Q&A: ‘Six for the Remix’ Series Chronicling Noisia’s ‘Resonance’ Is Now on Kmag

With Bassrush on hiatus, we’ve had a bit of pause in the action in covering Vision’s The Resonance series. Now almost as legendary as Noisia themselves, this is the label’s seventh iteration of remixing their discography, and now ‘Six for the Remix’ brings the six questions to five new artists here on the Mag.

It’s always interesting to see what each artist will pick for their remix. One might think all of them want the most popular Noisia bangers, but, as i evidenced by this The Resonance installment, it’s actually much more varied. Whilst Teddy Killerz went for the classic of classics with ‘Dead Limit,’ Ukato and Sean Noizbleed picked ‘The Approach’, which is ostensibly a beatless intro track. Visages didn’t even technically pick a Noisia track, but rather the glitchy UKG banger ‘Farrda’ from the I Am Legion collab, whilst SMG smoothed out the fractured roller ‘Shaking Hands’.

The styles and vibes on The Resonance VII are so varied because of this variance in artists. Everyone has a different experience of Noisia and different favourites, as our panel of interviewees shows. That’s why label staff have said this remix series potentially could go on forever. What all the artists unequivocally say, after six of these rapid-fire interviews, is how Noisia and their A&R team give the remixers nearly complete creative freedom and supply squeaky clean stems. That’s certainly a recipe for infinite remixes. In the meantime, let’s see how these four came together from Teddy Killerz, SMG, Visages and Ukato & Noizbleed.

How did you and the Noisia guys decide on the track you chose for your remix?  

Teddy Kilerz (TK): Simple answer: who doesn’t want to remix ‘Dead Limit’? 

Visages: We love to work with vocals, and when the I Am Legion album came out back in 2013, it was a blast for us, so we naturally chose ‘Farrda’.  That tune also sounds like a bit ahead of its time, and it has a similar vibe from what we’re used to producing. 

SMG: The main thing that attracted me to go for ‘Shaking Hands’ was the vocal. Distinctive pre-drop vocals always seem to spark inspiration for me, and paired with the super sick bass progression throughout the track, I figured it would be a perfect selection to try to put my own spin on. 

Ukato & Noizbleed (U&N): U – My initial encounter with Noisia’s performance occurred during their remarkable exhibition of the Outer Edges set. It was during this experience that I was captivated by the exceptional nature of the introductory track, ‘The Approach.’ The fact that it was meticulously crafted from the ground up served as a catalyst for our relentless pursuit of innovation. 

N – I think it’s being an ambient piece definitely gave us the abstraction to flip it in any direction, but keeping the full scope of the original as an honorable element was quite an important aspect at the same time. 

What did you find to be the biggest challenge in remixing the track? Any snags with the stems? 

SMG: I think the toughest thing for me was getting the first draft ready. It got in my head about the kind of gravity of this amazing opportunity and the ultra-sleek production level that the guys are known for. This caused me to look at my production process in a different light, especially early on, and almost stunted some of the flow that I usually experience when curating a remix. However, I managed to overcome this and was elated when they approved the draft I sent across. The stems themselves were super smooth to work with, no problems at all there! 

Visages: The biggest challenge was trying to sound original, but still respect the original vibe and the work of the rappers, so that’s why we went for a trap/footwork remix. 

U & N: U – The remix posed a significant challenge, primarily due to the original being in C minor. As many producers can attest, the key of C can be overly low for achieving impactful and resonant sub-bass tones. Addressing this initial hurdle was the first critical step, followed by the deliberate arrangement of the remix to ensure its suitability for DJ performance. It is pertinent to note that both the stems were utilized in the process. 

N – We mostly just stuck to the intro version. The funny part was UKato received the stems first and had originally written the first drop for his DJ show intro, but he only sent me the stereo bounce of what he did for the longest time, and I had originally written the following sections purely by cutting and resampling that stereo file. He finally sent the stems for all of it, but somehow the originally resampled stuff still held ground, so we kept second drop that way. Later UKato sent another round of breaks and a 4/4 section that fused well into the second drop. The engineering from the second drop/breakdown fused back into the first one, and now the two drops had more cohesion and the song felt complete. 

