KCRW DJs Remix Golden Years by David Bowie

golden_years_artTo celebrate the release of David Bowie’s re-mastered Station to Station, four of our DJs, Jeremy Sole, Anthony Valadez, Eric J Lawrence, and Chris Douridas, have each remixed the album’s lead single, “Golden Years”. Station to Station was recorded in Los Angeles, so it was fitting for some of KCRW’s leading tastemakers to take on the task, with each remix heard by Bowie himself. Each DJ took a unique path in recreating, deconstructing or re-imagining the classic song.

Here’s a little snippet from each DJ’s experience as well as the audio!

Tom&Jeremy_01
Jeremy & Victor in studio. Photo by Kisha Bari

Golden Years Remix by Jeremy Sole

DJ Jeremy Sole is a seasoned pro and flew across the country to work with Victor Axelrod, aka Ticklah, the keyboardist for Antibalas Afrobeat Orchestra and Amy Winehouse, among others. They replayed the song in a full live setting in Brooklyn’s Dunham Studios — along with members of Budos Band, Sharon Jones & The Dap-Kings, and Menahan Street Band — recording 100% analog to 2” tape to get a vintage feel.

“YES!”, I answered without breathing.

Bowie is not only an icon and a legend, but one of the most unique and groundbreaking artists of this century. This would be both the honor and the obstacle in remixing.

I loved the original arrangement of the song structure, and wanted to keep it intact. From there, I would call up some of my favorite musicians to completely re-play the song in my own way. With a little over a week to hand it in, I booked a ticket to fly to NYC to produce the session.

My plan was to not remix, but re-play the song in a full live setting, as if in 1975 Bowie recorded the original and then flew to Brooklyn (or even Jamaica) to cut another take with “my” players. Everything was recorded 100% analog to 2” tape. All equipment that was available before 1975. My approach was to take influence of the Jamaican musicians (and recording styles) of the mid-seventies, and their infatuation with American Soul music. If you dig it, that would be great. If BOWIE digs it, I’m over the moon.

– KCRW DJ & Host Jeremy Sole


Golden Years Remix by Eric J. Lawrence


Lawrence, who serves as KCRW’s Music Librarian, collaborated with Samuel Bing, frontman for local indie rockers Fol Chen. He honed in on the lyrical content and brought out the darker elements of the song, adding a militaristic rhythm.

Golden Years,” is a stone-cold classic, one of his biggest singles, a perennial on any Bowie greatest hits collection! It certainly was an honor to be asked, so I wasn’t going to say no. But it was also a bit of a bold move on Jason’s part as I am a total remix novice. So I must acknowledge and thank the boss man for trusting that I could do the song justice.

Being a rookie, it was essential that I team up with someone with some experience in the world of remixing.  I concluded my pal Samuel Bing from Fol Chen would be an excellent collaborator. I’ve known him since his early days in a prior band, so I was familiar with his style and taste, and I knew him to be a major aficionado of Bowie’s work.  Over a couple of sessions, deep in the Fol Chen compound high atop the hills of Highland Park, we carved out our take on this classic song. It’s been such a fun challenge (and a little bit of good-natured competition with my fellow remixing DJs). And now I’ve caught the bug – who do I get to remix next????

– KCRW DJ & Music Librarian Eric J. Lawrence

KCRW DJ Anthony Valadez

Golden Years Remix by Anthony Valadez


Anthony Valadez, also an experienced remixer and club DJ, developed a modern day futuristic boogie feel, complete with atmospheric synths and a great bounce bass line, for a version that is aimed directly at the dancefloor.

The process of this remix has been fun and a challenge. Recreating the brilliance of Bowie is no easy task. On one hand you want to be creative and create something new but on the other hand you cant help but think “Will David Bowie like this!?” I had originally created a soul jazz version of the original composition with the hopes of giving the song a different feel yet in the spirit of the original. I scrapped that idea the night before and began a new remix at 4 am with the deadline the following day at 5 pm. My partner Evan Lasry and I knocked it out with the intention of giving it a nice bounce and the Bowie-esque attitude. It developed a modern day futuristic boogie feel complete with atmospheric synths and a great bounce bass line. In creating this we began to see and feel how it accompanied the original piece.
I still hope he likes it!  Fingers crossed!

– KCRW DJ & Host Anthony Valadez

Golden Years Remix by Chris Douridas


Chris Douridas, programming curator for KCRW’s all-music stream Eclectic24, focused on the groove using another Bowie track, “Fashion,” as inspiration and with the help of producer Sunny Levine, grandson of Quincy Jones.

