Natalia Kills is an artist with a consistent and compelling point of view who doesn't shy away from telling the world how she feels about things. Whether she shares a story about raw, unbridled love ("Wonderland"), planning sweet revenge ("Kill My Boyfriend") or living a fabulous life of excess ("Free"), Kills finds strength in wearing her heart on her sleeves. On her new single, entitled "Saturday Night," the stylish British pop singer ups the ante and takes her candid songwriting to a very personal place.
"Saturday Night" tells the story of Kills growing up in tumultuous household with an abusive criminal father and a tearful mother who tried to to anything she could to keep the family together. "We lose ourselves, we lose it all," she poignantly sings. It's a very powerful story that hits close to home and explains the self-made qualities that continue to drive Kills and her artistry.
Los Angeles production outfit Betablock3r completely reinterpreted "Saturday Night" and gave the original an unexpected happy twist. It would have been somewhat expected to amplify the song's darker undertones, but instead Betablock3r chose to highlight the sparks of light and hope that linger through the track. "As soon as we heard Natalia's vocal tracks we realized that there were quite a few directions we could go with the track," Betablock3r tells me. "She had some strong melodies and hooks that were easy to work with, so we settled into a more fun or summery vibe by jamming through some bass lines and funk guitar riffs."
The group adds, "We thought that would create an interesting contrast with the lyrical content. With this remix we ran through a couple different versions, one of which we took to completion. At the last moment we decided to scrap everything, start fresh and ended up with the final version of the remix."
Betablock3r is the teaming of Chris Boulos, Ryan George and Ilai Lebel who work together in different configurations depending on the creative challenge. "We are sort of a hybrid of two elements: part music producer team, part band," the trio explains. "We usually work on remixes as a duo [Ryan and Chris] but this isn't always the case. As a band we incorporate our drummer Ilai who is the only true permanent third member of Betablock3r."
Betablock3r's remix of "Saturday Night" follows their diligent production process that they earlier applied to remixes for artists like Willy Moon and Ellie Goulding. "When we start remixes we usually listen to the vocals on their own and allow them to exist independently of the music," the group explains. "This allows us to run rampant with different concepts and moods. Contrast is important to us in remixing. We don't want to create something that sounds just like the original with a dance beat slapped on top of it. Our approach is that of writing a brand new song to which we already have vocals and lyrics written."
"Typically we get inspiration from good songwriting past or present be it some old school disco, or funk, some classic Hall and Oates, Steely Dan or some more modern acts like Breakbot or Daft Punk," Beatablock3r adds. "Oddly enough we all came from a technical metal background and to this day still draw some form of inspiration from acts like Periphery, The Faceless, BTBAM and Animals as Leaders. Good music is good music, there is inspiration to be found everywhere."
Ryan, Chris and Ilai have more exciting new projects in the pipeline. "We're currently writing some original tracks as well as continuing to produce new remixes," they reveal. "We'll be launching a new concept series with periodic content that we're very excited about." (Click here to listen to the single edit of Natalia Kills' "Saturday Night." The song is taken from Natalia Kills second album that hits stores on September 3 via will.i.am/Cherrytree/Interscope Records.)