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Pretty Lights and The ReGeneration Music Project

The Re:Generation Music Project mixes the rhythm and sampling approach of song construction by five electronic DJs and producers with the music genres of the past.

Directed by award-winner Amir Bar-Lev ( The Tillman Story, My Kid Could Paint That ), the documentary follows a variety of collaborations: Mark Ronson with the Dap Kings, Eykah Badu with Trombone Shorty, Mos Def and Zigaboo Modeliste, Skrillex with the Doors, DJ Premier with the Berklee Symphony Orchestra and Nas, the Crystal Method with Mary Reeves and the Funk Brothers (R&B); and Pretty Lights with Dr. Ralph Stanley and LeAnn Rimes.

With the participating artists determined to find common ground, the recording sessions proceeded smoothly except for Pretty Lights (a.k.a. Derek Smith). Early scenes find him coming to grips with a style he doesn’t understand. Choosing the classic “Wayfaring Stranger” to cover, he then clashes with the Nashville establishment, particularly Stanley. Eventually, Smith gets what he needs from the bluegrass icon and during a later session with LeAnn Rimes to create the updated version that he seeks.

The result as well as his remix can be heard on the soundtrack album. Featuring all the tracks created in the film along with remixes by Zedd, Apathy, Bonobo and Static Revenger, it is available as a free download.

Produced in association with the GRAMMYs® and presented by Hyundai Veloster Re:Generation will be shown in theaters Feb. 16 and 23. For more information, visit or

JPG: How did you get involved with Re:Generation Music Project ?

PL: They just reached out to me. I was connected through my management and they brought it to me. The whole project was laid out for me. At first I was a bit skeptical ‘cause they wanted me to do the country thing but as I learned more it seemed like something that would be really cool and I could learn a lot from it.

JPG: Was it a matter that you pulled the shortest straw? How did you get that musical style?

PL: I’m not really sure how I got selected but I’d like to think that I got the most difficult genre because I would be able to pull it off. (slight laugh)

JPG: You say that now. I watched the film and during your segment, especially when working with the Nashville musicians and Ralph Stanley, you looked like a deer in the headlights who just shit himself.

PL: (laughs) I have not seen the film yet. I’m sure the drama was built up quite a bit but to be honest there was only one moment ever where it was really a bit hectic for me, when I first met with Dr. Ralph Stanley. But it was fun. I’m comfortable and used to working with musicians in the studio and conducting and composing on the fly, and everyone I worked with in Nashville was cool.

Once I found an old traditional country song that I felt like I could fuse into my style then it was all good from there. It was no more feeling like a deer in the headlights as far as my subjective perspective.

JPG: The look in your eyes when you were working with the musicians and Stanley looked like, “What did I get myself into…”

PL: There was a bit of that, for sure. (slight laugh)

JPG: Then when you worked with LeAnn Rimes, the look on your face was much more relaxed, giving the impression, “I’m working here. This is nice. She’s cool. She takes direction.” I felt better for you then. I felt horrible for you earlier.

PL: (laughs)

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