Sunday, June 10, 2012

Interview w/ Friendly Intentions, remix artists behind Gotye - Somebody That I Used To Know ( Friendly Intentions Chill Remix)

Friendly Intentions is a remix and producer duo in Toronto, Canada. They shared their latest remix - Gotye - Somebody That I Used to Know (Friendly Intentions Chill Remix) - a fresh downtempo version of a great but arguably overplayed song. This track pushed me to check out more of their remixes and original productions that range from chilled dubstep to chillwave to progressive house. One theme I noticed in their work is they apply the best elements of a genre without over-use, which can be a risk especially with dubstep these days. Another theme I enjoy is how they adjust tempo and rhythm through songs. This is a nuanced and often underused production tactic that really keeps people listening. Check out an interview with Friendly Intentions below and listen to a selection of their work (and follow them on Twitter!):

Downbeatscape: What does "downtempo" mean to you and how does your style of music fit in?

Friendly Intentions: This is an interesting question...I'm just going to throw at you what I view as downtempo. Generally, the rate at which the snare drum hits dictates the tempo. So, music that's below 80 bpm is downtempo. Of course this can encompass an enormous variety of music, each with difference energy and atmosphere. The shuffle of the drums is very important to the general atmosphere and relaxed feel of a song. The more irregular the shuffle on the drums and percussion creates more of a lagging and "down" feel. For example, dubstep has that really slow headbobbing vibe. (Let's assume dubstep is 70 bpm due to the half step drum pattern).

DBS: How do you select a song to remix, and what is your approach to remixing?

FI: When choosing a song, we pick those that have an interesting base, yet have the potential to be improved. For example, Gotye - Somebody I Used to Know has a great vocal line, but we felt the instrumental was lacking. We added our own personal twist and are very happy with the result. So far the remix has been received better than expected.

DBS: Your work ranges from chillwave to dubstep to prog house. How has this range developed?

FI: Our foray in electronic music has been an exciting journey, learning about the intricacies of sound design and sound itself. Every time we set out to create a piece from a genre we've never worked with, it's full of discovery. Each and every genre has specific elements and challenges that are often unique to it. Our goal is to push the boundary of sound design, yet keep our songs aurally pleasing. Extending our musical vocabulary allows us to borrow elements and techniques of other genres and incorporate them in our production giving a more original, less cookie cutter sound. Look forward to some new downright dirty electro and drum and bass songs in the works.

DBS: As a duo, how do you work together to create music? Do you each have "specialties" or roles?

FI: Individually, we are good at creating parts of songs, but struggle to finish complete ideas. However, when working together in our small home studio, we rarely run into creativity problems. We can sit through hours and get plenty of work completed. We have been friends for many years before we even made music together, so our chemistry is great. We have similar mindsets and personalities, which helps workflow tremendously.

DBS: How is the Toronto music scene compared to others you have experienced around the world?

FI: The Toronto music scene is amazing. We travel frequently for our jobs and its hard to find a great city like Toronto in music. There are music events for even the most obscure sub genres almost weekly. Perhaps that's why we are not genre bound, but rather set out to make whatever seems to work at that point in time.

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