Mix Master Steve

The maker of your Hometown Hotties auto-tune triumph explains how and why he does…well, whatever it is he does!

You may remember Steve Porter from viral videos such as We Talkin ‘Bout Practice, and the Slap Chop Rap. He was kind enough to apply his mad skillz (with a “Z”, bitches!) to our Hometown Hotties and, well, just drool at the results for yourself. 

How would you explain what it is you do?

I’m a DJ, music producer, and video editor. Typically I’m doing all these things at exactly the same time to create…whatever it is I create. 

Now how do you explain to your parents what you do? 

They didn’t always get what I was doing. In the beginning it just sounded like a bunch of techno noise coming from the basement. Now that my stuff is on TV, we’re suddenly speaking the same language. 

What was the first mix you ever did? 

The first audio remix I did was in 1997. It was a mashup of “Heaven is a Place on Earth” and “Let the Music Play.” The first video remix I ever tried was Little John versus the Fraggle Rock theme song

How do they sound to you now? 

It’s embarrassingly bad. But looking back on early efforts offers perspective on how far you’ve come. 

What’s your favorite so far? 

The Bed Intruder mix stands out. The original video was already viral and the Gregory Brothers absolutely hit out of the park with their remix. 

So how can a regular person make this stuff? 

Start small. Bring a music track into iMovie and try to create a video sequence. I’d recommend some entry level music software like Garage Band. Musically, less is more and less is more catchy. Comb the front pages of YouTube or the Viral Video Chart. People are talking about that stuff. Add some musical fire and you could have a viral video. 

What kind of software and hardware do you use to make your remixes?

I produce music in Ableton Live and do my video editing in Final Cut Pro. I do everything on a laptop.

How did you get started making video remixes?

I just wanted to add another dimension to my music. I always wanted to get into film scoring or video editing, but I never imagined I would be doing it like this.

Do you have any influences in the video remix culture?

I was sort of in my own sandbox when I started making video remixes, but there are some amazing artists out there are definitely influences: Eclectic Method, The Gregory Brothers, Pogo, and Mike Realm come to mind. And there’s a wave of new music video editors. I’m positive this is the just the beginning and we haven’t begun to push the envelope.

Do you perform regular DJ gigs?

For about 10 years I toured heavily, playing at clubs and festivals around the world, but in 2010 I had to slim down due to the workload at Porterhouse Media. Best gigs of 2010 were Coachella and Lollapalooza, and I’m hoping to do more festival gigs in 2011.

Do you preplan your sets or spin as the party unfolds?

I always prepare for my gigs, but I also leave gaps and prep for various scenarios. You never know, the party might be hoppin’ when you get on, or it might be dead. You want to be prepared for all situations.

With your songs, do the beats or the lyrics come first?

The lyrics and the beat go hand in hand when I begin a piece. I usually figure out the lyrics I have available to me. Then I’ll build a beat inspired by a concept. I begin to write the baseline and melodies after that. My creative process is a bit like sculpting—I add and subtract material until I get what I’m looking for.

What’s next for you?

I’d love to collaborate with a pop vocalist to see what would happen. I’ve spent so much time in the trenches making underground dance music. Now I’m deep in the media world, but I’d love to try and bring something cool to the masses.

The party’s over. What do you play to clear the room? 

Crystal Waters, “Come on Down.” It samples the Price is Right theme song. It’s atrocious and hilarious at the same time. People leave laughing, or laughing at you.  

To see more of Steve Porter’s remixed masterpieces, check out his production company: Porterhouse Media