Remix culture is a term used to describe a society which allows and encourages derivative works. Remix is defined as combining or editing existing materials to produce a new product. A Remix Culture would be, by default, permissive of efforts to improve upon, change, integrate, or otherwise remix the work of copyright holders. In his 2008 book, ‘Remix,’ Lawrence Lessig presents this as a desirable ideal and argues, among other things, that the health, progress, and wealth creation of a culture is fundamentally tied to this participatory remix process.
In his book, Lessig describes modern culture as ‘Read Only.’ In a Read Only culture, a small professional group produces all the culture that is then consumed by the masses. The public can only absorb and take in the culture, but it leaves no room to interact with the culture. This is analogous to a Read Only CD which allows only the viewing of its content. Modern consumptive culture is a form of permission culture. Advocates of copyright protection argue Read Only culture is necessary to nurture creativity. They argue that without protection of their work, artists would have no incentive to produce original material because their work will be taken and modified by others. By contrast, remix culture is a culture where the public is free to add, change, influence, and interact with their culture. This is analogous to a Read/Write CD where the owner can change their material on the disk. Amateur producers make and distribute the content. Lessig argues that Read/Write culture will nurture creativity by all individuals to produce and influence their culture. In this culture, all members are producers who continually consume, remix, and produce new material. By taking input of all the participants, the culture will become richer and more inclusive. Remix and participatory cultures can provide significant social benefits.
A remix is an alternative version of a recorded song, made from an original version. Sometimes this term is also used for alterations of media or recreation other than song (film, literature, beverages etc.). In remixing, a person (often a recording engineer or record producer) takes a familiar song, splits it into different parts called tracks, and changes the song’s music, instruments, layout, and or vocals to create a new version of the same song. It is called remixing due to mixing being the putting together of all the parts of a song, and remixing being the putting together of the parts of the song differently than the original. Remixers, that is, people who remix, are musicians who use a variety of tools, primarily electronic, to create the new song versions. Remixing can be simply moving song parts around; it can also be creating new music for an old song lyric. The most popular types of remixing are production remixing, where new instruments are used with the old song vocal, and mashups, in which two old songs are mixed together.
RiP!: A Remix Manifesto is a 2008 open source documentary film about the changing concept of copyright directed by Brett Gaylor. Created over a period of six years, the documentary film features the collaborative remix work of hundreds of people who have contributed to the Open Source Cinema website, helping to create the ‘world’s first open source documentary.’ Gaylor encourages people to create their own remixes from this movie, using media available from the Open Source Cinema website, or other websites like YouTube, Flickr, Hulu, or MySpace.
Darkside is the collaboration of electronic musician Nicolas Jaar and Brooklyn multi-instrumentalist Dave Harrington who met as students at Brown University. Harrington was recommended to Jaar by frequent collaborator Will Epstein when he was looking for a third musician for his live band, with the three subsequently touring together to support Jaar’s 2011 album ‘Space Is Only Noise.’
Darkside first formed during a Berlin stop on this tour. Jaar and Harrington were writing in their hotel room together when their converter plug popped, filling their room with smoke and forcing them to finish the song in the hallway on a laptop. Upon returning to New York, they continued to write together, developing their sound in their Brooklyn studio.
Patrice Wilson is a Nigerian singer and songwriter who goes by the stage names Pato and Fat Usher. He got his start in music as a backup singer with Malian-Slovak pop star Ibrahim Maiga (and learned to speak fluent Slovak while touring Eastern Europe). Wilson moved to the US in 2001, where he took his flavor of Nigerian music, along with eastern Europe pop, and combined it with hip-hop. In 2010 he co-founded ARK Music Factory in partnership with Clarence Jey, an Australian record producer, songwriter and multi-instrumentalist musician. Jey left the following year, with Wilson remaining the CEO of the company. He co-authored and co-produced alongside Jey the song ‘Friday’ sung by Rebecca Black.
The song’s viral success led to accusations that Wilson was exploiting young aspiring singers. He rebuffed such claims, saying that the label provided a relatively inexpensive way to break into the pop market for artists. In 2011, Wilson released two music responses to ‘Friday’ and the controversy it created: ‘Friday (Rap Remix)’ and later ‘Say What You Wanna Say,’ both of which received negative attention as well. In 2013, he released an ‘official sequel’ to the infamous song called ‘Happy,’ that features internet celebrity Antoine Dodson and focuses on Saturdays. In 2013, Pato produced ‘Sausage Party’ for Jimmy Kimmel, and released rap group Tweenchronic’s song, ‘Skip Rope.’ His latest project is ‘Chinese Food,’ the solo debut from Tweenchronic member Alison Gold.
