“I like to say this is the first new Doors track of the 21st century,” Ray Manzarek tells Rolling Stone of a new song he’s recorded with Robby Krieger and John Densmore, as well as popular DJ/producer Skrillex (Sonny Moore). The recording session and song are part of a new documentary film, RE:GENERATION, that recruited five popular DJs/producers to work with artists from five separate genres and had them record new music. A glimpse of the results are featured in the world premiere of the trailer (below).
In addition to Skrillex, the project, co-produced by the Grammys and directed by Amir Bar Lev (The Pat Tillman Story, My Child Can Paint That), brought in DJ Premier to produce a classical track with Nas and the Berklee School of Music Orchestra; Pretty Lights, who did a country song with Leann Rimes and Ralph Stanley; the Crystal Method, who headed to Detroit to spend two days recording a R&B tune with Martha Reeves; and Mark Ronson, who teamed with Erykah Badu, members of the Dap Kings and Trombone Shorty for a jazz cut in New Orleans.
The pairings led to some real fish out of water moments. For instance, Pretty Lights (real name Derek Vincent Smith) says that when he first got in the Nashville studio he might as well have been speaking a foreign language.
“It was a lot of me having to communicate my approach and my ideas to a roomful of top-level country players who were just looking at me like, ‘Who’s this dude?'” Smith says. “And then when Ralph showed up, I tried to tell him what I wanted to do and his response was, ‘I think we’ll just do it my way.’”
Not every pairing had those initial issues, though. Manzarek and Skrillex had an immediate musical connection. “[Sonny] plays his beat, all he had to do was play the one thing. I listened to it and I said, ‘Holy shit, that’s strong,’” Manzarek says. “Basically, it’s a variation on ‘Milestones,’ by Miles Davis, and if I do say so myself, sounds fucking great, hot as hell.”
The union of the Crystal Method with Reeves (best known for the iconic “Dancing In The Streets”) was the best of both worlds – a happy pairing with some creative tension. “It’s gonna be a really interesting viewing cause we got along really well with her,” TCM’s Scott Kirkland says, “but there are also moments when we’re trying to whip the lyrics out where she’s just like, ‘No, no.’”
The film should premiere early in 2012 and will be a big part of Grammy Week next year, with the artists involved doing “Remix Labs,” as well an event at the Grammy Museum and screening that week.