Cover art for 'Como (Remix)' by Dan Blitzman AKA The Nylex Factory. (Illustrator Instagram: @millkman)
On Friday 20 March 2020, Melbourne producer The Nylex Factory released a thunderstorm remix of Bryce Bishop’s alternative hip-hop track 'Como'. The Nylex Factory is the experimental electronic and dance music project of Dan Blitzman, frontman of alternative rock band Tall Relatives.
Both Bishop and Blitzman (as part of Tall Relatives) were booked to play the Sir Johns Bar on 2 April for the Radio Monash welcome back gig. In light of the current global health crisis, Radmon’s ‘Back on the Waves’ show was one of countless local gigs and events cancelled to reduce the spread of COVID-19. And what better way to spend your time in self-isolation than to listen to this new banger of a remix?
The original track is, at its core, an unsent love letter penned in yearning for a love that once was. The entire piece gravitates around this central theme of ‘talking’: the title, 'Como', is a nod to Bishop’s Spanish heritage (while Blitzman himself hails from Argentina), while repeated references to not hearing from an ex who no longer wants to talk are structurally enclosed within a real voicemail from the girl in question. We’re thrust into this longing to hear her voice, listening to an answering machine over again just to hear her last words.
The Nylex Factory took 'Como' and its thematic fixation on communication and memory and threw it in the microwave on high. Nylex processes Bishop’s vocals to sound as if Bryce himself is on the other side of the phone, flipping the switch on 'Como's voice-versus-voicemail one-sided conversations.
The remix boasts avalanche-heavy drops, clapping drums, and pounding stadium beats pulsating underneath a schizophrenic lyrical mash-up. Heavier beats pull back as Nylex lets Bishop’s rolling verses take hold of the rhythm, listing off memories in desperate reminiscence of “long nights, bus rides, cheap wine…”. Nylex takes the central twangy guitar melody and sets it to a breakbeat escalation which implodes in a synthesis of warping melodies to return to 'Como's chorus.
The remix builds up and crashes down the rhythmic tidal waves and unique resonances of 'Como' with the rib-rattling bass-lines we’ve come to love from The Nylex Factory. While he has created an absolute banger which renders your head, shoulders, knees, and toes victim to grooving, Nylex won’t let us forget what’s at the heart of the original track. Concluding with slow emotional vocals and a snippet of the original voicemail, The Nylex Factory’s remix of 'Como' offers a certain catharsis to the latest instalment of the Bryce Bishop discography, a poignant portfolio of heartbreak and nostalgia.
Dan Blitzman, The Nylex Factory.
We had a chat with The Nylex Factory - or Dan Blitzman as he’s known on the streets - about the means of production, cooking up his unique experimental and electronic music, and remixing 'Como'.
First off, we’d love to learn about you. When did you begin producing experimental dance and electronic music under the moniker The Nylex Factory? What sparked your entry into the world of EDM, and why?
"I'd been playing in my band Tall Relatives for a few years when I started Nylex. I was looking to bring a synth into that type of sound but at the time the Korg Minilogue didn't quite fit with the direction we were going. So rather than just leave it to gather dust in the corner I decided to commit my summer of 2018 to make something from the hardware, and after attempts ranging from garage rock to industrial a certain kind of EDM/EBM sound emerged.
The direction itself came from a very particular sound that started in a garage jam with a few friends and that's what I've been chasing ever since.
I did the same thing with a drum kit when I started Tall Relatives - once you blow 700 bucks + on something you must now commit to making something from it."
Do you prefer to work alone or in collaboration? Who have you worked with?
"I prefer to work with friends. The Nylex Factory is just me but I've released four songs with Djbods who is basically an extended family member at this rate. He is the right brain to my left brain and we work basically like clockwork, each of our strengths complimenting the others. It's a kind of dynamic I've never had before and working with someone can get projects done faster.
Working alone is much more reckless and intense, which can also be good if that's the aim but collaboration for me is the way to go especially with bedroom projects.
It's not restricted to music either; I wasn't intending on doing the cover art but Bryce pushed me to see if I had any work that would represent the song and it turns out I did."
What is at the essential core of The Nylex Factory?
"It's a mixture of wanting to make people dance and also tell some sort of a story and the compromise that comes from that is the Nylex Factory Sound. From sampling portable toilets and telemarketers that have called mid-jam - there's a pretty wide range of genres and sound that I've covered so far but the glue that holds them together is that each venture delves into as much experimentation as possible, while still sticking to a traditional-ish formula."
How does your creative process differ when producing an original track versus a remix, such as 'Como'?
"Original tracks have to please us and our 'idea' of an audience, but a remix has to please someone else, someone who already has a set of artistic values and styles and that in itself is an immense challenge. You kind of have to do what you can and hope for the best and be open to rejection if it doesn't meet their standards."
Gun to your head and you’ve only got your equipment and a USB with stems and you have to produce a banging track or you’re a goner, what is your go-to?
"Heaps and heaps of vocal splicing. I'm very rhythmically oriented and love to carve out the starts and stops of a song starting with the vocals. Afterwards just go ham with the drums and the korg. I really like using as much of the original as possible when it comes to remixes so creativity is key and the pressure to create a lot from myself is gone. My input becomes the structure and my own ideas are the icing.
Hopefully there's Wi-Fi at the gunman's house to export it to Bods or I am indeed a goner because he isn't going to like it un-mixed. Or maybe Bods is the gunman? Idk."
What about Bryce Bishop’s ‘Como’ drew you to remix it?
"The guitar riff and his vocals/lyrics drew me in. From the rap sections to the singing, there's so much to work with and so many ways to take it. I also really enjoy working with genres I've never done before; being out of your comfort zone is amazing for a producer."
What was your vision for the track? What did you set out to make of the remix, and how did that change as you experimented and the track developed?
"We started off wanting to make it drastically different to the o.g and maybe try our hand at specific genres. Ultimately we decided the songs properties should dictate what kind of a remix would come from it. We didn't have a specific sound we were heading towards, I just wanted it to feel like we'd done an immense amount of work and justice to Bryce's original. Usually when you don't notice the behind-the-scenes work is when you know a lot of effort has gone into the remix."
What did the collaboration with Djbods look like in the production of 'Como'? What do you feel each of you brought to the track?
"Bods and I get a coffee in the morning and then listen to the song a million times until we're ready to start. We go for four to five hours each day. I bring a lot of creative bursts and unique techniques to make the song stand out. Bods has a real deep understanding of the technical side of music making and works by putting these ideas through a funnel to see if they work in a real world environment (a club setting). We usually stay on a song for a week or two committing to the same time and schedule until there's nothing more to add to it and that's when we stop."
What is your personal favourite part of The Nylex Factory’s remix of 'Como'?
"The whispers at the start... Nah probably the filtered break-beat that slowly fades under Bryce's lyrics in the verse. That and the synth that accentuates the kickdrum right after it. I think it's moments like that that show how closely we've paid attention to ours and Bryce's music and I think anything done from an honest place will generate some sort of an interesting result."
How did you approach remixing a song which comes from such a place of pain, to turn it into an electronic dance mix?
"I've listened to both the tracks back-to-back and for some reason ours makes me more sad (albeit a sadness you can dance to). I think it's because we project ourselves into the music regardless of whose music it is. I've wanted to use the guitar riff as a prominent factor to the song ever since I first heard it and after playing around with it we settled for a remix where you'd have to listen to the original intently to see what the differences were. Our intent was to do his song justice while also existing in that world as ourselves."
You can find The Nylex Factory's remix of Como on all streaming platforms now.