Love is Bigger: David Alvarado Interview
Original Story by Aaron J. Sams (2018-05-23)
David Alvarado is a DJ based in California who has recently remixed “Love is Bigger Than Anything in its Way” for U2. The remix was included in the second wave of mixes sent to DJs for promotion on May 9th, 2018. To date, Alvarado’s remix has not been made commercially available, but we are told that there should be a second commercial release of “Love is Bigger” remixes coming soon. For now, the remix is only available on promotion. Alvarado has created a video for his mix of “Love is Bigger Than Anything in its Way” which he has shared with us further down in this article.
Alvarado grew up in California, and works worldwide as DJ, producer and musician, and has spent over twenty years in the music business. It was our pleasure to talk to Alvarado about his career, his remix for U2, and how it all came about:
How did you get your start DJ’ing?
David: I grew up in Orange County and made my way around the LA area. I started with a buddy of mine whose older brothers were in a low rider car club, they would throw parties monthly and somehow we just ended up getting involved. First helping a guy that was their regular mobile DJ. We’d set up speakers, gear, etc, then it led to mixing a few records while he took a break or something. Eventually he let us take out his gear and do parties, whatever we could find. It eventually led us to start our own thing, do renegade parties, undergrounds, etc. At one point we had a massive sound system that was pretty impressive. That opened the door for me to DJ LA undergrounds and other parties pre-rave days.
What other artists have you remixed?
David: I’ve worked with mostly underground artists in the past, King Britt, Josh Wink, Andy Caldwell, various European artists such as Terry Lee Brown, and other underground electronic artists. Usually I tend to stay away from remix work, I really have to be in to something to want to remix it in the first place. Most remixes I find unnecessary.
Were there any remixers/DJs you looked up to as you were getting into the business?
David: Yes indeed.. I started in an era where people like Little Louie Vega, Patrick Cowley, Chep Nunez, Arthur Baker, really stood out as remixers and producers. From there many of the UK producers/remixers such as Sasha, Nellee Hooper, were people I followed.
A few of us at U2Songs are big New Order fans, and couldn’t help but notice you played at the Hacienda club they used to run, how was that experience?
David: It was a great experience, it was actually one of my first trips to perform in the UK and you couldn’t have asked for a better place to land on your first trip over. I had already known quite a bit about Hacienda and Factory Records so being there was like a kid’s first trip to Disneyland. That trip really left a massive impression, the city, everything about being there left a deep impression that inspires me still to this day.
Are you a U2 fan?
David: Yes.. I’m a huge fan, since the Boy album, from day one. Orange County had a huge indie/punk/postpunk community, while LA/Hollywood was still obsessed with hair bands, Orange County’s live music scene was thriving. I believe U2 played their first Southern Cal live show in a small place in Anaheim. For me The Joshua Tree album was and is an amazing work of art. I also loved the title track they did for the Batman movie that was produced by Nellee Hooper, I was a fan of his work at the time and still think it’s one of the most underrated U2 songs.
Is this your first time working with U2?
David: Yes. It’s my first time remixing U2.
How did you get involved in the remix for “Love is Bigger Than Anything in its Way”?
David: Most of the contact was done through a friend whose promotion company has worked with Madonna in the past and had great success with the dance remixes they did, it was through them U2 approached me. They reached out to me because they felt they wanted a more “underground” mix not so focused on a commercial dance sound. They just felt my sound would bring a different flavor to the table. It was actually done on spec to see if I could produce something that would fit the vision they were going for, in the end it was accepted and became a part of the release.
How did you receive the stems? Some of the producers mentioned just getting the vocals? Others got instruments as well – did you get both?
David: I only received vocals, from that I put my idea together, taking key phrases, things that fit in the context of what I was hearing in my head.
Did you do multiple versions of the mix?
David: To be honest, this was my only pass at the mix, it actually came together rather quickly.. it was like a matter of hours. I think I sent a sample of the mix out for approval a day later. I heard some of the melodies, hooks, etc and decided that I wanted to do something more stripped down.. it came together fast from there.
Did you have to put a lot of work into it to get to the final mix? Was it a challenging project?
David: What was most challenging to me was to not be tempted to just take an accapella and put a beat on it, try to call it a day. So many remixes I find tend to be that way, that’s why I am usually opposed to doing remixes. I think a remix should really be a departure from the original otherwise whats the point. I think there is enough of a connection to the original without being obvious, but yet something that sounds like me, my signature, meshed together with U2.
Was any guidance given as to what sort of mix the band wanted?
David: I was only told to do my thing, they wanted a dance release. I envisioned something that could be played at something like a Hacienda, or any club anywhere.
From the preview it seems to focus on the “you’ve just begun” line of the song? Why choose that one?
David: Usually I like to take artifacts, samples, things that are interesting and give them life. My tracks tend to have lots of “space,” “depth” sonically. Taking artifacts or tails of vocals, outtakes, things that fit in between the gaps with other elements is typical of what I do. I also knew that most of the people remixing would probably take the vocal/bridge/chorus structure of the song and use it as is. I wanted to strip it down and find something that spoke to me and fit in the context of what I had envisioned. After all I was told to run with it so I did, nothing to lose.
Most releases are digital-only these days. U2 fans are always complaining about the death of the commercial single. Are you aware of any plans to do a physical release with these “Love is Bigger” remixes?
David: Not to my knowledge. I’d have to agree with fans.
Have you seen the video released for “Love is Bigger Than Anything in its Way”? What are your thoughts on the video?
David: I thought it was an interesting video, it certainly fit the original song… oddly enough I cut and produced my own version and got the green light from U2’s management to put it up on Youtube. I just felt the mix was different enough to warrant a different video.
VIDEO: David Alvarado’s video for his remix of “Love is Bigger Than Anything in its Way”
If you had an opportunity to go back to U2’s entire catalog and remix any track which would you pick?
David: I would probably choose “In God’s Country” from the Joshua Tree album.
If you had an opportunity to remix any current or past artist, do you have someone in mind you’d love to remix?
David: Massive Attack, maybe Bjork. Most of those have already achieved perfection so it’s kind of hard to imagine how I could add anything to it.
What projects do you have coming up?
David: Just completed a remix for Icelandic group GusGus, of which I’m a huge fan and happy to have the opportunity to work with. Also a new album project under my alias “Machines Can Talk.”
This is our fourth interview with the DJs involved with remixing “Love is Bigger Than Anything in its Way.” For the other interviews please see the links below:
- Love is Bigger: Daybreakers Interview
- Love is Bigger: Will Clarke Interview
- Love is Bigger: DrewG Interview
- Love is Bigger: David Alvarado Interview
- Love is Bigger: VibePosse Interview
- Love is Bigger: Dark Intensity Interview
- Love is Bigger Than Anything in its Way Promotional Release Entry