This is a Tribute to....

SweMix

SweMix logo

incl. sub-labels like;
Remixed Records, Basement Division and BTB.

One of THE Remix services...

(1986-1991)
SweMix
Kocksgatan 28
Stockholm
Sweden


(1991-1997)
SweMix
Möckelvägen 44
Stockholm
Sweden

SweMix was founded in 1985 as a reaction to other Remix Services like
DiscoNet, Hot Tracks and DMC.
With their innovative ideas and fresh sounds these Swedish Top DJ's created something that gave echoes over the world and paved the way for the Swedish Dance Music export.
Through excellent remixes and productions for acts like Dr Alban, Michael Jackson and Robin S they made themselves and their Remixed Records a driving force in the music scene.
Read along - because this is the history of...

SweMix

In the height of Disco, at the 3rd Billboard Disco Forum in August 1977, Mike Wilkinson aka Captain Mike presented his idea of this new tool for the DJ. He and his team of the hottest NYC DJ's would provide special versions or remixes of the best new tracks along with other possible future hit songs and sometimes even special medley's. All of this to give the DJ's unique and more DJ-friendly versions as well as giving the DJ a bit of a rest with a long version or megamix. In October of 1977 Mike released the first DiscoNet issue and the Remix Service was born.
In 1982 Hot Tracks was founded in San Francisco, followed by other US Remix Services like Ultimix, Mixx-It and similar.
DMC [Disco Mix Club] was started in the UK in February 1983, providing cassettes to their members before turning over to vinyl in July 1984. DMC was the largest Remix Service in Europe and was followed by Music Factory Mastermix among others...
And in 1986 Sweden got its own Remix Service when SweMix and their Remixed Records was founded...

A SweMix Remixed Records release

I got a chance to interview one of the SweMix founders, StoneBridge, about SweMix and their intentions of SweMix and so on...
the SweMix team, top - René, middle - Emil, JJ, Robert and Dag, front - Sten Discoguy: Who were the founders of SweMix?
"It was René Hedemyr (JackMaster Fax), Sten Hallström (StoneBridge), Dag Volle (Denniz Pop), Emil Hellman (SoundFactory) and Robert Broman (Mopz Below).
About one year later Johan Järpsten (JJ) joined as he had half a studio to offer."

When did you guys start SweMix?
"We started the whole thing early 1986 after an interview we did in December 1985, where the top DJ's in Stockholm gathered for the first time."
Do you remember why all you Stockholm Top DJs were gathered for this interview? Was it for some special magazine, TV or radio coverage?
"The interview was a freelance job for Aftonbladet, but it didn't make it in the end. On the other hand it created history and I remember we told the guy afterwards."
Were all of you already personal friends, or what brought you all together?
"It was the interview. René knew JJ since before and I knew Dag and Robert since a few years before. Emil worked in one of the main record stores so we all knew him, but we had never met altogether before."
So, how did you come up with the idea of actually starting SweMix?
"After the interview was done, we started talking about mixes and records and all agreed that DMC sucked and that people needed hot remixes of individual tracks rather than medleys of hits as they [DMC] were doing at the time. We basically decided to go ahead there and then, and René had studio equipment that would get us going."
Just months after the initial gathering the first SweMix/Remixed Records release was completed and it was released in April 1986. The tracks included in this first issue were...

Mai Tai"Female intuition"Denniz PoP
E.G. Daily"Say it, Say it"StoneBridge & Mopz Below
Tourists"I only want to be with you"Emil Hellman
Prince"Kiss"JackMaster Fax
Nicole"Don't you want my love"Mankie & Snurre
medley"Eurobeat"Emil Hellman
Sheila E."Holly Rock"StoneBridge & Mopz Below
SM in DJ-mixingthe Winning mixRoger Tuuri

Remixed Magazine Which was the initial idea of creating SweMix?
"To create the best remix service in the world."
Was the plan to provide remixes like DMC, Hot Tracks, DiscoNet to subscribers?
"Yep, we had grand plans and it actually worked really well from the beginning. A few years later we exported loads to the UK and Italy and added merchandise. By then it was like a DJ pool, we even had courses and gatherings going."
Who came up with the clever name Remixed Records?
"It must have been René with the help of Emil. They were both really good coming up with cool ideas. Emil did the little magazine that came with each record as well."
Which was the first remix you ever did as SweMix?
"I think it was some obscure funk record that no one knew about. Dag was always smart and picked big hits."
Sten is quite right there, SweMix really offered a great and varied selection of tracks in their releases, everything from Top Hits to unknown tracks they helped turn into hits just by putting them on Remixed Records.

