On YouTube and iTunes a new Elvis remix makes the rounds. The classic "Baby Let's Play House" was remixed by the Italian DJ / Producer Agostino Carollo a.k.a. Spankox. Time to talk to the man behind the remix.
ElvisNews: Can you tell us something about the person behind the name "Spankox"?
Spankox: My name is Agostino Carollo. I'm a composer, a record producer and a DJ from Italy. I'm signed to EMI Music in Germany and to Universal Music Publishing in Italy. I approached music studying the violin since I was 6 for 10 years. At the age of 11 I wrote my first song. I got a degree in Arts and my specialization is Rock Music. I released so far four albums and various singles under the names X-Treme, Eyes Cream, Ago and Spankox. I received a few gold records for some of my songs like "Love Song" (Top 10 around Europe and also covered by the band Right Said Fred in 2002), "Fly Away" (n.1 in the Billboard Club Chart in 2000 and 5 weeks n.1 in Canada), "Open Up Your Mind" (Top 10 Billboard), "Put On Your Red Shoes" (Top 20 in Germany) and "To The Club" (now a club classic). My latest release as Spankox is called "So True" was out last month on EMI in Germany, Austria and Switzerland. I'm a voting member of the Grammy Academy and I've had the pleasure and honor of working with artists like Roxette, Snap!, Vasco Rossi (Italy's #1 rock star), Mungo Jerry and others.
ElvisNews: Are you an Elvis fan yourself?
Spankox: I'm a big Elvis fan since I was a kid. I own almost all Elvis records and he's always been a big source of inspiration for me.
ElvisNews: What are your favorite song, album and movie?
Spankox: My favorites are Song: "Baby Let's Play House" (The Original & The Spankox Re:Version) :-) Album: Pink Floyd "The Dark Side of the Moon" Elvis album: Jailhouse Rock Movie: Braveheart Elvis movie: Follow That Dream
ElvisNews: What made you choose an Elvis song for a remix?
Spankox: I was really inspired by "Baby, Let's Play House" because Elvis' voice in this recording is full of energy.
ElvisNews: JXL and Paul Oakenfold remixed lesser-known tracks. You picked a classic. Did you pick this track because you like it or because the copyright ran out in most of Europe or because it was a song you liked?
Spankox: I discovered this track a few years ago, when I started DJ’ing. I liked it first because Elvis' super voice and because of its title... not the sexual meaning actually, but beacuse I was thinking about the music genre I've been playing as DJ (house music). I used to arrive in clubs where the resident DJ was playing hip hop or R&B and I used to say... "Baby, let's play house now" and drop a few seconds of a little edit I did of the original version. So I couldn't but love this track.
ElvisNews: How did you create the track; what was the material you worked with?
Spankox: Well I was lucky to get hold of one first generation analogue copy on 2'' tape of the original 1954 master. I had to "cook" that tape (it's a special process) to restore the recording then I transferred it to a 24bit/96kHz digital copy and that was my working material. The whole job was done using Logic and Solid State Logic hardware to preserve the original warmth of the sound. The goal, creating the new arrangement and mix, was to make it contemporary, but respecting the original flavour of the track; and I've always been thinking about what Elvis would have said if he heard it. My friend Highpass has been working with me on this production and his musical taste is excellent.
ElvisNews: Was the mix created for you to play something old in a new setting, a club, or were there immediate plans for the release of a single?
Spankox: Well, the first idea was to try to see if it was possible to update a track like this. It's really difficult to do this. It's Elvis! Several times the whole job was restarted from scratch. When finally the production was complete in its final version I started to play it to several people. All the reactions where very good, so I started to think about a release.
ElvisNews: The remix was launched with a strong media campaign: the song got its debut with a remarkable clip on YouTube and most media received an official press release. The song is both available on iTunes, and CD. All this makes us wonder is this a private project or is the campaign financed by a bigger company?
Spankox: There's Coca Cola and Pepsi together for the first time behind this project and their logos will be on the CD next to each other. Ehm... sorry, just kiddin'... It's all based on my label, Everness. We put our money in this production and we work in cooperation with our partner labels around the world.
ElvisNews: What kind of reactions do you get on this mix, and is there a difference between the reactions from Elvis fans and dance fans?
Spankox: The reactions in the club are always fantastic. Young people love it. But I have to say it's not a real dance track, it's more pop. The big majority of Elvis' fans are telling me that they really like this new version. Also Nikki, the DJ / musician at Radio Deejay (that's the most important Italian radio network that first broadcasted the track last week) who is a big Elvis fan himself, announced it to 3 million listeners as the best Elvis remix ever made. Italian fans are the ones that are pushing this track to the top of the charts in my country and I'm really proud of this.
ElvisNews: What would Elvis think of it?
Spankox: He would be flattered. :-)
ElvisNews: What was the reaction from the Elvis Estate?
Spankox: Well I've been in touch with the publishing side and their Italian representatives, who think the work is very good. So I hope we can find an agreement soon to be able to release the track also in the USA.
ElvisNews: Do you follow the discussions on Elvis message boards RE: your remix? Like with all remixes, this song too has it’s defender and attackers. One message board poster thought it was “extremely poor taste” to try to change (or even "rape") a fifties recording, the “pure era” of rock ‘n’ roll. Had you expected that kind of controversy?
Spankox: I read the posts, yes. I think it's normal, because this is Elvis. But I was happy to see the results of your poll: more than two thirds of the persons who responded think that this remix is good for Elvis.
ElvisNews: Do you think this mix could do as well as the previous two remixes did?
Spankox: It surely has a big potential potential. I think it's up to old and new Elvis fans to support it now. Anyway I think it would be a good message to young music fans to see Elvis at the top of the charts again. In Italy, being the track already at the top of the charts and on the radio Elvis is now known also by kids that never got into is music and this is good.
ElvisNews: We were a bit puzzled by the CD with a vinyl pressing on the flip side. Was that made as a gimmick, or is there another reason?
Spankox: I know it's difficult to believe, but it's true. It will be the first of its ki