Taco Zip is a legend in the Beastie Boys remixing community and is currently hosted at
Max Tannone is a producer of hip-hop beats and dance music whose remixes have been hosted at the
official site and received national media exposure.
DJAK47 is one of the more prolific Beastie Boys remixers. His catalog is currently hosted at
What was it that first got you into remixing?
Taco Zip: The love for music'
Max Tannone: I started making beats with an old edition of Fruity Loops, when I was 16. I loved it, and began
to build a library of sounds, samples, etc. Blending and remixing came a few years later, after I'd spent a
lot of time learning how to make tracks. I realized I had a lot of instrumentals, and wanted to learn how to
put vocals over them. I love audio production in general. When making a song, you have complete creative
DJAK47: The first thing that got me into mixing was when I bought Mike Jones' CD "Who is Mike Jones?" It just
happened to be the Screwed and Chopped version and I didn't really notice it because I never heard the
original album. Then one day I heard some of the tracks played normally and I noticed how I loved "Chopped &
Screwed" music way better. That's when I started listening to mainly C&S music, and working on my own.
How did you decide what tracks you wanted to remix?
TZ: At the time that I started remixing, there were no more than about 5 or 6 acapellas available. From that
limited choice, I just 'did' them one by one.
MT: In reference to "Doublecheck Your Head," the tracks were determined by the acapellas I could get from
Check Your Head. Once I had the acapellas, I chopped up all of the instrumental tracks from Check Your Head,
and basically had a pile of sounds and a pile of vocals - and put together what sounded best.
AK: Well, it started off basic. I remixed my favorite songs first. Pretty much taking an acapella for a song I
loved and mashing it with an instrumental I could "bug out" to. When it came to the B Boys I was the same way,
but now that I've made so many mixes, I've been more into just finding new songs, beats, etc' to mix with
them. It's also helped me broaden my taste in music and maybe some of my listeners. I've pretty music mixed
the B Boys with everything from rock to rap, and from techno to lounge music!
Where did you get your source samples, Acappellas, and instrumentals?
TZ: I ripped my acapella's off the DVD anthology. I also used parts that were acapella in the original song,
like Ad Rock's 'hmm drop'. The music I put underneath the rhymes were just a result of samples I found, from
Portishead to Sly And The Family Stone.
MT: Some of the acapellas came from the Beasties web site, one came from their message board, and the rest I
got through their studio in New York. The base tracks were the accompanying Check Your Head instrumental
tracks, and everything else (drums, synths, FX, etc) is from my library of sounds and plug-ins.
AK: I get all my beastie boys acapellas/instrumentals from Beastiemixes.com, well some of them because
technically half of them are linked to the beastie boy's actual website. As for most of the music I mix with
the beastie boys, I get it from all over the place (youtube, torrents, myspace, etc.)
How have your mixing techniques changed since the time you started?
TZ: I guess I improved my techniques, but not necessarily changed them really.
MT: I'm better at mixing (as in the process of adjusting the sonics of a track, rather than "mixing" in the
general sense), and understanding some of the associated theory with it. In general, I think I pay more
attention to detail than I used to. I'm really obsessive - but I think that often works as a positive thing. I
also have more influences, just from getting older and being introduced to different types of music.
AK: I've learned how to use some of my software better. I've also managed to teach myself some new things, and
I've used these skills to make my mixes sound better than most of my earlier mixes.
What type of gear/software do you use for remixing?
TZ: My PC with Acid Pro at that time, and a turntable.
MT: I primarily use FL Studio, as well as Acid and Cool Edit (now Adobe Audition).
AK: I had a Marathon MA-DJ12WLT-Battle 12" Mixer but I had to sell it so now I just run software such as
Virtual DJ(Main Program), Sony Acid Pro 7, and FL Studio 7.
What motivated you to remix Beastie Boys material?
TZ: The original stuff sucked so I decided to improve it' Just kidding, I'm a big fan of them, and back then
hanging out on the boards on a daily basis so it was the most logical choice to do Beastie stuff.
MT: It coincided with their re-release of Check Your Head, and I had finished the Jaydiohead remix project and
was looking for something new. I was able to pass my Jaydiohead (Jay-Z & Radiohead) remix project along to
Adrock, and he thought it would be cool if I could do something involving Check Your Head. Of course I jumped
at this chance. Check Your Head is an amazing album so I wanted to make sure I did it justice. I wanted to be
sure this remix collection stood out from the countless others.
AK: I was always a fan of the beasties. Ever since I saw Intergalactic and Alive on my TV I was hooked. I
remember going to Best Buy in search of one of their CDs with those songs and I hit the jackpot with their
Beastie Boys Anthology. Then I started buying all their CDs until it got to the point to where I was online
looking for remixes. Then a friend of mine came upon Beastiemixes.com and we used to download all kinds of
mixes from there. Then one day it clicked and I wanted to be a part of the Beastiemixes family :)
How did you discover that your mixes were being used to press bootlegs?
TZ: I just found out 2 days ago when Beastiemania informed me about it.
