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69% CHAT

  • Writer's pictureJulia Woollams

Reimagine, Reset, Remix

Last month Bugeye released a charity remix album to celebrate the first anniversary of their debut album ‘Ready Steady Bang’. The band collaborated with seven other artists on the remix version (appropriately titled ‘Ready Steady Remix’) to raise money for Newham-based homelessness charity The Magpie Project.

‘Ready Steady Remix’ deconstructs and rebuilds Bugeye’s debut album into a collection of

tunes that smash their way through a mind bending array of genres; from pop to 90s house in a celebration of creativity.

We ‘remixed’ our original album cover art as well as single cover art for ‘Don’t Stop’ for the release to match the refreshed vibe the remix brings to the original.

Bugeye says of the project: ‘Our debut album is very dear to our hearts so being able to explore new possibilities across a number of genres was dead exciting to us. We feel blown away that so many talented people wanted to work with us too.’

As collaboration is key to 31% Wool, I am always interested in creative partnerships. For the remix, Bugeye put out an open call to DJs, producers and up and coming UK bands to choose any track they wanted from ‘Ready Steady Bang’ to remix. The result: a new album drenched in moments of dark electro pop, dirty indie disco vibes, and a nod to 90s house with a unique sound that Bugeye wouldn’t have created on their own.

I spoke to five of the remix artists to find out how they tackled the project.


Track: On and on - The scared of Dying Remix

Mark is a London based producer, songwriter and vocalist. After many years of writing music on an acoustic guitar he decided in early 2020 to focus on another of his music loves; electronic music, inspired by the likes of Neu!, Cluster, Air and Four Tet. His debut album 'The Slow Burn' was released in late 2020, as a sprawling electronic soundtrack to the pandemic.

Julia: Why did you choose ‘On and on’ to remix?

Mark: Because it’s a great track, first and foremost.

There are just a ton of amazing ideas and hooks littered throughout the song, it ebbs and flows so much and there’s a lot packed into a track that’s less than 3 minutes long!

For me I just thought it would be fun to see what else was in there if you isolated some of those elements. Once I got hold of the stems, it became pretty clear what I wanted to attempt with the remix.

Julia: How did you go about remixing the track?

Mark: My approach to remixes is always to be respectful to the original track but I do love the Amorphous Androgynous way of being respectful whilst adding new elements and instrumentation to a remix. I also like how a remix can go in different directions, almost in a bid to keep the listener guessing what’s going to happen next.

So straight away with ‘On and on’ it was about the energy of the track and keeping that very much alive.

I then went through each stem from the original and cut them up so I had the sections I wanted to work with and from the off I knew I wanted an arp or two running through the heart of the song to help maintain the energy. So I created arpeggios from scratch which gave me the freedom to start layering over various parts from the original and getting the structure of the remix right.

And In terms of structure, it’s pretty much a song of two halves – with it being broken up by that dreamy ‘Scared of dying’ middle section – and from that point on the second Arp takes over and adds another level of energy to things.

I also played quite a few other new bits in the remix, like the synth hook that comes in around the 2 min 25 sec mark that comes back in towards the end - and there are new strings and synths elsewhere that I added to make sure everything held together.

It was so much fun remixing this song. I just loved working on it because it’s so much easier

to feel inspired when the original track is so good and is full of so many ideas, it kinda gives you that licence to go at it with the same level of creativity and freedom and I think - I hope - that that comes across in my remix.

Listen here.


Track: Don’t Stop – Can’t Stop, Won’t Stop Remix

Robyn is a multi-instrumentalist, photographer and digital artist. Over the years she’s played and collaborated in various bands, most recently playing guitar for Madame So as well as working on her own electronic music. She draws inspiration from everything from grunge to electronica, vapourware to glitch art.

Julia: Why did you choose ‘Don’t Stop’ to remix?

Robyn: It was a track that I loved the first time I heard and when the idea of remixing a Bugeye track was floated it just stood out immediately in my head as a high energy club track!

Julia: How did you go about remixing the track?

Robyn: I straight away heard a pumping dance track like the sort I used to hear in gay clubs for some reason (back when I used to still go clubbing!) I started by jamming along to it with synths and drum machines and pretty quickly had the bassline over a regular 4/4 kick and high hats. For the first half I kept a bit of the original synths, otherwise the sounds are either all patches or samples I found or wrote.

Then I went back and decided I wanted to use some of Kerrie’s drumming as I love her fills and syncopated hi hats so I sampled a couple loops and brought that in to make what turned into the second half of the track. I built it up with a 303, added Angela’s guitar riff then went a bit euphoric towards the end with strings and synth pads. At one point I almost made the remix just the second part, a kind of extended LCD Soundsystem type jam, but loved the strip back feel of the first part and the way it builds into the second part so kept both parts.

Listen here.


Track: Shake and Bake – Disco Panic Remix

Darryl started playing music back in the early 90s as the guitarist for Turkish Delight, a

local post punk, DIY, experimental pop band from Boston, MA. He continues to make music for his own solo projects and indie films.

