Inside the weird world of Alex Jones remix culture
Inside the weird world of Alex Jones remix culture
Alex Jones is scorching-hot right now. And we’re not just talking about the big bowl of chili he ate for lunch. After 20-odd years of toiling in relative obscurity from his radio studio in Austin, Texas, the far-right host of “The Alex Jones Show” and proprietor of the website Infowars.com, is basking in an ever-brightening national spotlight, thanks in no small part to his association with President Donald Trump. As VICE News documented, Jones seems to be something of a muse for Trump. Aside from appearing on his show several times and speaking to Jones on the phone regularly, Trump has consistently repeated conspiracy theories first spewed by the volcanic rant-man.
Jones has also inspired a burgeoning underground of internet music and video remix art. He’s the subject of countless YouTube remix videos in which the producer pairs edited samples of his voice with music, generally of the homemade electronic variety, and then accompanies it with a commensurately outré video. It’s a sprawling sub-subgenre that we like to refer to as Infocore.
“The barrage of insane shit he spouts off in his broadcasts makes him extremely remixable,” producer NMESH told VICE News, who remixed Jones for his 3-part “Globalist Suite” [part of the epic World War 2020 compilation from H.V.R.F.]. “The possibilities are endless. He’s become somewhat of a living meme.”
Remix artists have been sampling media broadcasts since at least 1956, when Bill Buchanan and Dickie Goodman decided to mash up a bunch of contemporary hits with a radio report of an alien invasion for “The Flying Saucer.” In 1975, the experimental composer John Oswald combined Led Zeppelin’s “Wanton Song” with the zealous ravings of a Southern Evangelist preacher. Oswald later gave a name to this bizarre new art form: “plunderphonics.” Avant-garde sound collagists Negativland started weaving together radio recordings in the early ’80s, eventually incurring the legal wrath of disc jockey Casey Kasem and the band U2’s record label, Island Records, in 1991. That same year a few Rhode Island School of Design graduates got together and formed a group called Emergency Broadcast Network. They became an underground hit by remixing broadcasts of the first Gulf War (and ironically later collaborated with the same U2 whose label had just finished pursuing legal action against Negativland).
“Remix culture was a place where underground and fringe notions congregate and take root,” says Jónó Mí Ló, who collaborated with NMESH on one of his Jones remixes. “Now, it plays multiple roles within just those aspects thanks to technology, and personally I think that’s why you see this kind of affect more and more.”
The internet has fueled an explosion of this art form. One of the earliest examples of the YouTube era is Lucian Piane’s viral 2008 remix of Bill O’Reilly’s infamous meltdown on the set of “Inside Edition”: “Bill O’Reilly “F*ck It” REMIX.”
But Alex Jones, while existing firmly within this continuum, is a beast of a different, much more explosive, nature. If you’re curious just exactly how so, read on for a selection of the primest specimens of genus Infocore.
“Goblins (Alex Jones Remix)” by Placeboing
Placeboing is the YouTube channel of music video remix artist and professional musician Chris Lohr, who’s been posting brilliant creations since 2009. No Johnny-come-lately to the Jones phenomenon, Lohr tells me he remembers first seeing Jones in the 2001 Richard Linklater animated film “Waking Life.” “I was intrigued by his enthusiasm,” he says. Lohr has apparently tapped that enthusiasm for an absolutely prolific output of Jones remixes. His recent cuts include “The Trump Dimension,” “Trendies (Alex Jones REMIX),” “Alex Jones tries a glass of CAVEMAN,” and “America FIRST – Alex Jones Remix.” Each of these is worth your time. But Lohr’s true masterpiece is “Goblins (Alex Jones REMIX).”
Goblins combines an irresistible toe-tapping electro beat with an outstanding choice of sample, Jones’ riff on Donald Trump’s relationship with “goblins” (Jones’ chosen metaphor for Republican party establishment elites… possibly?). Lohr chops and syncs the words perfectly to the beat, also incorporating some rhythmic desk-slapping, grunting, and the phrase “Dump it” to kick off the middle 8.
And on top of the musical precision, the video component does not disappoint. Infocore is more than just a musical subgenre, after all; the video aspect is equally constitutive of the art form. Lohr adds in some apropos goblin animations and other visual flourishes throughout the video. At :44 the lyric “goblin vomit and slop” is repeated, but instead of just looping the video again, Lohr freezes Jones and moves his mouth only for the repeat utterance.
Climax moment: the star-wipe goblin kiss-drop at the one-minute mark:
“Alex Jones next level demon burning” by t. Gentleman
Instead of the bracing electronic sound favored by the vast majority of Infocore artists, “demon burning” takes the gorgeous ambient/post-rock song “Mute Angels” by Hammock and lays over various Jones ravings run through a dreamy reverb machine, resulting in the most poignant, emotionally stirring piece of Infocore we could find on the Internet.
The video component pairs perfectly: nighttime footage of Jones communing with a campfire, crossfaded with another classic clip of a possessed Jones tearing off a “Hillary for Prison” T-shirt and charging out of his studio like a diseased gorilla escaping a zoo. Everything is slowed down and filtered into a druggy, hazy fugue state. Relax your mind and give in to this transformative visceral experience, and don’t be surprised to find yourself sitting in a pool of your own tears by the fadeout of the final note.
Climax moment: 33 seconds in, the video of Jones tearing his shirt off and screaming to the high heavens syncs perfectly with the ethereal vocals of the music.
One word to describe it? Chills.
