In the eight years since A Plus D Productions’ Adrian and Deidre Roberts launched the mashup-themed nightclub Bootie – short for bootleg – in San Francisco, the musical genre of mashup has grown from obscurity and underground to something that is regularly exploited on such top rated TV shows like “Glee” and “The X Factor”.
The couple host a Bootie mashup party every week in San Francisco, every month in Los Angeles, every quarter in New York and Seattle, and occasionally take Bootie’s tour around the world. In October, they hit Bangkok and Singapore, as well as Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City in Vietnam.
“If you told me eight years ago that a niche mashup party would be something people all over the world would want, I would think you were crazy,” says Adrian Roberts.
To understand what mashup songs are, it helps to understand what they are not. These aren’t remixes of one song to make it sound again or back-to-back medleys of two or more songs. A mashup is made up of layers of two or more songs – usually quite different – put together to make one, such as some of the music and lyrics from the 1972 Jackson 5’s “Rockin ‘Robin” cover mixed with lyrics and music from the Jackson 5. classic “Smells Like” from Nirvana. Hit Teen Spirit. ”This particular mashup, from Go Productions, is“ Smells Like Rockin ‘Robin ”.
“A mashup is the vocals or a cappella of a song over the instrumentation of a different song, usually of a disparate genre, transformed into a single song that is hopefully greater than the sum of its parts.” says Deidre Roberts. Many of them, like “Smells Like Rockin ‘Robin” or “Drop It Like It’s a Whole Lotta Love” (“Whole Lotta Love” by Led Zeppelin and “Drop It” by Snoop Dogg) have cheeky titles. Some turn rock anthems into dance tunes, such as producer Mad Mix Mustang who mixed Boston rockers “More Than a Feeling” with Black Eyed Peas’ “I Got a Feeling” for the “I’ve Got More Than a” mashup. Feeling ”. “
Others can absolutely change the feeling of the song. Adrian Roberts’ mashup group Smash-Up performs live “Seven Nation Santa”, a combo of the classic “Santa Claus Is Coming to Town” with the spooky and unmistakable beat of the White Stripes from “Seven Nation” Army “.
“A mashup doesn’t have to be dancing. It has to be convincing somehow, “said San Francisco-based Jordan” DJ Earworm “Roseman, the producer behind the annual hit” United State of Pop “which overlays the 25 Billboard hits each year. Top 25 of the year in a mashup. The 2010 edition featured Kesha, Lady Antebellum, Train, Lady Gaga and Katy Perry. This year’s “United State of Pop” will be available on Roseman’s website in December.
Roseman has a background in music and computers; he uses Ableton Live to make his mashups and Final Cut Pro to make mashup videos that he posts on YouTube. He says anyone can be a mashup producer with these shows, and with practice and a good musical ear, the tunes can turn into nightclub hits.
“You can make decent mashups with just a little bit of understanding of the beat,” he says. Roseman became interested in mashups after burning a CD of his favorite tracks for a road trip.
“A lot of people start with a cappella and rap,” he says. “The barrier to entry is very low. It’s like one more step than pressing play. It’s like pressing play on two songs. It may not change the world, but what does? “
The concept of mashup is not exclusive to music. In 2009, author Seth Grahame-Smith wrote “Pride and Prejudice and Zombies,” which was adapted for an upcoming film. In addition, several groups of artists like to mix photos and other works of art to create new works.
Adrian Roberts says music mashups couldn’t have happened without today’s technology. First, he says, the iPod and other electronic music devices have turned most people into high-profile music lovers.
“I think in the older generations music defined who you were. You were a metal enthusiast or a hip-hop lover, ”he says. “The iPod changed that to make it okay to love hip-hop and rock and have them both on your player. “
To avoid the tangles of copyright infringement, Adrian Roberts says he doesn’t distribute mashups commercially.
“(The genre) wouldn’t exist without the web,” he says. “The only way to distribute is online. You can squeeze them. You can’t sell them.
MJ Bogatin, an Oakland-based attorney and chairman of the board of directors of California Lawyers for the Arts, says a mashup can violate copyright, just like sampling music in another. recording without permission is a violation. It’s up to the record companies to sue mashup producers for damages – something Bogatin says they may not find useful doing.
Roberts says he’s been given a cease-and-desist order, for a mashup featuring Nirvana, but hasn’t had any issues other than that. He believes that using these songs to create new works of art falls under the doctrine of fair use.
“Let’s face it, all art is derivative,” he says.
With this position, A Plus D Productions and Bootie have hundreds of mashups on their websites that the Roberts “keep” from producers on their website, which can be downloaded for free.
Roseman’s work is also available for free download. As the author of “Audio Mashup Construction Kit: Extreme Tech” (Wiley, $ 24.99), Roseman hopes to make mashup creation a democratic art.
“The audience already likes the songs or at least knows them,” he says. “If you can make great new music out of music that people already love, then people will love it.”
The voice or a cappella of a song over the instrumentation of a different song, usually of a disparate genre, is transformed into a single song greater than the sum of its parts.
A Plus D Productions is organizing a mashup party on Saturday evening. Bootie starts at 9 p.m. at DNA Lounge, 375 11th St., San Francisco. Admission is $ 8 before 10 p.m. and $ 15 after. For ages 21 and over only. www.bootiemashup.com.
Bootie’s free annual Best of Bootie albums are available at http://bootiemashup.com/bestof/
Adrian and Deidre’s favorite mashup is “99 Luft Problems”, a mix of “99 Problems” by Jay Z and “99 Luftballons” by Nena from producer Jay Zeezer. A mashup video of this hit is available at http://tinyurl.com/6xz2a2.
Jordan “DJ Earworm” Roseman and his “United State of Pop” can be found at http://djearworm.com
A Plus D Productions organizes a mashup party every Saturday evening. Bootie starts at 9 p.m. at DNA Lounge, 375 11th St., San Francisco. Admission is $ 8 before 10 p.m. and $ 15 after. 21 years and over only. www.bootiemashup.com.