To the more than 1 billion people who have created or watched "Harlem Shake" videos, Harry "Baauer" Rodrigues is best known as the man behind the song. But the DJ, producer and audiophile is no one hit wonder. Collaborating with Grammy Award-winning producer Just Blaze; remix work for dance-floor heavyweights including Jay-Z, Disclosure, The Prodigy and AlunaGeorge; and a dense tour schedule including a residency at LIGHT nightclub in Las Vegas have kept Baauer on an upward trajectory.
Baauer has also been readying his debut album by traveling from his home base in New York City to the distant deserts of the United Arab Emirates, and to the volcanoes, temples and metropolises throughout Japan, in search of sounds that will inspire his new music and push him beyond the shadow of "Harlem Shake."
In the 26-minute documentary, Baauer: Searching For Sound, viewers get an inside look at how Baauer transforms these found sounds from raw files to record. Joining him on the journey, and back in the studio in New York, is his friend and Red Bull Music Academy alumnus Nick Hook who is helping with production on the album. Among their many discoveries while exploring Japan, Baauer and Nick visit Hokkaido and encounter some of the last remaining Ainu-an indigenous tribe of Japan. They learn about ancient Ainu traditions and music, and make recordings of native instruments like the Tonkori and the Mukkuri. In the desert outside of Dubai, they are taken in by the Al Hebsi Tribe, introduced to a tribal chant called Al Nadba, and are allowed to play and record rare instruments including the Habbān - a goat skin bagpipe. After thousands of miles traveled and gigabytes of recordings collected, Baauer returns to the studio inspired, with a fresh collection of sounds, and a new direction for his debut album.
Somewhere between Brooklyn, London and Philadelphia, Harry Rodrigues carved out a sonic pallet that was, until then, entirely unheard. Influenced by the rich musical histories of these cultural meccas, he built a musical foundation halfway between each - songs structured in the dance format, with dynamic rises and falls, but textured with sounds of the world. Dance music that sounds like it's from the earth. This blend of what's natural and what's synthetic typifies Baauer's music more than any one other characteristic.
In May of 2012, after Baauer's track "Harlem Shake" had made it's rounds in the DJ circuit - being played by everyone from Rustie to Skrillex, it was signed and released on a free imprint of Diplo's Mad Decent called Jeffries. The track was immediately a critical success, receiving the "Best New Music" stamp from Pitchfork amongst a wildfire of rave reviews across the web. "Harlem Shake" was the festival song of 2012, and by fall had seemed to run its course. Baauer had released another single with Just Blaze and Jay Z called "Higher" and had signed a deal with LuckyMe, the tastemaker label out of Glasgow, and his career was off.
Then almost a year later, in February/March 2013 "Harlem Shake" became a YouTube sensation, overtook the internet, forced Billboard magazine to change it's ranking equation, and subsequently became the first song by a new artist to appear at #1 on the Billboard Hot 100. The track stayed atop the charts for 6 weeks until the song finally slowed, a full year after its initial release.
Since then, Baauer has toured around the world, both playing shows and exploring the sonic histories of everywhere from Japan to United Arab Emirates. In only the few years since his career began, he has worked confidently and deliberately across the musical spectrum; collaborating with superstars like the K-Pop icon G Dragon, to legendary instrumentalists like Femi Kuti. Baauer has recently contributed to a Zane Lowe curated "re"-soundtracking of the cult film "Drive" and has been confirmed as a key producer on the upcoming Pusha T album. Baauer connected with Red Bull in early 2014 to document his experiences and his ongoing hunt for the hidden sounds of the world, and together they created the film "Baauer: Searching for Sound." The film premieres November 2014. Currently, Baauer is back in his Brooklyn studio finishing his first project for LuckyMe, which is scheduled for a release before the end of 2014.
Nick Hook is a St. Louis born, now New York based, producer, DJ, and collaborator extraordinaire. He’s a multi-instrumentalist who’s as comfortable playing the guitar or keyboards as he is producing Hip Hop tracks or DJing House music. Typically the man behind the scenes, Hook’s approach to production has caught the ear of artists across the board leading to collaborations with the likes of El-P, L-Vis 1990, Bootsy Collins, A$AP Ferg, and Azealia Banks to name a few. For his forthcoming solo project Hook looks to make a name for himself as a musician who produces music to stand the test of time.
