2/11/2012 9:40 AM
On Thursday night, we attended the red-carpet movie premiere of the RE:GENERATION Music Project
documentary, which followed DJs Mark Ronson, Skrillex, The Crystal Method, DJ Premier and Pretty Lights as they collaborated with various artists to remix and re-imagine traditional styles of music, from jazz to country to classical to rock. (We were invited by our friend Stephen Webber
, an artist, DJ, composer and Berklee professor who worked on a symphonic collaboration with DJ Premier, and Nas that has to be heard to believed!) This event was especially significant on the eve of this year’s Grammy Awards, which are recognizing electronic music more than ever, with Skrillex alone receiving five nominations. The project was a huge challenge for all involved—one that took a lot of courage, openness, and a recognition of the universal inspiration of music.
After the screening, KCRW musical director Jason Bentley hosted a roundtable with all of the DJs, to talk about their perspectives on the project. When Bentley asked the group why is this film significant in their minds, Ken Jordan of the Crystal Method, on collaborating with Martha Reeves, said that they were paying respects to artists who inspired them. “These genres that you see in this film, they’ve always been an inspiration for us to make music. People kept asking us, was it a challenge? No. R&B, rock, it’s always been our inspiration. So we want to take this opportunity to show people that it all works together. The music we make, we never called anything. We call it electronic now, but it’s the music we come out with from all of these inspirations.” [Hear Skrillex talk about working with the Doors HERE
No matter which styles of music you are personally invested in with your own musical endeavors, seeing RE:GENERATION is going to make you rethink your personal belief systems. It’s often ingrained in us to classify different genres of music as having few commonalities, when in truth, all types of music share the most important paths to creating a great piece of art. Compassion for your project, sharing emotions, stepping outside of your comfort zones; these are the things that every great piece of music that’s ever been recorded and performed share. There is no doubt that RE:GENERATION will take its place alongside other great music documentaries such as The Last Waltz, Hail Hail Rock and Roll, Rattle and Hum and Beats and Rhymes as candid personal journeys into the hours of hard work, personal pain, creative conflicts, and moments of genius that transform a good idea into stellar music.