One of the hottest names in mashup music: 5 & A Dime, dropped his latest mashup mix, “Tempo II,” the second installment of 5 & A Dime’s “Tempo” mix series. “Tempo II” mashes all genres; everything from mainstream and underground tracks to pop, rock, rap, reggae are all skillfully and beautifully synced. Greg, the man behind the mashups, tell’s WRR more about mashup logistics, his craziest tour moments, the state of the genre, and what the future holds for 5 & A Dime.
Check out the interview below:
So I saw online that a ‘5 & a Dime” documentary film was produced by John Lloyd & Brian Lipko, a few years back. Did they approach you? How did the film project come about?
They did approach me. They were film majors from Temple University in Philadelphia and drove out to Lehigh University to shoot that. They wanted to shoot it for their final presentation for a class but I think they were surprised with the amount of information they received. That was some time ago and it’s amazing to see how much I’ve changed by looking back at it and seeing where John, Brian, and I have gone!
Besides Girl Talk, E-603, DJ Earworm and Super Mash Bros, have other artist/DJ’s become significant influences in your music?
I would say that in the beginning of my mashup career, yes, Girl Talk, E-603 and the like were very influential. However, as a producer, the largest influences on me would have to be Dr. Dre, Girl Talk, Diplo, Timbaland, and Dillon Francis. They have truly struck me with a form of music, each unique in their own right, that resonated something in me to produce my own music. Dr. Dre pioneered G-Funk, Timbaland was easily identified as one of the best Hip-Hop producers (in my mind) that utilized tropical, Soca and Jamaican influenced sounds, Diplo is by far the most important trend setter in the EDM world in my eyes, Dillon Francis creates some of the most amazing sound designs for his projects, and of course Girl Talk was the individual who brought the mashup culture to the forefront. After being a mashup artist for a few years, it’s very exciting to show everyone the new 5 & A Dime.
I love mashups, but I feel like the peak of the genre has come and gone. What’s your opinion on the state of the genre?
I completely agree with that statement. In my personal opinion, I believe that the genre hit its peak around the Fall of 2012. There’s nothing wrong with that. Every genre comes and goes as the new “hot” thing. What’s important is that people still enjoy the style of music. Music, in itself, is meant to be enjoyed, so whether or not mashups are the main music commodity right now is irrelevant, as I started making mashups for myself to enjoy and just so happen that many other people enjoyed them too! At the end of the day, mashups have always been around, especially in Hip-Hop culture and Turntablism, as mixing two songs together is essential with keeping a rhythm constant at a party if you’re a DJ, and I don’t see that going anywhere anytime soon.
Who are a few underground/unknown mashup artists that you’re into right now?
That’s an interesting question you asked. A lot of people hit me up with their mashups and bootlegs and I always give them a listen. I always respond to each and every one of them saying that they have the talent and the ear to make music, and that they should put that energy towards originals and remixes as they have the ability to do them, they just need to put in more time and energy than mashups. I always tell them that it’s worth the patience and time investment. With that being said, in terms of underground producers I support, it would have to be Fat Blake right now. He’s an amazing artist out of Sydney, Australia and is still in high school. Pure talent and a good kid on top of that
Mashup music is more than pushing songs of the same key and tempo together, it’s a complex art. What would you say is the hardest part of putting a mashup song together?
I would have to say that mashups are complex if you want them to be. Anyone can make a mashup as a 1 v 1 (one song over another). But to take 15-20 songs and compile them properly for a 3 minute track is a true challenge. I would say that mashups are not really hard, as much as they are about finding the right songs that fit together. You can have every program in the world telling you that both tracks are the same BPM and are in the same key, but if they don’t work together, they don’t work. The best way to start a complex mashup is finding a song that should be the back bone, or the emphasis track on the whole bootleg. Then you go from there, finding additional tracks that either compliment the existing sound or that completely change the outcome of the original track.
Alot of innovation has happened in dance music since the turn of the decade. How has your style developed over these past few years?
Well Dance music in general has taken a massive turn since the early 2000’s. While many people forget, Dance music was on its way up in the 1990’s, but was wiped away from the mainstream media until the 2000’s arrived. In terms of the evolution it has taken, it is absolutely stunning. When prior to this movement, there were basic forms of Dubstep, Drum and Bass, Techno, Trance, House, Tribal, and the like. Now there are thousands of genres and sub-genres of Dance music, so much so that it’s basically impossible to know all of the great tracks out there. In terms of my style being influenced by this massive influx of Dance music, I would say that Dubstep had the biggest influence on me. The second I heard Mt. Eden’s “Sierra Leone”, I instantly became captivated by modulated basslines. I have gained a great appreciation for all electronic music over the past few years and currently see every genre as beautiful in it’s own way. The style that I have been molding is a mix between 8-Bit, Trance, Electro House, and Complextro, so I would say that the wave of electronic music has definitely influenced what I am doing now.
Who would you love to work with? Any collaboration plans for the future?
My dream collaboration will, and always be Knife Party. But since that is beyond me at this point, I would love to collaborate with a bunch of artists who are my peers, many of which I have already contacted and am starting to create some awesome stuff! In terms of collaborations I can publicly talk about, Fat Blake, the underground artist I mentioned earlier, we are working on something truly special and I cannot wait to show all of you what we have in store!
I know you love touring, what’s the craziest story you have from touring?
Wow, it’d be hard to say. I guess if I had to pick, it would have to be this past Spring, when I was on tour with Kendrick Lamar and Steve Aoki throughout the country. The craziest day on that tour had to have been #Fest11 in Athens, Ohio. There were roughly 15,000 kids there, who were all legally allowed to bring 60 cans of beer EACH. I witnessed naked slip-n-slides in the mud, more crowd surfing than you’d see at a major music festival, and even a giant throne made of Natty Light! Overall, an amazing day and lineup that I will not forget anytime soon.
What’s the plan for 2014?
There are big things happening in 2014. Expect official releases, an EP, streaming from my studio as I make music, monthly hour-long mixes, remixes, more touring, and spending time interacting with all my fans. So excited for it to happen, but unfortunately, I can’t reveal everything!