Hook’s first major label record deal was in 2004, when he joined the electro-pop group Men, Women, & Children on the keyboards and released a full-length album of the same name on Warner Brothers in 2006. Following the band’s split, Hook met Tiombe Lockhart while working at a New York City sake bar and the two went on to form Cubic Zirconia, signing to Fool’s Gold with Lockhart as the lead singer and Hook producing and co-writing.
Hook made the transition from band member to producer in 2011, when London based producer L-Vis 1990 enlisted him to produce and co-write his Neon Dreams LP on Island Records. In the same year, Hook was selected for the Red Bull Music Academy where he met and collaborated with music greats like Bootsy Collins and Tony Visconti. Since then, Hook’s producer credits have included Azealia Banks’ hit “212” and “Jumanji,” which he teamed up with fellow Music Academy alumnus Hudson Mohawke to co-produce.
Equal parts instrumentalist, producer, dj, and art director, Hook tremendously values the collaborative process because it offers him the ability to bring people of different scenes together, and the opportunity to cultivate raw talent to its full potential. His track record of working with ground breaking artists to produce music outside of industry constraints, has most recently linked Hook with fellow New York producer Harry “Baauer” Rodriguez. Hook is currently serving as executive producer for Baauer’s forthcoming debut album. In preparation for the much anticipated release, Hook and Baauer teamed up with Red Bull to embark on a worldwide search for unusual artists, instruments and sounds to inspire his new album. The trip and recording process was captured in the documentary Baauer: Searching for Sound, which will release worldwide on November 6, 2014 on Red Bull TV.
Daisetsuzan National Park is located in the mountainous center of the northern Japanese island of Hokkaidō. Daisetsuzan, meaning "great snowy mountains", an apt description of these peaks. This is a view from Mt. Kurodake.
Classification: Aerophone Derived from Hanban, the Persian word for "bag" Introduced to Middle East through the Great Highland Bagpipe Dating Back to the 13th Century
Traditional Ainu music features many vocal rhythmic effects including tongue rolling trills and Rekuhkara throat singing. Pictured: Traditional Ainu Woman with Face Tattoo
Meaning "Sulfer Mountain" in the Akan National Park
KAKKO - Double headed horizontal drum Classification: Membranophone High Pitched Drum With Distinct Sound Called The Conductor
A Japanese free reed instrument used in traditional Gagaku music. Consists of 17 slender bamboo pipes. The instrument's sound is said to imitate the call of a phoenix.
Large Bell Found in Buddhist Temples Throughout Japan. Used To Summon monks to Prayer. They are struck from the outside using a hand held mallet or a beam suspended by rope.
Double headed drums struck with hands or sticks, Used throughout the Omani Culture. The Rahmani is the larger drum. The Kasir is smaller and is often used to embellish rhythms of the larger drum.
Ancient Imperial Court music (and dance) that has been performed for several centuries. Wind, string and percussion instruments are essential elements of Gagaku music.
Foot prints gathered while walking up the Daisetsuzan National Park mountain in Japan
Classification: Chordophone "The King" of Instruments Used Throughout the Middle East Primarily Used in artistic music context
Also known as dromedary, these Arabian camels inhabit the Middle East and most commonly make grunting, bellowing or roaring sounds.
Japanese percussion instrument that produces low pitched sounds.
Gagaku means “elegant music” in Japanese and is one of the oldest existing forms of orchestral music
An ancient rhythmical song of the Ainu tribe
Traditional Japanese plucked idiophone indigenous to the Ainu of Hokkaido, Japan. Made from bamboo. Similar to a jaw harp. Sound is made by pulling string and vibrating the inside.
Plucked string instrument Classification: Chordophone Played by the Ainu people of Hokkaido. Generally has five strings, which are not stopped or fretted but simply played open. By the 1970s the instrument was practically extinct, but is experiencing a revival along with the increased interest in Ainu culture. Tonkori's strings are made of gut, deer tendon, or vegetable fiber.
Bells are used in temples throughout Japan as part of ritual, ceremony, meditation and prayer.
One of the fastest animals on earth, the Shaheen (Peregrine) Falcon can reach speeds in excess of 320 kmh (200 mph), when diving after prey.