The Books were an American duo consisting of guitarist and vocalist Nick Zammuto and cellist Paul de Jong. Their releases typically incorporated samples of obscure sounds and speech. They released three critically acclaimed albums on the German label Tomlab, and released their fourth studio album, ‘The Way Out,’ on Temporary Residence Limited in 2010.
Zammuto and de Jong met in New York City in 1999 as they shared the same apartment building. De Jong invited Zammuto to dinner at his apartment, where he played him some of his collection of audio and video samples, including a Shooby Taylor scat record. Zammuto said of their meeting that ‘we both kind of knew at that moment that we listened (to music) in interesting ways and had similar approaches to music.’ Soon after, they began playing what they considered to be pop music, in comparison to their own works, under the name ‘The Books.’
Psychic TV (PTV, sometimes spelled Psychick TV) is a video art and music group that primarily performs psychedelic, punk, electronic and experimental music. The band was formed by performance artist Genesis P-Orridge and video director Peter Christopherson (after the breakup of Throbbing Gristle) with Alex Fergusson, musician and producer (a key member of Alternative TV for whom P-Orridge had played percussion).
The band began publishing a monthly series of 23 live albums in 1986, but stopped without explanation after only 17. The tenth, a picture disk most commonly referred to as ‘Album 10,’ could only be obtained by submitting tokens contained in each of the previous nine releases. The band subsequently earned an entry in the ‘Guinness Book of World Records’ for most records released in one year.
‘Juicy‘ is a single by American hip hop artist The Notorious B.I.G. and his solo debut single from his 1994 debut album ‘Ready to Die.’ It was produced by Poke of Trackmasters & Sean ‘Puffy’ Combs. It is a sample of Mtume’s ‘Juicy Fruit,’ but samples from the song’s ‘Fruity Instrumental’ mix, and has an alternative chorus sung by girl group Total.
The song is considered one of the greatest hip hop songs of all time. After the death of The Notorious B.I.G. in 1997, a tribute version of this song was made in his honor by the R&B musical group Next with new lyrics.
Yo Gabba Gabba! is an American children’s television show that airs on the Nick Jr. cable network. Created by Christian Jacobs (lead singer of the Aquabats) and Scott Schultz, the series premiered in 2007. Popular artists appearing on the show include The Killers, Jimmy Eat World, Solange Knowles, Devo, Of Montreal, Chromeo, My Chemical Romance, Weezer, The Roots, MGMT, Jack Black, Tony Hawk, Elijah Wood, and The Ting Tings. Among the varied animation sequences during the show is ‘Super Martian Robot Girl,’ designed by indie cartoonists Evan Dorkin and Sarah Dyer. The toy models of the characters that appear at the beginning and end of each show were made by designer toy firm Kidrobot.
Unlike most children’s shows, Yo Gabba Gabba was not developed by network executives. Instead the show was developed by two Southern California fathers with no previous experience writing for television let alone children’s broadcasting or education. They simply shared a mutual disappointment in kids’ television. They both wanted to design a kids’ show that was entertaining while featuring real artists and real performers. The pair first started working together as teenagers, producing and directing skateboarding videos. After doing some odd jobs here and there, Jacobs (also known as the MCBC of The Aquabats) and Schultz decided to try something different.
Kung Faux is a 2003 critically acclaimed action comedy television series and audio visual art assemblage created by postmodern revisionist Michael ‘Mic’ Neumann that remixes classic kung fu movies with popular music, comic book style editing with video game style special effects, and new storylines with voice-overs dubbed by contemporary art stars, hip hop personalities, and pop culture icons. ‘Revisionist Mic Neumann has an offering worthy of the Postmodernism canon, alongside Jean-Luc Godard’s ‘Weekend’ and Luis Bunuel’s ‘Chien Andalou,” reported Steve Johnston of ‘The Film Cynics.’
Notable visuals, music and voice-over work was performed by the likes of hip-hop artists De La Soul, Guru, Masta Ace, and Queen Latifah, while other ‘Kung Faux’ artists and performers range from underground to legendary, and contemporary, including Dave Kinsey, KAWS, Steve Powers, break dancer Crazy Legs, Elephant Man, Afrika Bambaataa, Biz Markie, Jean Grae, Roc Raida, Sadat X, Ron van Clief and Harold Hunter.
Nina Paley (b. 1968) is an American cartoonist, animator and free culture activist. She directed the animated feature film ‘Sita Sings the Blues.’ She was the artist and often the writer of comic strips ‘Nina’s Adventures’ and ‘Fluff,’ but most of her recent work has been in animation. Her early short films include ‘Fetch!,’ ‘The Stork,’ and ‘The Wit & Wisdom of Cancer.’ Paley was born in Urbana, Illinois, to Hiram and Jean Paley in an American Jewish family. Her father was a mathematics professor at the University of Illinois and was mayor of Urbana, where they resided, for a term in the early 1970s. She attended local elementary and high schools, illustrating a ‘History of the North Pole’ comic in collaboration with University High School history teacher Chris Butler, and attended the University of Illinois, studying art for two years.
