It can be a tricky career move to remake a classic song. Listeners have the original, and all the emotions it stirs, in their ears, yet that familiarity can prove to be an advantage. You can add your own unique take on a distinctive cultural artifact, and have your interpretation stand out as a modernized update.
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Benito Bazar made such an auspicious move with debut single “Back To Life,” a reimagining of the Soul II Soul classic. In more recent years, such a move has been more common in EDM among emerging and established producers – think of Le Youth sampling Cassie’s “Me and U” or Fedde Le Grand reworking the beat to “Rhythm of the Night” – but what’s key – and elevates a track above DJ setlist filler – is the originality going into it.
For Bazar’s “Back to Life,” that comes through the vocals, from singer Tinuade, as well as co-production from Nicky Night Time. Supporting the song is a video shot by Hanna Beširević and Bazar in Mexico City, plus accompanying remixes from Dukwa and Nicky Night Time with Lubelski.
The effort paid off. Since dropping earlier this year, Bazar’s twist on “Back to Life” has received play on BBC Radio 1 and Kiss Dance. As his career starts to take off, we had a chance to speak with Bazar about this track.
“Back to Life” is your debut single and reimagines the Soul II Soul classic. Why did you decide to remix this classic?
Basically, “Back To Life” has always been one of my favorite tracks, and it seems more relevant now than ever. I wanted to give this some new life and my utmost respect to one of the best records of all time, [and] the vocals seemed so fitting for this kind of track.
Tinuade is featured on this track. How did you end up working together?
We have a bunch of mutual friends in Los Angeles. My co-producer Nicky Night Time has been working with her, and he suggested her for the track. After only a couple of sessions, she really did an amazing job.
The song already has a couple of remixes out now. What in your opinion makes a strong remix?
I really had no intention of releasing it initially, as it was just for fun during the pandemic. I was super happy with the outcome, so I sent it out to a few people and everyone had the same reaction including Andrew Jackson and Pete Tong, and now we are here 🙂
Your sound is part classic and part modern. How would you describe your sound?
I’m not overly defined by a certain genre or sound. For me, it’s more if it sounds good and is tasteful, and you just get that feeling when it’s right but there are definitely elements of part classic, part modern.
How did you get started with producing?
My papa was in bands going up, and I was DJing always from a super young age, so it was a very natural progression.
Covid-19 upended the way many artists collaborate and record with each other. Did anything change for you?
Claro, I think everything has changed for everyone. Everything thing is online in a collaborative sense for most artists – lucky we are all nerds 🙂
Are there any artists you would like to collaborate with in the future?
Oh man, there are plenty. A few off the top of my head would be: Whomadewho, Monkey Safari, Folamour, [and] Logic1000.
What are your plans to follow up this track?
I have a few demos done, and we are searching for vocalist options at the moment.
Where would you like your career to go as a producer?
I see my career as a producer-only a part of the whole Benito Bazar brand. We have a mezcal coming out soon with an artisan producer here in Mexico called “Siqe,” and we recently recorded a DJ set on the terrace of my favorite art gallery in Mexico city called Galeria Hilario Galguera. The video of that will be released soon and more short films to accompany my music. It’s quite multidimensional – how I like it.