A Crazy thing.........
Earlier this year a chance message dropped into Andy’s ‘myspace’ inbox from a man by the name of Tim Dannenhoffer. It was a request to get on the mix of a track from the latest U2 album ‘No Line On The Horizon’. The track in question was called ‘Magnificent’. Surely the guerilla tactics used on 'Vertigo' couldn’t work a second time?
Late one April afternoon the E-Mission Music studio sound system was kicked into life as Andy attempted to pull off the impossible again. However, it wasn’t so easy with ‘Magnificent’ as it was with ‘Vertigo’ so the best he could do without the parts was a 3 minute demo version. Without a finished version to send to radio, there was only one way to get it heard - management. So that’s where the demo went. The following week Mercury Records were in touch to say the band loved the demo and wanted the proper mix done. Bullseye! It seemed impossible that it would happen a second time but it had, so the 360 and 180 mixes of ’Magnificent’ were mixed and sent away to mastered. Mission accomplished.
A few weeks later Mercury Records were in touch again, this time coming directly to Andy to ask for a remix on the next U2 single to be released from the album entitled ‘I’ll Go Crazy If I Don’t Go Crazy Tonight’. There was a problem however. Andy had been booked on a month long tour of Brazil and flew out in three days time - the label needed the mix back in two! It was too good an opportunity to miss, so all the stops were well and truly pulled out and a mix was duly submitted to the label in time.
Having been in Brazil for a few days, the word from camp U2 was that the band had gone for the mix in a big way. A REALLY big way!
In the normal scheme of things a remixer will work on a mix, sit with it for a day, go back, change a bit, and so on until it’s right. Having only had 2 days to do it Andy knew there would be a few things to put right. Bono himself came up with some ideas to lift certain parts, one of which was to record a crowd chanting ‘We’re gonna go crazy’ during the breakdown section of the track.
This was a BIG problem. Software synth lines were easy enough to play and mold into the mix but a crowd? Andy was in Brazil with only his laptop at his disposal - no microphone, no studio and, more importantly, no crowd! He had no idea as to where he could find not only a crowd but an ENGLISH speaking crowd! Then the wonders of modern day technology played their part.....
During a chance conversation with former Tarrentella partner Chris Bourne over the Skype application, Andy discovered that Chris just happened to be holed up in Trevor Horn’s Sarm West studio with Danny Spencer and Kelvin Andrews while they wrote and produced with Trevor himself on Robbie Williams next album.
While neither Robbie nor Trevor’s vocal made it into the chant (they weren’t actually in the studio on that day otherwise, who knows?), just about everyone else that was there did.
So the ‘Sarm West Boot Boy Choir’ made it to the mix and all was good. It was a major breakthrough and the mix was done - or was it?
It had become apparent that the urgency level for the mix had dropped somewhat, so Andy was free to finish his tour in peace after promising it would be delivered the week after he arrived home from Brazil. That week almost never came........
There was a reservation for a Mr Andrew Holt on the fateful Air France flight 447 from Rio to Paris. This would have been one of the possible routes back home following the tour. Thankfully for him, a late DJ booking for Pacha Sao Paulo came in, and so another reservation was used. Fate dealt a good hand to Redanka that day - sadly not for those poor people who perished that night or for their families who lost their loved ones. May they rest in peace.
Back at E-Mission, Andy had received an email from U2’s management.
“Could Andy please change the chant from ‘We’ll go crazy” to ‘I’ll go crazy”?” requested Bono. Well Bono is a man you just don’t say ‘no’ to. Ask any world leader.....
The ‘Sarm West Boot Boy Choir’ had long since disbanded, apparently citing musical differences as their reason to split, so there was no chance of getting them in front of the mic again. There’s was a one-night-only performance, never to be repeated.
The only person that could do it was Andy himself, so, not for the first time on a U2 remix, treatments and trickery were used to turn one man into a 50,000-strong-Crazy-chanting-crew. And it worked! This time the mix was given the full thumbs up - even from Larry Mullen Jr which is no mean feat. The ‘Redanka’s ‘Kick The Darkness’ Vocal Version’ and ‘Redanka’s ‘Sparks Of Light’ Dub Version’ were finished and sent to LA to be mastered.
Then came a strange request from management............
The band had asked for the individual stems (individual parts) from the remix to be sent across to Barcelona where they were preparing for the opening of the 360 world tour. This was a first for Andy. It was usually the band that sent YOU the stems - not the other way around.
Always happy to oblige, the stems were duly burnt onto DVD, collected by the courier and shipped off to the Nou Camp, home of European football champions FC Barcelona. The call from management the following day told a different story.....
Somehow the shipping company had sent a whole container, the one containing the DVD, to Leipzig by mistake. It’s an easy one to make - Leipzig, Germany. Barcelona, Spain. Tricky.
These stems HAD to be there so Andy downed tools and took them in person directly to the Nou Camp, arriving late that evening.
Upon his arrival, stepping out of the taxi he could hear his remix blasting out over the system inside the stadium. Just the sound crew testing the monitors right?.......
The Nou Camp, Barcelona, Spain 30th June, 2009. Approximately 11pm. U2 are an hour into their first gig on the first leg of the 360 world tour. The atmosphere is incredible. Totally electric. The crowd are so up for it. Then the beats drop................then the bassline.......then the guitars.....then Bono sings. U2 are performing the Redanka version of their track ‘Crazy’ live in front of 90,000 screaming Spaniards in the Nou Camp. Now there’s confusion on some faces. They know the song but in this context? What is it? Gradually it dawns and the place begins to explode. During the drop Bono shouts out ‘thank you Redanka...RE-DAN-KA!’. He also namechecks Dirty South, the Australian DJ responsible for another remix of ‘Crazy’ that the band use for the final minute of this new live version.
When Larry puts away the djembe and slams back into the track with his kit, the stadium erupts and it’s a real moment - a real moment for none more so than Andy Holt. The young kid who used to drum along in his bedroom to Larry’s playing on the October and War albums. The kid who used to lie in bed with his Walkman studying the production and listening to every last reverb tail on the Unforgettable Fire album. The kid who would dissect Bono’s every word to try to understand the meaning of every song. The kid who a few years previous went for a part in the ‘Even Better Than The Real Thing’ video. The kid who slept outside the NEC in Birmingham for 3 days queuing up for tickets to the indoor Zoo TV shows.
For Andy Holt AKA Redanka it just doesn’t get any better than that. It’s all downhill from here on in..........or is it?