“Bad Things” (feat. Sage Francis) is off of the Metermaids album, Rooftop Shake. The redux version features B. Dolan. We held a remix contest for this version which resulted in a flood of amazing material submitted by producers who hail from all parts of the world. After sifting through all the submissions, weighing the pros and cons of each, and agonizing over the tiniest of details, the time has come for us to announce the winner. Before we do that, I just want to say THANK YOU to everyone who participated. As per usual, the talent involved in this contest made the winner incredibly difficult to choose. To read how we came to this decision, please read all the notes and explanations below. But without further adieu…
I wrote critiques for each of the 45 remixes listed above and then we had people cast their vote on this blog as well as on our facebook page. The public’s vote was not the ultimate determining factor, but it did encouraged us to return to certain remixes we may have overlooked on first listen. In fact, Theory 77′s remix was not in my original top 3. Upon further listens, and seeing how he was in everyone else’s list of favorite remixes, I’m more than happy to give this man his well-deserved blue ribbon. Also, if memory serves me correctly, this isn’t the first remix contest this Brighton, UK madman has won here. Congrats again, sir. You most certainly run this shit.
TOP PICKS from SENTENCE (of the METERMAIDS)
Theory 77: This was the involved of the beats in my opinion. The remix of the hook was mad tasty. And the vocal treatments were an interesting touch.
Alexandr Brown & Cubbie Bear: I was on the fence with this beat until like my 20th listen. What sold me was the progression and choice to give the the track a different overall feel. Not fully dropping the drums until the hook created a nice, long build. Like Sean said, I think this beat was like 85% realized, but it was a healthy 85%, so I’ll take it.
Le Parasite: I really liked this, but really wish it would have had some changes to add more dynamics. When lined up next to the other beats, it still managed to power through because it just fit the lyrics so well.
TOP PICKS from SWELL (of the METERMAIDS)
Theory77: So, so much attention to detail.
TommyFox: Even though it’s a little repetitive, it’s the most complete remix to me.
CubbieBear: It doesn’t get where it wants, but I appreciate the total vibe switch.
MartinKatscan: This is pitch-perfect Judgement Night Soundtrack.
DMG: If this was mixed a little better, it actually might have been my favorite. I love these super choppy beats.
LeParasite: Would have been a winner if he had changed it up a little more.
TOP PICKS from B. DOLAN
Dynamo414: This one if my favorite. It just hits me in a nice way.
Honorable Mentions are D.M.G., Theory 77, magOwl and Leif(kolt).
NOTES ON ALL REMIXES from SAGE FRANCIS (asterisk indicates a personal favorite)
*ALXANDR BROWN & CUBBIEBEAR (This remix has a long build before the drums kick into full gear. It feels like it’s going for an epic sound, but I don’t know if it achieves that.)
B HYATT (The melancholy feel to this music works really well with the vocals. I also like the way the drums hit. I mainly wish that the music took a drastic turn at some point. I think that would have helped a lot as this sample loop grows a bit tiresome about halfway through the song.)
BIG LU tha Blu-I’d DeVille (The most interesting parts of the beat are all happening in the low end so you need headphones to catch it. In fact, I think the low end could stand to be louder in the mix. The drum pattern is ambitious but it gets too repetitive for me.)
BLACK MARKET ARTIST – (Really thin overall. Bare bones beat. This style can be freaked in a way that works, but in this instance the drum track and the one-bar piano line leave me wanting more.)
BEC ARS (Here’s a remix from Transylvania, Romania. I’m into this weird style but the overall mix is poor. The vocals AND the drums are buried under the music.)
BLANTHRAX (I like that it’s a halftime beat, which is different, but this beat is much too sparse overall.)
BROTHER JACOB (I like how the drum track develops throughout the song with a cool sample to boot. There are definite mixing problems and some of the samples seem to be in a different key than the main sample which causes some clashing.)
BUTTON PUSHER (The sound of each element in this remix is great, and it hits really well, but it gets too repetitive too soon.)
*COLIN BAILEY aka DRUMS OF DEATH (I believe this is the only remix we received that sped up the vocals, which works well sometimes but in this instance the lyrics sound unnaturally rushed. My verse in particular. I like how he recorded his own chorus for this song though. Also, all elements of the beat are played live. Much respect for that. I just wish everything was slowed down to a more comfortable pace for the vocals.)
