Brooklyn-based duo Nick Millhiser and Alex Frankel, better known as Holy Ghost!, have been a part of the creative melting pot that is James Murphy's DFA records since 2007. Throughout their career, they have evolved from bloghouse sensation to synthpop darlings, to electro live-band mainstays. Part of this success can be attributed to their work as consistently great remixers.
In honor of their near-decade-spanning remix album retrospective, Work For Hire, out today on DFA Records, Millhiser and Frankel invited us into their gear-opolis of a Bushwick studio to recreate the first remix they ever made as a duo. As Frankel explains, much of their seamless integration into the DFA fold came from how they identified with the remix culture of the label. "[DFA] exposed what happens when you put DJs into the studio with a bunch of space echoes," he says.
As Millhiser explains, he and Frankel got to know fellow Brooklyn band Panthers when he worked with one of the band's members at a wine bar. The Holy Ghost! remix of "Goblin City" was born out of the friendship between the two artists, even though the high-speed rock song was "the most difficult thing you could choose to remix."
"The only way we'd be able to keep doing this is with that approach, that we're doing it for our friends, and ourselves, and not with this ambition of crushing the mainstage," Frankel says.
Despite advances in technology and increases in budgets, the guys stress how their production process for remixes hasn't changed much since the early days. Though, back then, they had to be a bit more resourceful, ripping drum stems off vinyl as a substitute for live or synth sounds available to them now. Gear or no gear, the goal of a remix remains the same.
"We're still kind of chasing with remixes some dancefloor perfection," Frankel says.
Catch Holy Ghost! on their all vinyl DJ tour:
5/7 Brooklyn, NY - Verboten
5/8 Philadelphia, PA - The Dolphin
5/9 Washington DC - U Street Music Hall
5/15 Dallas TX - It'll Do Club
5/16 Austin TX – Kingdom
5/17 El Paso, TX- Garden
5/23 San Francisco, CA - Harlot