From humble beginnings as a session guitarist whose repertoire included the likes of Sam Rui, RRILEY, and Joie Tan. Joy Alexis has boldly evolved into an artist in his own right. Starting with his debut single Sweet P in 2019, Joy has embarked on a journey in the pursuit of concocting his own unique mix of smooth electronic Jazz, House and a mixture of R&B/Soul.
Joy’s first single of 2020, Tonight, is a haunting, sensual exploration of the pain and confusion that comes with the longing of a former lover. Its lyrics present a desperate appeal numb the pain of separation by having things to go back to the way it was, even if just for one night. (“I still wanna love you/ I’m sorry that I miss you/ I still wanna love you/ Won’t you take my pain away?”)
In collaboration with fellow up-and-coming artists Halal Sol, Abouritz, KEAT, and a tag team effort by Nyfty & Isaac Lee, Joy has dropped four unique remixes of Tonight. Each remix has been lovingly given a unique twist by these artists, subverting and recontextualizing the track in fresh and exciting ways. We take an in-depth look at these remixes below.
Nyfty & Isaac Lee
Nyfty & Isaac Lee come through with a nifty house rendition of the track, complete with hypnotic rhythms, tasty piano chords and repetitive chopped up samples of Joy’s vocals. Coupled with a dynamic filter sweep right down the middle of the track and a gnarly bassline-driven outro makes for an electrifying version worthy of the dancefloor.
KEAT. Photo: Tan Ee Tong / TET Photography
KEAT opts for a more retro-inspired take for his remix. Right from the get go, a drum fill smeared with signature 80s-styled gated reverb kicks open the gates, before working its way into a Jamiroquai-esque disco extravaganza, complete with funk guitars, string stabs, driving synth bass, and understated arpeggiated synths. KEAT described his approach in remaking the track as creating something someone could “dance your heart out to forget your pain and worries” to, and on that front, his remix is one that definitely succeeds.
Arguably my favourite remix of the bunch, Halal Sol yet again proves himself to be one of Singapore’s best alternative electronic producers. With its unexpected chord changes and distinct deep house aesthetic, he manages to completely recontexualize the track into something truly astonishing, tastefully weaving Tonight with threads of his own unique sound. His remix is best described by the man himself: “My remix aims to capture the essence of 90s house music with rhythmic pumping bass lines, mono acid-like synth lead, wafting synth pad and the ubiquitous 909 drums. Joy Alexis' vocals add a modern twist to give the track a more contemporary feel fit for the radio.”
Abouritz’s remix is the closest to the original song in terms of its vibe, but also commendably takes some of the most interesting risks in terms of its ideas. Of note are its intro that consists of a sample of Joy’s vocals, chopped up and pitch-shifted – setting the track’s moody atmosphere, and the outro only adds to the melancholy, with its swelling strings and simple, emotional piano chords. These elements certainly stand on its own, but unfortunately merely feel tacked on in the context of the track, rather than coming off as fully integrated.