Having the opportunity to re-approach such a classic was at once an absolute honor, and a harrowing and humbling task. How do you reconsider such an iconic piece of music?

I went to Sunny Levine, an incredibly gifted producer, songwriter and solo artist. He comes from a long lineage of esteemed producers. His father is Stewart Levine (Hugh Masekela’s “Grazing in the Grass”, Simply Red, Jamie Cullum), and his grandfather is the phenomenal Quincy Jones. Groove is part of Sunny’s DNA, and that’s what i was after.

Ultimately, when it came down to building the remix, I relied on gut instincts — with Sunny as my sounding board and facilitator. While I am perhaps still too close to it to have an objective perspective, I am very happy with the results. I learned a tremendous amount from the experience, and I am truly grateful for having had this once in a lifetime opportunity.

– KCRW DJ & Host Chris Douridas
Read More from Chris Douridas here.

The remix project was pulled together to celebrate the release of David Bowie’s re-mastered Station to Station! Check it out by clicking on the artwork below.

bowie

The “Golden Years” remix project is an extension of KCRW’s popular Soundclash series, where the station’s DJs remix a handful of songs from a favorite socially conscious artist, like Femi Kuti and Ozomatli. For more, go to http://www.kcrw.com/soundclash

Comments

  1. bddfhq.com
    June 27, 2012, 12:09 am

    interesting enough to keep me reading for hours. I love kcrw blog

  2. James Dean Brown
    July 27, 2011, 7:46 am

    Great approaches except Anthony Valadez': Another club producer proving that he knows how to program a standard groove but never heard of the concept of harmonics. His amateur rmx attempt sounds like two songs running side by side without any correlation to each other. He is even messing up the measure lengths of his accompaniment in the end. Sorry, listening to this ruination of one of the finest songs in Pop music hurts.

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  • Kat

    Great job, EJL!!!

  • Mike Mix

    Anthony Valadez Has it right

  • Starfox

    Want.

  • david bowie

    Golden Years Remix by Jeremy Sole

    Is the best i have heard for a long time, it will be huge in the dance clubs

    david bowie

    • LHMason

      — is that really you, Ziggy???

      (come on now . . . be honest . . . . it's not nice to fool Major Tom!)

    • bollocs

      Dig the organ, pardon my french

  • antvala

    Hey all! Thanks for the love.. All these remixes are amazing. Its simply no easy task to remix an original. I can not communicate the amount of pressure and stress Im sure we all felt remixing something from the almighty Bowie and wondering if he would approve! An amazing experience and glad you wonderful KCRW listeners enjoyed! Cheers!

    Ant

  • anthony

    None of them even approach the original at all with any style or grace that made the original great. As said so many times before if it ain't broke don't fix it. thumbs down on all

    • jSole

      Hi Anthony,
      You use the word "approach", which makes a great point. These remixes (or, dare I say, ANY remixes, for that matter) don't "approach" the original, but rather intentionally "depart" from the it. None of us would dare to try and imitate the classic version, so what better to do besides make it our own? I agree that nothing can top the 1975 version, but these offer different perspective on it, from 4 DJs that are merely fans of his work.

      We all love Bowie because he is himself.
      We deejays needed to stay authentic as well.

      I definitely respect your opinion.
      Just wanted to offer up mine as well.
      Thanks,
      // Jeremy Sole http://www.kcrw.com/JeremySole http://www.facebook.com/JeremySoleFamily

    • Crazy Talk!

    • nounou

      Nonsense! Go wash your dishes! It is not about fixing anything, it is about exploring!!!

  • pro dj

    holy hell these are all friggin HORRIBLE!!! just stick with the og and you'll be way better off.

  • lulu fine

    Holly hell all these are friggin fab. great groove Anthony!

  • lovely mixes
    Regards! http://superek.pl

  • Jordan

    Sometimes change is hard to accept guys. All four of these do Bowie proud, and he is certainly someone who believes in revisiting his own classics. Congrats to the brave DJs

  • LHMason

    People!! Calm down re: the remixes, eh? Give the DJs some props for their creativity (& chutzpah). Didn't someone once sing: "Turn and face the strange . . . ch-ch-changes . . . . " ?

