2013-08-08 / Community
Duo making waves in music industry
Robin Thicke’s new album features their remix on a bonus track
For recent Calabasas High School graduates Adam Novodor, 18, and Aaron Spiro, 17, recording artist Robin Thicke’s provocative No. 1 song “Blurred Lines” is, as critics have dubbed it, “the soundtrack for the summer.”
The two produced a remix— a digitally edited version of a song that typically adds new percussion, music and vocal arrangements— of the song. The remix is featured as a bonus track on Thicke’s “Blurred Lines” album’s Target Deluxe edition, available through Target stores as part of a special promotion.
Novodor and Spiro first met in 11th grade and developed a friendship over their shared passion for music.
Novodor, a DJ since he was 15, and Spiro, who began producing music when he was 13, started collaborating on various musical projects. The partnership led to the formation of a music production company, Bee’s Knees.
“We come from two different sides of the spectrum,” said Novodor. “I was coming at it as a DJ, and Aaron was coming from a more technical understanding as a producer.”
“ We both are at the same level artistically and have similar taste in music though,” Spiro said.
Although Novodor parlayed DJ gigs into networking opportunities, building relationships with musicians, music publishers and artists’ managers, the duo’s first professional break came through Novodor’s stepbrother, Miles Beard, an executive for Warner Music Group and Atlantic Records.
“ Miles didn’t know if we were good enough to produce a remix for a label, but I kept bugging him,” said Novodor, “He told me he couldn’t guarantee anything, not even that we’d get paid, but we just wanted the chance.”
That chance came last fall in the form of a remix for Canadian performers Tegan and Sara’s single “Closer.” Although the remix won’t be released until this August, the two earned their first paycheck as music producers and continued to juggle high school with music producing.
Two months later, Warner Bros. invited the duo to remix the single “My Gun” for Australian band The Rubens. Novodor and Spiro knew Bee’s Knees was earning some buzz in the industry.
But when Robin Thicke’s record label, Interscope, and his co-manager, Adam Mersel, invited the duo to submit a remix for “Blurred Lines,” the No. 1 song on Billboard’s Pop Song, R&B Song and Hot 100 charts, the two were blown away.
“ The invitation came the day before our senior prom,” said Novodor. “I was at Friday night Shabbat services, and my phone just started ringing off the hook.”
Feeling a bit intimidated by the high- profile opportunity and still with no guarantees, Novodor and Spiro had only five days to complete the production of the remix.
For Novodor, remixing is all about taking a good song and making it better.
“You want to complement the original song,” he said.
“The vocals are the most important element of any remix,” added Spiro, who admitted that the a cappella vocal track supplied by the record label presented a challenge in completing the remix.
“We kept working in different chords and different keys, but we had to go out of the standard key range, which was very difficult. We had a cool idea for the song, but we couldn’t get it to work at first,” Spiro said.
The two hired classmates Johnathan Kaner and Cooper Kanew, both 17, to perform the guitar and bass guitar tracks they needed for the remix, which added a strong bass line and more of a funk sound to the single.
“ We wanted to get our friends involved, and they were excited just to be a part of it,” said Novodor.
They delivered the remix on time and were ecstatic when they received Mersel’s call telling them it was going to be on Thicke’s album. A follow-up email simply read, “Robin loves it.”
Earning an album credit, as well as a one-time payment, in association with Robin Thicke’s hit single would be impressive for any producer. But for Novodor and Spiro, who start college in the fall, being caught up in the pop culture spotlight has definitely made this a summer to remember.