Her first animation was made when she was 13, it was recorded on Super-8 reels. Her first animation as an adult was short story ‘Follow your Bliss.’ Her second clay animation, ‘I Heart My Cat,’ was shot on a Krasnogorsk camera. These two, along with the ‘Cancer,’ were found on VHS with description ‘NINA PALEY DEMO REEL 1998.’ in 2012, Paley decided to publish them under Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike license. In 1988, Paley moved to Santa Cruz, California, and began to write and draw the strip ‘Nina’s Adventures.’ In 1991, she moved to San Francisco. In 1995, she began to draw the more mainstream ‘Fluff,’ a comic strip about a cat, which enjoyed a modest success in syndication. In 1998, she also began to experiment with animation.
MSTRKRFT (pronounced ‘Master-craft’) is an electronic music duo from Toronto. The group was started in 2005 by Jesse F. Keeler of Death from Above 1979 and Al-P (Alex Puodziukas) formerly of the Ontario electropop group Girlsareshort. Al-P was also the producer for Death from Above 1979′s album ‘You’re a Woman, I’m a Machine’ as well as several of (Jesse’s former band) Black Cat #13′s records. The duo have been close friends, as well as work partners, for a long time. MSTRKRFT also produced Die Mannequin’s first EP, ‘How to Kill,’ and Magneta Lane’s second LP, ‘Dancing With Daggers.’ The band took out the vowels from their name in order to avoid trademark infringement with Mastercraft, a Canadian tools company. MSTRKRFT have been commissioned to remix songs by such artists as Death From Above 1979, Kylie Minogue, Katy Perry, Justice, Bloc Party, Ayumi Hamasaki, Metric, Wolfmother, Annie, and The Kills.
Mount Kimbie is a British electronic music duo consisting of Dominic Maker and Kai Campos. They formed the group in London in 2008 and released their debut album ‘Crooks & Lovers’ in 2010 in the UK to critical acclaim. Mount Kimbie are currently working on their second album which will be released on Warp Records. Arguably responsible for the term ‘post-dubstep,’ the duo has released a series of EPs and their highly praised debut album. ‘The Guardian’ described the pair as ‘leading an exploratory breakaway from bass-heavy dubstep towards a lighter, hazier style of electronica rich with drowsy ambience and chopped-up found sounds.’ The pair are closely linked to friend, producer and ‘BBC Sound of’ 2011 runner-up, James Blake. He has collaborated with them live and lent his skills to the remixing of ‘Maybes,’ as well as contributing elements to ‘Crooks & Lovers.’
Copyright Criminals is a 2010 documentary film directed and produced by Benjamin Franzen examining the creative and the commercial value of sampling including the related debates over artistic expression, copyright law, and money. Copyright Criminals was funded by the Ford Foundation, University of Iowa, and John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation. It premiered in 2010 at the Toronto Film Festival. Sampling is when musicians make an audio montage taking a portion, or sample, of a sound recording and reusing, remixing or reworking it as a separate instrumental layer or loop into another song. The documentary contains interviews with several sampling artist pioneers, including hip-hop groups. A longtime area of contention from a legal perspective, early sampling used portions of other artists’ recordings without permission. Once hip-hop, rap and other music incorporating sampling began generating a noticeably substantial income, the original artists began to take legal action, claiming copyright infringement and demanding high-sum royalties. Sampling artists fought back, claiming fair use (an exception in copyright law). The documentary took five years to finish (2004–2009). It is the debut film for Franzen, a graduate of University of Iowa and founder of Atlanta-based production company Changing Images, and McLeod, a professor specializing in copyright law at University of Iowa.
Eclectic Method is the name of an audio-visual remix act, originally formed in London in 2001 by Geoff Gamlen, Ian Edgar, Johnny Wilson. They quickly developed Eclectic Method’s audio-visual style into a live performance featuring video turntables (Pioneer DVJ-1000) – mixing the visuals and audio in real time. As a live act, they have traveled around the world playing hundreds of gigs in Asia, North America, South America, Europe and the Middle East. After their early period, creating what were considered ‘bootleg’ and ‘unofficial’ video remixes, Eclectic Method were called upon by artists like Fatboy Slim & U2 and by film, video, and television companies such as New Line Cinema and Palm Pictures to create custom audio-visual remixes. Greg Deocampo began working with the trio in 2006 on advanced research and development initiatives involving live, online, and blimp-based video. Eclectic Method appears as one of the featured artists on ‘Copyright Criminals,’ a 2009 documentary film directed and produced by Benjamin Franzen and Kembrew McLeod examining the creative and the commercial value of sampling.