DEEPSEA (Some volume issues here. The sample might be too choppy as well. My favorite part is during B. Dolan’s verse because there’s finally some low end in the beat, but it takes almost 3 minutes to get to that part.)
*DICK MANTIS (Nice to hear some scratching! Evil beat with a cool 808 style bass kick. This has an old school feel to it that I like a lot. This remix might rely too heavily on drum programming while everything else takes a back seat though.)
D.M.G. (Not a huge fan of these kind of samples. I like the soulfulness of it, but this is a bit too choppy for me.)
*DOC HOLLYWOOD (This is playful and fun. I like how there are open sections of the beat that allow the vocals breathe. To its detriment, some of the sounds have too much of a “stock” and cheesy feel. They poke out way too much in sections where they’d be better off masked somehow. Also, do I hear a nod to GZA in one of those synth lines or am I imagining things?)
*DYNAMO414 (This remix comes from Sweden. I love the sound of these drums. Love the simplicity overall. Good sample stabs.)
*FLAWED LOGIC (The somber vibe of the music works well. However, EQ-wise, I feel like the guitars are competing too much with the vocals. Something about it makes me feel like everything is in the same EQ range, even the drums. It’s possible my ears are tired at this point so I’m going to give this the benefit of the doubt as I enjoy the feel & music layers.)
GOLDEN S (Here’s a remix from Turkey. I’m not in love with the sound of this, but it’s an interesting sample to use. My main gripe is how the music and drums hardly ever change.)
*GOOD GOOSE - Interesting drum pattern. This is a different feel and style than what other producers attempted and it works well. I fault a lot of producers for being too repetitive with their remixes, but this one definitely benefits from the repetition. Dangerous waters to tread but it pays off.
GRAVY PASTE (Starts off so promising with the specialized chorus tweak. However, the beat lacks development. The main problem is how the vocals fall off beat from time to time. In fact, B’s verse starts off on the wrong part of the beat altogether. The very beginning and the very ending have good style though.)
GRAF (I like the use of samples on this. Cool groove. Not crazy about the drums but I like how the pattern switches up from time to time. My favorite thing here is bad ass baseline.)
GROSS BOY (Quirky and fun. Maybe too quirky and fun? Haha. I like it.)
*JAMES HANCOCK - Very nice, smooth groove. A head nodder. I like the music change for the chorus. I wish more people did that just to switch things up. Good attention was paid to details in almost all areas except for the drums, which get a bit too repetitive sounding about halfway through. The way they hit on the 1, 2, 3 & 4 beat of every bar makes me wish there was something else happening in the drum track. That’s being really nit-picky though.
JECHT RYE (I like how the music sounds in the beginning, but then it seems to get too busy. That might not be a problem if it was mixed better. The drums definitely get buried. I love the feel the music gives.)
JOSH KELLEY (Not sure why this is so low in volume, but I like all the synth lines. The vocals seem to be buried under the beat. Mainly I think this remix suffers from mixing issues but there are a lot of good elements.)
*JOURNEYMAN (Schizophrenic in style. I like it. Fun vocal manipulations. Not sure why this remix seems to dip in volume after the intro. Overall I enjoy the crazy feel.)
KROMULOS (I like that there are multiple layers, but the music is a bit all over the place and a lot of the samples seem to be in different keys. There is some significant clashing.)
*LEIF(kolt) – (Grimy bass synths which I like a lot, but I’m not too crazy about what’s happening with the high end synths. Good change ups happening throughout the song. The vocals were placed in front of the beat by a tiny tiny bit. I only notice that in certain sections of the song.)
LE PARASITE (This French producer has an amazing sound. Always crisp and solid. But like a lot of other remixes in this contest, I’m not entirely sure if there are enough builds or change-ups in the music to keep people interested for 4 minutes and 21 seconds. Maybe. It IS one of the best sounding remixes, that’s for sure.)
LODOUBLET (Starts off sounding like it’s going to smash hard but that doesn’t really end up happening. I like the hard rock feel but I just wish this was executed a bit better. Also, the vocals seem to get buried at times. )
MAGOWL (The drums sound a bit too choppy but I realllllly like the weird vocal sample. Creepy. Good stuff. I’m not sure if that’s enough to put this remix over the top though.)
*MARTIN KATSCAN (Martin went the industrial rock route with this remix. I enjoy the sound and I love how it gets even beefier in the chorus section. I wish there were some chord changes in the verses as each verse seems to have the same exact feel. With a song of this length it could definitely benefit from a detour of some sort, but even without that this remix still hits really hard.)
