Paul Sawyer, Nick Muir, and Moonface go deep into production, remixing, and their new release Nemesis.
Krafted Underground Label Partner Paul Sawyer returns to his imprint after bursting back into the scene with his recent release on Dino Audio ‘Apollo’ which gained the support of Aly & Fila, Above & Beyond, Gai Barone, Soul Button and many more. His newest track Nemesis is a solidly blended mix of Melodic Techno fused with Progressive house, featuring his signature strong sound with an upfront style that leaves a lasting impact.
To compliment the release are two outstanding remixes from industry stalwarts Nick Muir and Moonface, who lend their distinctive perspectives to create the total package of techy and trippy tunes that will satisfy lovers of the dark and deep.
To dive into this fresh new EP, I caught up with the men behind it to learn more about the production process – from the origin of the concept, to the execution, to their thoughts on building a successful remix. It’s a great insight into the their vision that I’m excited to share. Read on to learn more and check out our sneak peek of Nemesis.
ARTIST: PAUL SAWYER
LABEL: Krafted Underground
Genres: Progressive House, Melodic Techno, Tech House
Release: 30th April 2018
Remixers: Nick Muir, Moonface
What is your favorite part of producing a track?
Paul Sawyer: I’d say my favourite part of producing a track is actually after it’s finished. I love to watch the feedback and see who supports what I’ve created. It means a lot to hear what people think of your music, good and bad. It’s not just about the biggest producers and DJ’s giving it support, although is a great feeling, it’s the wider audience. Producers and clubbers. If it makes someone dance, or is good enough for other DJ’s to play, then it’s a success for me.
What is the most challenging part?
Paul Sawyer: For me is getting the ideas from my head and in the track. I come up with melodies or basslines, but when I start playing them in, they quite often evolve into something else! I do sometimes struggle with the direction of tracks, especially remixes. Trying to get a track to fit within your sound is a real challenge, especially when taking on tracks that are in a different genre.
What is something that you have learned about writing music which you wish you knew from the beginning?
Paul Sawyer: I’ve been lucky to have been involved in playing instruments from an early age and composing music started when I was at secondary school age, so that’s been very handy for producing music. The one thing I wish I learnt much earlier, is using a DAW. I’ve pretty much learnt through trial and error, with some tips picked up from other producers and magazines. I listen back to my older releases and can hear so much that I could have improved on. Even as simple as EQ, but I suppose learning is part of the fun and you certainly don’t stop learning!
Why did you choose these remixers for each particular track?
Paul Sawyer: I’ve been friends with Phil Thompson aka Moonface for many years and have always been a fan of his music. I’ve pestered him on numerous occasions to remix a track for my label, but time constraints have always got in the way, so it was just great timing when I sent him my track to work on. He had the time and agreed to do it. I knew he would add his trippy and techy style to it, so when I heard it, I was so pleased with the outcome.
Nick is also a producer that I’ve got the upmost respect for. I’ve played his music for years and after meeting him at Frisky’s event at ADE last year, I really wanted to see if I could get him on board for remixing one of my tracks. I was so chuffed when he said he liked the track and would be prepared to work on it. The direction he’s gone with his remix is amazing, the way it builds and builds just draws you in.
Adding the remixes to the release has resulted in providing three very different tracks, which is great. I love that, as it should appeal to a wider audience.
What do you personally love to hear in music?
Paul Sawyer: For this I’d say it’s two things, firstly emotion and secondly; that one thing within the track that grabs you. It could be as simple as a repetitive sound or snare snap that you keep hearing and you just can’t wait to hear it again. So not necessarily the hook, although more often than not, that is it!
When there’s emotion running through the track and you feel the adrenaline within you, it’s just on another level. That’s why I love progressive house so much. There’s so much emotion in it and the way this type of music builds is what I’m addicted to.
First up, Nick Muir adds his usual proggy flavour that builds and builds. As ever, Nick has certainly created a killer remix that demonstrates his exceptional creativity. Moonface takes us on a 9 minute journey with lots of cinematic sounds and effects running through the track, again world class production.
How did the idea for working together on this project first begin?
Nick Muir: Very simply, I bumped into Paul at the epic Frisky event at Club NL last October, we didn’t chat too long but enough to say hi and establish contact, as it were. Then Paul got in touch earlier this year and asked if I would be interested in remixing a track for him – of course, the answer was yes! Paul is an excellent, dedicated DJ/producer and it was a pleasure to be on board.
Moonface: Paul has been asking me to do a remix for at least a couple of years but each time I was snowed under with other projects so could not deliver the remix in time for him. I said keep sending ideas but each time I was working on something else. Then suddenly the other week Paul sent me a new track he had done and I really liked it, he asked if i was up for a remix. I had a listen and could hear straight away what I would do with it and was also free in the studio at that time and able to make a start on it the same day.
What is your first step when you receive a track to remix?
Nick Muir: Firstly I listen through the original a few times to try and establish where the track’s coming from stylistically, what the dominant elements are and what direction I’m going to take it. Sometimes I’ll stick closely to the original but just expand it, other times I’ll do something completely different. More often than not I’ll choose one of the elements, use a different timbre on it if it’s a melodic thing, get that looping and search for material of my own that will match up in a cool way. Once I have that basic block of an idea then I’ll start arranging it out.
Moonface: First step is to listen and hear if I can do anything to it. Back in 2000 people thought I was mad as i turned down a Kylie Minogue Remix. As the track was not very good and I could not hear what I would do with it despite how massive she was then. I remember the record label guy thinking I was crazy turning it down and I can still hear him say “But you didn’t even ask how much we would pay you”. So for me its very important that on the first listen i can hear something that I would like to use and build from. If I can feel it, then I can work on it. If its just pre-set sounds and no emotion and I am asked to remix it I wont touch it. But if its already an awesome track with soul and emotion I can then put my trippy hypnotic Moonface sound to it. I know once I start working on it I will have fun and create something I am happy with.
Do you have any self imposed rules of how much of an original track to use in a remix?
Nick Muir: No rule as such but I’m not fond of remixes that don’t have anything recognisable from the original. Part of the fun for me as the listener of a remix is to hear something that I recognise but in a a different context. It really let’s you hear the thought process behind the production process and if someone’s done something really clever, it’s a joy for me to listen tot – dare I mention, in the way that Khen remixed my ‘Mirror Walk’ track?! Oh well I just did.
Moonface: Not really.. I tend to strip everything back in the first stage and cut anything I don’t like or would not use. Often I loop parts that were not looped and usually ditch most of the percussion as I like to use my own. I don’t believe you should take on a remix if you will just use a Hi-Hat or a single sound as whats the point in doing the remix then? Often you hear producers proud that they didn’t use much of the original so to me this just means you didn’t really like it. If I did have a rule that would be to make sure it kicks ass… simple as that.
Does your production process for remixes differ than creating an original track?
Nick Muir: I love remixing and one of the reasons is that the germ of the track is already there which immediately narrows down the creative options, which can make the process quicker. At the end of the day though you’re essentially doing the same thing, stitching a groove together and using that to support and make sense of an idea which will hopefully keep the crowd entertained and make them move.
Moonface: Yeah for sure. When remixing you have been given a load of sounds to play with that already work together. Making your own production you have to find everything and make sure it works togther. So a remix can come together much faster than your own productions.