Our favourite K-pop tracks can be given a new lease of life with a new arrangement, acoustic version or remix. We discovered a remix artist and aspiring producer on YouTube called Souls, who has created some excellent remixes for popular K-pop groups. We enjoyed the enhanced beats and extra edge that he brought to many K-pop tracks. This month we will be recommending what we believe to be notable examples of Soul’s work to our readers together with some insider information and a mini interview.
Why not listen to the remix of Horololo by EXO-CBX while reading? You’ll also be able to find Souls’ personal remix recommendations at the end of this article.
Thanks to Souls for taking time to answer our questions and adding to our enjoyment of K-pop by bringing us another dimension to the music. If you like what you hear, explore more of Souls’ remixes on his YouTube channel or SoundCloud page.
What sparked your interest in remixing K-pop and what are your motivations for doing so?
Upon discovering K-pop, I soon came to realize its worldwide appeal. I thought it was great that so many people from all over the world could have something in common. With so many from different backgrounds having this mutual interest, I became inspired to represent our music to the best of my ability, so I learned and began remixing. My number one goal is to make people have fun and I hope that anything I put out is not about myself but for everyone in the K-community.
What is most important to me is having respect for the work of others. I understand and recognise that many talented people work extremely hard to release music. So before I begin any remix, I try to understand the vision of the producer and artist. I try to picture myself in their shoes and imagine what I would think if someone remixed my song? Anything I do, I sincerely hope that it’s in good taste.
How long have you been doing music?
I’ve been DJ’ing since I was a kid. However, I’d have to say that I started performing music in high school. That’s when I started making mixtapes and forced myself to learn piano. High school was also the time I started doing edits in GarageBand (digital audio workstation software), which eventually led me to Ableton.
How have you made use of Ableton as a tool for creating music? What is the process?
I could talk for days about Ableton. It’s such an amazing tool that gives me access to industry standard features with total reliability. Ableton becomes an extension of my imagination. I think it up, Ableton puts it out. It helps me to achieve an interesting and balanced mix.
When remixing, I am taking out and adding musical elements. I start with piano and try to decipher the chord progression, or create a different chord progression if I feel it works better. I am also able to gain insight into the specifics of a track in the form of instrument frequencies, tonal analysis and loudness levels.
What led you to create your YouTube channel and post videos online?
I initially started my YouTube channel to post my practice DJ videos. I used to enter DJ battles and I would record my beat juggling and scratching to seek out feedback and critique or use them as submission videos. Then one day I decided to upload a K-pop remix just for fun and it all kicked off from there.
What do you look for in a song when selecting one to remix?
What I’m looking for is a catchy song. I’m looking for a beat that is fun to dance to with interesting musical elements. An attention grabbing melody and lyrics that are memorable throughout the day, that’s what I look for.
Do you have a favourite group and what inspires you to remix their songs? Do you ever feel that something was lacking from the original?
I like Red Velvet very much because they have a large catalogue and wide variety of great songs. I can put on my Red Velvet playlist and I’m jamming all day. I find that it is easy to get inspiration when listening to their songs. Red Velvet’s ballad to trap banger style fits me well because I enjoy many styles of music and this also gives me many options when putting together a remix.
Probably not so much that something was lacking from the original but I would say, that there was room for something extra. Things such as introducing an element at a different time to help build tension or adding musical elements to create an atmospheric experience.
What do you like most about remixing?
What I like most about remixing is how the entire process is incredibly fun. In my opinion I’m acting like an ambassador for K-pop. I feel that because I love something so much, that it’s my responsibility to represent this music in a positive manner. The process of learning how to remix and produce better, while spreading a good vibe, makes me feel very lucky.
Did you expect the level of attention that some of your uploads have gotten?
Not at all! It’s amazing to see that so many people like the same music that I do and are willing to express their enjoyment. Hearing from people from different countries was also very unexpected.
Our track recommendations
This next section contains some more of our recommended remixes together with Souls’ thoughts on the music and some information about how the remix was created.
LOOΠΔ – Stylish
Souls: What I like about Stylish, is the charming delivery of the smooth RnB vocals. The hook is very catchy and enjoyable to sing along to. The beat draws you in with punchy drums and a deep bassline. When the beat drops out, leaving only the vocals, it emphasizes the vocal line which drives home the message of the song.
When I started the remix, I wanted to maintain and compliment the power of the vocals. I began by adding a deeper and darker bassline. Next I inserted a group of filtered instruments, vocal chops, and synth arps. Then to drive home these additions, I added my own synthesized drums, tight percussions and crispy hi-hats.
Dreamcatcher – What
Souls: Dreamcatcher has always been one of my top favorites. I find Yoohyeon’s vocals to be quite exceptional. “What” has great energy and sits at the top of my pop-rock playlist.
This song, like all Dreamcatcher songs, had great rock vocals. This lead me to challenge myself. I thought, would it be possible to rework the entire beat and still preserve the vocals?
Blackpink – Ddu-Du Ddu-du
Souls: When this song dropped, I was just blown away. People always say things like, “this is fire!”and I most definitely agree. I especially liked Jennie’s rap part. She’s probably the best female MC right now.
I had a lot of fun putting together this remix because I was able to add lots of bass and 808 glides.
Souls’ Personal Favorites
Choerry – Love Cherry Motion
Souls: The vocal harmonies in this track were excellent. I remember being pleasantly surprised by seeing Jinsol and Kim Lip in the music video. It was completely unexpected but thinking back now, it just made perfect sense.
Red Velvet – Bad Boy
Souls: Red Velvet is my all-time favorite group so if they drop any new music, I will buy the record as soon as I can. This was a remix they came together rather quickly. It usually takes about a week to do a remix, but Bad Boy only took a few days. When I believe things are coming together it’s exceptionally fun. I collaborated with Alice on this track.
(Responses have been partially edited for clarity with permission from the interviewee)
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In-article images and videos source: © Souls. 11.03.2019. All images were provided by Souls for use in this interview article. All rights reserved. No reproduction is permitted.
Featured image source: © Inspire Me Korea. 11.03.2019.
© Interview with Souls. 11.03.2019. Inspire Me Korea.