Monday, 14 November 2016

Alligatorz – Vintage Remix’s First Supergroup?

Chris Inglis, the worlds only vintage remix researcher, considers whether the vintage remix world has its first supergroup.

One of the newest groups to hit the vintage remix world is Alligatorz – a production duo formed of DJ Greem and Mighty Mezz, of C2C and Caravan Palace respectively. These two have been performing together since the start of the year, and as of last week, have begun to release original music. Upon discovering this act, my first thought was to question whether one could call this the genre’s first ever supergroup.

Of course, this isn’t the first time that individuals from various vintage remix acts have come together to produce new music. When thinking of other groups to compare, my first instinct is to go to the Dutty Moonshine Big Band: formed of Hypeman Sage, Maria Laveau of the VooDoo Collective, the Temple Funk Collective brass band, and Dutty Moonshine himself. Other examples could include the Swing Towers, a duo formed of Cab Canavaral and Tony Maroni; and Tuxedo Junction, formed of Father Funk and Bear Twists.

But I would hesitate to refer to any of these acts as supergroups. Let me compare with perhaps the most well-known supergroup of all time: the Travelling Wilburys, formed of Bob Dylan, George Harrison, Jeff Lynne, Roy Orbison, and Tom Petty. What made the Wilburys stand out is the distinction that each of the members had already won significant acclaim as a musician in their own right. The significance is the key point; were one to define a supergroup as simply an act made up of musicians who have already performed in other acts, virtually every band ever could be described as a supergroup.

So what does significance mean? Well it would differ from genre to genre – each of the musicians from the Travelling Wilburys has enjoyed a degree of success that even the most popular electro swing artist could only dream of. As a fairly niche genre, the popularity one must attain to be considered significant within the vintage remix world, would be considerably lower than for other, more widespread styles.

I’ve chosen to do a quick investigation into looking at the most popular acts within the genre. I’ve looked at Facebook likes for my methodology, mainly due to the fact that it is the quickest and easiest method I can think of. This of course does not come without its flaws – an artist such as Caro Emerald, for instance, enjoys a much older fan base than many other vintage remix artists, and her Facebook likes would therefore not represent her record sales as accurately – but I think it’s a fair method for a study as brief as this one. Setting the threshold at 100,000 likes, the most popular vintage remix acts appear to be:

  • Parov Stelar (1,000,000)
  • Postmodern Jukebox (890,000)
  • C2C (624,000)
  • Gramatik (555,000)
  • Caravan Palace (345,000)
  • Chinese Man (299,000)
  • Alice Francis 250,000 *
  • Caro Emerald (248,000)
  • Goldfish (204,000)
  • Deluxe (145,000)
  • Mr. Scruff (122,000)
  • Molotov Jukebox (112,000)

I may well have missed out one or two acts, and of course there may be some disagreement regarding the eternal debate of what is and isn’t electro swing, but in my brief search I couldn’t find any other acts above the 100,000 mark.

The results are certainly interesting. An immediate realisation of mine is that the only two British acts are at the very bottom of the list. France is certainly leading the way, with four of the eleven acts being from there. So it is no surprise therefore, that Alligatorz –who we can now conclude are indeed vintage remix’s first ever supergroup – hail from France.

With each of the members belonging to an act from within the top five most popular vintage remix acts in the world, Alligatorz are bound to have an impact on the scene. I look forward to hearing more of what they’ve got to offer.

* This post was edited to include Alice Francis in the list.