How did you create the remixes in the beginning? Did you splice up tape or did you do them live or with computers?
"We first did the edit on tape and then added samples manually with this tiny Akai sampler that had like a 0.5 second memory. As we used a 4-track, we could punch in samples on the last 2 tracks, then mix the whole thing down to a master which we cut the vinyl from."
What techniques and equipment was used in the beginning and how did that change over the years? One example is Dag's remix of "Don't You Want Me" where the male and female kind of 'answer' each other.
"After working with tape for a year, JJ came in with an Atari and a couple of synths. He also had this, by then, hi-tech Casio sampler that gave us the possibility to sample lots more and program our own beats. By the time Dag did 'Don't You Want Me' we had a proper mixing desk and a 24 track 2 inch machine to record on. I would say the studio was professional by the end of 1989. After then we simply upgraded samplers and computers as better models came out."
In the beginning you edited tape and added samples and so on. But later on, did the record labels hand you the 24 track tapes so you could use all the songs recorded elements to "play around" with in your remixes, or was it still tape editing and sampling you did?
"The very first mixes were pure edits with added samples. Then, about 1987 we got various take outs from the original mix session tapes. It could be drums and vocal or dubby parts, but still the original music. We still had very limited sampling time, but sometimes there were acapellas on the vinyl and we simply synced them manually. It wasn't until 1988 we could sample an entire acapella and program a new backing track. The 24 track tapes came later, I would say around 1989 when we had the machine to play them."

SweMix - Enter The Phuture As I recall you started out in a basement in Kocksgatan 28, can you tell me about that studio and the equipment you had?
"It was a great place with an office on street level and a huge basement area where the pretty small studio and vocal booth was built in one end and a massive 'hang out room' used the rest of the space. The studio started as a cold little basement room with the two tape machines and a tiny mixer. Around 1988, we built a proper console running across one wall and shelves for synths we bought."
Then in 1991 you moved the studio to Möckelvägen 44 in Årsta, was it a bigger studio with new equipment? Did you buy all the equipment together, or who paid for all the studio stuff?
"What happened was that the studio was always booked and Dag had just got a kid so he took the daytime pass. Then one of the other guys took early evening and I always ended up with the midnight to 6 AM shift so basically it was running 24/7. Neighbors started to get really irritated and in the end they sent down their crying daughter who couldn't sleep. We felt we had to move to a better place with proper sound proofing.
In Årsta, we could set up programming and mastering suites so it wasn't as congested there. The equipment was already bought as part of the deal we did with Tom Talomaa as he became partner."

As I understand the first SweMix/Remixed Records releases were illegal releases in a sense, as you had not got the approval by the owners of the original recordings. But what did the companies think of your remixes after a while? Did they approve or were there still labels who didn't like what you were doing?
Remixed Records cover "You are absolutely right. The first two releases were bootlegs. We had no idea you needed permission as we thought it was promotion for the labels. STIM (the Swedish copyright association) called us and said we had to get permission or else... It was a big blow and only one tiny label agreed to give us their tracks. One good thing was that this label licensed in a lot of Funk and R&B from the US so we got away with it. After a few months, CBS (now Sony) agreed as well and after a year or so, we had most labels onboard."
Were there many remixes that never made it to the Rem Rec releases?
"Not really. All of the owners did their things and sometimes we missed a track or two and Emil then delivered something double quick. He was really the driving force until we sold it, as both Dag and I got more and more busy with remix and production work."
Had all of you created remixes prior to SweMix - or was that the start for many of you?
"I had never been to a studio before SweMix, it was all brand new to most of us. René and Emil had done a lot of mixes before and knew everything."
Some early remixes are credited to the SpankGang - who were the ones behind that name?
"We came up with all kinds of silly names to make it look like more people were involved. I think it might have been Robert and Dag or possibly me and Dag. We only used that name twice I think."
Would you say there was some special remix that put SweMix "on the map" - first some within Sweden but also if there was some that later put SweMix "on the map" internationally?
"The biggest mix of all was Dag's mix of Michael Jackson. We got calls from all over the world for years after.
Jamie Principle's 'Baby Wants To Ride' was also huge as it wasn't released anywhere else."

Which is your favorite of your OWN SweMix/RemRec releases?
"We did a lot of releases on SweMix that wasn't remixes so I suspect you mean my favorite of the remixes. For sentimental reasons I would say the 'Funk medley' in the very beginning. I remember rappers coming up to me when I was in a club saying 'respect', haha. Very cool."
Which is your favorite of ALL SweMix/RemRec releases?
Remixed Records logo "Remember that this was 20 years ago and everything has moved on so much. Very hard to say, but Dag did some really advanced stuff then and I don't think we realized then how good he really was."
Do you know how many "SweMix Remixes" that was made over the years?
"There was at least 8 per volume and I think we did about 70 before we sold it, plus countless of other remixes that were made for other companies and not put on Remixed Records. So it was quite a few!"

