Headman / Robi Insinna has put his own spin on Nice, a 1983 single by Swiss singer Stephan Eicher. Beefing up the drums and adding smooth synth layers, the rework is, by the original artist’s own admission, timeless. We spoke to Robi about the track and how it came about.
The digital release is out now. BUY it here.
Bizarre Culture: How did the remix come about?
Headman / Robi Insinna: I was approached a few years back to contribute to a remix project of Stephan and Grauzone tracks. I was busy then, but I had the parts of “Les Filles du Limmatquai” and I knew one day I’m gonna do something with it. Last year i had the idea to do the reworks 12“ on Relish.
BC: It’s interesting that an 80s pop signer would reach out to an underground producer like yourself for a rework. How do you feel about that?
Headman: What I am trying to achieve musically is very close to what Stephan was trying for back in the early 80s. My sound is very inspired by the past, and I feel that his music is timeless – if updated slightly it can totally make sense today.
BC: From the press release, it seems clear that Stephan likes the rework. Were you given complete creative control or did you work together?
Headman: Yes I had total freedom on the creative side. Of course I always get the artist to approve the results, but I believe Stephan trusted me. He likes and understands what I do.
BC: Some might dismiss Grauzone as europop from a bygone era. Why did they stand out do you?
Headman: If someone thinks Grauzone is no longer relevant, then they listen to music in a different way to me. What they achieved back then was very special. It was new and fresh to use synths and drum machines. Today loads of music sounds retro and and uses similar equipment from the past.
I believe in revivals and getting inspirations from the past, but I try to update them with a twist and make them modern. I belive that this dark and synth driven sound with an art background is more relevant then ever. Factory Floor is just one example!
BC: When making a rework, how do you balance elements of the original with your own contributions to create the new track?
Headman: If I choose to rework an old track, it is usually because I like the original so much that I would not want to change it too much. I just want to put slight modernising touches and update some sounds. I have loads of respect for the original artist also, and it is inspiring to be asked to retouch something created so long ago. I treat it carefully, and do it the right way.
BC: What made you decide to make a separate dub version?
Headman: I like to do this for reworks of old tracks as releases back then would always have a vocal remix and a dub. It’s also a reference to Extended 12” Versions which were common. For this track in particular, I liked the vocal, so I wanted to do a full vocal but also a more stripped down version that would work in a club.
BC: Can you tell us about any other reworks you’ve set your sights on?
Headman: I’m currently working on my Reworks/Remix album, which inout next year, of classic tracks I have done in the past including Roxy Music, The Units, The Unknown Cases, Gina X and others. I’m also working on a few classic Italo Disco tracks, updating them so they can feature on the album.