  • Alex

    Golden Years remix lacked any Soul or Depth. Absolute pedestrian level attempt at remixing a classic. Lacked innovation, imagination, inspiration. There was obviously no goal set at the beginning of the project as to what the final artistic endeavor was to accomplish. There was no feel to it, no style, just electronic gibberish. Very immature sound that should have never left the mixing room. Truly lackluster and disappointing.

  • These remixes are a revelation, renewing the hope and excitement of the original Bowie classic and highlighting just how beautiful his voice, his phrasing and his immense talent is. I especially love Jeremy Sole's retro-dub remix…perfect, summery, mellow, thrilling and full of hope. How can I download these, streaming is great but I want them streaming non-stop from my iPhone:)

  • Interesting to think, too, that this "golden" sound led into Bowie's equally mesmerizing and far darker, Berlin/Eno-powered syntho-angst period of Low and Heroes.

  • How about mixing Golden Years into Station To Station itself? That would bridge the upbeat with the downbeat and might prove really interesting. The syntho-train rhythm together with the "Wah Wah Wah" might meld perfectly.

  • Great job guys of all songs this one is one of the HARDEST to do! You did a masterful job. I have heard this as well as "Let's Dance" get the remix treatment from people on the net and MAYBE two were worth the listen. You guys kicked it. Must be great working "Under Pressure" aye?

    Mark http://www.deepskytraveler.com

  • angie

    when are these going to be available for download

  • askoldw

    None of these remixes adds any value to the original.

    • lodger

      Perhaps you've never heard a little ditty called "Fame 90"
      lodger x-lodger

    • LIES!!! :p
      Do toooooooo

  • Vicki

    I heard Golden Years during Anne Litt's show on Sunday. And, because I was curious, listened to the entire song. I kept CRINGING! It was HORRIBLE!!! I'm afraid to listen to the other three.

    Please don't mess with a perfect thing!

  • Steve

    I agree…Terrible electronic gibberish. These remixes serve no purpose..

    • Vik

      A trifle narrow minded and, if I may be so bold, a little creationist in outlook. Who else other than a religious nut has the audacity to talk about perfection? And electronica cannot be gibberish. Its the most ordered, structured, logical, mathematically based form of music its possible to create. So please, put the narrow minds back in their small box.

  • jSole

    Hey yall,
    I've been warned about the pandora's box of replying to those who are critical of your work, but doing this remix was such a big honor and opportunity in my life, that I welcome every part of the process, even the criticism.

    Trust me people, we all knew we were stepping into a trap by taking on this remix project. Most true Bowie fans will hate your remix, on principle alone, because nothing can be better than the original. We're all Bowie fans ourselves, and we agree. That's why, as I'm sure Ziggy himself would suggest, we did not aim to replace the original (that would be impossible), but rather to offer a whole new approach… our OWN approach. Some chose to make it electronic, some organic, some kept the original song structure intact, others freaked it how they felt it.

    Let art be art, folks. These remixes didn't wipe the original off the face of the earth. If you don't like our versions, pull out the classic and enjoy!

    much love,
    // Jeremy Sole. http://www.musaics.com http://www.facebook.com/JeremySoleFamily

    • Monica

      I'm a true long time Bowie fan and I dig it! Thanks for bringing it home to a whole new crowd who may not be familiar with the great man's work. It must have blown your mind that he asked for this–what an honor! Peace : >

    • Props to you all, and well-put, Jeremy. You know what they say, if you're causing vehement disagreements, you're doing something right!

    • Sean

      I can't believe the negative responses to these mixes. Bowie was himself a "remixer" and was accused of ripping off the Stones and countless others (e.g. Aladdin Sane). Suggesting that there is nothing to be gained from re-imagining "Golden Years" is, in my opinion, going completely against the spirit of David Bowie's art.

      Don't confuse smug, narrow-mindedness with taste.

      p.s. KCRW PLEASE work it out with Bowie so we can buy these!!!

    • Mariah

      You would say that Jeremy…(I'm just kidding :D). Your remix is my favorite (just my taste other re mixers <3) and I think some people are right to their opinion but I like that you said "we did not aim to replace the original (that would be impossible)" because it's true. It's a completely different style, it's not the like the originals style and I think maybe people just don't care a lot for the remixes is just due to the difference in music styles (personally I like rock).

      I have to say you guys were brave though even under pressure (that too was a good remix) I would have froze. Honestly, if the man himself is fine with it you think the people who like his music would be able to be okay with it at the very least (or know how to be respectful of how you all brought something different to the song, for goodness sake the guy you're remixing did it all the time with his own songs) or give you guys a reason for not liking your remixes and not "I just hate it" or "it's horrible", shame on them.

