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DL & Interview: Robots With Rayguns: "Chromatica REMIXED" Tribute Album


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ChicaSkas

The GGD Interview:

Robots With Rayguns & his "Chromatica REMIXED" Album,

Fanmade, released exclusively on GGD


by Katharine Styles-Burroughs for GagaDaily 

 

CHROMATICA%20REMIXED%20COVER1.webp

DOWNLOAD HERE

http://chromatica.net/

 

 

Robots With Rayguns, the artist also known as Lucas Patrick Smith, presents a personal passion project for your listening pleasure: "Chromatica REMIXED". It's a professionally fanmade electronic dance remix album celebrating the one year anniversary of Chromatica's original release date. 


RWR is primarily a synthwave musician, with a strong blend of nostalgia tinged albums and remixes in his catalog. He's also a big fan of Lady Gaga, and he chose to release his remix album here exclusively on GagaDaily, where he's been a reader for many years and loves our Twitter and Instagram pages. I got to sit down with him and have a chat about mp3 archives, Chromatica, and what it's like remixing the modern Queen of Pop.


Lucas also partnered with our own GGD REPLAY video artist Ryan J. Thompson, to do the scintillating graphics and art behind his remixes. 

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Hi Lucas! Thanks for taking the time to chat with me for GagaDaily today!

While not an official Interscope release, your album is a great answer to the Twitter buzz and hyped online excitement going on right now. 


I was nervous about it, because it's a big fanbase, and all fanbases can be very particular. With this album, it's a lot to live up to -- I didn't want to f*ck it up, or make [fans] angry or step on any toes. 


What inspired you when you heard Chromatica, to make these sounds? When I played Alice last night, it was such a strong opener, all these throbbing baselines supporting her voice. Alice isn't an easy song to make better, but you threaded the needle:


 Alice (Robots With Rayguns Remix) 2020

 

I'm flattered, and happy that I didn't make something sh*t!


No, no, no.... I don't think you did! I could be biased though. I love remixes. I hoard and collect them like candy. 


I was surprised to see that you dug up, like a really old one that I'd almost forgotten about. I didn't even have it still.... from like a decade ago! To see that unearthed, I was like, wow. I didn't think that anybody was holding onto that. Or had that still. At that time, I didn't think that anybody was listening or collecting. So to see that a decade later was just like, wow. It felt full circle. And pretty cool. 


Alejandro (Robots With Rayguns Remix) circa 2010

 


This whole Lady Gaga remix project has been very serendipitous. Like the coincidences of my manager knowing someone who works at GagaDaily, (you) and my reaching out to Ryan J. Thompson, who was already working on the visuals for the Replay music video for GagaDaily, and even more. So it all just kind of came together in a weird series of coincidences. If I believed in fate I would say that it was fated to happen! 


You have a really cool sonic exploration here.


You know, I've gotten so many messages on Twitter from Lady Gaga fans that are not only embracing the idea but they are hungry for it. That surprised me very much. So I had to keep going and make it the best I could. 


In large part that's because we've been in a Lady Gaga drought. Because of the pandemic, no concerts, etc..... funny you should mention they are hungry for it..... one of the things I've always said is that Lady Gaga is like chicken. You can chop up, and cook her voice, and remix her work in many thousands of ways just like chicken recipes.  So when we as a fanbase get new remix albums, we are literally being fed. A new reinterpretation and vision of her art as YOU see it. 

 

This makes me think of Taylor Swift, and something she said in the Reputation Tour sessions. Reputation is my favorite album by her, because I think it's badass that she was all angry and industrial on that album... I'm secretly a Swiftie!


So, Taylor started to do an acoustic cover on her guitar of "Dancing With Our Hands Tied", and she talked about her songwriting process. When she sits down to write a song, she wants to make a GOOD song, no matter what the production style is, once you strip it back, at the end of the day, it's just a good song. No matter how it's arranged or how you produce it. 


But when there is a really good song -- no matter how you arrange it or what you put behind it, it will still speak for itself. And that's how strong Lady Gaga's songwriting is. No matter how you strip it back or pile on the production, it's just a beautiful song. 


