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Introducing

Shreddie Mercury dishes on remixing "Spectrum," Missourian dance music, and playing Xbox with fans

By Michelle Kuppersmith
Shreddie-Mercury

Shreddie Mercury burst onto the scene last year when the 22-year-old producer’s remix of Zedd’s “Spectrum” quickly became the most played entry of the track’s Beatport Play contest—for which he eventually took top honors. The young Missourian, known to his folks as Jonathan Kane, was further discovered when Phoenix’s label, Glassnote, was commissioning remixes for “1901″ and came across his version, which had hit #9 on the Hype Machine charts. Since then Shreddie has been a rising star on the scene, and 2013 will certainly unfurl exciting things for the up-and-comer.

How did you get into producing electronic music?

I actually just went out one night to a bar in my hometown and a buddy of mine was DJing that night, and at the time I didn’t know the difference between DJs and producers. I just assumed that everyone was making the music that they were playing, so I thought to myself that I had to start making my own music. I heard by Justice and I felt that I really needed to start producing. I got a copy of a digital audio workstation and I just kind of went from there. Thanks to YouTube, I know how to do what I do.

I was also in a couple of bands, but only one of them really went remotely anywhere. That was a post-hardcore band that I played guitar in. I occasionally still play, but that’s how I often write my music. I’ll try to tap out a tune on a guitar and go from there and transcribe it to MIDI.

Do you have any musical influences from your guitar days? What about electronic influences?

I listen to a lot of post-rock, a lot of post-hardcore, some metal even. So I take bits and pieces from each one, and that’s kind of how I write my songs now. Justice obviously is one of my electronic influences, along with Daft Punk. I listen to a lot of Zedd, a lot of Mord Fustang, and a lot of Porter Robinson. Those main staples are definitely high on the influencer list these days. I’m also into nu-disco, and from that world I’m into Russ Chimes and Kavinsky—guys from that realm.

You recently won Beatport’s Play remix competition for Zedd’s “Spectrum.” Tell us about that.

I basically entered the “Spectrum” contest on a whim just for fun. I first remixed it actually when I had a song that I was working on. It was supposed to be an original track, and I realized that if I just changed the key of everything it would fit perfectly with Matthew Koma’s vocals on “Spectrum.” It wasn’t done yet, by any means, but I had the main riff down and I hadn’t shown it to anyone yet.

I had no intention of winning or even thinking that I was going to win. I wasn’t very confident at the time. Then, I remember submitting it and going to bed and waking up and it was the top played entry and I was just blown away by that. Then I got picked, and it was amazing.

What’s up for 2013? Anything big musically that you’re working on?

I’m wrapping up a new original that I’ve been working on with a pretty popular vocalist. She’s been #1 on the Billboard dance charts. Can’t tell you who yet, but it’s going to be a really big, poppy track. Basically, we got hooked up through Interscope—she heard my track through them and wanted to get involved. This track is going to be a big push for me in 2013, for sure. I also want to work on more remixes and see how well those go. I have a couple big ones that I’m pretty excited about.

You’re from an area that’s not especially known for its electronic producers. So what’s the scene like out there in Columbia, Missouri?

Only very recently did we start getting any sort of an electronic scene, and locally it’s still pretty much just DJs and dance parties. There are no real local producers that have shows, although we have been getting some big names coming through. Recently we’ve had a lot of dubstep guys, like Excision and Big Gigantic played. I actually got to open for that show, which was awesome. Mimosa was also around and I opened for him. I have a good tie to the local venue and I’ve been able to play a lot of shows that are coming through, so that’s been really great. It’s still pretty far behind other places I would say!

I still try and connect with my fans even though I’m out there, like I put out my Xbox Live gamer tag a month or two ago, and had a lot of people added me. I’ll play Halo when I’m not working on music and I have all these kids hitting me up on Facebook to play. It’s funny because we are killing aliens and I’m getting production questions on the chat function—it’s pretty awesome.

** Catch Shreddie Mercury on tour at the following dates:

1/16 – Brooklyn @ Brooklyn Bowl + Infected Mushroom
1/17 – NYC @ The DL
1/18 – Philadelphia @ The Electric Factory + Infected Mushroom + The M Machine
1/19 – Baltimore @ Rams Head Live + Infected Mushroom + The M Machine
1/31 – Orlando @ Beacham Theatre + Infected Mushroom
2/01 – Ybor City @ The Amphitheatre + Infected Mushroom
2/02 – Pompano Beach @ Club Cinema + Infected Mushroom