I wanted a ridiculously cool look for my Hot Rod Stigmata single. Over the past couple years, I’ve been more realistic about my strengths and weaknesses, and have no reservations pulling in collaborators who can execute an angle of a project much better than I ever could. Enter Sterling Martin, a friend I knew from hanging out at the Chicago club Neo. From following Sterling on Instagram, I had seen incredible examples of his design work, especially in the ‘graphic novel’ genre. This was exactly the look I was hoping to pair with this particular song, so I commissioned Sterling to create the Hot Rod Stigmata cover artwork.
You may have seen my earlier exchange with Sterling about the ideas I hoped to express. I found out later Sterling had screencapped his process of creating the cover art. Sterling mentioned he was putting together a time-lapse video of everything and asked if he could use my music in it. Well, I thought, the song is pretty short, so maybe I ought to make a special version just for this video. A remix of sorts.
At first I thought I’d just do something simple, maybe take the vocal track off and copy and paste the choruses to make the track long enough for Sterling’s video. Turns out, I’m not so good at taking the easy route. I spent a couple weeks creating a monster remix of Hot Rod Stigmata, using a number of backup vocals Toju Gbemi had recorded for the original but I had never used. I also added an audio snippet I surreptitiously grabbed of my friend August Forte discussing the finer points of the history of New Wave music. (I asked his permission before using the sample)
Also in the spirit of collaboration, and leaving things I’m not great at to the pros, I reached out to Angel Marcloid to master the track after I had finished mixing it. Angel turned around and sent back this killer track with added volume, depth, and clarity.
I called the remix “Hot Rod Stigmata [Sterling Gold Edition]” as a play on words as well as a shout out to the person this remix would not have existed without!