October 27, 2004

The Beastie Boys on Remixing [8:34 am]

The first of what should be several interesting article from the current “dead tree” Wired on digital content and music culture: The Remix Masters

Sampling litigation was rare back in 1989, so you guys got by without much trouble on Paul’s Boutique. But the album is still sold today - have you had to license all those samples retroactively?

YAUCH: Well, I think there’s a statute of limitations on that stuff. If 10 years have gone by or whatever it is and there hasn’t been a problem, then it’s not an issue.

HOROVITZ: At least that’s what we’re hoping. [Laughs.] You know, I’m pretty sure we were actually the first court case that used the word sampling in it. It was in a lawsuit involving a sample of Jimmy Castor’s “The Return of Leroy (Part One)” on our first album.

How is it different to make sample-based music in 2004?

DIAMOND: We can’t just go crazy and sample everything and anything like we did on Paul’s Boutique. It’s limiting in the sense that if we’re going to grab a two-bar section of something now, we’re going to have to think about how much we really need it. But then the flip side is that it pushes us to be creative. We have to look for stuff to sample that is maybe more low-profile. And take what we find and manipulate and recontextualize it in a way that makes it sound totally new. If we tweak it enough and make it our own, then it might not even be an issue.

How do you clear the samples?

DIAMOND: It’s very tedious. We have to sit there and basically break out every single component of every track that we do and make a list of the sources for everything. We go through every little blip of sound and decide what’s significant enough that we need to contact the owner. From there, it’s a whole bunch of lawyer craziness.

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