TK: It was a formidable challenge. The idea was to create a powerful & heavy sounding remix that retained the mood and style of the original track. We tried several versions of the remix; even a dubstep one. Reflecting on comments from back in 2015, we recalled that many people had expected a more intense and robust drum and bass sound. So, we decided to focus on a heavier side of things for our remix. 

U & N, UKato has remixed the Thys and Two Fingers techno track ‘Hodo’ for Vision recently, but this is Noizbleed’s first track on Vision. How was it for each of you to work with the team there? Was it different (for UKato) working on a track all three of them made versus Thys and Two Fingers? 

U – Upon receiving the stems for the first time, I was taken aback. It reminded me of a conversation I had with Sean (Noizbleed), who had expressed his long-standing desire to be associated with Vision. This prompted me to consider the possibility of a collaboration. The creative process varied significantly between the two remixes; I swiftly crafted the ‘Hodo’ remix, whereas the Noisia remix demanded a more prolonged period due to the necessity of extensive experimentation and refinement. 

N – Although this song has no catchy hooks or an addictive drop, I think for both of us this abstract ambient art piece holds so much more meaning. It represents the intro to the Outer Edges show, the beginning of our own obsession with drum and bass, our teen years shifting into taking our careers more seriously, diving into the deeper world of bass music and philosophy, so I think it definitely held more weight for both of us. 

Visages, you’ve released almost exclusively on 1985 for the past few years. How was working with Vision versus 1985? Did the process feel familiar or was it wildly different? 

We like to be free as possible when we write music, we’re simple guys, and when we have sent the first version of the remix, the Vision guys liked it, and we naturally finished it, so that felt just working with 1985 Music! 

SMG, this is your first track on Vision, though you’ve worked with a wide range of labels. How was the A&R process with them? Did you find it easier or harder than some other labels? 

It was really straightforward, actually. I was initially worried there was gonna be a lot more of a back-and-forth process, but I was very lucky that the guys liked the initial idea I put forward, and the final that came to be released without too much moving around in-between. 

TK, It’s been quite a while since you’ve released on Vison, and since 2020 you’ve been branching out with your releases quite a bit, hitting a number of unexpected labels. How was your experience working with Vision compared to others like Monstercat or Souped Up?  

The Vision team are professionals in every aspect so everything was smooth and quick. 

What did each of you want to do to your respective remixes to make them your own? These are all quite recognisable tunes, so what parts did you want to play with in the stems to make something new? 

Visages: The main idea was to highlight the vocals, because we love Foreign Beggars and we thought making a classic trap beat was too simple, so we decided to make a footwork variation. It’s the same tempo anyway so, why not!  

U & N: U – the structuring process proved to be challenging, but through dedication and meticulous effort, we ultimately achieved the desired outcome. In our pursuit to create a distinct identity, we skillfully intertwined elements from diverse cultures, while ensuring that the focal point remained firmly on the impactful drop. 

N – Yes, I think it definitely hits the spot of what I wanted the world to perceive coming from India. I think the breakdown sections are what shifts and augments the original, which is an abstract/modern art piece into an ethnic soundscape and dance track. I think the overall structure still feels a bit abstract because it doesn’t have a typical buildup or bbreakdown. Instead, it goes into a dynamically long orchestral section, and the tension following from that story, then pushes you off into the ledge, straight into the drops. 

I have a zoom recorder that has pretty much travelled all corners of India with some of my friends. My dream has been to represent the improvisational street music of India fused into bass music whilst doing justice to both sides: technicality from bass music history, as well as the energy of improvisational drumming and prayer chants around India. 

There are prayer chants layered in the breaks of the first intro that come and go, they welcome the remix, these are some of my recordings from a nomadic Lambani Tribe from Rajasthan who particularly migrated and settled in my hometown, Udupi.  The main female phrases come from a set of talented Carnatic singers I had recorded back in 2017, it just went so well in building the tension of track. The phrases were chopped and processed differently to form a tune that augmented ‘The Approach’ synths. I think no one has fused ‘Pili Vesha’ percussions into Drum N Bass sound design before, so to me that’s what makes it really original. 

TK: We deffo were sure that we didn’t want to change intro too much. We just added few extra tweaks to give it a bit of new touch. As for the drop we did it exactly how we wanted it – heavy and uncompromised dancefloor banger.  

