How much time do you spend on YouTube each month? One-man electro-pop act, James Hinton, aka the Range, spent over 200-hours in a span of 35 days. Unlike most people, however, his YouTube binge wasn’t just about wasting time watching funny cat videos: he was looking for vocals for his second album, Potential.
According to Wired, Hinton “seeks out a cappella and spoken-word samples from obscure corners of YouTube, then incorporates them into his intricate instrumentals”. All this time digging into the deep corners really paid off, too, because Potential has gained positive reviews from places like Pitchfork and Spin.
While creating his album, Hinton began to wonder about the lives of the amateur performers he sampled. He commented: “The classic ‘YouTube success story’ is usually someone who, in reality, has a lot of private support and a lot of backing. [These musicians] are all trying to make it work in their off-hours. Life comes at them, and by hook or by crook, they’re not going to let their passion for music go away. I really wanted to get to know them, and see what makes them tick”.
As a result, Hinton came out with a documentary where he tracked down these musicians. The documentary, Superimpose — released with an accompanying EP with the same name — features artists like Damian “Naturaliss” Gordon from Kingston, Jamaica who performs dancehall and reggae while also holding a job as a corrections officer; London teen Kruddy Zack who does freestyle rap; and a 19 year old student from Brooklyn named Kai who has covered Ariana Grande’s “You’ll Never Know”.
Hinton does show his work to the musicians he samples, too, once the track is complete. Sometimes, this proves a more difficult task than discovering the song he samples in the first place. A few of the clips are years old and Hinton says it often becomes like detective work because many people don’t check their messages on YouTube. However, all the musicians who decide to work with Hinton are credited as co-writers and receive a cut of the song’s royalties. Some of them have even used this unexpected collaboration to further their careers.
After his search on YouTube, he’s now thinking about finding inspiration on Twitter.
Check out his music: