The Minneapolis-based DAVID THULIN gives us his remixer's perspective of the songs on his new album
Sweden-born, Minneapolis-based David Thulin is one of the leaders in the charge of artists, deejays and producers to bring a newer style to the Christian music scene bringing an eclectic mix of progressive, breakbeats, trance, house, electronic and dubstep to CCM. After independent albums 'Morning Rise' (2008), 'Morning Rise Europe' (2009) and 'Heart Of Trance' (2010) he signed with LA's Dream Records who released his 2012 album 'Morning Rise Eternal'. Now his second remix album 'Reconstruction' features remixes of a wide variety of acts. Here David offers a song-by-song rundown of 'Reconstruction'.
"He Said (ftg Chris August)" by Group 1 Crew
This song has a really encouraging message that I really love! "I might let you bend but I won't let you break" is such a powerful line, being God speaking to us. It's a reminder to keep our eyes on Jesus. My approach to the remix was to make it a more upbeat trance/pop crossover. The only remaining part of the original song is the vocals, which I chopped and re-arranged as well.
"Good Times" by Manic Drive
This already fun and upbeat track was a blast to remix! Using 8bit Nintendo sounds and a driving trance beat for the verses and choruses keeps it moving. Then I wanted to really mix it up by throwing in a dubstep drop at the end of the choruses. To top it off, Shawn Cavallo sent me a brand new vocal track just for the remix, making it even more unique than the original!
"Put Your Love Glasses On" by Beckah Shae
For some reason, it seems to almost always work to take R&B or rap and make it into dubstep. Beckah totally delivers vocally on this track, giving it that attitude needed to justify going dubstep in the first place. This is actually more of a chillstep track, being a blend between smooth melodic sounds and mellow dubstep. But being a trance lover, I had to throw in a bit of a trance buildup in the pre-chorus.
"Better Than Life" by Remedy Drive
This is pure trance. This is one of my favourite songs on the album, if I can have favourites. Being a worship song about how Jesus is our heartbeat and the air in our lungs, and how his love is better than life, I can keep this on repeat all day long! Beyond the normal synth sounds I use to remix, I did add an underlying orchestration with string and brass sections, which is most evident in the very last chorus when the beat drops out.
"NY2LA" by Press Play
I went all out on his already high-energy song. We spiced up the track further with brand new vocals from the current 2013 Press Play members Jonathan Thulin and Nicole Croteau, along with lead singer Dave Hanley. With a hint of dubstep in the bridge, and a breakdown for the rap, this song is both progressive, melodic and packed with energy!
"Vicious" by Silverline
This is by far one of the more unorthodox remixes I've done. Taking Ryan Edberg's powerhouse vocals and putting them on a regular trance or house beat just didn't work. So I turned the song into a rocktronica beat, using heavy guitars, cinematic strings, with a half-time drum beat. This way it feels sorta like dubstep though it isn't. The only original elements of this song are the vocals and a chopped up lead guitar track.
"Dead Come To Life (ftg. Charmaine)" by Jonathan
Jonathan is my younger brother and his music is unique to begin with. Having been a part of the original production of this song, it made it very fun and challenging to reinvent it. In the end, I went with a subgenre of dubstep called cinestep, or cinematic dubstep. You'll notice a brand new string arrangement, a new engaging chord progression, and constantly evolving elements both melodically and with sound effects. Again, the only parts of the original song are the vocals.
"Feel" by Rachael Lampa
This was one of the very first songs I remixed in the production stage of this project. This goes back to the trance. Trance is, after all, my favourite genre of EDM, so I come back to it a lot in my remixes. Rachael delivers a stunning vocal performance. Believe it or not, this is the exact tempo of the original track, though I put four on the floor instead of the original half-time feel.
"Tell Me" by Charmaine
I have to admit that this is one of my favourite remixes. I just love how it turned out. Yes, it is way more chill than the rest of the songs, being another chillstep remix. Charmaine's voice is so inspiring to work with, and I couldn't help but fill it out with deep strings and pads, building a sonic pallet full of tiny nuances and details. Then there is the short but sweet instrumental part at the end of the choruses. If you listen close, you'll notice all sorts of sonic ear candy in there.
"Hope Will Rise" by Warr Acres
Worship team (and my label mates) Warr Acres deliver once again with a great worship song. This one was an interesting process because I never heard the original. I got the vocal stems and that was it! When I produced this track I tried to incorporate the feel of a brand new wave of trance called trance 2.0 which sometimes feels more like electro than the usual uplifting, melodic trance everyone is used to.
"My Heart Breaking" by Alex Masters
Alex is one of my favourite female vocalists. She's a country sweetheart with a Taylor Swift sort of approach to music. This song is about a relationship gone sour. As Christians, I feel we should be able to express those feelings in our music. Life isn't always peachy. In the verses I really changed the chord progression, keeping the one in the bass all the way to the pre-chorus. Chorus two may catch you off guard with the hardest dubstep drop on the album, but it quickly goes back to melodic trance. For the bridge I decided to score an orchestral segment, which I then build back up using the original instrumentation, being drums, guitars and keys. I rarely do this, but it fit so well in the buildup.
"Come Back Home" by Spencer Combs
Spencer has a really cool breathiness to his voice that I love. This remix is trance all the way, with another orchestral breakdown. I can't stay away from the cinematic feel, so I incorporate little mini-scores wherever I can. This bridge is probably the longest orchestral piece on the album.
"Reconstruction" by David Thulin
The title track of the project is pure trance. It may seem like a very long song, especially since it is instrumental. Briefly, I'll explain. Many "original mix" tracks get quite lengthy because when they are DJ'ed live, the DJ uses the first minute to minute-and-a-half to transition from the last song. The same goes for the end. So the core of the song is actually only about four minutes long, and the other three minutes are used for live DJ'ing. That said, this track is very progressive and melodically driven, pumped full of driving energy that so purely defines trance.
"Euphoria" by David Thulin
Another instrumental trance track, "Euphoria" has a nostalgia about it, reminding me of epic melodic trance from the mid 2000s. It's a bit of a throwback with a modern flare, but honestly, I just love that era of trance so I had to write something like it!