It’s finally here… Pendulum’s first release in seven years: Pendulum – The Reworks, an album stacked with a full spectrum of heavyweight remixers.
Skrillex, Moby, Noisia, Pegboard Nerds, Matrix & Futurebound, Grabbitz and many many more have all contributed their own take on a cross section of Pendulum classics, rebooting them into the future with their own signature style. With the remixes slowly teased by the band and remixers themselves over the last few months, you probably know this already. Noisia have been smashing their Hold Your Colour remix as far back as their now legendary Let It Roll Winter set in February and we uploaded Skrillex’s remix of Islands a few weeks back.
While blatantly an honour for any artist to be invited to step up, remixing tracks by a band as gamechanging as Pendulum can’t be a particularly easy task. Especially for those taking 170BPM tracks down to slower tempos. We asked as many of them as possible for details on how their version came to be…
Matrix & Futurebound: “For us, if there is one track to remix from Pendulum, it has to be Watercolour. It’s such an iconic track and it’s so well produced but that also made it one of the most challenging remixes that we’ve done. We wanted to make sure our mix was instantly recognisable to everyone who loves the original whilst still giving it enough of a new spin. Like walking a tightrope basically. We like to make epic music and this is up there with our most epic. It was an honour to be brought onto the Reworks project and hopefully the Pendulum fans will enjoy our take on the track!”
Noisia: “We tried to work with the rebellious nature of the lyrics, make it a protest song almost. That’s why the female vocal is in there, it’s a play on a Wu Tang track… Brownie points for those who know it.”
Eelke Kleijn: “It’s always a challenge remixing a classic track like this, because you want to give it your own touch but at the same time you want the original to shine through. I already knew the song 9,000 miles from In Silico, the first album that I heard by Pendulum. But before I decided to go with it I had a serious look at many of the other Pendulum classics as well. The most important reason for picking 9,000 Miles in the end was the simple fact that I thought the main melody would work really well on a lower tempo. I’m stretching from 170 or so BPM down to 126, so you really need to think about these things in advance! I’ve always believed in crossing boundaries with music, and being part of this remix project is exactly that for me!”
Skrillex: “I bought a Pendulum vinyl when I was sixteen and was on tour with my band From First To Last. It made me fall in love with drum and bass, and has been an inspiration to this day. It was an honour remixing Island.”
Devin Townsend: “I have been a fan of Pendulum and their various musical offshoots for quite some time now, and it was with pleasure I did the remix of Crush for them. Rob, Gareth and myself recently did some writing in London, and I find their sound design and aesthetic to be really gratifying. I took a pretty straight ahead approach to this remix, as well as contributing some vocals and the experience was cool for me. I hope in the future we could do some more, as I think the approach between our two styles holds good things in the future as well. Pendulum are a killer band and I’m glad to have been involved.”
Icarus: “I (Tom) first got into Pendulum when I moved out of home at 18 and went to study music. I moved in with a group of DJs who used to have some Technics set up in the basement of the house. We used to spend hours down there mixing drum and bass on vinyl and I’ll always remember one of the lads got The Vault on promo. That was my first intro to Pendulum. That tune really stood out production wise for me. It got hammered in all the raves back then too. Good times!
“Being asked to remix a track for Pendulum is an honour for us. They’ve played a big role in our musical journey and definitely inspired us. Picking a track was tough! Tarantula was such a huge tune for both of us and it was sort of a ‘you probably shouldn’t touch this tune’ moment but we wanted to challenge ourselves and it was cool to just put a different spin on an absolute anthem!”
Pegboard Nerds: “Witchcraft is one of the more emotional Pendulum songs, and the opening lines just evoke goosebumps every time. It has so many good elements to play around with when approaching it from a remix standpoint, so we actually did two (and a half) remixes of it.
“First a more downtempo, softer pop-esque version which centered around a tiny bit of one of the guitar stems that we really liked. We kind of wanted to do a more high energy remix though, so once that first one was ‘out of our system’, we started over. For a while we tried to pair this epic intro with a modern sounding dubstep/drumstep drop, but it kept feeling contrived and a bit forced. The solution came when we kind of just let go and had fun with it, letting whatever felt natural happen. It ended up meaning we stayed pretty faithful to the original (which is unusual for us as we usually just take the vocal, rewrite the chord structure and ditch everything else). It’s kind of a homage to the 80s, with the drums particularly, and it doesn’t drop in the usual sense, but instead stays upbeat and melodic throughout, and kind of just makes you wanna smile and dance your heart out. Well, for us it does, at least.”
Grabbitz: “As soon as I heard of the opportunity, I knew instantly I wanted to take a stab at Propane Nightmares. I’ve always loved the opening horn section, and I envisioned recreating that section with my voice in a choir, and that’s exactly how it begins! I’m really honoured to have been a part of this.”
AN21: “I was so honoured to remix pendulum back in 2010 and The Island was such an incredible song, they made it extremely easy for us to make a good remix. That remix changed my life and dominated the dancefloors for almost a decade. This time, I wanted to make something different and I’m hoping that it will continue the domination. Big thanks to Gareth, Rob and the rest of the guys for giving me this opportunity once again!”
Attlas: “I’m always curious to try something new, to walk down a bit of a different path and to try a new recipe while still using my ‘ATTLAS’ ingredients and mindest. In approaching things that way musically, it teaches you something about yourself as a writer and producer, and lets you connect in a fresh way with material you’ve evolved with. I wanted something melodic that incorporated the vocal in a meaningful way, but remixing Pendulum also meant I could take some chances. Anytime you’re going to bring something fresh to a song that’s loved, you have to try something new and give it a good effort. I found a balance between these wooden, raw, organic bits of sound design and the sweeping, evocative vocal that ‘Streamline’ is known for. it was a blast getting to work with such terrific source material, and honouring that material meant using it as a springboard towards a project that musically and sonically I put a lot into”