In the ever-evolving landscape of music, where the lines between genres blur and artists from diverse corners of the world converge, the story of Hogan & Flowstrong shines as a testament to the transformative power of collaboration, innovation, and the magic that can happen when emerging talents meet a global superstar. Their remarkable journey from Taipei, Taiwan, to the world stage is marked by an OurSong remix challenge victory that transcended expectations. Not only did their remix of Kimbra’s “The Way We Were” win the hearts of many, but it also earned the coveted status of being the official remix, now available on digital streaming platforms (DSPs) worldwide, accompanied by a visually captivating music video.
This is the remix version of Kimbra’s single “The Way We Were,” produced by two emerging Taiwanese musicians, Hogan and Flowstrong.
Their remix stood out from about 300 submissions and won first place in Kimbra’s remix competition on OurSong.
With the OurSong platform as their launchpad, Hogan and Flowstrong recount how the remix challenge not only boosted their confidence but also garnered international acclaim. “Even complete strangers acknowledge our work. That was a huge thumbs up for me,” Hogan tells OurSong. “Being able to get the recognition from Kimbra herself is also a very big inspiration to me.” Positive feedback from listeners worldwide, combined with the recognition from Kimbra herself—a Grammy-winning artist known for her feature on the multi-platinum single “Somebody That I Used to Know” by Gotye—became sources of inspiration that fueled their creative spirits.
A pivotal discussion unfolds as we delve into the innovative core of their success—OurSong’s ‘Open License.’ Flowstrong underscores the significance of this paradigm shift in the world of remixes. Previously, remixes often existed in a gray area or were commissioned as one-time deals. However, the ‘Open License’ concept redefines the game. He says, “The idea of open license allows more of a win-win situation. The original artist gets more exposure as well as profit, and the remixer gets to showcase his or her talents, but getting paid at the same time. I think it’s a great way to foster new art, new simulations between different creators.”
Hogan and Flowstrong spoke to OurSong at their Studio in Taipei about the creative process when making this remix, how this journey has impacted their career in music, and some memorable moments from their meet and greet with Kimbra.
Excerpt to interview
Have you ever experimented with remixing before?
Flowstrong: “Yeah, I started doing remixes because of this community in Taipei called Beatmakers Taipei. They used to hold a monthly remix cypher, so all these beatmakers, producers would do the same song and put all of our remixes in the same compilation.”
Hogan: “For me, it wasn’t until the ‘The Way We Were’ remix challenge project that I officially started remixing. Before this, I used to do a lot of rearrangements and mashups in my live performances.”
How do you feel about remixing? Any interesting experiences to share?
Flowstrong: “I think it’s a good way to interact with the original song, but also put your own twist on it. For example, there was a time when the community had to remix a Jackie Chan song so I decided to incorporate his conversation with Chris Tucker from the movie ‘Brush Showers.’ Later on, I put an Erykah Badu acapella on top of it, so it became a Badu remix instead of a Jackie Chan remix. It’s all about expressing my emotions, my experiences, and my personal reaction to the original song.”
What’s your take on the whole “open license” idea?
Flowstrong: “I think it’s a great concept to apply to remixes. From my understanding, usually remixes were done either through commissions, so it was like a one-time payment, the artist approaches remixers, or it was a bit of a gray area where artists, like me, just did their thing. The idea of open license allows more of a win-win situation. The original artist gets more exposure as well as profits, and the remixer gets to showcase his or her talents, but getting paid at the same time. I think it’s a great way to foster new art, new simulations between different creators.”
Give us the inside scoop on the creative vibes behind this remix
Flowstrong: “We wanted the overall sound to be impactful so it had to have hard-hitting percussions and drums. But at the same time, we really felt like after we changed the phrasing, It could really suit a more melancholic acoustic guitar. So this contrast between soft and hard instrumentation would be very effective in terms of the music.”
Hogan: “For writing the verse, I wanted to offer a different perspective to the original song, but also maintain the same vibe. I used some of Kimbra’s lyrics and added my own twist to it. So that’s what I think made the song more interesting and ear-catching.”
How has this OurSong journey impacted your career in music?
Hogan: “After uploading our remix, we received positive feedbacks, good words from people all around the world. That gave me a big boost in my confidence. I was like, even complete strangers acknowledge our work. That was a huge thumbs up for me. Secondly, being able to get the recognition from Kimbra herself is also a very big inspiration to me.”
Flowstrong: “Creating the remix itself was already a fruitful experience. We had a lot of fun creating the song. We’re glad that Kimbra perhaps may have noticed the fun we had and resonated with the song.”
Can you share the standout moments from your meet and greet with Kimbra?
Flowstrong: “It was a casual and warming session. Kimbra has a fantastic personality, and she was genuinely curious about our stories—how we met and how we started making music. Also, we noticed our shared love for using human voice as an instrument cause we both joined the B-Box Club. We knew that Kimbra also loves to use live effects during her performances so we asked her to share a bit about her philosophy. She was kind enough to offer many concepts and thought processes.”
Hogan: “It’s a very awesome experience. We got to experience how genuine of a person Kimbrah is. She was honest to music and gave very constructive feedbacks.”
What exciting plans do you have in the pipeline?
Flowstrong: “I have been producing for many musicians this month, hope these songs will be out soon, including Hogan’s album. I’m also preparing my beat tape, hope it can be released this year.”
Hogan: “I’ve been working on my debut album for quite some time. It will be released at the end of September. The album is called ‘Lose Faucet.’ In Mandarin, it’s called ”把水開著”. Stay tuned.”