While the members of 311 continue to write new songs and otherwise prepare to record their upcoming fifth studio album, starting next month with co-producer Hugh Padgham (the Police, Sting, XTC) at their Burbank, Calif., studio, the band's singer-guitarist Nick Hexum has also been busy working on two new remixes of a song for Lenny Kravitz. The tune in question is "Thinking of You," taken from Kravitz's latest album, 5, and the new remixed versions, one dancehall mix and one hip-hop mix, are slated to appear this spring on a CD5 that'll be released, at least initially, only in Europe. Hexum has been using his laptop to make personal remixes, but this is the first time he's collaborated with another artist on one of their songs.
"A friend of a friend played a mix CD [for Lenny] that I had made for fun," Hexum tells LAUNCH, "and to give to friends. It had a lot of hip-hop and dancehall things that I had done, and Kravitz heard it and said that's the type of remix he wants on his new song. So he called and we talked about how we wanted to do it, and he sent me all the tracks on a CD-ROM in Pro-Tools form. Then I made all new instruments for it. I use a bit little of his rhythm guitar and his electric piano on the hip-hop remix, which is more of a club song with synthesized bass and a drum loop. It's sparse, just to groove out to."
"The dancehall version is a big departure for what you're used to hearing out of Lenny or me," Hexum continues. "It's like a weird, futuristic song inspired by stuff that me and [311 bandmate] S.A. [Martinez] picked up when we were down in Jamaica last year."
Hexum says that he did do a remix of "Prisoner," from 311's 1997 album Transistor, that never saw the light of day. "That was pretty much a club mix that I made on the road that was never released. But I'm constantly working with beats and fooling with loops. I always make it my business to figure out the newest software and the newest recording techniques, looping and beat-chopping. There's always new sh-t."
Features on 311 and Lenny Kravitz are available on LAUNCH.com.
--Troy J. Augusto, Los Angeles