      I like your remix the most because your "plan was to not remix, but re-play the song in a full live setting, as if in 1975 Bowie recorded the original and then flew to Brooklyn". I don't know but just the raw feel to it just kind of made it easier for me to adjust to the difference. Bravo man, I don't usually care for remixes but I really dig yours! 🙂 Good job to the others remixers too. 🙂

      (And Happy 64th Birthday to the original creator of the song).

    • Bache Jespers

      Hello Mr Sole,

      Did you release this "remix" (on cd or on vinyl?)
      It sounds really great.
      I want to play this song in it's best quallity (a wave or aiff file).
      Can I buy it somewhere?
      (Idem for the 3 other remixes)
      All the best
      Bache

    • FHJ

      As a longtime Bowie fan I salute all of you for bringing in your own unique creativity to this project. I have never been a great fan of remixes but all of you have brought invention. craft and dear i say it love to these remixes. I for one will be buying this when its available. I am glad you have had your say on the board as it shows you care…

      Let the Golden Years commence in 2011

    • Ron

      I absolutely dug your version, very original and true to the piece at the same time. I can't stop playing it.

  • lodger

    If bowie doesn't release these as a CD single he's crazy! These are great!
    – lodger x-lodger

    • Nounou

      Simply fabulous…. Bowie's voice sounds even deeper and more mature. Love it!

  • Laurie

    I liked Sole's and Douridas' mixes, you could hear the love. Bowie is supreme.

  • Alex

    Good stuff everyone!, Really diggin' Anthony's mix, looking forward the download link, hopefully soon?

    PD
    I don't understand the criticism, these are remixes people.. Don't listen to them if you don't like them

    Peace

  • Daniel

    Some folks will never expand their minds beyond the small little world they create for themselves. The art of the remix is just that..ART. Great efforts by all and the hard work is recognized. While I like them all I choose Sole and Lawrence as my faves in this list of hard work. 🙂

    Peace and music appreciation

  • Cliff Torres

    Great Work guys! HUGE task taking on Bowie. I think all the guys deserve a hand just for attempting it! That takes some balls.

  • eddie

    if it ain't broke, don't remix it.
    -eddie

  • musicaremix

    Nice job a remix for our recessionary times. I'll scrounge for enough bottles and cans to buy these remixes.
    Please post for purchase and proceeds to kcrw.

  • OMFG! I can't beleive all the haters on this board. I thought they were an awesome tribute to the original. They were well thought out and balanced well with new beats and elements of the original. Super smooth.
    The exception for me was #2 but it's early and I have a headache. Going to give it a listen later. Wow I just don't understand how you could call these garbage? I am a huge Bowie fan and actually had his stuff on 8 track (at a young age thank you very much) I used to listen over and over.

    But I digress – I think these are great good job guys!

  • For sure I am giving DJ Jeremy Sole another listen as I type. I think it is brilliant! I love the dub feel.

  • Philip

    Ha! All four remixes are fantastic. C'mon….Bowie's original is genius, but there's nothing wrong with a new interpretation of something brilliant.

    Hope these will be available to download?

  • precinct

    I'm sorry folks but these mixes are awful. There are so many musical ideas in the layers of this song that you could have used as a starting point but all I just hear is beats, loops and bland synth keys held down for 8 bars. I'm sorry but it just reminds me of any old non-musician with a copy of Ableton.
    Oh and the one with musicians on – why the need to hire in other people to make the tune?
    What a wasted opportunity. Still, nice to hear the isolated tracks from the original I suppose.

    • jSole

      Precinct,
      I won't speak for anyone else, but as for my remix (w/ the musicians on it), I hired other people to re-play the tune because that was my concept. I was IN LOVE w/ all the orig tracks and DEFinitely could've remixed them into something interesting, different than the original yet respectful – but again, I wanted to go "live" and "vintage" in the groove and texture of it, but keep the orig song structure intact. Either way, thanks for listening.

      // Jeremy Sole. http://www.kcrw.com/jeremysole http://www.facebook.com/jeremysolefamily

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  • steve

    I very much enjoyed Anthony Valadez's work.

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  • Bowie Fan

    These are atrocious. Embarrassing.

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  • Mark

    Chris Douridas has nailed it. Love his version !

    • Nounou

      AGREE!

  • Mariah

    Great work, guys! Must have been intimidating to take on a classic & make it your own via tribute mixing. Nice work . . .