As successful as these people (Gaga and Taylor) are, people always say, "oh it's money, marketing, all this stuff behind them" -- but at the end of the day marketing and money can only get you so far -- they both have a staying legacy of just having GREAT music and passion. And that's what really drew me to Lady Gaga, her innate passion in the art. All the other stuff is just kind of bullshit. It's not that big of a deal to her. At the end of the day she just wants to make great music. And everything else follows that. It's all about making that art. 


You're absolutely right! 

For our fans who don't know much of your work yet, what would you recommend as a quintessential RWR remix or album? 


Ooooh that's kind of a tricky one because that's a matter of perspective! I have a different relationship with my music than my fans have. The fans would say, Wild Style, or Fresh As It Gets. For the most part, I would agree! But at the same time, I think Cult Pop is probably my best work. It defines my personality and my own artistic vision and voice more than all the others. It's harder to digest though, heavier,  than my other work, which people more associate with my brand. 


When I first looked into your work before this album, I felt like I was biting into a little piece of the 80's. Like a nostalgia bite!


Instagram is another place where perspective is different. A lot of people see my work as very nostalgic and retro -- and I get where they are coming from -  as an artist I don't realize as much just how much it sounds like that. I grew up on Madonna, Peter Gabriel, and late 90's - early 2000's goth and industrial culture. It's definitely a big mixture! Sometimes its not as intentionally nostalgic as people think. 
Back then, the music just had different vibes to it than it does now. Different synth productions. People didn't take themselves as seriously.


You don't hear fun silly songs being put up on the radio the same was that you did in the 80's and 90's.

Exactly. People didn't take themselves as seriously as artists. People like Prince, and Madonna, they liked to experiment and have fun with it. And make serious art -- but while also poking fun at themselves and giving a wink. 


When did you first start remixing songs?


Oh. Wow. Probably back when I was like 15. Someone recommended to me this software. I still use a version of that outdated software, funnily enough, to this day as part of my workstation! Acid 6.0, at the time it must have been Acid 5.0. But I just started playing around. My first mashup was probably Nine Inch Nails vs Rasputina, a cool cello band! It was history from there. I entered remix competitions. And later on, in 2008 - 2009, I started putting a lot of stuff on Soundcloud. The culture was different then, it was before the major labels starting investing in Soundcloud and cracking down on unofficial remixes. The days of the blogs and Soundcloud are kind of over, it's not really existing in the same way now as it did then. 


I used to frequent the blogs and discover new music, DiscoDust and DeathElectro, so many. And this is a few harddrives ago, so I don't have a lot of that anymore. Some of the stuff I made I don't have anymore, maybe some of the fans do. 


When Ellie Goulding first started coming out, I got to work with FrankMusik, on Cult Pop. We ended up becoming good friends. His demos that he did with Ellie were put on those blogs. And they were truly amazing. But they ended up getting redone for her first album, and they ended up very bland and boring sounding. The original demos that circulated on the blogs became this cool peice of history that you can't even find anymore. Everyone took for granted that they were on blogs, no one thought the blog world would fizzle out. A lot of gems could be found on those blogs. 


That's true, countless songs, if they weren't downloaded or ripped by fans at that time, are lost forever now. With the loss of Myspaces' data, in the Youtube takedowns, and so painfully in the Soundcloud removals, they are gone if someone didn't back them up. Some efforts have been made by DataHoarders and ArchiveTeam over on Reddit, over the years, but it's drops in the bucket. Copyright removal absolutely kills art. 


At the beginning when I was [making all these remixes] I had a lot of anxiety over, "Is what I am doing illegal, is it copyright infringement?", etc. And my Soundcloud got deleted. 


But the older I got, the more I realized that art should be enjoyed by everyone. Art shouldn't be enforced. Now, it's one thing when people are infringing directly on an artist who's making a living off their work -- and I appreciate that aspect of it -- but at the end of the day , especially nowadays, artists don't really make the money off of the music. Like, if I wanted to make money, I wouldn't be doing this, I don't make much money off of the music itself! I do it because I have to. It's something in me. It's therapy and self expression. What labels don't understand is that the old way of thinking was never really applicable. And it certainly isn't applicable now.