The famous Billie Jean remix

All of the SweMix guys were very successful in their own right and you would see at least one of their names in every Swedish 12" single release at the time. First, of course, for their own SweMix Records acts, including Dr Alban, DaYeene, Kayo and Gladys. But also for other Swedish top acts like Ace of Base, Roxette, Army of Lovers, Eric Gadd, Titiyo, Leila K and many others.
Among other things René, JJ and StoneBridge collaborated in a 1990 remix of the Björn Skifs [Blue Swede] 1974 #1 Billboard classic - "Hooked On A Feeling". It has become a highly sought for 12" release as it was a Swedish promo only.
The SweMix team was also responsible for creating the Nordik Beat scene, which was a mixture of the modern Swedish dance music with influences of House, Techno, Acid and HipHop.
Their ideas were new and fresh, and their creativity in creating their remixes was unmatched - specially when considering the great success their work made even outside the Swedish borders. As Stene [StoneBridge] mentions above, Dagge's [Denniz PoP's] remix of Michael Jackson's "Billie Jean" along with René & JJ's remix of the Chicago House classic "Baby Wants To Ride" really put SweMix in an international focus. But also StoneBridge's remix of Robin S. "Show Me Love" was a milestone in the SweMix history as it became an instant worldwide hit.
Denniz PoP Classic Remixes on Remixed Records In Dagge's remix of "Billie Jean", he lets the tempo slow down in the break and then speeds it back up again but still keeping it in key throughout the who tempo change, something that was exceptional and very advanced back in 1989. I had to ask Stene if he recalled how that was created since it was not a matter of pitching down the track as the key tone would have been totally messed up when slowing a record to half the speed (or lower).
Stene replied; "First Dagge synced the record to his own created beats. He actually mixed the record into his beats with a turntable and used the pitch control until he got it all on beat. To create the tempo change he sampled small pieces of the original track and made a tempo change in Notator in our Atari computer and because each sample was so short it worked all the way down - and up again."
Stene also tells me that Dagge also did his remix of the Human League's "Don't You Want Me" live. In that track he had also created some additional beats but then he let the male and female voices answer each other live in a kind of conversation between them, opposed to the original where first the male sings a verse with his views of their relation and then the female replies with her views in her own verse. It was just a brilliant idea to have them talk to each other.
But this "Don't You Want Me" idea was really something Dag picked up from his SweMix colleague Emil, who had been doing this live during many of his DJ sessions. Dag liked the idea and refined it a little with the additional beats and so on, and put it on Remixed Records.
Actually many of Dagge's releases became so popular that Remixed Records released a special 5-track 12" single with only Denniz PoP remixes, called "Denniz PoP - Classic Remixes on Remixed Records". Tracks included were;

Michael Jackson

"Billie Jean"

Human League

"Don't you want me"

Soul II Soul

"Keep on movin'"

S.O.S Band

"Just be good to me"

Kraze

"Let's play house"

Remixed Records as label In 1988 the guys desided to use the Remixed Records name as a label for a few own releases, starting with Denniz PoP's Break-House track "Gimme Some Mo' (Bass On Me)" followed by, for example, "(The Continous Story Of) Mr. Magic" by Mister Magic, an act which in fact was just another alias for a collaboration of JJ & StoneBridge.
But just a few releases were made by the SweMix team on the Remixed Records label and they soon started Basement Division for these individual releases.
You also started Basement Division in 1988 and later BTB Records in the early 90's - why start other labels?
"Basment Division was a fun little label where we released the latest track we had done last week. No promo, no plans, just a bunch of vinyl that never sold that much. I suppose we all wanted a real record with our name on it. A lot of rappers started to come to the studio and we felt every track was the bomb and rushed it out.
BTB (Back To Basics) was started a few years later as a reaction towards the increasingly commercial music we started to release with Dr Alban etc. We wanted to maintain a bit of underground credibility. The label did quite well and we collaborated with Jan Ekholm to get the stuff out internationally. He later set up Club Vision, which he ran from our Årsta office."