  • goldstandard

    these are AMAZING!!! but where can we buy or download them???

    • RachelR

      They'll be made available June 6!

  • Wonderful tributes and updates by KCRW DJ's and Budos Band! Shared link with my friends. Reminds me of a BBC Documentary from the early 70's of Bowie's early (first?) visit to LA (Diamond Dogs tour). Love early Bowie and the YouTube time-machine!!

  • Cosmo Baker

    Jeremy nailed it!

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  • Shakingman

    Valadez !

  • Shakingman

    To be released on June 6th – CD version with the original and the remixes and on VINYL!

    🙂

    • anon

      WHAT!? are you sure?

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  • I love every one of them. I'll buy this, if the pirates don't get there first. Arrrg!

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  • Lee Harvey

    I normally hate remixes, but surprisingly I like the Sole version.

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  • majortomparis

    J'ADORE comme tout ce que faisait Bowie à cette époque. Enfin des bons remix !!! J'ai hâte d'être le 6 juin pour posséder cette petit perle.

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  • RachelR

    They'll be releasing an EP with all 4 remixes (+ the original) on June 6 on CD, 12″ & as a Digital Download!

  • The Jeremy Sole "replay" is a splash of sun with a different twist on the funk. Outstanding. Nice, too, that it's just not another bloodless, hermetic-sounding "remix" in which nobs are twiddled and digits are diddled, as is the usual fate when artists let producers and DJs loose on original tracks. (And as we can hear here.) I gave Jeremy's work props on my site, http://www.MaHarryOnMusic.com.

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  • firah

    Que de la merde… Pour têtes à claques.

  • Jon

    I agree that none of these remixes adds anything to the original. The 'art' mark is missed by a long way by shallow technology. Really sorry but I have to be honest, right? Is that allowed these days?

  • Giles

    I am a great great fan of David Bowie, but I think those remix are too shy. It could have been much more different from the original. Come on David ! Show them how to hustle habits just like you did before !

  • BOWY

    great look forward to release,as the mainman would appreciate i would think

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  • Philippe

    Simply fantastic…

  • Mike Harris

    Golden Years Remix by Chris Douridas is the only decent remix here

  • andrew mawhinney

    Jeremy Sole's remix/remake is quite tremendous. I am a massive Bowie fan and in the absence of any new material this is a revelation. I reckon David Jones would love it to. A huge well done in my opinion.

  • Daniel

    I'm not really Impressed.

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  • UK Bowie Fan

    I'm sorry but this collection is different but poor. As an avid and life long Bowie fan (40 out of my 47 years have been spent listening to Bowie) this is the first thing of his I won't be purchasing. You (all 4 of you) have lost the ingredient that made the song so special. The soul has collectively been destroyed by all of you. It just sounds like Bowie's vocal lopped over some very poor R&B beats. Thank God the vocal remains so brilliant as it's the only saving grace to any of the remixes here. If I had to pick a best one it would be Douridas remix.
    I appreciate Mr Sole that 'art is art' and as a musician myself I find it difficult to criticise easily as I know what it takes to create any artistic process. I also appreciate that you're all fans as well which suprised me the little reverence accorded the track.
    i'm off to check out the soundclash page. I hope there is better fare there.

    Thanks for trying and everything, but this isn't for me.

    Sincerely
    A UK Bowie fan.

  • Noel

    I'm a huge Bowie fan who has just discooverd your remixes. I love the reggae mix reminds me of my youth dancing in disco's in Manchester (UK).

  • steve stewart

    the lack of new bowie stuff recently makes this a lot better than it probobly is but the lads are only playing with there toys and were not competeing with the original
    come on mr bowie you give us some re-mixes or anything
    steve s

  • Simon

    Golden Years Remix by Chris Douridas is by far the best mix. It keeps the essence of the original while bringing it up to date and uses the vocals intuitively, making it sound as if The Man himself was in the studio while he remixed.. Excellent.

  • Stu

    If you have realplayer installed on your machine, you get can get them from here !!!

  • Great approaches except Anthony Valadez': Another club producer proving that he knows how to program a standard groove but never heard of the concept of harmonics. His amateur rmx attempt sounds like two songs running side by side without any correlation to each other. He is even messing up the measure lengths of his accompaniment in the end. Sorry, listening to this ruination of one of the finest songs in Pop music hurts.

  • interesting enough to keep me reading for hours. I love kcrw blog

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