Artists like Lady Gaga understand that.  I remember talking with my manager about it, like, "Are we going to get into trouble?" Like I still have that paranoia from the early days, the SoundCloud days. I don't want Gaga to take offense at what I'm doing when I'm putting this out there, but at the end of the day, when I think about it, if someone puts out a remix of my work, how would I feel?  I'm never like, "Oh, how dare they," I'm more like, "Oh, that's so cool, like, someone was inspired enough by something that I made to do that."


That's partly what inspired me to do this. Chromatica is an incredible album. The idea started as, "Wouldn't it be cool if I started with Alice..." And then it grew to, "Wouldn't it be cool if I just remixed the whole album??" And then I was like, f*ck it, why not?


Exactly. Dropping your Chromatica remix album right before the official remix album also creates a stopgap for the fans, so we have something to tide us over and enjoy in the long droughts with no Gaga sound! I think it turned out really well. 


When I saw the fans' response to the Alice and Free Woman remixes I put on Youtube, I was like, "Wow, I should just do it, and see what happens." Half of it was where I envisioned, "What if I produced Chromatica, how would I interpret her music?". The other half was me remixing it and playing around with it.  Some of the same sounds that were in her music were coming out in my work, and I didn't even realize it.  And that's a cool testament to how Gaga's music does speak for itself, no matter who remixes it.


You were really able to put your own colors of sound on it. How did you get the acapellas?


Oh god! I got them off of Youtube! I did not have any studio acapellas. None of those are studio acapellas! *laughs* They are all shitty DIY acapellas I did whatever I could to mask. 


You did pretty well because at times I couldn't tell! I thought you must have asked the Haus for them. 


No, I didn't, and it's funny, because when I would bring it up to Chew Fu and Ljuba, when I would mention a hypothetical, and say, "Oh, do you think I can get the studio acapellas?" they basically just laughed in my face, like, "Yeah, right, that's never gonna happen nowadays."


And that is really sad, that they have to go to these lengths now to protect Gaga's music. Because of the sheer number of times Gaga's people have been scammed, impersonated & hacked to get unreleased material, legitimate requests for use like yours suffer. We've been living in a wierd situation for almost a decade now where we have fans so obsessed with Gaga that they want every little unreleased piece.


Wow. I can tell it's insane. And I did try to mask [that they were Youtube acapellas], I've gotten a lot better at that than the Alejandro remix days! I should probably redo that one. I think creatively its one of my favorites. But from a production standpoint it's godawful.
But the lust for Gaga material is real.  Just lately in my teasing this remix album, I keep getting these requests to share a petition to get ARTPOP demos released.  I wasn't even expecting the reaction from the fans on Youtube and Twitter. And I was surprised that the fans saw the flow , because as a remix album, I wasn't concerned with making it cohesive. But it ended up like an alternate Chromatica reality, like Jem and The Holograms meets a heavy metal magazine. 


I liked 911. There was a dubsteppy moment in there I wanted to stay in much longer! 
Rain on Me slaps. And I can't wait to hear Free Woman blasted loud in a club.


Mixing Rain On Me, from the very beginning, I knew I had to heavily incorporate "Here Comes The Rain Again" by The Eurythmics. If you know about that song, you'll see the integrating iconic baseline and the sounds that ended up going together perfectly, [Gaga's harmony and the baseline]. It was begging to be mashed up.


I ended up mentally filling in Annie's vocals around the Gaga and Ariana.


Wouldn't that be dope if they did that? Like when Mylie Cyrus did with her track and Stevie Nicks. If they put out a version of Rain On Me, mashed up with Here Comes The Rain Again, and had Annie Lennox and did a new video with her ---it would become a female empowerment anthem that could cross generations! That would be crazy!

 


Well, we're gonna have to tweet that to Bloodpop and Interscope!


Make it happen! And you know, I saw that [that Bloodpop had asked people about the remix album] and I was like, "Oh sh*t." Because I had already tweeted the first teaser for my Chromatica remix album. Of course I had put the remixes on YouTube before, and I didn't expect many people to see what I tweeted, but it got passed around and it took off. And then later that day, he'd tweeted again, and people started to connect the dots where there weren't any, so I had to say I wasn't associated with their camp at all, because Gaga fans were assuming we were talking about the same thing. 


Yeah, things got blurred quickly, and I ended up explaining to the fans.... that while not associated with Interscope, your album WAS technically fanmade, but not so fanmade as to imply inexperience in a room with Soundcloud, but more as a professionally made tribute album or passion project, by an already established remixer.


