Tuesday, September 23rd is officially David Bowie Day in Chicago, and just in time for the opening of the much anticipated David Bowie Is exhibit at The Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago. Lucky for us, Thompson Chicago Creative Spirit and DJ extraordinaire, Matt Roan, has compiled the perfect mix for Bowie fans across Chicago and beyond. We got the lowdown on his inspiration for the mix and how he made his selects from Bowie’s vast library of music.
Listen to the mix here.
How did you approach putting together the ultimate David Bowie-inspired mix?
When I was challenged with putting together a David Bowie mix, I knew I had my work cut out for me. The guy has released 26 studio albums. Let me say that again, twenty-six. That said, I knew I wanted a cool mix of hits, deep cuts, remixes and some of the great tunes that he has produced over the years. I waded through a ton of music to find songs that I knew listeners would enjoy, and even be surprised by. I’m super happy with how the mix turned out and I hope the listeners enjoy as well!
Before we tune in, can you tell us a few thoughts about each song on the mix?
Golden Years (The Reflex Stems Re-Vision) – David Bowie
I thought it would be great to start the mix with a smoothed out version of quite possibly his biggest hit ever. I love the way they strip the tune down to its basic instrumentation and really let the parts shine.
Hereos – David Bowie
This song always reminds me of The Wallflowers. Isn’t that horrible? Good thing the original still rules.
Fashion – David Bowie
Another big hit that always moves the crowd, especially when I DJ on ‘80s night at Chicago mainstay, Beauty Bar. Very easy to vogue to this tune.
Success – Iggy Pop
When I discovered that Bowie had produced a lot of Iggy’s solo material, I was instantly like, “OF COURSE! That’s why it sounds like a Bowie record!” This is Iggy at his prime. I love the killer guitar melodies everywhere!
Never Let Me Down – David Bowie
Time to slow it down and smooth it out. I love the vocal performance on this tune, and the harmonica with this weird funky bass line. Just makes me smile
DJ – David Bowie
“I am a DJ, I am what I play.” I love that he’s kind of taking the flack out of being a DJ and what we really do up there.
1984 – David Bowie
This is equal parts disco, funk, and rock – and somehow it all works. The strings on this tune are amazing and that Superfly-esque breakdown just kills.
The Man Who Sold The World – Lulu
Bowie penned this tune that would later be covered rather famously by Nirvana during their MTV Unplugged show. This version is the one that made it popular, and I like the upbeat vibe of this melancholy tune.
This Is Not America (ItaloBros Remix) – David Bowie
It was definitely time to kick this mix off into some dance tunes and this house-y remix really gets things going.
Without Pressure (Queen & Bowie vs. Dillon Francis & TEED) – The Hood Internet
Local mash-up kings, The Hood Internet, absolutely smashed on this one. I’ve been playing it out in almost every DJ set I’ve had for the last 6 months. It’s perfectly executed.
Rebel, Rebel – David Bowie
This tune has so much sex appeal and swagger, it’s almost too much. This is my personal favorite Bowie song.
Let’s Dance (The Penelopes Remix) – David Bowie
Sometimes it feels almost sacrilegious when people take classic songs and change them at all, but this turned out great. It really keeps the integrity of the tune while making it even more club friendly than the original.
Gimme Danger – The Stooges
The Stooges are in the running for the greatest American rock band of all time and this is one of their best songs. Another Bowie-produced album that is perfect from start to finish.
Soul Love – David Bowie
Time to flip the tempo and come back down to earth with this groovy, psychedelic tune. As a DJ, the fact that the song is in 5/8 drives me crazy, but as a listener, it’s fantastic.
Ziggy Stardust – David Bowie
No Bowie mix would be complete without this tune. The title track to one of his most famous albums, it’s really storytelling at its best.
Young Americans – David Bowie
This might as well be a Billy Joel song but I love it anyway. The chorus just soars with that gospel choir sound.
Modern Love – David Bowie
There is something so urgent about this song. It feels like it just wants to go faster and faster. It’s another song that has that happy, upbeat feel that’s all about not believing in modern love. It is pulled off perfectly.
Fame – David Bowie
This huge hit is so funky, it almost feels like Bowie fronting Parliament. Nothing not to like about that!
Walk On The Wild Side (Holtoug Bootleg) – Lou Reed
Holtoug’s percussive remix of Lou’s classic song really winds this mix down in a lovely way. Reed is yet another American rock icon who was given that Bowie touch.
Magic Dance – David Bowie
There was no way we could end the mix without including at least one song from the childhood favorite/nightmare that is Labyrinth. Henson’s puppets, Lucas’ production, Bowie’s music, a young Jennifer Connelly’s pouting- what more could you ask for?