NCF's Chris Cox remixes for the Crystal Method
photo courtesy of Chris Cox
Cox says he likes “the idea of using a song to take a person on a journey. Rather than just a beat, have it be more of an experience … take them someplace.”
After years of toying around, New College alum Chris Cox (’01) became more serious about producing electronic music this year and his increased efforts were about to pay off big. He was taking more gigs, putting out more of his own songs online and getting more fans. DJs across the nation started playing Cox’s unofficial remix of The Beatles’ “Come Together.” A booking agent out of Los Angeles e-mailed Cox (a.k.a. Omega) after hearing that remix and more of his work on MySpace and Soundcloud. Cox agreed to have the agent, James Bressack, represent him. A month later, Bressack called Cox with an offer to do an official remix for The Crystal Method, a huge name in the electronic music scene.
“[Bressack] was like, ‘Hey, I know Scott and Ken from The Crystal Method (CM) and they’re looking at having some lesser known, upcoming artists do some remixes for them that they might end up putting out at some point in the future on a release,’” Cox said.
He received track stems (individual parts of a song, such as a vocals track and a bass track) from two different CM songs and did remixes for both. “This was a big deal to me,” Cox said. “These are heroes of mine so having the chance to work on a track for them, I was really excited, really agonizing over every little detail and was really meticulous.”
After three works of working on the remixes, he sent them back to CM. “And they ended up really liking them, playing them at a couple of their DJ gigs and then it just sort of went from there,” Cox said. “They decided to put together the EP for their ‘Sine Language’ single and they sent over a contract and had me sign it. Since then, I’ve been an official remixer for it. It was just out of the blue, it’s an amazing opportunity that kind of fell into my lap.”
He added, “Thank God for the Internet!”
The EP was officially released on Nov. 16. On the EP is CM’s original “Sine Language” featuring hip-hop group LMFAO; the other tracks are all remixes of that same song by different producers, Cox included.
Along with “Sine Language,” Cox received track stems from “Divided by Night,” the title track from The Crystal Method’s 2009 album. “I think they might do another remix EP for that song sometime in the spring,” Cox said, adding that the EP may include his remix. “[But] I’m not 100 percent sure.”
Cox got to meet CM at a show they played in Boulder, Colo. “We ended up just hanging out in the greenroom backstage for a few hours after the show. They’re really nice guys, really down to earth and mellow,” Cox said. “They seemed to like my style a lot and I hope I might have a chance at some point to actually do a collaboration working … with them directly, face to face, in the studio.
“It still doesn’t feel totally real … like your heroes like something that you created enough to want to put it out with their name on it,” Cox said. The Crystal Method was a major influence on Cox’s musical tastes. “When I was a teenager, I was into a lot of hardcore punk and metal, and funk and jazz. The Crystal Method’s album, Vegas, was really a turning point … it just blew my mind, opened my eyes to the possibilities of [electronic music], sort of changed my path.”
Soon after, Cox got into DJing. “I got my first pair of turntables in ’99,” Cox said. “I started DJing as a hobby playing … at a lot of New College parties and other small parties around Sarasota.” Cox was part of a group that started using the fishbowl as the electronic music appreciation room during Palm Court Parties (PCPs).
“Probably my second or third year, me and Mitchell Gomez (’03) and a couple other friends started organizing … an alternative electronic music room [in the fishbowl] to the main one that had been going on for years in third court lounge,” Cox said. “It was kinda this underground, out of the way thing that nobody knew about that we were just doing because we liked the music and we wanted to play it loud. It’s cool to see how that little tiny thing that we created all those years ago just took on a life of its own and has grown.”
At NCF, Cox took classes with Julian Peterson, an adjunct music professor. “He was a huge influence on me musically,” Cox said. “He helped me so much about digital synthesis and how to use computers to make really interesting unique sounds and also the discipline to work in a programming environment for synthesis.”
After graduating, Cox moved to Colorado and worked as a resident DJ in a club. At home, he started to produce his own music.
“Predominantly I do dubstep and glitch-hop,” Cox said. “I started with drum and bass, moved to experimental glitch and then made a lot of psychedelic trance … I like to combine really aggressive aspects of music … [with] really beautiful, melodic aspects. I think if it’s too pretty or too aggressive without being balanced that it gets boring.
“My performance is based around laptop, running Ableton Live and I’m usually playing mostly my own music,” Cox explained. “It’s sort of a hybrid between a live performance and a DJ set …. Most of the parts of the songs are prerecorded, pre-produced in the computer. But as far as triggering them to play back and the way that the different elements of the different songs are combined and the way the effects are applied, it’s all done sort of live.”
Cox said he and several other alums who are also DJs and producers hope to come to NCF for the 50th Anniversary weekend. “We’re trying to get funding [from the Alumni Association] to cover our travel expenses so we can come out and possibly play either at PCP or in the fishbowl [currently the Black Box Theater],” he said. “And hopefully do an instructional workshop for the students about digital DJing, music production, music business, all that kind of stuff, ’cause we all have different experiences in different parts of the country.”
To listen to the EP and Cox’s remix, check out http://www.thecrystalmethod.com