MIC TITAN (Nice sinister feel with some cool tonal things happening throughout. Might be a bit too monotonous but it’s great mood music.)
MSPK (The progression of this music is lovely. And the low end works well with the mood of the song. There is a volume dip during B’s verse which is an obvious mistake. I’m not crazy about the electronic drum sound or the pattern.)
MUDDY PUDDLES (There’s an abrasive, repetitive, chopped sample throughout the whole song which doesn’t change until B’s verse. Definitely not an enjoyable sound and it gives the vocals no room to breathe.)
NICOLAS WOJCZAK (This remix grabbed me right from the beginning but the music didn’t change AT ALL throughout the course of the song. Too bad. I love the synth line but the one bar repeated over and over gets tiring.)
PHISHH (a remix with punch. It’s got a cool industrial feel and some interesting vocal tweaks. I think it could have used more change ups in the music and drums as it doesn’t ever seem to build or culminate into anything too special, but overall I do like how this worked out.)
RICHARD CRANIUM (Synth heavy remix. Drums leave a lot to be desired but I like how the music changes up from verses to chorus.)
SARJAY999 (The cymbal ride that hits on every quarter note throughout the whole song & the cheap drum machine sound hinders my overall enjoyment of this remix. But I do enjoy the melody line and the base synth.)
*SHANE STREAM (I am a sucker for scratches, and the cuts in this remix are great. I also love the drum track. The music sample is cool too but it doesn’t match the mood of the song as well as other remixes I’ve heard.)
SONOFSAMSOUNDS (Ambitious style for sure, but it gets too busy too soon. The vocals seem buried and with everything else going on this song, it would probably benefit from a better mix.)
SORE WIGG (Not too busy, not too sparse, and the dark mood definitely fits the bill. Nothing too ambitious happening here, but I like that there are builds and change ups where they need to be.)
STUMBLE JUNKIE (This is Stumble Junkie’s first remix ever. Not a strong contender for the contest, but certainly not bad for a first remix. At least it’s on beat and attention was given to change-ups. We’re glad to have popped your cherry!)
*SOUNDSMITH THE PROGRAMMER (The drum pattern is a bit stiff but the feel of the music works well with it. Definitely like the feel of this. It’s “pretty” and that’s an unexpected direction to take this track in.)
*THEORY 77 (You can always expect an interesting remix from Theory 77. His use of scratches and meticulous attention to detail in the composition of his tracks is always impressive. His change ups in every single verse and chorus puts this remix on the top of my list.)
*TOMMY FOX - Hard hitting and rugged. Works really well in its simplicity. Love the drum sound and synths.
WOLFGANG (There are EQ issues and compression problems in the mix of this song, but I love the guitar line and the vocal sample. In fact, all elements of this remix are great. It just suffers from whatever compression/mastering program it was eventually run through. Or maybe the bass is mixed too high and it’s messing with everything else? Can’t call it.)
WORDS FROM THEORY 77:
Right now I’m sitting here scratching my bald spot as I ponder what to put down here. First and foremost – THANK YOU! I can’t begin to tell you how much I appreciate the kind words and, quite honestly, overwhelming support I’ve had over the past few days. It’s been incredible. I woke up this morning, saw the news and was instantly reduced to a grinning and humbled puddle – which isn’t an inappropriate metaphor for a change.
As always, the level of competition was FIERCE to say the very least. It’s obvious that everyone worked ridiculously hard on this. Very intimidating. It reminds me of my DJ Battle days minus all the people wanting to punch me in the face. HUGE rah-spek to all who entered. Many, many thanks to all the nice folk who wrote super kind things on SFR, the forums and the SFR F***book page – even if some of you do sound completely insane! And of course to all at SFR itself.
I very nearly didn’t enter this one due to time issues – then at the last minute I realised that I’d submitted the wrong MP3! So yeah…glad indeed. The fact that someone at SFR spent the time to photoshop a picture of a dude crapping himself was the icing on the cake for me. Even though it unnervingly sort of looks like me twenty years ago!
I don’t know how much I’m supposed to write here so I’ll just keep going until Sage decides it’s time to get his edit on. Someone mentioned the “Beeped” line – that’s because drugs are naughty. I have spoken.
Huge thanks once again. Really. Free and massive hugs all round.
Lots of love, Mike xxxx