts and using different chords to give it the edgier vibe I was looking for. But I was careful to retain the elements that made it a hit in the ’70s.”

“It’s great to have our song being heard again, and the new mix sounds incredible,” says Jim Seals of Seals & Croft. “I am as excited now as I was when the song was a hit the first time.”

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