Feature: Reviving The Classics

Feature: Reviving The Classics

Here at Toolroom, we’re no strangers to the reworking and updating of classic slices of house music history (see Iban Reus’ remix of Todd Terry’s ‘Jumpin’ and Jay Lumen’s Sacred Sounds remix of Kevin Saunderson’s ‘The Sound’), so when we received Cuts Deep’s update of Martine Girault’s ‘The Revival’, how could we resist? Martine’s lush soulful vocals required a special approach so we charged some up-and-coming producers with the task.

But, this project got us thinking: why has this trend for reviving the classics become so popular?

We had a quick chat with Copy Paste Soul and Giom, who provided stunning remixes of ‘The Revival’, as well as Cuts Deep and Martine Girault to find out more.

When done sensitively and (arguably) originally, reviving a classic can be the path to an instant club hit, as Giom told us:

  • I think these reworkings are always popular because people just love hearing new versions of songs they already know… so, when the DJ plays out an updated version of a classic at the right time, that can really take the party to a different level.

However, Copy Paste Soul poses a critical question: is reworking a classic a lazy attempt at a hit?

  • Honestly? Most people think it’s a fast track way to get heard. Most old tracks have been butchered, but done well in the right hands it can be really good and it can be an education to the kids.

So, are these reworks a way to promote our musical heritage to new generations of producers and clubbers? Giom told us remixing the track was his first encounter with it:

  • I must admit something rather embarrassing to you guys: at the time I did the remix I did not know this tune, and certainly had no idea it was a classic! I only found out about it out after I played my mix to a few selected DJ friends who nearly all told me it was one of their favourite song ever. I have of course heard it since, and hope I did it justice with my mix.

Sharing this enduring and emotive song was one of Cuts Deep’s reasons for reviving ‘The Revival’:

  • [It’s] such an all time classic, absolutely timeless, that still sounds good today. It’s a tune that stands out for us, as it’s really not your standard verse/chorus kind of tune in any way.

Cuts Deep
also told us about the dilemmas of reworking an old track:

  • House had been around a long time; there’s new generations of young house heads coming through and discovering older tracks that never had house mixes… Some of the old tracks are classics and to bring them up to date, making them sound more current with new beats, can give them new leases of life. But, with that in mind, there’s no point in touching classics if you ain’t going to try and add to or even better the original – it’s a risky business!

So, why do it? Why revive classic tracks? And, crucially, why does it work? Martine Girault gave us some insight:

  • In my opinion, old tracks come from an era when music was recorded by genuine musicians, lyrics were simple, and vocals were pure. An era where talent was priority and delivery came from the heart, resulting in music that doesn't have a shelf life but instead continues to be reborn.

So, why has reviving classic tracks become so popular? In a transient and digital world, is it a way of creating a tangible and authentic connection with our musical history? Is it a way of bringing new inspiration to old tracks and sharing our music with a larger community? This trend certainly poses a lot of questions, but we’re happy to enjoy the results of it.

Cuts Deep's 'The Revival', with remixes by Copy Paste Soul, Giom, Deep City Groove and Long & Harris, is out now on Beatport.

Posted: 15th Nov 13