Picture yourself in the middle of a club dancing to your favorite songs, enjoying life, when suddenly you hear the booming guitar intro from a Led Zeppelin or Jimi Hendrix song. You stop and look around, trying to figure out why the DJ is playing this type of music. Then, without warning the beat kicks in and you start dancing again, but are unsure of what is coming next. With ease Biz Markie starts flowing over the top, and you lose your mind.
That is the beauty and the art of the mashup or the bootleg or bastard pop. The DJ takes an instrumental from one genre and seamlessly blends it with an a cappella from another genre to create a brand new song and genre. Musicians, producers, and DJs have been doing this for many many years, but the mashup as it stands today really came into play around 2001. Since that time there have been many bootleggers, many websites, many cease and desist orders, and many quality mashups. One DJ that has consistently produces quality songs and great full-length albums is Boston's dj BC (a.k.a. Bob Cronin). Although his individual tracks are not to be missed, BC is most notorious for his albums. From The Beastles, to Glassbreaks, to Wu-Orleans, BC has an ear for beats and rhythms. Unfortunately, none of the these album were ever available for distribution because of their legal status.
This fall BC has an official album coming out with Big D and The Kids Table on Fork in Hand Records. It contain 17 remixes, dub cuts, and mashups featuring Wayne and Wax. Since BC is invovled with this project you know there has to be a remix contest associated with it. For details on the contest go here, but don't miss out it ends January 1st. This is a huge step forward for BC, and he recently took some time to talk to us about that step, and his work in general.
Orange Alert (OA): How long have you been creating mashups and how did you first discover this talent?
dj BC (BC): I have been making "mashups" as such since 2004, but I was making remixes and sound collages (some of which could be considered mashes) for a while before that, starting in about 1993 when I took an electronic music class in college and bought a 4-track recorder.
OA: I have enjoyed all of your mashups and various mashup albums, but my favorite is probably "Hotbreaker". Do you have a song that you are most proud of? What is the best mash-up that you have ever heard?
BC: I am proud of all my babies. I have a particular affection for Glassbreaks, being a big Philip Glass fan- and I really like how the tracks turned out on that one. It was a strange combination that worked far better than I would have expected, and John Forte (Fugees producer and hiphop artist) named it as his favorite BC project to date. And I also like Wu Orleans, as I love the city of New Orleans and feel a particular affinity for it, having been married there about a year and a half ago. Wu Orleans is well liked, and apparently will effect the direction of the new Big D and The Kids Table record, which is pretty cool.
OA: Tell us about your new project, "Strictly Mixed and Mashed", with Big D and The Kids Table.
BC: Working with Big D and The Kids Table was an honor, and the band treated me with the utmost respect, as an artist in my own right. That's pretty rare, as remixes (and to some extent, remix artists) are sometimes treated as a disposable commodity. Not in this case- I was given the stem files and free reign to do what I liked. The band offered input throughout the process, which really allowed me to improve upon the tunes and make the record the best it could be. The whole thing took more than a year, start to finish, and I am really proud of the end result. We begin the mastering process this week.
OA: What is it like performing with a band, and promoting an official product?
BC: It's awesome. No one can sue me! And the band has a loyal- and growing- fanbase, so that's obviously a huge plus. For an underground type like myself, the idea of having an officially pressed CD, colored vinyl, T-Shirts- all that kind of stuff is kind of cool.
OA:Why do you think there have been so many legal issues surrounding mash-ups and the bootleg sites? The songs are not being sold and the original artists are always credited, but still a lot of great sites get shut down.
BC: Because it's illegal to distribute other people's work, and the labels/artists are not always happy with how the music is presented or made available. They perhaps see a missed opportunity to make money, or they hate the remix, or something. I can only speculate. Whats more puzzling is why more sites DON'T get shut down.
OA:It seems as though the popularity of the mashup has declined in the last year or two, but the quality of the product has remained consistent and in many cases improved. What is your opinion of the current state of bootleg culture?
BC: I dunno. I have been sort of out of the loop while I made the record, to be honest. I haven't kept up on all the new releases. But the tracks are still of interest to listeners, there are still good ones coming out, there are cool mashups nights maintaining and growing, such as Bootie, which has spread across the US and gone international.
OA: What is next for dj Bc?
BC: First, the upcoming release, and hopefully some work with Big D promoting it. Then, helping Big D with a few tracks on their new album. Also in the works, a hip hop record of originals with some New York rappers/friends o' mine from Brooklyn and Harlem. Maybe with a guest MC from Paris on a track. Hopefully, on a real label.
OA: Coffee? If yes, what is your favorite type of coffee and where is your favorite coffee spot?
BC: Not really. Though I drank a lot of it in France during a recent trip, usually it makes me feel like I am having a heart attack. I prefer Red Bull when i need a kick.
OA: List your top 5 favorite artists to mashup:
BC: Come on. This is tough. It changes from day to day, which is what makes it interesting, right? But I like using Motown, classics, underground and conscious rappers like Talib Kweli, Mos Def, Tribe called Quest, De la Soul (when i can find the pellas) and I like using unusual, unexpected or "classic" sources for the instrumentals.
Here is a sample of some of the songs BC has created that are currently available:Straight from his appreance in Paris this month (find more here):
Dyer Rechauffer (Led Zeppelin vs TTC feat Omnikrom and Ghislain Poirier) (mp3)
Hott and Dumb (Hot Butter vs 7L and Esoteric) (mp3)
The Reel Hip Hop (Das EFX vs Liz Carroll) (mp3)
For more information on dj BC please visit his website, and for a taste of the new album go here.