Basement Division and BTB Records

In around 1989 SweMix was divided into SweMix Productions, which was the original company for the remixing and production side of things, and SweMix Records & Publishing, which was the commercial label for the artists and publishing deals.
Why was the company split up in two?
"Dag worked at this club called Ritz and the owner got very interested in SweMix. We had long discussions and agreed that it would be cool to get a proper studio with all the professional stuff in it so we let Tom Talomaa, the owner of Ritz, come in against a 24 track machine with Dolby SR and mixing console.
As he was going through the books, he said it was a mess and that's why a second SweMix was created, the Records & Publishing division. This proved to be a stroke of genius for us later, as we could keep the original company even though the Record division was sold later."

As mentioned above, Tom Talomaa joined SweMix in 1989 - what was his role?
"He was the business man who tried to turn this bunch of DJs into a company."
In 1993 you sold SweMix Records & Publishing along with its acts to BMG, which must have been a great deal considering the hits Dr Alban and others had had. How did you feel about that?
"Dag was getting really tired of hearing us telling him that all his stuff was commercial shit and around 1991 he had enough and wanted to leave SweMix Productions, but we persuaded him to stay.
He was discussing possible solutions with Tom without us knowing about it and Tom knew BMG Germany very well since all the hits with Dr Alban and in 1992 they made an offer for the R&P company and the deal was closed in early 1993. They asked me and René if we wanted to join them at the new company, but we didn't want to let the other guys down so we stayed.
The way they finally did it was to buy out me, René, Robert, Emil and JJ from SweMix Records & Publishing and then renamed the company to Cheiron. We thought it was a wicked plan as we got some money, but nowhere near what it was worth. When we realized that we felt that most of the money came from Dag's hits anyway so we sort of went along with it. You can say we didn't have much of a choice. The good news was that we had an earlier agreement between SweMix Productions and SweMix Records & Publishing that gave us royalties for everything produced in the studio and this went on even though R&P became Cheiron."

When did you - the original founding members - decide to split up, and why? Was it some kind of clash between you, as Tom & Dagge brought SweMix Records & Publishing when starting Cheiron and you other guys kept the SweMix name? Or was it more because you had different interests in the recording/remixing business?
"We never split up like that, it was a much more gradual thing. At the same time Dag left, René got into video and artwork and stopped doing mixes and DJ'ing. I worked with Nick Nice in the main studio, JJ had his room and the rest of the guys used another room. After my Robin S remix, I was remixing for international labels week in, week out and started my own company, StoneBridge Productions. As we didn't have the label anymore, everybody did their own thing."
Still most of you kept providing remixes to RemRec's...
"Yes, once a month we struggled to get the Remix Records volume together. People had already noticed that the quality had gone down and personally, I had lost interest in it completely. I basically put something I had remixed for another label on. Only Emil felt it was important still."

Download the FREE basic RealPlayer...

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CLICK to hear some SweMix songs...

Hooked on a feeling
Björn Skifs

Gimme some mo' (bass on me)
Denniz PoP

Hello Africa
Dr Alban

It's my life
Dr Alban

No coke
Dr Alban

Sing Hallelujah
Dr Alban

Say it, say it
E.G. Daily

Don't you want me
Human League

Let's play house
Kraze

Female intuition
Mai Tai

Billie Jean
Michael Jackson

Don't you want my love
Nicole

Kiss
Prince

Luv 4 Luv
Robin S.

Show me love
Robin S.

Just be good to me
S.O.S Band

Holly Rock
Sheila E.

Keep on movin'
Soul II Soul

I only wanna be with you
Tourists





Dr Alban - The Very Best of 1990-1997
Click to buy from
BUY Dr Alban - The Very Best of 1990-1997 from the US BUY Dr Alban - The Very Best of 1990-1997 from Europe
Hello Afrika
Stop the Pollution [Album Version]
U & Mi [Album Version]
No Coke
One Love [Radio Version]
Sing Hallelujah
It's My Life
Look Who's Talking [Long]
Let the Beat Go On [Short]
Away from Home [Short]
This Time I'm Free [Credibility Mix]
Hallelujah Day
Born in Africa
It's My Life [Sash Remix]
Sing Hallalujah! [DJ Stevie Steve's Pizzi Edit]
Hello Africa ['97 Remix]
No Coke [Klanghouse Remix]


StoneBridge - Music Takes Me
Click to buy from
BUY StoneBridge - Music Takes Me from the US BUY StoneBridge - Music Takes Me from Europe
Music Takes Me
Close To Heaven
S.O.S.
You Don't Know
Just You And I
Love Thing
Nothing Without Me
Take Me I'm Yours
I Believe In Love
Feeling 4 You
Let Me In
All I Can Think Of Is You
S.O.S. (Seamus Haji Remix)
S.O.S. (Ortega & Gold Full Mix)
You Don`T Know Me (Fatblock Goes To Ibiza Mix)
You Don`T Know Me (Chris Kaeser Remix)
Close To Heaven (Chris Kaeser Remix)


