Bill McClintock is one of the biggest music-mashup artists on the internet. His opus of over 80 unique music-video mix-ups of celebrated musicians has, over the last three years, managed to accrue over 31 million channel views and 145 thousand subscribers on YouTube.
For those of you who haven’t listened to the work contained in this rocking cavern of the internet – you are in for one hell of a ride. You will experience a strange, humorous, musically ambitious, and self-aware world, in which any two (or more) artists can find themselves next to each other. Ever wondered what System of a Down would sound like over a Justin Bieber track? Or how about the vocal of Raining Blood by Slayer, put to the strange psychedelic sounds of the B-52’s Rock Lobster? Well, look no further – McClintock Mashups is here to fulfil your musical fantasies.
While this channels contents may, on the surface, seem like something you shouldn’t be taking seriously, think again. Although many online musical-mashups have been created to get a cheap laugh, Bill’s channel has achieved more than this simple feat. Instead, each video has been crafted with the precision of a fine painter, in which each musical note and video edit has been thoughtfully and purposefully placed.
However, this doesn’t mean that one should sit in pensiveness, removed from the humorous components that are imbued within these videos. The comedic timing is flawless. Just look at Marilyn Manson kicking his feet to the tune of All I want for Christmas is You, by Mariah Carey, while screaming the lyrics to The Beautiful People if you don’t believe me. Yet, what has been encompassed within this breadth of work is something more than simply the addition of humour. Many of these songs are songs in of themselves. They have transcended the traditional framework of what could usually be considered a ‘mashup’ and have become distinct entities separated from their original source. This doesn’t mean that each song used is indistinguishable, but rather that they have been crafted so expertly that one cannot help but view each as their own unique concept.
The mashup is an artform that has largely gone unrecognized. Like the collage, people often view it as something which is ‘easy’, or at worse a form of ‘theft’, in which the statement: ‘well, anyone could do that’, is often bounded about to contend with their originality. Many are led to believe that appropriating the artistic efforts of others cannot be ‘art’ as the conventional method of creation is amiss. However, this thought process has blind sighted many to the true genius of the mashup artist. For their creations are not in the formulation of sound or video but how they put them back together after tearing them apart.
This work takes a great deal of effort as Bill himself attests. While the ‘actual production of a mashup only takes 5-10 hours, plus a few hours for the video production’, it is the research component of this project that is the most significant sapper of time.
McClintock started to receive attention back in 2018 after uploading ‘I Heard it Round and Round the Grapevine’– a mashup of Ratt’s ‘Round and Round’ and Marvin Gaye’s ‘I Heard It Through the Grapevine’. While the channel already contained gems such as Billy Cocaine, How Will I Dance The Night Away, and Stayin’ A Hollaback Girl, it would take this track to capture the imaginations of nearly 2 million people and receive coverage by a variety of online magazines.
While Bill certainly didn’t expect this songs level of success, and the proceeding affect it would have upon his channel, he too could not imagine that he had inadvertently become the father of an entirely new genre – Soul Metal. This phrase would be coined in the comments section of this video and it would stick. Since then, this classification has become a staple on McClintock Mashups and quite rightly a fan favourite, in which Soul artists such as The Temptations, James Brown, and Chic have been combined with the Metal madness of Black Sabbath, Mötley Crüe, and Iron Maiden.
But why has this amalgamation captured the attention of viewers? What is it about Soul Metal that makes it so special? From my perspective these questions can be answered twofold: (1) these genres fit perfectly together both musically and thematically and, (2) it manages to combine the two most powerful elements of each genre – the technical, intricate, and fast paced playing of metal musicians with the energetic, compelling, and emotional soul voice. These mashups create a dynamic audio-visual experience – one in which you cannot help but be swept away in a mess of headbanging and fist-pumping action.
Like all artists McClintock has been inspired by several of his predecessors and peers. In our interview together he would mention the likes of Wax Audio, DJ Cummerbund, Andy Rehfeldt, and StSanders as significant YouTubers in the music-mashup scene, who had influenced his own mashup style and methodology.
However, it is Bill himself that has been inspiring others recently. On July 24th, a cover of his mashup, Living For the Paradise City, was released on behalf of the Help Musicians charity. This project featured 35 professional musicians from around the world, with each contributing their musical talents to raise awareness for musicians who have been struggling financially since the pandemic.
In our interview together it was interesting to hear how this project had hit Bill on an emotional level. While he has garnered a relatively large audience on YouTube, he remains to question his talents and whether these mashups can be considered as an artform, rather than a mode of entertainment.
“For someone to see my mashup and think ‘this is awesome’ was great. These are musicians, they aren’t just people that know nothing about music, but actual professional musicians who make a living, so their going to have higher standards for what they like and what they would like to be part of. I think that validates what I’m doing more than just about anything. I look to opinions of musicians to see what they think of it: is this something that is really an artform? Is this just a novelty thing? […] To see musicians who really know about music, what goes into it and the work that it takes to produce something like this and for them to really like it and want to be a part of it is a really nice compliment.”
So, what’s next for McClintock Mashups? While new videos are certainly on the cards, only time will tell what other exciting projects or musical genres Bill will think up. Whatever happens next, this is someone you should be paying attention to. The quality of each uploaded video is beyond reproach, with each being as entertaining as the last. All that can be said is Shine on you Crazy Diamond!