“Alex Jones Remix: Renai Circulation” by Triple-Q
For “Alex Jones Remix: Renai Circulation,” mashup artist Triple-Q started with the song “Renai Circulation,” the infectiously catchy fourth opening theme of the anime series “Bakemonogatari”; and then laid over snippets of Jones hysterically yelling and grunting, pitch-shifted and altered to delirious effect.
Regardless of whether you consider Alex Jones to be a dangerous, delusional, conspiracy theory-addled demagogue, or a “nice guy,” in this form he is a whimsical delight. Watch this and just try to keep a smile from creeping across your face.
The video component for “Renai Circulation” is definitely more on the amateurish side but in a kind of charming way. Fans of the original anime may appreciate it more than others.
Climax moment: It’s a tie between Jones yelling “JUSTIN BIEBEEERRR!” at 1:07 and the insane crescendo of yelling that ends the video:
“Alex Jones – Enter the Syntax” by GuruMediator
At just under 2,500 views, “Alex Jones – Enter the Syntax” is one of the more criminally underseen pieces of art on YouTube. The video is the work of U.K. videographer and editor Paul Barnard, who spent about three days meticulously crafting this gem of cut-up mayhem.
Barnard had been checking out Jones’ show with a mix of fascination and amusement, and upon viewing a particular episode, he realized his calling: “The noises and expressions he was making gave me drive to do it. I just thought, this has to be put to a beat.”
Barnard uses Jones’ voice as an instrument, layering certain looped samples to create a sort of beatbox effect that pairs perfectly with the underlying track — a frenetic, balls-to-the-wall techno/trance hybrid that Barnard created himself.
Climax moment: around 1:40, when Jones bounces to his own echoing chicken squawk. Also bonus points for getting meta with the “people will edit together” line.
“Get Stoned with Alex Jones! (((Super Woke Remixxx)))” by Mind Slime
The editing here isn’t quite as frantic and intense as in other Infocore videos, but remixer Mind Slime of the young platform Vidme has a lot of fun chopping up Jones’s completely bananas, weed and whiskey — fueled appearance on the Joe Rogan Experience and setting it to the undeniably banging Vinnie Beatz remix of Meghan Trainor’s “Me Too.”
Mind Slime dials up the insanity a couple ticks by decoupling the video from the audio of Jones’ voice several times, and things really get cooking in the second half as Slimer starts layering in some psychedelic kaleidoscope patterns.
Climax moment: 53 seconds in. This face:
“Alex Jones CAVEMAN Rant ‘kAMBOUGA_SHAKA_MOUNGA’” by DJ ZEMan
Dj ZEMan is really into making Alex Jones remix videos. He’s made no fewer than 10 of them. But his best work by far is Alex Jones CAVEMAN Rant ‘kAMBOUGA_SHAKA_MOUNGA’. It employs a pretty uninspired, generic brostep beat; but it’s in Dj ZEMan’s choice of Jones sample where kAMBOUGA_SHAKA_MOUNGA really shines.
If you’re a student of VICE News’ four-part Alex Jones master class, then you know that our man A.J. is a preternaturally gifted impressionist. On the July 9, 2015, episode of his show (starting around 17:40 here), Jones performs what is presumably a dead-on accurate portrayal of the pagan child sacrifice rituals of brainwashed, Moloch-worshipping, tribal village cult members.
Dj ZEMan takes the noises of Jones’ cult chanting, grunting, and explosion sound effects, chops them up into indecipherable nonsense, and then layers them over the beat, brewing a concoction funky enough to make any witch doctor chef green with envy. There’s something infinitely amusing about watching Jones bounce up and down in his seat as rhythmic gibberish flows from his lips.
Climax moment: The double “Bleh, BLEH” that Jones spits at 1:27. Sometimes your flow is so dank all you can say is “bleh, bleh.”
“The Gay Bomb – OFFICIAL TRAP REMIX (Ft. Alex Jones + Gary Frogs)” by Bill Sedaris
Ah, the gay frogs rant. A classic cut among Jones heads (shoutout Todd Dracula). Remixer Bill Sedaris takes the source material, chops it up, scratches it up, distorts it, and lays it over a filthy trap beat (with a bit of footwork/juke coming in after the breakdown).
Sedaris also does some top-flight work with the video component, no-nosing Jones for a few shots, among other disorienting effects. And if you pause the video just right at the :42 mark, you may see a far more anatomically detailed version of Kermit the Frog than Jim Henson ever provided us. Many thanks for this, Bill Sedaris!
Climax moment: The “it’s not funny” breakdown that launches at 1:08 is tremendous and somewhat evocative of a bad-trip version of the DJ battle from Juice.
“Alex Jones Rant Gone Sexual (With Music)” by Zebrazilla
Editor Zebrazilla starts with the retrowave/outrun heater “Pursuit” by Stilz (who seemed to give his blessing by popping up in the YouTube comments section) and then mixes in cut-up bits of Jones’ infamous “I’m a human” rant. For the video he layers Jones’ face over a constantly moving newretrowave-style background.
The result is a pulsating, rollicking, white-knuckle thrill ride through what one might envision as the inside of Alex Jones’ musecage. If you live in a neon-drenched future sci-fi dystopia and you’re looking for a workout song, your search is over. (And for maximum performance at your future dystopian Crunch, be sure to fuel up before each workout with Alex Jones’ Super Male Vitality pills, which is not in fact a joke product from “Robocop.”)
Climax moment: The primal-scream therapy session that starts at 2:25. Electrifying stuff.