The tech house demigod has a knack for reimagining sounds.
Established in 1977, Unidisc Music has grown exponentially over the years to become one of Canada’s largest independent record labels. With a lifespan over four decades long, their extensive catalog has been immersed in pop culture through the years, even appearing in iconic television shows such as The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, Sex and the City, and Grey’s Anatomy, among others.
To celebrate the evolution of dance music, Unidisc has enlisted some of the world’s most renowned electronic music artists to produce exceptional remixes of the label’s music. This endeavor, called the “Reimagining Campaign,” was created by Francis Cucuzzella—son of founder George Cucuzzella—as a way to modernize some of the imprint’s timeless classics.
Francis’ goal in launching the initiative is to “pay homage to the artists who shaped dance music and those spreading it today globally,” according to a statement. “Music Greats such as Geraldine Hunt, Patrick Cowley, Trans-X and Lime propelled the movement of letting loose on the dancefloor and have left a mark on the artists of today, the very artists who inspire me and my work,” Francis asserted. “I knew I had to find a way to share this feeling with others.”
With the “Reimagining Campaign,” Unidisc strives to showcase the classics that influenced the through-lines of dance music, and hopefully impact new generations of the genre’s admirers. The yearlong project was launched with help from Claptone, a fabled German DJ and electronic music producer who has proven his ability to reimagine music over the years with a slew of venerated remixes.
A knack for reimagining sounds
Having been in the scene for nearly a decade now, touring all over the globe and performing at legendary festivals and venues such as Tomorrowland, Pacha, and Hi Ibiza, Claptone has established himself as a world-renowned artist.
Claptone is more than a music producer—he is a prolific performer who has always been one to play with identities. Beyond his iconic mask, he explores different techniques so as to not be pigeonholed into one identifiable sound, which is a big factor in his success. Claptone has been been able to grow and evolve by reinventing himself album after album, the mythos of dance music gushing through each release. This quality has translated into his profound ability to produce sensational remixes.
Some of his most popular reworks include those of Gregory Porter’s “Liquid Spirit” and RÜFÜS DU SOL‘s “Sundream,” among a myriad of others. With an exhaustive catalog under his belt, Claptone has demonstrated time and again an aptitude for repurposing sounds into something all his own. “I will spend a lot of hours with the original track and I need to have an idea of how to make it work in the Claptone style and on the dance floor today,” he explained in a virtual interview with EDM.com. “If I have that, then it’s inspirational to me as well which is very important.”
Launching the “Reimagining Campaign”
So far Claptone has been joined by fellow dance music luminaries Carl Cox, Purple Disco Machine, and Jacques Greene to launch the “Reimagining Campaign,” marking an exciting new chapter for Unidisc by reinventing its greatest hits. An expansive roster of talented producers will also soon be involved.
When Unidisc approached Claptone to kick off the campaign by producing a remix of the 1983 disco hit “Living On Video” by Trans-X, he found himself immediately drawn to the opportunity. “‘Living On Video’ back then was one of those trendsetting dance tracks before there really were such a thing as dance tracks. That’s how early it was,” Claptone said. “It was a groundbreaking piece of music and it was hard to say no to that.”
Approaching a remix opportunity of this magnitude can be daunting, especially for such an iconic song—even for someone of Claptone’s acclaim. “I was really happy that I got asked, and a little bit nervous as well,” he admitted while recollecting his initial thought process. “In a remix, the goal is to make something better, and for a song like ‘Living On Video’ it is very difficult to accomplish this.”
Claptone also said that at times, he felt as though he was sitting in the studio with Trans-X. “As a remixer, you get a certain amount of stems that were a part of the original track and it’s really like a journey back in time,” he continued. “Almost as if you are sitting there with the original artist in the studio.”
Working on original music
In addition to his remixes, the German tech house titan has been keeping busy working on original music. Just last week, he released a spellbinding single titled “Zero.” “[Zero] is the first of many, many singles to come because there will be an album later this year,” Claptone told us.
Since Claptone hasn’t released an album since 2018’s Fantast, his forthcoming record is a highly anticipated collection of original music, to say the least. “I worked hard on this album over the past one-and-a-half years and I think it payed off,” he exulted. Single by single, these original pieces will be released in the near future, closing in on the album in November, Claptone said.
Keeping up with the times
While in-person events are limited due to the impact of COVID-19, Claptone has been able to maintain a connection with his fans via livestreams. They are yet another reason why the producer was an excellent choice for launching the “Reimagining Campaign,” considering his reputation as an artist with a hunger to pivot creatively.
“It started with Claptone In The Circus, but I have been doing some home streams and then some rooftop ones,” he said, explaining how he strives to keep things fresh. “I’ve also been going into clubs that are unable to be operational at this time, working with many different clubs for different streams. I even try to pick a theme for each stream to make it interesting and a little more timeless.”
While livestreams have been a nice respite to help us cope with the absence of live shows during the pandemic, nothing beats the energy from a crowd. “I really hope we get over the whole streaming thing soon and can get back to partying in-person. Nothing beats that feeling,” Claptone said. Until then, fans can watch a new stream every Saturday via Claptone’s YouTube channel and Facebook page.
You can find Claptone’s remix of “Living On Video” on your preferred streaming service here.