Having released his Remote Viewing debut earlier this year, BPF – the solo moniker of Killing Joke drummer “Big Paul” Ferguson – has unleashed a remix for the album track “The Great Motivator.” Created by author/DJ/photographer/filmmaker Mont Sherar of Montster Filmwerks, the Montstrosity (Re)Mix is presented as a complete audio/visual art piece that reinterprets the song’s boisterous layers of shrill guitar feedback, distorted atmospheres, and processional rhythms and compounds them with frenetic imagery to build upon the song’s urgency and tension, Ferguson’s straightforward spoken word at once despondent and arresting amid his percussive attacks and the instrumental wizardry of Mark Gemini Thwaite.
“The Great Motivator” was originally featured on a vinyl EP that accompnied deluxe editions of Twilight of the Mortals, Sherar’s photographic history of Killing Joke released via PC-Press in 2017, wherein BPF made its official debut; a revised version then appeared on Remote Viewing. In a special correspondence with ReGen Magazine, Mont Sherar offered his insights on the creation of the remix/video, as well as some background on the BPF album:
Not only does the remix/video have a connection with my book, Twilight of the Mortals, but the entire solo project of ‘Big Paul’ Ferguson featuring guitarist Mark Gemini Thwaite finds it roots there as well. I wanted to include a vinyl record with the deluxe version of the book that would feature one solo track by each Killing Joke band member. Paul sent me several demos of various tracks he had made mainly composed of vocals and drums/percussion. There was one track in particular that really hit my ‘DJ Mont’ soft spot due to its great rhythm and catchy theme of ‘fear.’ I told Paul that ‘that is the one’ I wanted to include, and hooked him up with guitarist Mark Gemini Thwaite, which subsequently formed the collaboration they have.
From there, an entire album was born, ‘Fear’ became ‘The Great Motivator,’ and the idea for a future remix or two was always on my mind. I actually created two other videos for Paul from the album – ‘I Am War’ and ‘Reboot.’ On both videos, I quietly remixed them in a sublime way, mainly redoing the way they begin and end, but nothing too radical as I wanted to see what kind of reaction I’d get. Both Mark and Paul loved the results, but what really made me smile was seeing the comments on social media asking, ‘Where can I get that version?.’ That made me decide to go all out from scratch on my next video and favorite track, ‘The Great Motivator,’ completely reimagining how it was arranged as well as energizing it for the dancefloor.
My idea of ‘dancefloor’ is not a typical one, however. I hate remixes that essentially just change the tempo and other elements based on a very ‘you heard it before’ cliché dancefloor recipe. That’s a very simple way to do it, but it tends to have both limited appeal and staying power. For me, the best remixes of rock music preserve what makes it great for the rock crowd it was intended for, but bring it to another level of groove that appeals to those who want to dance. If done in a creative way, you can appeal to both sides at the same time. Those were the mixes I liked best when playing 12-inch remixes during the ’80s and still feel that way today.
The unique sound and visual combination is likely a result of the unusual way it was created to begin with. Because I really didn’t have a whole lot of experience with traditional DAW (audio) software, but had an enormous amount of expertise with video software, I decided to see what could be accomplished by creating the entire thing – video and remix – in the same program! Usually, these kind of things are done in completely separate environments for obvious reasons, but I decided to just say ‘fuck it’ and give it a go where I felt most comfortable! Since Final Cut Pro isn’t designed for that kind of thing, it made me want to try even harder to see if I could pull it off. There are no grids, no proper mixing tools, very few effects, and so forth that one has an abundance of with a ‘proper’ audio program. I had none of these things available, but sometimes being handicapped forces us to create things in interesting ways we might not otherwise have thought of if it was all just smooth sailing. Having a clear vision in what I wanted to create sonically, together with a visual idea to go with it, I somehow managed to pull it off by brute force alone!
However, there was one big problem I hadn’t anticipated when my remix was finally achieved and that had to do with getting all the levels balanced out and other technical issues like that. We’re talking hundreds of various audio clips in a timeline meant for linear video and what the hell was I to do about that now? Fortunately, I was able to find a workaround that allowed me to convert my FCPX files into audio stems, and get them exported into a format whereby my son Anton (an audio engineer) could perform a proper ‘mastering’ of the completed piece! In retrospect, the unique appeal of the imagery with the audio track is probably the result of these very limitations and being created simultaneously together in the same ‘universe.’ Not sure if I’ll ever try this method again though!
Regarding the imagery, I wanted to express the ‘feel’ of the lyrics and music rather than create something that was ‘literal’ in the narrative. By doing so, I feel the result is a unique one, a sort of ‘art piece’ where the music and visuals reflect each other in a kind of symbiosis that’s not often seen in most music videos. Here, you could say that the music is creating the imagery, but also, that the imagery is creating the music. Which is it?
I hope people like what they see and hear!
– Mont Sherar, November 30, 2018
BPF released Remote Viewing via Dead Radio Station on August 24; prior to its release, the independent label entered into a licensing agreement with Swedish label The Sublunar Society for wider distribution of the album. As such, Remote Viewing can now be purchased in digital and CD formats via Bandcamp.
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Ilker Yücel (Ilker81x)