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Creating Killer Tracks From Classics Can Become The Reflex

by Eric Valencia

With access to original multi-tracks, Nicolas Laugier, also known as The Reflex, is able to remix classic songs into something truly special. With over 20 years in the game, his attention to detail and mixing skills have garnered him support from an array of top talent. More than just a motto, The Reflex Revision describes the expert craftsmanship involved in turning original tracks into fresh-sounding versions. Even if you’ve never heard of The Reflex, you have very likely heard his tracks. Taking some time to speak with us, we were able to get a bit more insight into how the magic happens.

Tell me about how you first got into DJing.  What made you decide to risk it all and become a musician full-time?

I’ve been fascinated by records as far as I can remember. I started to DJ regularly in my early 20’s but it was not until15 years later that I decided to give it a shot as a professional career. Instead of hoping I would work in music, I decided to actually work in music, or at least to give myself the chance.

How did you become known as The Reflex?  What is the meaning behind that name?

The name is a tribute to Nile Rodgers remix of Duran Duran’s song and its story behind it (google it!) and the flex-time tool that I use in Logic X, an essential tool for me!

I understand you do not add any new sounds or keys to the original track, but remix using only what is there.  Tell me more about your process and how you transform classics into something new.

I try not to add anything, whenever possible. It’s a lot more fun and challenging than sticking a house drum loop under an instrumental. I’ll take some old stems, chop them all up, and build them back into my own thing. Then I’ll mix the hell out of them to give them the best sonics possible.

Who have been some of your biggest musical influences and how have they inspired some of your remixes?

From the remix pioneers Larry Levan and François Kevorkian, to the great arrangers Charles Stepney and Jean-Claude Vannier, and to producers Phil Spector and Quincy Jones. I try to absorb as much knowledge as possible to improve my skills and hopefully it translates into my remixes.

Looking through your catalog, I did not see any remixes where the original track was created less than 30 years ago.  Why do you predominately mix classic tracks?

Well, the classics are just that, classic tracks that were recorded decades ago, and as a disco DJ that’s where the good stuff is! But it’s not just about oldies. Of you look at my remix discography there’s plenty of remixes for current artists, who are actually after the same treatment I give to these classic songs I remix, so it’s all gone full circle.

The Reflex DJing
The Reflex, Doing What He Does Best

You just released two Salsoul classics, “My Love Is Free” by Double Exposure and “I Got My Mind Made Up” by Instant Funk.  What other tracks are on the horizon and we can hope to hear in the coming months?

There’s another volume of Salsoul revisions, including several tracks that have never been remixed before; remixes for Roisin Murphy, Luxxury and Kid Creole & The Coconuts amongst other things.

Can you tell me more about your MASTERTAPES series on YouTube?  How did that start and how do they differ from your other remixes?

It’s an outlet for me to showcase work in progress and new remixes. Some of them will never be released so really they’ll only exist within those mixtapes. It’s also a good way to test the audience’s reaction to new remixes, to see if it’s worth doing all the hard work to finish them off, as it’s always the hardest! Starting remixes that’s easy… finishing them off, that’s where the skills and hard work reside!

Do you also create your own music?  If not, do you have plans to do so?

I’ve started by writing songs in my teens while playing in live bands; now I’ve learned how a song is produced, arranged, mixed, and remixed… So yes deffo gonna go back to original music at some point!

You have received acclaim by several big artists, from Noel Gallagher to Disclosure to Jazzy Jeff. How does it feel knowing that your work has been received so positively by such a broad audience?

It feels great obviously and validates the years of grafting in the studio day after day and all the sacrifices that came with it.

Any closing words for our readers?

Don’t give up! And don’t believe everything you read on the internet!

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