SMG: Absolutely felt risky! That aforementioned bubbling bassline is such a huge characteristic of the track, so I didn’t want to strip it out completely. I figured that trying to combine the more snappy variation with elements of the original bubbling baseline could yield cool results so that was what I went for in the end. 

SMG, your work has been coveted in the last year, with big labels like Critical, MODUS and now Vision snapping up your tracks. Do you feel like there’s been a shift in your style or something that just clicked in terms of your work that’s helped with that? Anything you can share about upcoming projects? 

Yeah, I would say my style has shifted in some ways. I think it’s been a natural evolution as I have started to push my boundaries a bit further over the past couple of years. A lot of the joy I get out of making music is getting approval from labels I look up to and artists alike, so to see the support gradually building up as my sound progresses is really inspiring! This year has been a whirlwind in that respect. 

Regarding what’s next, I have a couple of remixes coming on Critical and Overview later in the year alongside a plethora of other bits. Next up though, I return to Trex’s Trust Audio at the end of June to celebrate their 50th release with a remix and VIP that has been doing the rounds over the past few months. 

TK, you’ve been doing quite a bit of style-and-genre-hopping lately. We talked about this a long time ago (Your EDM Interview 2018), but what are the current reasons you felt you wanted to branch out creatively? 

Throughout our existence, we’ve constantly sought new ideas and ways to bring them to life. From the beginning, our project has been multi-genre, and we continue to embrace this diversity. 

Visages, since there are four of you, talk about how your creative process looks for you: do you each have a specialty or something that you enjoy doing more, or is it just more of a free-for-all and everyone contributes to every bit of a track? 

We all have a specialty, Valentin would be the main guy, writing the music ideas, Etienne helps him arranging the tracks and doing the mixdown. 

U & N, what did you each bring to the table for this remix? Was it a lot of brainstorming or did you have clear ideas of elements you wanted and the division of labour?  

U – in the initial stages, I conceived the embryonic idea, which although not fully realized at the time, provided a clear direction for my creative vision. The introductory section, structural elements, and intricate arpeggios were mere extensions of the artistic intent driving the composition. Subsequently, I shared this foundation with Sean, who skillfully enhanced and elevated its grandeur through collaborative efforts. After a series of iterative exchanges and refinements, the project reached its fruition. 

N – weirdly, I knew exactly what to do, and at the same time was very doubtful of what I wanted. The writing for me happened so fast; that it had me thinking that I didn’t spend nearly’enough time with it compared to most other tracks I’ve written, so the immediate thought was “it must not be so good, right?’ But then we sent it to Noisia and they approved it within the first draft, version 1.1, with no comments. Even after that, it had me thinking, ‘this is it?’ I was still in shock and disbelief. It was done faster than I could contemplate the moment. 

From your past and current experiences working with Noisia, what’s one thing you think fans should know as they close this chapter? 

U & N: U – It is important for people to recognise that Noisia embodies a profound sense of unity and connectedness. Their music evokes a feeling of inclusivity and acceptance, fostering a deep sense of belonging. Their artistic expression is not a fleeting creation, but rather a culmination of extensive exploration and innovation over the passage of time. As a result, their artistry possesses a timeless relevance that will endure for years to come. 

N – I think it’s what you learn passively from understanding Noisia’s body of work that teaches /inspires you the most. You begin to wonder; how did they achieve so much quality work in so little time! Also to see mine and Utkarsh’s name credited next to theirs on the remix was the ultimate denouement. 

Visages: Noisia and Vision are a really good team, they have worked a shit ton to push bass music during all these years, and we have a lot of respect for them! 

TK: We hope that guys will keep releasing new amazing remixes in Resonance series and we still can enjoy a lot of great music from their new projects across many genres! 

SMG: I think that fans should really take into account the significance of what Noisia have done not only throughout their accolade-ridden career but also in this Resonance series itself. Giving these opportunities for other artists to put a spin on their discography speaks volumes in my eyes as they still manage to progress the scene, even after formally parting ways. A huge thanks again to Noisia & Vision and of course Kmag! 

 The Resonance VII is out now and available on Spotify for streaming and Beatport for purchase.