Executive Playlist: Red Bull Records’ Greg Hammer Shares ‘New Classics’ and ‘Palate-Cleansing’ Tunes

Red Bull Records' Greg Hammer

Greg Hammer is the managing director of Red Bull Records, an independent label formed in 2007 by Red Bull founder Dietrich Mateschitz. Hammer spent six years as director of A&R at Universal Records, then some time as an independent producer before joining the Red Bull team in 2005.

Since taking the reins at Red Bull Records’ inception, Hammer has presided over a growing international roster that includes multi-platinum artist AWOLNATION, breakthrough Scottish rockers Twin Atlantic and up-and-coming hardcore band Beartooth, among others. He explains:

This is my ultimate palate-cleansing playlist. At Red Bull Records I oversee all A&R and am constantly listening to new music: some good, some not as much. Sometimes I need to listen to my personal classics, my go-to’s when I want to relax and listen to something I know and love. The songs listed here are purposefully all over the map. I use them to reset, and hopefully then come back to my ‘work’ music with fresh ears. 

Queen is my favorite band of all time. Brian May is GOD! My ultimate guitar hero. Even after 30-plus years a song like ‘All Dead, All Dead’ still gives me goose bumps every time I hear it.

I always loved the original version of the song ‘Torn’ by Ednaswap. The Natalia Imbruglia cover is great as a true pop song, and obviously was a massive worldwide hit. I think Ednaswap’s recording better represents the pain that the song was written about. The production is very dissonant and growly, which just adds to the tension of the song. Try listening to the two versions back to back. It’s kinda trippy.

Jonatha Brooke is a massively underrated artist, and one of the best live performers I’ve ever had the pleasure of seeing. Her song ‘Nothing Sacred’ is a poignant and painful song of love lost/thrown away, and one of the best engineered songs I’ve ever heard. It all combines for a masterpiece in my opinion.

There are also what I consider some ‘new classics’ on my playlist. Fever Dreamer is my latest band obsession. These guys remind me of early Taking Back Sunday with a twist. I can’t get their song ‘A Month Of Sunshine’ out of my head. The chorus is just so uplifting and infectious in a grand and inspiring way. 

To my knowledge, no one is doing what Issues is right now.  Combining metalcore and R&B on songs like ‘Mad At Myself’ would sound at first blush like a disaster, but these guys make it work, WELL! Tyler Carter has an AMAZING voice, and the band’s combination of such disparate styles is pretty amazing to hear. 

I’m a big Lights fan. She writes amazing electro/pop songs. Her collaboration with Holy F**k works out amazingly on the song ‘Where the Fence is Low.’ It’s this really pretty pop song that they just mash up and destroy, and that makes it even cooler. It’s a great example of what a putting diverse genres together can do to enhance a song.

Everything Everything’s ‘Kemosabe’ is one of those songs that shouldn’t in theory work. Lyrically it’s out there. Vocally it’s all over the place.  Musically it doesn’t sound like anything else (which is awesome). Nonetheless it all comes together to make an amazing song. Go figure.

Justin Timberlake’s ‘Mirrors’ also makes my playlist. I like pop songs. So shoot me.