How a Bootleg Edit Turned Into the Title Track for Justin Martin's Hello Clouds

Mar 17, 2023

Harry Levin

2 min read

Every musician in the world—from the starry-eyed newbies about to play their first set at a local dive bar to the major headlining DJs who spend more time on a festival mainstage than they do in their own homes—is united by a simple truth: they are fans of music. Yet, beyond fandom, they have the opportunity to imbue the music they love with their talent, and that’s exactly what Justin Martin did when he heard the Four Tet remix of “Small Talk” by Ultraísta.

He found his favorite part of the track, sampled it, looped it, and morphed it into an intro for a radio mix. Once that mix came out, everyone wanted his edit of “Small Talk,” so Martin decided to make a whole track out of it and share it on his Soundcloud as a standalone piece of work.

Even though he thought it was going to get taken it down (because he didn’t own the rights), nine years later, the bootleg is still on the page, and it turns out the reason for this is that the band, Ultraísta, had heard the remix and all three members loved it.

One of the members of Ultraísta is the vocalist, FEMME, and before Martin found out she had heard his remix, he had a thought:

“I have to work with her. Her voice is the type of voice that I feel would work perfectly with my music,” Martin told Grammy Pro in 2016.

So, when Martin set out to create his sophomore album, Hello Clouds, the back end did their thing, and FEMME agreed to work with him. What she didn’t know when she agreed was that he was the one who made the remix of “Small Talk” that her whole band liked.

As it turned out, they were both fans of each other, and when it came to making music, the process was just that simple. Two studio sessions later, they had the track “Hello Clouds” in the bag, and the band agreed to an official release of JMart’s edit of “Small Talk.”

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