4 remixes that inspired A-Trak to become the DJ and producer he is today
Montreal DJ and producer A-Trak is an expert when it comes to remixing.
He's been spinning records since he was a teen and in 1997, at the age of 15, he won the DMC World DJ Championship. Since then, he has remixed songs by artists such as Kanye West, Robyn and Yeah Yeah Yeahs and he founded a record label called Fool's Gold.
To celebrate the release of his new compilation, In the Loop: A Decade pf Remixes (out now; limited edition vinyl box set shipping out in Dec.), we asked A-Trak to discuss some of the most important remixes to him, ones that have greatly influenced him in some way.
House of Pain, "Jump Around" (Pete Rock remix)
"I grew up listening to hip hop mostly, so even though my own remixes are more on the electronic side, I was still influenced by hip hop remixes. Pete Rock was really a champion at remixes. What was cool about his remix of House of Pain's 'Jump Around' was that it felt like it took the song into the style of east coast hip hop. It took it into New York and it took it into a little bit more of a modern sound than the original."
Mariah Carey feat. O.D.B., "Fantasy"
"This was pretty important in terms of what became a staple for years, which was the R&B song remixed with a rap verse. The extreme contrast between the saccharine pop of the singer and a particularly grimey rapper is a marriage that always works. This was probably the first big one of that genre where the beat was kept the same but adding that rap verse just brought a whole new dimension to the song."
Jimi Hendrix, "Foxy Lady" (Speaker Punks remix)
"When I was younger, as a kid, I was listening to a lot of '70s classic rock. Jimi Hendrix was a hero to me. Hearing that flipped as a house track that had hip hop sounding drums that still has the gri that I liked in hip hop but applied to the tempo of house [...] the whole combination really spoke to me."
Yeah Yeah Yeahs, "Heads Will Roll" (A-Trak remix)
"Somehow this has really stood the test of time. Whenever I go out, I hear other DJs play it. The way that it came to start in the first place was unusual. Generally, the bands or the artists that get remixed, they are the ones who ask for the remix. With the Yeah Yeah Yeahs album coming out that year, It's Blitz, I was listening to it. I heard their version of 'Heads Will Roll' and I had an idea for it, I was drawn to it. So I got my manager to reach out to them."