Some call him ‘the wizard’; Noel Gallagher says he’s a genius; some of his devoted YouTube fanbase even call him ‘God’! By taking remixing and audio editing to new heights, The Reflex has captured the world’s attention and built an impressive army of fans along the way, Barack Obama and legendary ‘Thriller’ and ‘Rock With You’ songwriter Rod Temperton included.
More than an edit, it’s The Reflex Revision: a motto that describes accurately the expert craftsmanship involved in turning stems into brand new, fresh sounding versions. With privileged access to original multitracks, a unique attention to detail and mixing skills to make vintage recordings sound like no other, The Reflex extracts the funkiest elements and puts the musicality to the fore while building his own groove in a way that only he can. While some are remixing from the outside in, layering house beats over disco classics, The Reflex does it the hard way, combining creativity and functionality with results that are often nothing short of spectacular.
And one of the last ones who got the Revision treatment is none other than Instant Funk, as The Reflex has recently remixed ‘I Got My Mind Made Up’. More than a simple review, to know a bit more about what’s behind this huge Re-Edit, Sidekick Music had the chance to meet the undisputed King of the Remix for a few questions. We’ve discussed music, inspirations, the future, and many more… enjoy!
Hey Nicolas, welcome on Sidekick! Let’s start with yourself, who is The Reflex?
Hey Sidekick! The Reflex is myself, Nicolas Laugier, French born but London based since 1998. I’ve been a full-time DJ and music producer for the last ten years. I am essentially a remixer, influenced by people like François Kevorkian, Arthur Baker, Shep Pettibone and others who were amongst the first wave of remixers and who created the template for what I do today.
Congrats on your new ‘revision’ « I Got My Mind Made Up », what a tune! What’s the story, the idea behind this record?
It’s a classic disco track by Instant Funk originally released on the legendary Salsoul label whose most well known version is the Larry Levan mix. My thing is to basically recreate a whole new version just using the sounds from the original multitrack recording. It involves chopping most of the sounds and re-program them in a way that suits the dancefloor and sonics of today. I guess that way it gives it a sort of timeless stamp, as it doesn’t feel like I’ve just layered some modern house beats underneath. I gotta say this one was a hell of a job to make sound good! Talk about patience..
Tell us about the origin of your music, what are your influences?
The foundation really is the funk, generally speaking. Anything that has a groove is funky to me, whether it’s soul, Balearic, disco or pop. Since childhood I’ve been fascinated by remixing and its impact on popular music, not just for clubs and DJ’s. Often people are unaware that the classic songs they love are in fact remixes! I always loved the fact that a remixer would be commissioned to work his skills on a song to take it to a different place and audiences. Deciding to use only the original sounds (for the most part) has created a bit of a niche for me; at the end of the day I know most people don’t care how you’ve made the remix but for those who do it’s an extra thrill, and that’s how I get my kicks. It’s like if the multitracks had travelled through time to morph into a new version for our times.
Following your influences, any artist you would love to work with?
As a remixer I’m always on the lookout for tapes that haven’t been remixed yet. Although a lot has been done already and many tapes haven’t survived throughout the years there are still lots to be discovered. Regarding current artists, I’ve been blessed to remix some of the biggest names in the music industry from Noel Gallagher to Blondie to Paul Weller, Mousse T. and Joey Negro amongst others.
What does 2020 hold in store for The Reflex? Any clues that we could get about upcoming releases or collaborations?
Lots of released are lined up including a vol.2 of Salsoul revisions, remixes of tape discoveries from Kid Creole & The Coconuts and a huge disco classic from an artist I can’t name for which a whole unreleased session has been found. Remixes for current artists Roisin Murphy, Acid Arab, Luxxury are ongoing as well as a compilation of my back catalogue of remixes officially cleared by Universal. On top of that, several remixes for my personal use and YouTube channel as well as my regular Mastertapes mixtapes for Rinse FM showcasing many works in progress. Hopefully some DJ gigs will be back on the cards too before the end of the year.
Last but not least, can you share five records that you can’t get enough of right now?
- Risk Assessment ft DJ Romain – It Must Be Deep
- Luxxury – Set Me Free
- Fairuz – Aloula (version 1)
- Ed Mac – Good Time
- Paul Epworth – Voyager