Work Drugs on the art of the remix

What’s better than your favorite song? Your favorite song remixed to become a totally new song. Who doesn’t love a good remix? But making a great remix isn’t as simple as putting a new bass line on the track and yelling “It’s the remix” a few times during the song. A great remix should be something new.

Ben Louisiana – of the Philadelphia-based yacht-rock band Work Drugs – knows a thing or two about turning an already great song into a great remix. The band won a challenge put out by Bon Iver to remix their song “Beth/Rest” in 2012. In this excerpt from our interview with the keyboardist of Work Drugs, Louisiana talks about the art of the remix.


Mike Andrelczyk: You guys gained some attention with your remix of Bon Iver’s “Beth/Rest” and you recently held a contest for fans to remix your track “Minor Flaws” from Louisa. What’s the key to making a good remix?

Ben Louisiana: Make it original. Make it new. Take the melodies and make a new song out of it. The remixes I hate are the ones that just take the song and put a house beat on it. We’ve done remixes for Tegan and Sara and Bon Iver, and with both of those songs we took the original song structure and turned it on its ear and said, “We’re going to find new hooks in here. I’m going to take the pre-chorus of their song and make that the chorus of our song.”


Now for a little compare and contrast. Let’s listen to the original tracks and then hear how Work Drugs put their own unique twist on them.

Here’s “Beth/Rest” – the closing track from Bon Iver’s eponymous 2011 album.


Doesn’t get much better than that, huh? Unless you happen to be a fan of The Karate Kid. Check out Work Drugs’ totally radical ’80s-style remix, dedicated to Peter Cetera.


Here’s Tegan and Sara’s “I Was A Fool.”


Once again, Work Drugs show their love for the ’80s with this video collage of classic John Hughes films set to their take on “I Was A Fool.” Get ready for a serious nostalgia trip.

Work Drugs perform at H*MAC (1110 N. 3rd Street, Harrisburg) on October 15 at 8 p.m. Tickets are $8-$10.

What are some of your favorite remixes?


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Mike Andrelczyk is a features editor for Fly Magazine. He is a graduate of Penn State University and currently lives with his wife Stacey in Strasburg. Interests include tennis, playing bad guitar, poetry (poems have appeared in Modern Haiku, The Inquisitive Eater and other journals) and oneirology – the study of dreams – mostly in the form of afternoon naps. His name appears in the title screen of Major League 2.

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