I like that, that describes it, a passion project. I've remixed other Gaga songs, I did Just Dance, Monster, and Alejandro, but never her whole album before. From the beginning, what made me a hardcore Lady Gaga fan, was the Fame Monster. Until Chromatica, it felt like her best work to me. The Fame Monster is a brilliant album. I started to become fascinated with her as an artist and as a person in her interviews, how she approached music making. It was very inspiring. She gained her power by fighting for it. And not going along with what people wanted. It may take longer to achieve the goals, but it's worth it.  Seeing her succeed [despite them all] was incredible. That's what inspired me about her. 

What's your favorite track on your remix album of Chromatica?


My favorite song on this remix album... it depends on the moment. Currently I love Plastic Doll. Originally I was going to turn it into a slow tempo melodramatic ballad, but it didn't work, so I went arena rock 80's guitar anthem vibe. It came together so quickly. 


What would you like to tell our members on GagaDaily and your fans on Twitter, etc.?

Basically, that this remix album came about as a "what if?" And I just decided to do it, and I'm glad I did. Especially with her fanbase, it goes along with the message she puts out. If you want to do something, as crazy as it is, just f*cking do it. Don't think about what people are going to think about you or your work. Just go create, have fun with it. Don't worry about what happens. 
If I had kept second guessing myself, it could have very easily not happened at all.


I want everyone to know, that at the end of the day, no one really gives a f*ck. Do what you want to do. I think her fans get that. Gaga gives them that permission to do what feels right. 


Thanks for sharing your remix album exclusively with us on GagaDaily!

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
You can download the album for free exclusively on chromatica.net 
from Robots With Rayguns!
Check out his work on:
Instagram
Twitter
and say hi on GGD


Click on the link to download the album! 

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
 

Edited by ChicaSkas
Do YOU own the 4' by 6' Perfect Illusion promo Poster? Will pay you for it. Pic: http://i.imgur.com/UWuzumk
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RAMROD

Chica always get the Xclusiv :applause:

(ノ◕ヮ◕)ノ✧*:・゚ やれやれだわ (*´艸`*) ♡♡♡
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littlepotter

I loved reading this! Can't wait to listen to the album. Thank you Chica :hug:

highly emotional era
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littlepotter
9 minutes ago, RobtsWthRayguns said:

Definitely not. 

I was shook for a sec :poot:

highly emotional era
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PartySick
1 hour ago, RAMROD said:

Chica always get the Xclusiv :applause:

She really does though :applause:

1 hour ago, ChicaSkas said:

Mixing Rain On Me, from the very beginning, I knew I had to heavily incorporate "Here Comes The Rain Again" by The Eurythmics. If you know about that song, you'll see the integrating iconic baseline and the sounds that ended up going together perfectly, [Gaga's harmony and the baseline]. It was begging to be mashed up.

This has me so excited to listen tonight :bradley:

Seeing voices 🖐️🖤
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Agunimon

My favorite remixes are Alice, Plastic Doll, Enigma, Replay, 1000 Doves. 

Edited by Agunimon
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Brainiac

I'm listening now and I'm deceased at the Plastic Doll remix! It's SOOOO GOOD!!!!

@RobtsWthRayguns Really really well done! I may like the remix of Plastic Doll even more than the original. That guitar track was such a smart choice.

The entire remix album is incredible. Thank you so much for doing this!

Edited by Brainiac
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RobtsWthRayguns
19 minutes ago, Brainiac said:

I'm listening now and I'm deceased at the Plastic Doll remix! It's SOOOO GOOD!!!!

@RobtsWthRayguns Really really well done! I may like the remix of Plastic Doll even more than the original. That guitar track was such a smart choice.

The entire remix album is incredible. Thank you so much for doing this!

Aw thank you so much. I’m thrilled that you monsters are digging it. 

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Duella DeVil

Is that a Here Comes the Rain again sample in Rain On Me?!?!?!

www.instagram.com/theduella666
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RobtsWthRayguns
46 minutes ago, Duella DeVil said:

Is that a Here Comes the Rain again sample in Rain On Me?!?!?!

YOU BET IT IS. 

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