The Beastie Boys‘ Mike D. makes over Portugal. The Man’s poppy recent single “Modern Jesus” not in his image but in a much more upbeat, hip-hop/electro crossover. The original track, as found on the group’s Danger Mouse–produced latest record Evil Friends, sounded light and pensive as frontman John Gourley sang, “Don’t pray for us/ We don’t need no modern Jesus.” But the remix, which came via Fader, makes it sound a bit more upbeat thanks to busy new beats, grinding synths and an echoing, quasi-psychedelic sheen.
“I was talking to a friend who happened to work at the band’s label about stuff I was listening to,” Mike D. told to Fader. “I mean, we do this often, and I mention the Evil Friends album. He hit me back right away asking if I would do a mix, so it was no doubt, I knew I wanted to do the song and push it, make it bump more, trap that shit out.”
Gourley was simply happy that Mike D. had discovered his band. “The Beasties introduced us to the world that existed outside of Alaska, and we lived by it,” he said. “We have referenced Beastie Boys on every album we have made. The dude is a Beatle, in our book, and to get to work with a guy like Mike D. is and always has been at the top of our list since we were kids.”
The influence of rap on Portugal. The Man is something the band talked about with Rolling Stone earlier this year. In April, bassist Zachary Carothers said, “We’re huge fans of hip-hop. We listen to it every day. We’ve tried that kind of stuff before but we didn’t know how to do it right.”