I rambled on about Drop Out Orchestra in a TRUANTS article a couple of months ago, in which they airlifted Rick Astley from the depths of naffdom and took him out for a sunset spin round downtown Coolsville with their slick, sexed-up re-imagining of ‘Never Gonna Give You Up’, lovingly re-recorded in full aural splendour with live drums, bass, guitar, keys, and a gospel choir.
Since then I’m happy to say they’ve continued to get all big and buzzy on our asses with recent high profile radio airplay, much bloglove and a plan for world domination for next year; as such the well-deserved snowball of hype is gaining both momentum and girth and is starting to frighten small children, animals and the elderly. Luckily, you and I are riding atop the snowball like smug musical-harvesting acrobat elves, resplendently out of harm’s path and yet enjoying the ride and the view safely away from the carnage below. (I’m sorry, I’ve had a lot of coffee today and my blizzard-related cabin fever is about to reach a delirious crescendo).
Once again the Drop Outs display their uncanny ninja –like skill for concocting the unexpected, this time under the Drop Out City Rockers umbrella. The latest pick from the Drop Out tombola is a bold foray that presents the unlikely yet strangely exciting scenario of my utter heroes Daft Punk and Whitney Houston out on a triple date in a Delorean circa 1987. You’d be forgiven for thinking a cosy robot/ Houston collab as something that might have the potential to be blasted forth as the soundtrack upon your entrance through the gates of purgatory, but we ain’t talkin’ ‘bout no two-bit mash-up jokers here – we’re talking about genuinely talented musicians who can take something that ordinarily could end up being a cheap throw-away bootleg but in the hands of the Drop Outs, becomes something genuinely clever.
As anyone with a face complete with working eyes and ears knows, Daft Punk have scored the soundtrack for the Tron sequel for which ‘Derezzed’ has become the uber-hyped poster track. ‘I Wanna Dance With Tron’ sees Whitters’ yearning vocal chopped & dovetailed with Derezzed’s brutally jagged haywire synth freak-out, smoothing away the edges, adding a wedge of funk, and leading it perhaps slightly unwillingly by the hand into the discotheque and whipping it into a track that you could actually dance to, should the mood take you. And most importantly of all, it’s alot of fun.
This recent amalgam is not their first flirtation with Thomas & Guy-Man, earlier this year they successfully re-jigged ‘Around The World’ into ‘International Track’ and in doing so bagged the Essential New Tune accolade on BBC Radio 1 in October. But however diverting their edits and re-works are, D.O.O are no one trick pony and also work their sonic sorcery on their own entirely original tunes. I caught up with Gary of actual Drop Out fame earlier this week, and am pleased to clear up some of the questions surrounding some of our new favourite Swedes, who as far as I’m aware are not part of any mafia, house or otherwise.
TRUANTS: So Gary, some of your tracks are produced under the name of Drop Out City Rockers, others under Drop Out Orchestra. Is there a difference between the two, and how many of you are there? Gary: No, none other than that Drop Out City Rockers is the name we use for some of the unauthorized edits. It’s also a way of paying our respects to The Clash. We are a group of people, not everyone is playing on every track. For the Rick Astley track we were four, but the Tron edit was just me in the studio. When we’re out playing in the clubs it’s me and a bass player.
Some of your track choice, whilst brilliant, are quite unpredictable – what prompts you to pick a track for a re-edit? Thanks! In the case of Rick Astley, I actually like ‘Never Gonna Give You Up’, always did. Stock-Aitken-Waterman were brilliant songwriters, back in the ‘80s they were as good as [Motown songwriting royalty] Holland-Dozier-Holland and Berry Gordy. BUT the arrangements, the sounds, the productions… come on. I wanted to give the song the credible backing it deserved. Other times we simply look for a vehicle where we can do our thing… or in the case of Robyn, where all the official remixes sucked and we really liked the original. I’d like to take this opportunity to point out the difference between our edits and re-recordings; when we cut up stuff, splicing it together in a different order, maybe adding a sound or two – that’s an edit. But when we build a track with drums, bass, guitar, keys, and a gospel choir [as in the case of Rick Astley], that’s something else. Rework? Re-recording? Not sure what we should call it in the future. Any ideas? :)
Is there still an album on the way? Will it be a mixture of your edits and original tracks? The album is out – ‘We Are Dropouts’ is available on iTunes and all digital portals. We might do a re-release in the New Year with some added tracks… and no, we have to take out the edits for the legit releases. There are cover versions of some of the tracks we’ve edited though but for legal reasons we can’t really sell records with Rick Astley on them. It’s mostly originals on the album.
I know Aeroplane has been supporting you recently in his sets and mixtapes, are there any other high profile fans on the Drop Out bandwagon we should know about? I try not to think about those things, it just makes me nervous. Jaymo and Andy George on BBC are playing our tracks, Diskjokke, The Magician [Stephen Fassano – ex-Aeroplane], Dimitri From Paris, Erol Alkan and Mylo are too I think. The Swedish House Mafia are not.
Glad to hear it. Dare I ask if you’ve heard anything at all from Daft Punk about International Track/I Wanna Dance With Tron?! No… and let’s not talk too much about it. ;)
Haha! Let’s pretend that if the robots could assimilate emotion and synthesise feelings, their circuits would crackle and spark with a vague interpretation of intense electronic joy upon hearing both tracks. Thank you very much for catching up with us. And so I am proud to leave you with an EXCLUSIVE stream of ‘I Wanna Dance With Tron’ –no doubt this will inspire a lot of Daft Punk purists to start furiously spitting electrodes and banging their home-made LED-helmets against their Interstellar5555-postered walls. However for the rest of us, I daresay this Drop Out home run is quite the jam to get you going loop de loop, if the adverse weather conditions and associated cabin fever haven’t got you doing that already. Come, dance with me.
Stream: [wpaudio url=”http://dl.dropbox.com/u/12066362/Drop%20Out%20City%20Rockers%20-%20I%20Wanna%20Dance%20With%20Tron%20%28final%20version%29.mp3″ text=”Drop Out City Rockers – I Wanna Dance With Tron” dl=0]