Though they were at very different points in their career, A-Trak and Erol Alkan may have been as relevant in 2008 as they are today. Riding the bloghaus high just a few years out from his time as Kanye West‘s official tour DJ, A-Trak had become one of the most hotly anticipated performers at his craft. Pair him with the categorically underground Erol Alkan at the beginning of his Phantasy Sound days, and there you have one of the most memorable sets of the BBC Essential Mix series.
Even ten years later, the tracks from the two master selectors make for an invigorating mix. Pulling out Fool’s Gold deep cuts, classic Shadow Dancer tracks on Boys Noize Records, and grimey, age-old Tiga tunes, the mix catalogs the peculiar, pre-EDM era of dance music that was the late 2000s.
Gammer has remixed “Dumbo Drop,” the memorable 2017 collaboration from dance music veterans A-Trak and Baauer. The duo linked for a limited run of shows and a pair of joint releases to close out the year.
The original quickly proved itself as a stunner with a underground-inspired house style and, of course, signature quirkiness and out-of-the-box thinking that we expect from both of the artists who created the track. Now, with UK bass master Gammer entering into the mix nearly a year after the track’s original release, “Dumbo Drop” has been completely transformed into a gritty, forward-thinking new track whose spitting, acidic bass is just one piece of its fascinating puzzle. The remix brings a drum and bass-inspired build up that feels like the heaviest part of the track, quickly dropping into bulldozing bass hits. It’s one that will sear into your memory.
A-Trak has released an intimate music video for his single, “DJs Gotta Dance More,” featuring his co-producer Cory Enemy and New York DJ icon, Todd Terry, in the booth. The esteemed DJ wanted a behind-the-scenes look, reflecting the production process at its most authentic. In a dimly lit room, the instruments shine and the groove is felt enough for Terry to get into the booth, remaking the entire song in one take.
The song has an old-school ambiance, telling the story of real DJs in the ’80s and their transformation from music lover into a culture curator. The Fools Gold label boss said in a press release, “I released ‘DJs Gotta Dance More’ over the summer. It’s very dear to me, because it talks about all the rituals and experiences you go through when you learn how to produce music: digging for samples, discovering influences, and convincing your parents to let you make noise at the house. Getting Todd Terry to speak on the record was a blessing: he represents a New York state of mind, and a kinship between hip hop and house, which is a huge part of my identity.”
Lauren Sick was the director for the project, racking up previous credits for Vampire Weekend, El-P, and Chromeo. In addition to the music video, A-Trak released two remixes of “DJs Gotta Dance More” by Cassius and Illyus & Barrientos.
When “Blaze of Glory” was released earlier this year, it was a track that didn’t feel like it had room for remixing. A punchy pop anthem, Anna Lunoe had gone in full force on a new style, per usual providing the impact with her own top-notch vocals. Now, that notion is out the window thanks to some new moves made on the track by Fool’s Gold boss Nick Catchdubs.
Oftentimes, when a track is “remixed,” it’s so easy to assume that the original canvas has been upgraded to become a club-ready asset with an energetic new form. But with Catchdubs at the helm, the outcome is different, and we see “Blaze of Glory” take on a new meaning. First, immediately we’re led into a dreamlike sequence as the newly laid back production style unravels slowly and mysteriously. We get hints of saxophone riffs and a steady drum backbone. There’s low-pass samples of Lunoe’s vocals chopped into “Do you wanna blaze?” that quickly transform the intent of the original track’s “You can do it!” mantra into a hazy, smoke-filled chill session with Catchdubs behind the boards. While the feelings of pastel remain, rapper Tabby Wakes takes it further, at times on his own melody and at others assuming Lunoe’s. It’s fluid, surprising, and thought provoking, giving the term “remix” a little more weight than it normally gets these days.
Fool’s Gold Records label boss and co-founder Nick Catchdubs has spent much of his career behind the scenes of the business, maintaining a reputation as a tastemaker and a mainstay fixture in the electronic music world. While 2018 has seen the label grow further with its Day Off events series bigger than ever and a brick and mortar store settled in Brooklyn, Catchdubs has taken the year to release more music. His latest, “Pick Up Yaself,” is a collaboration with Proper Villains and Metric Man’s joint project Fire Alarm.
“Pick Up Yaself” features Catchdubs’ signature retro style, where he brings together elements from a variety of electronic sounds to create a fiery, spunky dance track. The release’s acidic tropes remark back to house music’s yesteryear. Metric Man’s patois vocal samples and a funky beat make this the complete package.
Since early 2011, Alexander Botwin has drawn listeners in with his unique sound. From Levitate on Pretty Lights‘ label seven years ago to his most recent releases, Botwin continuously demonstrates his ability to set himself apart in the oversaturated electronic music market.