Julia: Why did you choose ‘Shake and Bake’ to remix?

Darryl: I think what originally inspired me when I first heard this track was that theremin sounding keyboard. The bass and guitar on the verses were already doing this great disco pattern, so I knew right away this combination was going to play a part in the direction I was heading. That guitar riff from the chorus felt like a great hook to open the song, so those key elements really started it all off.

Julia: How did you go about remixing the track?

Darryl: For the rhythm section, I was hearing that this could have a “Heart of Glass” disco feel with a steadier beat. I then constructed some loops from the original drum, bass and guitar parts and put them on a grid to work out the song structure how I envisioned it. To steady the beat, I layered a 70s drum kit (sample) and an Ace Tone Rhythm Ace FR-3 drum machine underneath, to add some percussion.

Visually I was thinking of this song taking place on an airplane where the Bugeye girls are having a private disco dance party. When you hit those choruses, I wanted to create a feeling of turbulence, so I added some foreboding arp keyboards to help build up some tension or “panic” to really anticipate those choruses. I decided to create some backwards reverb on the “Shake!” vocals to give them more emphasis, as if wind were rushing through.

I added those mellotron flutes to the ending verse/chorus to give it a breakdown so I could build it back up again. A bit of a quiet after the storm. I liked the abrupt ending from the original, so I used that approach to close the song.

Listen here.


Track: Blue Fire – Rule of Six Mix

Peter Falconer is a sound artist and composer based in the UK. He's currently working on his

PhD, creating an archive of sounds and music from a parafictional abandoned seaside town in County Durham, Seaton Snook. He walks his cat Bootsy Collins at night.

Julia: Why did you choose ‘Blue Fire’ to remix?

Peter: Quite simply, it was my favourite track on the album. Slithering verse, belting chorus, and brilliant drums. Really cool video as well!

Julia: How did you go about remixing the track?

Peter: I wanted to really bring out more of the sinister nature of the lyrics and the melody: dark, half speed, post-apocalyptic gloom, the coiled, smouldering obsession in the vocal that might butterfly kiss you or rip your head off at any moment...

It was important that all of the band were still on the track in some way – I didn't want to just take Angela's vocals as a topline and sod the other three. So Kerrie's kick drum is still there like a heartbeat underneath; a lot of Grace's keys – especially the biting synth in the chorus and that really cool theremin type line in the mid 8; Paula's bass is in the distance, still with a bit of definition but kind of turned into more of a drone. I used the bass and guitars with all sorts of reverbs and time stretches to create a couple of drone tracks on G that run through most of the track, too.

I then layered some of my own tracks on top. There's the bass and drums, a marimba in the second verse (I absolutely love sticking a creepy marimba in the background), a couple of extra guitar tracks especially towards the end, and some piano tracks that are a bit of a rip off (sorry, "homage") of Mike Garson's work with David Bowie in the 90's (check out Strangers When We Meet). The vocals don't change sound in the original track too much, but they're a bit more exposed in this version so I added some vocoder harmonies in the mid8 – vocoder harmonies have the same melancholy effect on me as the marimba part: they creep me out a little but I can't stop listening to them. Like looking at an old photograph of ordinary people going about their business but who you know are long dead.

Oh, there's a reverse swell thing near the beginning and just before the last chorus – that's a big section of the whole track, reversed, gradually speeding up like a knackered tape recorder. Nobody's been able to do that better than Garbage did on Push It but I thought I'd give it a go anyway!

It was an absolute privilege to be able to work on the track for the band, and a real honour that it's been included on the remix album, especially given how ace all the other tracks are!

Listen here.


Track: Don’t Stop Reset Remix

Feral Five (aka Kat Five and Drew Five) create electro-punk dance music with bite, fusing snarling guitars, stabbing synths, and ferocious beats. They are regularly featured on BBC 6 Music, Radio X, and in film.

Julia: Why did you choose ‘Don't’ Stop’ to remix?

Feral Five: The chance to get our hands on one of the tunes and Feralize the freak out of it was irresistible. We chose ‘Don’t Stop’ as we love the original, but also felt we could bring out the 'press reset' element in the lyrics, and take it in a different direction. The original track is disco punk perfection, but as we discovered during lockdown, there's more than one way to party! Inspired by ‘press reset’ and Angela's anthemic vocals which speak to our current collective situation, we literally gave the track what it asked for: a massive reset! We set the synths alight, smashed our way through with new dance beats, then added some lemon sherbet as an extra party-starter. 5,4,3,2,1 lift off.. destination Feral Bugeye freak zone!

Julia: : How did you go about remixing the track?

Feral Five: We had so many ideas, but the key mission was to max out the disco punk party vibe. We thought about Moroder-ing it up but decided to take it wilder.

Key to that was creating a whole palette of new sounds to turbo charge the original. Extra slamming beats – a Drew Five speciality, acid synths, and tropical percussion, for a rollercoaster of a remix.

Listen here.


Thank you to Mark, Robyn, Darryl, Peter and Feral Five for chatting with me.

For full Bugeye artwork image credits see here.

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