Will “Hymnals” be this year’s “Pompeii”? The upbeat song by Los Angeles rock band Grizfolk has gotten the dancefloor treatment from Jenaux, an up-and-coming DJ and producer based in New York City. The remix, which deals in patient build-ups and dramatic drops, feels primed for a viral festival season. Listen to it first here on Billboard.
If the remix takes off, it could mean big things for both Grizfolk and Jenaux. Last year, rising DJ Audien was catapulted into the interntational spotlight when his spirited remix of Bastille’s “Pompeii” became the most played track at Coachella, Electric Daisy Carnival and Tomorrowland. It was EDM’s song of the summer, and later received a Grammy nomination for Best Remixed Recording. In December, Audien signed with Astralwerks, Capitol Music Group’s accalimed dance music label that’s home to some of dance music’s biggest players, such as Porter Robinson, deadmau5 and Duke Dumont. Executives close to Audien say the success of the remix was largely to thank.
“Hymnals” follows a similar formula – rising producer transforms feel-good rock song into EDM anthem – but it’s far from formualic. Jenaux, a 24-year-old producer named Eugene Veltman, begins with a minute-long club build-up before stripping down the synths and bass so that singer Adam Roth’s vocals take center stage. Keeping suspense high, the drop doesn’t fully materialize for more than two minutes, and when it finally breaks, it’s almost impossible not to envision a sea of fans at the EDC mainstage jumping and singing along.
For bands, a powerful dance remix can mean a major boost in audience. Roth tells Billboard he’s “always humbled” when producers remix his music, but it’s “especially exciting when someone takes it in a completely different direction” that the band wouldn’t ordinarily tap into. “Jenaux’s remix is a very refreshing departure from the original,” he says. “It really gets our party started.”
The original song is from Grizfolk’s debut EP, From The Spark, which was released last year on Virgin Records. In September, it was reimagined by RAC, one of the inudstry’s go-to remixers. That set the bar high for Vetlman, but after seeing Grizfolk perform at Radio City Music Hall (coincidentally, or not so coincidentally, when they opened for Bastille), he was determined to work with them.
“I spoke to them at length about electronic music and they’d actually had more experience producing in that space than most rock bands,” he says. “They had a genuine interest in dance music culture.” When the opportunity to remix “Hymnals” was presented, he was eager to try taking Roth’s vocals in a more uplifting, dance-friendly direction. Says Veltman: “It was a no-brainer.”