The accomplished musician, known by his Paper Diamond moniker, has released his biggest collection of music since 2013’s Paragon: an 11-track album called Holograms. Originally debuted through standout tracks like flagship single “Work 9000,” the record is a versatile one, with Botwin weaving in and out between heavier bass offerings and more low-key emotive pieces like “Piece of Mind.” He’s brought aboard a talented crew of collaborators like JSTJR and Polina to lend their skills to the music, resulting in a dynamic, well-rounded collection of tracks that are sure to intrigue dance music fans of all persuasions.
Sammy Bananas hand long been a respected figurehead in the dance music scene. Fans of Fool’s Gold Records will know him as the less forward-facing A-Trak signee, frequently appearing in the label’s radio shows, remix duty, and on many of the imprint’s compilations over the course of a decade. But the Fool’s Gold OG has never been in the spotlight in the way he is now, with the release of his debut full-length LP, Someday.
Through a lengthy, tasty catalog of singles, Bananas made it clear that his game is disco. Someday takes those inspirations further than just disco and the genre’s newer iterations, swinging through indie electronica, flanked by saxophones and progressions lifted right out of 1980’s with some contemporary dance flare. He’s made the record a collaborative effort, teaming up with singers like BOSCO and Kaleena Zanders to round out the album’s vocal fuel.
With a mantra of “little. yellow. different.” Bananas has had a strong sense of humor throughout his career, and it comes through directly in his music. “21,” one of the album’s only singles, hilariously leans on the all too familiar sentiments one might feel as they meet people out at night. The record’s charmingly cheesiest homage to the 80’s however by way of slow jam “How Many Kisses?” effortlessly reaching peak nostalgia. At long last, Sammy Bananas is having a deserved moment in the sun, and he’s dropped off an exceptionally fun collection to celebrate.
Out now on Fool’s Gold Records, Los Angeles native producer Hoodboi‘s latest offering, “Tip Of My Tongue” featuring TZAR, is a funky, minimalist new single from two longtime collaborators. On the new track, Hoodboi’s songwriting chops shine alongside Russian songstress TZAR’s perfectly syrupy vocal. Widely known for his Jersey club sound, Hoodboi flawlessly parlays his talent into the electro R&B realm on his latest single and on its predecessor “Glide” featuring Tkay Maidza.
“I’ve been writing music with TZAR for a couple years now. I knew we landed on something special when we wrote ‘Tip Of My Tongue’ one night at her apartment,” Hoodboi says of the production process for the song. “This track was one of the starting points for the EP and helped shape the rest of the songs.”
The new tune is lifted off of Hoodboi’s upcoming Breathing Room EP, out soon via A-Trak‘s Fool’s Gold Records.
Josh Young deserves some serious respect for his boldness. The man left an incredibly successful dance music project as a former half of Flosstradamus, with the promise to himself, and his fans, that he was going to broaden his horizons and challenge himself. Well, since the launch YehMe2, the producer has done just that and avoided the leverage his former position at the head of HDYNATION would provide to his new project.
Now, YehMe2 has linked with A-Trak for a handful of exciting moves. The pair are on tour together as 2018 gets underway, and now they’re upping the ante with a two-track mini EP that includes a preview of a third collaboration to soon follow. Instead of gritty hip-hop and trap products though, A-Trak and YehMe2 opt for a more lighthearted approach with their Skat Men EP — comprised of both DJs actually scatting on the tracks.
Both “Neo Wokyo” and “Take Me 2 The Barbershop,” featuring rump-shaking aficionado Wuki, are simply fun, shuffle-primed uptempo cuts that don’t take themselves too seriously. The EP also includes a preview for the duo’s impending “Prayer Hands” as well. Strong club fare — probably not. Proper festival ammo — also unlikely. The two Fools Gold veterans couldn’t seem to care less though, and therein lies the joint project’s appeal. At it’s core, the EP is meant to be goofy and amusing, and it just made scatting a helluva lot cooler.
GTA have always kept to a strict “death to genres” code, and generally, they’ve been able to disguise their production style around a wide variety of different sonics. There’s no doubt however that the Miami exports have a strong penchant for trap music, and when they deliver, it tends to go hard –– case and point, their newest piece alongside Falcons and Stush, “Buyaka.” LA’s Falcons, UK-based rapper Stush, and GTA all found their first pairing on a remix of 2015’s “What We Tell Dem,” and now the group has rejoined on a brand new original product that weaves Stush’s dubby spits through a turbulent trap beat that impressively complements the three producers’ bombastic styles.
The new track, which found its debut earlier this year in Falcons’ Diplo & Friends mix, stacks up multi-layered percussion behind patois-laced versework before dropping into a knocking break with a punchy hook. Stush’s heavy rhyme format grinds over Falcons’ and GTA’s stomping beat, blurring the gaps between trap, dancehall and hip-hop. “Buyaka” comes with a fitting A-Trak cosign, landing by way of Falcons’ longtime home imprint, Fool’s Gold Records.