MT: This is actually the 3rd time I've been bootlegged in the past year (the first two were Jaydiohead and
Jaydiohead: The Encore vinyls...) I did a random search for "Doublecheck Your Head" and found a few German
websites selling the vinyl. Without the internet, I definitely would not have known.
AK: One night I was at my girlfriends house, nearly half awake when I get on the "Shout Box" on
beastiemixes.com to see how everyone is doing when I noticed Silence7 (The God of Beastiemixe.com) trying to
urgently get in touch with me. He wanted my cell number which was a bit odd, so at first I was hesitant and
asked why he needed it seeing if it was a joke or not. Anyways I had him email first but my email was having
difficulties getting his email that night so I decided to wait till the next day. I however had class, then
work so I wasn't able to get back to him until later that evening. Anyways to get to the point he called me
and told me the good/bad news and how some "slooch" in the UK was bootlegging my remixes. He found out from a
friend who actually purchased the bootlegged vinyl and immediately noticed the remixes were mine
What was your initial reaction when you discovered your mixes were being used?
TZ: I was amazed. You don't expect your homebrew remix to appear on vinyl somewhere.
MT: I was happy. I'm not thrilled that someone is making a little money from it, but ultimately something like
this only helps me. The Jaydiohead vinyl bootleg has been way more prevalent, I've even seen it in 2 record
stores in NYC in person - not to mention dozens of sites selling it online throughout the world. I never
expected to make money from any of these projects - I'm just glad people are hearing the music.
AK: At first I was like "Sweet!", because I was glad my music was being listened to and being promoted and put
out there, but then the bad news kicked in which was, I didn't get any credit whatsoever for my music. It's
nice that this so called "DJ" was actually listening to my remixes, and appreciating them...well to a certain
extent, but the fact that he was profiting off of my work kind of plummeted my cheerfulness. I could actually
care less about the money though..."All I need are my "Boats 'n Hoes"".
Since you've had time to consider it have your opinions changed in regard to how you initially reacted?
TZ: Well, when I checked the link to the bootleg, I noticed they didn't even give me credits. The guys renamed
the mix to BS funk mix. I guess BS stands for bullshit.
MT: No. This project never could have happened without the internet and file sharing, etc. Mashups and remixes
are often products of bootleg culture. It's all collaboration and sharing, so to be upset over a vinyl bootleg
would be hypocritical. I'm cool with it.
AK: No not really. I mean there's not much I can or could do, especially since my remixes were using
copyrighted instrumentals. Besides I've already put this in the past. I tend to not let things get in my way.
Like Mr. Paul Slayton aka Paul Wall said "I'm never falling off cuz I stay on my note".
Has being bootlegged changed your views on how copyrighted material should be used in your own (or others')
TZ: No, not really. I made that stuff for fun and put it on the internet. Everyone should do what they want to
with it. But this guy really stole it by changing the name, and now he's making money out of it. That's lame.
MT: Not really. I do not support people profiting from copywritten material - however I am a big proponent of
sampling and remixing. I think its great when artists release acapellas and stems of their tracks. By doing
this, they are encouraging fans to become participants in their music, thereby stimulating further interest in
the group. Yes, bootlegging original or remixed material may hurt the artists financially, but it can also
help them as well. For example, (regarding my Jaydiohead project) I have received dozens of messages from
people saying how they weren't into Jay-Z or Radiohead before, but now they bought some of their music and are
really into them. By doing remix projects like these, you turn people on to the music.
AK: Eh, sort of. I mean DJs should respect each others work and not try to profit off of it. That's just shady
in my opinion. I don't mind if you use my remixes or even get samples from them, just don't sell them or try
to get any type of financial gain from them. If they do I feel bad for the buyer because instead of spending
their hard earned cash, they could have just went to my page and download the songs for FREE!
Have you, or will you, purchase a copy of your own remixes?
TZ: Nope. I'm not going to encourage this guy to steal more of my (or other people's) stuff by sending him
MT: I already have. I bought a vinyl copy of the original Jaydiohead project at a record store in Brooklyn. It
was a funny and cool experience - to go from making it in my apartment, to it being on the wall in the store
as the "hip-hop pick of the week." It's a small world'.
AK: No, that's just preposterous!
Do you believe that remixers hurt or enhance the original artists' ability to profit from the original
TZ: That's a good one. I guess not, because most people want to have the original stuff as well. And besides
that, the Beastie Boys even encourage the making of remixes by spreading acapellas.
MT: I think all of the additional material that remixers create generates interest in the artist's original
material. So I think it enhances the artists' ability to profit.
AK: Hmm this is kind of iffy, but I'd have to go with enhance. If the remixes are good then of course people
will want to eventually hear the original material, or if they love a song that was remixed, then they'll love
hearing different versions of it which then include the original. Now on the other hand if a remixers remixes
suck, people might grow to hate these songs, and think the original material is even worse.
