Remixes are a big part of the music industry, and in many cases can often revive an old song, showcase an artist that otherwise would not be found by the masses and also get the attention of the big players in the scene.
Throughout my time working with other artists and labels I have found a few tips that may help you with your next remix:
1. Work With The Label
Most remixes will come from a label (either pro or just starting up) which means you will have to work with them to come to a middle ground between your sound and theirs. If your not sure, ask them questions about the genre, style and overall direction with the remix. Afterall, it's usually their money they are putting on the line when they release the track so they want to get it right.
2. Be Bold
As Wikipedia states: A remix is an alternative version of a song, made from an original version. With that in mind, make your remix stand out by taking it in another direction either with melody, effects or a completely different genre (label permitting). Challenge yourself to really step out of your comfort zone and be bold with your choices.
3. Skills That Kill
Often the label will only know how good you are by your last couple of tracks, so allowing yourself to get creative with the remix and work in some new skills that you have learnt since is ideal. Many times, a remix will push you into areas/sounds and genres you haven't worked with before and that is a great time to use your new skills.
4. Research The Label
As well as working with the label, you should take some time to research the labels sound, past releases and main genres. This will help you craft your remix to suit the label - which may avoid them saying no to version 1 of your remix.
5. Get Back On The Horse
There has been times in the past where I have submitted a remix and it wasn't approved. This wasn't because the actual song was bad, but more because I didn't take time to research the label beforehand. Getting back on the horse and completely re-creating the remix is a challenge, but well worth it.
6. Go Off Topic
If you find yourself staring at a blank canvas for hours on end it might be time to go off topic and make a completely new track (not connected to the remix). Once you have a fresh start you may be able to work the remix back into the new track and re-create it from there. If not, you still have a brand new track on the go for next time!
7. Less Is More
I know what it's like to open a remix kit (or stems pack) and have 40 small loops at your disposal. The trick is to only use the ones that really talk to you - avoid cramming every single riff and vocal into the mix just to 'use' them. Some of the best remixes only use a tiny sample of the original song.
8. Don't Lose Yourself
Remind yourself that a remix is meant to showcase your skills just as much as the original. Don't lose yourself in the production if you have to modify your core sound/style to suit the label. It's better to decline a remix opportunity than to accept one that makes you produce something you don't like.
9. Past Techniques
Creating a remix around an already established track is sometimes a big challenge, one that's better left on its own. While playing with new sounds or effects may benefit you; also remember what techniques have worked for you before. Cracking open that new piece of software or hardware as you embark on a remix may not be the best idea.
10. Smash It Out
Being asked to remix a track is a great thing - it means someone is paying attention to your music. They asked you because they love your style or sound and want you to make this remix something you would smash out at your next gig. If you're not happy with the remix, keep re-working it until it blows your mind.
Listen to my music here: https://soundcloud.com/subpixel