StoneBridge - Can't Get Enough
Click to buy from
BUY Dr Alban - The Very Best of 1990-1997 from the US BUY Dr Alban - The Very Best of 1990-1997 from Europe
Can't Get Enough [ft. Charlie King]
Give a Little [ft. Rita Campbell]
Put 'Em High [ft. Therese]
Once in a Lifetime [ft. Dayeene]
Show You How [ft. Julie Morrison & Jay Soul]
Freak On [ft. Ultra Naté]
Little Bit Crazy
Deeper Love
Desire [ft. Bonnie Bailey]
Take Me Away [ft. Therese]
Clorophilla (Put a Little Love) [ft. Isabel Fructuoso]
Gotta Give It Up [ft. Henry Thomas]
Let's Loze It [ft. Jay Soul]
What a Day [ft. Chris Coco & Dayeene]
60 Seconds


In 1991 RemRec's was sold to Giovanni Sconfienza - why? When had he started working with you guys?
"It's a funny story as Giovanni bootlegged our first 'bootleg' and planned to sell it in Italy. We caught him with his hand in the cookie jar and he admitted straight away. He said our international sales were a joke and that he could do it for us. So we let him and he was awesome. As the quality started to slide, he offered to buy it and the time was right."
DJ's Only - Remixed Records In 1993 Giovanni reformed Remixed Records into a label besides being a Remix Service and he licensed acts like 49ers, DJ Miko, T-Spoon and 666 along with releasing Swedish dance acts like Solid Base and Sonic Dream Collective.
Later Giovanni choose to call the Remix Service - DJ's Only - and set up a website with that name to separate the label from the Remix Service he still maintained.
SweMix logo SweMix was kept alive and celebrated 10 years in 1996, but in 1997 the studio was shut down and the SweMix name was sold to Giovanni. Sadly a great decade and era of Swedish dance music was to an end. How did you all feel about closing down SweMix?
"I remember that party in 1996. I worked my ass off to get it together and booked David Morales, who was the biggest House DJ in the world at the time. It was a good party and we probably felt it was a good way to end it. By then I was pretty much doing all the admin for the company, the website and I was getting bored and wanted to do my own thing for my own company. I bought a house and moved the studio there late 1996. None of the other guys wanted to keep the place in Årsta and as we no longer had a place for SweMix, we sold the name too.
Amazing if you think about it, we sold the company three times more or less."

Giovanni still owns the Remixed Records and SweMix names, but since around 2005 it seems to have been no activities on either of the labels and the DJ's Only Remix Service sadly seems to have lost its former glory and is now run by some company called Creon Records.

In 1998 Dagge sadly passed away - how was that to all of you?
"It was very strange. We were really close friends in the beginning and as they left to set up Cheiron, we never hooked up and never really met again. The last months he refused to see anyone so we never had a chance to really say goodbye or make up. Very sad story."
All of you original owners kept having successful careers - but individually. Which do you consider your own best work after SweMix?
"I think I'm the only one that actually tour, produce and remix music on a professional level still. My biggest achievements after Robin S, that started my career, have been my two artist albums. It took me a good 15 years to realize that doing your own music is better than just remixing.
The other guys are doing other things and I know that JJ and Emil are still playing out as well as Robert and René, who recently started again."

Have you got any contact with the other original SweMix founders?
"I do see all the guys from time to time. René is the guy I still speak to on a regular basis as I do videos that need additional editing sometimes."
Is there anything else we should know about SweMix - something not already covered above?
"You got it pretty much, in very fine detail."
Finally - What's your best SweMix memory?
"I think it might be the ghost trip to northern Sweden with Dag. He was convinced there were ghosts in this little house and we waited all night. Then Dag went out and did some ghosting himself as nothing happened. What a classic!
I would say the three first years as a whole was when the SweMix spirit was alive. As the business side of things took over, the fun was lost."

There's no understatement to say that what started out as a bootleg Remix Service
became a worldwide Dance music success and
SweMix sure put a clear foot stamp in the music history during its active decade.
Their Remixed Records releases was something to count on
and had subscribers throughout the world.
SweMix also laid grounds for what would become known as the Swedish Dance Music export, making Sweden the third largest music exporting country in the World after the U.S. and U.K.
Thank you guys for the great music you produced and remixed, music that still keeps us...


"Hooked On A Feeling"




© Discoguy (discoguy@disco-disco.com) 2008-2013.
All rights reserved.
No part of these pages may be reproduced or published without the prior written permission of the author.

SweMix logo
HUGE THANKS
to StoneBridge for participating and making this page possible !!!

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