Official Bowie remixes aren’t in abundance. Attentive to how his art was portrayed and translated, Bowie wasn’t particularly trigger happy with the remix brief gun and only a fraction of the amount of artists who sampled him were actually honoured enough to remix him.
Moby, Beck, Soulwax, Air, Aphex Twin, James Murphy and Adam F are among some of the legends who’ve been given the green light. You can add rising beatsplicing Critical trio Klax to that list now. To mark the 40th anniversary of one of his most iconic and unifying songs Heroes, Klax have provided us with one of only two official remixes commissioned since Bowie passed away on January 10, 2016.
They’ve done him proud, too. But not in the way you’d expect from three bass fiends who are best known for cooking up dark damagers like The Mute, The Level and The Sway. This one goes deep…
Props on the Heroes remix! How did it all come about?
Thanks! This was definitely a once in a lifetime opportunity. We know someone that works with Bowie’s catalogue at Parlophone (big up Stedge!) who got in touch and asked if we’d be up for trying a remix on spec. They had considered asking some more established artists but decided that giving some up and comers a chance was more in the spirit of Bowie’s legacy. Thankfully they loved where we took the track and approved it very quickly, as did Bowie’s management.
We’re guessing you were Bowie fans anyway?
It’s pretty difficult to not be a Bowie fan to some degree really. His music is so ubiquitous and he went through so many transformations as an artist that it’s pretty likely that you’ll like at least one of his many personas… having been exposed to his music from really early ages by our parents we didn’t have a choice! hah. Buzzing is a huge understatement! We were all in shock for quite a while when we found out it was going ahead, it’s been pretty unbelievable… We’ll wake up soon.
You’ve taken in it a really cool and different direction. What inspired that particular route and does that hint at the next Klax sounds to come?
We tried several times to make it a drum & bass remix but the vocal just didn’t sound good at that tempo. If it had been any other track we may well have pushed it but Heroes is so well known that speeding it up or slowing it down too much would’ve immediately put people off it… It most likely wouldn’t have even passed the label approval phase. So we got experimental, recorded a few sounds, messed with a few different keys, drew on other influences, it was refreshing. We’ve always tried to expand our sound and all of us listen to music far beyond the boundaries of DnB so to work on a non-drum & bass track was great fun. The remix is still within our sonic palette so it’s still recognisable as a Klax track even though it’s at 125bpm. Really we’re up for working at any tempo, we’ve got a few rollers in the bag too but it may well hint at a few things to come… we’ll have to wait and see.
So who are your heroes?
Benny: Dillinja, Derek Trotter
Ben: Beth Gibbons, Nick Cage, My Dad
Joel: Brian Eno, Tom Savini, David Lynch