Have you heard the sound quality of your bootlegged remixes? If so, how does it compare to the quality of the
TZ: I did not hear the record, but since the file on my website was only 128 kB, the quality can't be too
MT: I have only heard the original Jaydiohead on vinyl, and it sounds really good. Whoever pressed them up did
a nice job - so I'm definitely happy about that. It sounds the same as the digital version. How these bootlegs
came to be is interesting within itself. For example - I collect Beastie Boy acapellas from random sources,
including some that were ripped from 12" singles, converted to mp3s, and uploaded to a message board. Then I
download these, chop them apart into little pieces, add a bunch of original sounds, FX, synths, etc, bounce it
back as an mp3. I then upload this mp3 file back online. Someone downloads all of the mp3's in my album (.ZIP
format) - then has them pressed back into the analog realm via vinyl. It's a crazy world.
AK: Yes, and in my opinion, they actually sound a lot worse. It kind of makes the hard work I did making the
mixes go to shit. Ya know?
Do you believe that bootleggers hurt or enhance the original artists' ability to profit from the original
TZ: If their intention is just to make a profit out of it, then yes. But on the other hand, most bootlegs
consist of rare stuff and are bought by collectors who also buy all of the original stuff.
MT: Bootlegging the artists' original material obviously hurts them - since someone who could have purchased
it legitimately is now purchasing it from a bootlegger or simply downloading it without paying anything.
However, the financial influence of buying a bootlegged vinyl of a remix album (that is freely available
online) is negligible.
AK: Probably hurt because now they are making money off of the mixes you could be selling. This kind of
slashes your customer base in half, and plus in my case it hurts because I'm not profiting and I'm not being
credited for my work.
All of you offer your remixes for free, does it bother you that someone is profiting from your work?
TZ: Since he stole the credits, I think it's just a bit pathetic. But I'm not having sleepless nights or
MT: A little. But ultimately, I'm glad that people are listening to it. I wasn't going to have vinyl made - so
I'm glad someone took the effort to do so. The project is freely available - I don't think that is a secret.
Nobody has to pay for it.
AK: Yeah, just a little. Like I said, I don't mind if their profiting, I'd just like the credit I deserve.
Has the fact that you have been bootlegged caused you to consider attempting to take any measures to make
certain it does not happen again?
TZ: Nope, since the stuff is on the internet, it's out of control. If I had the perfect solution for this
problem I'd be rich by now.
MT: At this point I'm not concerned about it. The benefits for me are far outweighing any possible negatives.
AK: No, not really. The only thing I can do is take my remixes off the internet, but I'm not going to deprive
my fans of my remixes just because of some bootlegger.
Have you ever received feedback from anyone in the Beastie camp about your remixes? If so, can you share it
Yep, back in 2003 Yauch responded to my Sure Shot no 2 remix on the board. I archived the page on my website
It's about 10 posts from above.
MT: They were digging them. I had feedback from Adrock, he was into it. He was encouraging me to make them as
funky and weird as possible, which I did! They posted four of the tracks in the NEWS section of their website,
which you can find if you scroll down a little.
AK: If you're referring to the "Beastie camp" as just being any fans of the beastie then yes. Once in a while
I get people giving me props on my remixes, mainly through youtube because I upload some of my remixes onto
there. One guy called me a 'genius' haha.
What are your general thoughts on the Beastie Boys remix scene (favorite remixers, quality of remixes, etc)?
TZ: I have to admit that I'm not really into the beastie remix scene anymore since I can't find the time for
it. We started out with just a few remixers, but pretty soon the number of creative people kept on growing. I
don't know what it's like right now, but I'm sure all of the remixers are pushing the level upwards. I wish
them lots of fun remixing!
MT: The amount of activity is amazing. I don't know too many other groups that have a website devoted to
collecting their fan-made remixes...so that's pretty awesome. As far as favorite remixers, its hard to say - I
would have to get back to you on that. I think it's great that technology enables everyone to mess with this
stuff. That being said, it's not hard to take instrumental A and layer it with vocal B. The remixes, blends,
etc. that I like have a concept they stick to, or are doing something beyond keeping two tracks on tempo.
AK: I think it's amazing! I don't know if I've ever seen so many remixes for a group before like the Beastie
Boys. I personally love mixing the Beastie Boys...maybe that's why I have the most remixes on beastiemixes.com
after only being here for a little over a year...don't playa hate (laugh out loud). Quality is also big,
ANYONE can make a remix, but the outcome and work put into a remix definitely shows. Some of my favorite
remixers are definitely "The Biologist", 'nYgel", "Globemallow Spike" and many more.
What projects are you working on now?
TZ: I have my own web design company, so that's what I'm working on right now J
MT: I'm working on another mash-up remix album. I'm in the early stages, so I don't want to give the idea
away. Its not going to change the world or anything, I just want to keep it to myself until I'm confident that
it will work.
After talking to these guys I am left with the impression that different permutations of shared music will be
increasingly a part of the remix scene. From my point of view the question of whether or not it is good can
only be answered by the listener. With original artists' music being remixed and pressed on vinyl by fans,
there are an infinite number of combinations that will exist in the future. Remixes of fan remixes, and
mash-ups of fan mash-ups are already showing up on the
web, which motivates me to
agree with Max Tannone: indeed it is 'a crazy world'.