Posted on Mar 10th, 2009 in Behind The Scenes by Sammy Bananas
When I was Down Under a few weeks ago, I had the great pleasure to spend an afternoon volunteering with Heaps Decent, the Aussie music outreach organization set up by Diplo and run by Andrew Levins and Nina Agzarian. Heaps has been involved in a number of projects over the past two years and one of their current focuses is a weekly class at Key College in Sydney, a high school run by the organization Youth Off the Streets. Click through for the full story and to hear what me made!
Levins and I arrived as the school day was winding down and set up my laptop, an mbox and speakers in the music room. We all introduced ourselves when the small class of 5 sat down and I launched into my lesson. Actually, I had no idea what I was doing or going to talk about and was super nervous! It quickly became apparent that I should go with something that I know in my bones, and that of course is The Mashup (shout to Certified Bananas!)
I started explaining the process of matching an acapella to an instrumental when a student named B looked up from playing with her phone and chimed in “Is that like that really terrible song that has Cream with Soulja Boy on it? I hate that one!” Levins and I immediately burst into laughter, knowing the inimitable Dave Nada to be the author of that mashup. After we told B about this, she said “Tell him he’s a disgrace!” Dave, you’re not a disgrace.
Once we got things under control again, Josh (who proudly was rocking a healthy amount of makeup, “It’s Estee Lauder” he said) asked if I had the acapella for “Finally” by CC Penniston. Everyone agreed that this was a good choice, and we started looking for a beat to match with it. I’m sorry to say that my instrumental game is not what it once was, but after talking about what artists we liked, the group settled on Rihanna’s “Disturbia”, mostly because they didn’t like her vocals.
I worked in Pro Tools to construct this idea while explaining the basics of what I was doing. It was clear that Josh and B were the most interested and though I tried to involve the whole group, eventually they left to do something else. Almost as expected in this magical world of pop music, “Finally” and “Disturbia” turn out to be in the same key and are almost the same speed as well. I took cues from the two musicians on timing and layout of the song, and soon enough we had something that might just be good enough to fit into A-Trak’s infamous “Bottle Service Electro” playlist! B had been playing hardstyle and gabber selections off her phone during the workshop, and suggested that we make a version of the song for those fans as well. Through a little time compression wizardry, we got it.
In order to be an internet success these days you need more than just a hot song, so we quickly came up with a catchy name for Josh and B’s crew and took a promo photo of the two artists with their producer. For some reason there was a pamphlet on the table advertising a waxing combo deal, and the two suggested Sac N’ Crak. B suggested we change it to SKNKRK (“so that is was like MSTRKRFT”).
So without further ado, here is the debut from SNKNKRK “Finally Disturbed” in both the House and Gabber versions.