December 01 2015

Dimitri from Paris, The Art of the Remix

New York-Le Bain
Dimitri from Paris sat down with Paul of New York to chat about the art of the remix before they hit Le Bain's decks, Saturday, December 12th.
PAUL RAFFAELE: I can count on one hand the number of people who can actually get access to the multi-track sessions they want to remix, as you do. Do the labels come to you with opportunities, or does it start in your head?
DIMITRI FROM PARIS: Unlike what most people imagine, one doesn't choose what one wants to remix because there is no public access to the originally recorded, separated tracks for one to mess with. That said, in the last few years, some of those original multi-tracks seem to have been leaking out. A lot of people have been trying to collect, and there's been some trading going on. I've been lucky enough to be asked to officially remix some of the old disco classics.
Ashfon & Simpford Stay Free
(Dimitri From Paris Unreleased Dubstrumental)
How do you approach your remixes and re-edits? 
It starts by getting a digital transfer of the original and unmixed multitrack recording of the song. It usually consists of about 16 to 24 tracks of separate instruments and vocals. When aligned and balanced together, they form the original LP take of the song that most people are familiar with. I start from those separated tracks and I re-combine them, actually re-mixing them to form a new version. I refrain from adding any foreign elements, in order to preserve the original spirit of the song while updating its sound and structure.
New York means pretty much everything to me in terms of music.
When you're working on original material, what's your typical work-flow like? 
I use only 2 platforms: Ableton and Pro Tools. I start laying out ideas on Ableton, which is quick to work with and handles virtual synths very well. Once I get all the track I need in very basic arrangements, I'll print dry, un-effected stems and import everything into Pro Tools. That's my platform of choice for further arrangement edits, and final mix.
Chic I Want Your Love
(Dimitri From Paris Remix)

What do you find are the most receptive "disco" markets in the world currently?

I would have to say the UK has been showing great response lately. I haven't played much House in my latest gigs there. That's great because I have a hard time finding new House stuff that I want to play.

What disco record has the deepest meaning for you personally?
The Glow Of Love by Change is for me the most beautiful disco song ever made—everything is perfectly balanced. It's expertly arranged, emotional, universal, and still danceable, even by today's standards.
Donny Hathaway The Ghetto
(Dimitri From Paris Inna Disco)

The other is: Carl Bean's I Was Born This Way (Better Days Version). Beyond the message that was quite revolutionary when it first came out in 1977, this later, 1986 Better Days mix by Bruce Forest & Shep Pettibone is the most inspiring 10+ minutes of club music I've ever heard, and incidentally, a crash course in Disco remixing—a benchmark to which I compare every remix I do.

What does New York mean to you in relation of your career? 
New York means pretty much everything to me in terms of music. 90% of the music I grew up liking and that inspired me, either came from there, or was made big by New York DJs. François K, Shep Pettibone, Tom Moulton, Larry Levan, Tony Humphries, Arthur Baker, Frankie Knuckles and Masters At Work—in a nutshell, all New Yorkers schooled me with their musical creativity, and made me what I am today.