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Jonny Wilson Explains the Art of the Remix

Jonny Wilson: The same thing applies for sampling and remixing as applies to music. It’s like, if you’re taking like medleys and scales and melodies and taking African rhythms, you are essentially sampling and creating a piece.

And that’s the truth, you know, the Beatles, its true for Rolling Stones, it’s true for every single band that set forth on this earth. Sampling is basically what humans do, it’s how you learn, it’s how you piece the world together, it’s how you make sense of the stuff that you see. Your sampling memories are something.

So the remixing thing, is like, the thing for me is like the ability to pick different colored paints from history. We are living in a great time and you can pick stuff out like the 60’s and mix it with the 90’s.

I often thought it gets really hard. It doesn’t really take you explaining. Just look at it and it’s really cool.


Jonny Wilson: The legal situation, we tend to ignore because we’re not out to cause anyone any harm or damage someone’s reputation and all the artists who have seen what we did is pretty much took that approach, Motown, U2.

U2 literally found us in You Tube. It’s like Larry Mullen saw us in You Tube and found us. And that’s like a really, you now, natural and is it really, really a great way to be discovered by discovering media. And I don’t think that the idea to call a lawyer ever came in to that.

You know, it’s easy to like hate lawyers since all they do is tear culture apart but yeah, the thing is we just ignore the legal situation and what happens is when we work with big companies occasionally they come after it because their lawyers are there to protect them and so we have restrictions problem and so. We did the show for MTV Europe, this is called the MTV Mash. We did this, we mashed the music videos together. The thing is the legal situation was said, we have to make about 8 videos for everyone that went on air. We used one hip-hop tune, where we used the vocal from that book jingle but not the music from that book jingle. But the lawyers made it so we have to clear this sample, we weren’t using just to be absolutely clear.

And that’s the way, you know, it’s been ever since like after Public Enemy and Beastie Boys did their thing and everyone saw money and jumped on it.


Jonny Wilson: No, never. And I think if we did, we’d take it down. Like if somebody said, you caused me offense like we’d take it down that’s like. It is definitely not our goal.

We play Britney Spear in the Techno Club because we’d like Britney Spears. It’s like not to cause her offense. I’m sure she’s not losing money because of that. I’m convinced.


Jonny Wilson: Yeah. Like the involvement with U2. The back and forth we have, it’s like, that’s definitely the vibe we got. Like they weren’t like in tears by the prices of creating this, that’s what they do. You know create art.

Working with people has been really interesting, working directly with people who wants us to remix their stuff and seeing what elements of what we did they pick up on and what they like, ”I know you did that, that’s great.”

One of the great reasons was with the Tarantino remix is just like, we love Tarantino and so we picked the moments that we love and we make the Tarantino mix. And once [IB] company has seen it, and yeah, we’re not going to prison yet.


Recorded on: June 10, 2009

Though sampling has changed with the advent of digital audio, it's been a fundamental practice in music making since the beginning.

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