Remixing is one of the most incredible ways to take songs that are already amazing and add a touch of personal flair and depth to them. Countless musicians in all kinds of genres have been creating remixes for years to try and bring new dynamics and excitement to the songs that they care the most about.
It’s one of the best ways to both breathe new life into old songs as well as create something entirely new out of familiar stems. It can be hard to find new meaning and paths inside of an already existing song, but when it’s done right, it can be just as interesting, if not better than the original song.
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What Are Remixes?
Fundamentally speaking, a remix is what happens when a producer or musician gets access to the stems of a song, and then alters it in an attempt to make a new track. This can mean changing the tempo, beat, harmonies, or even genre as a whole to create a new version of the song made with the same base stems. It requires a lot of creativity and forward-thinking musicianship because it changes the base song in so many fundamental ways.
How To Prepare a Remix
To make a good remix, there are a few steps to follow before really getting started. These steps will enable producers to create the most exciting and professional sounding remixes, as well as have the most resources available to them in the process. Anyone who’s starting a remix should work on these steps first to ensure optimal success in their remixes.
Find the Original Song’s Key and Tempo
This is a very important first step to take. Generally speaking, the key of a remixed song will almost always be the same. That’s because when a person sings a song, they will generally only sing it in the one key.
Transposing an entire song’s stems up or down will likely introduce artifacts and other problems with the sound that is not ideal. So finding the song’s original key and then sticking with it is generally the best first step to take when remixing a song.
Another highly important thing to do is find the original song’s tempo. This is a critical step because it will allow you to work with the stems in a much more effective way. Often, DAWs will allow you to warp easily to different tempos if you have access to the original tempo of the stem. This makes it much easier to change the tempo and other qualities of the song because you have access to the original song’s tempo.
It is very possible to change both the song’s key and tempo in a remix, but having the key and tempo of the original song will make changing it in the remix much easier.
Find the Song’s Stems
A stem is an audio file of a single track that is a part of the original song. Stems can tend to be hard to come by, simply due to the fact that almost every song is made to be listened to exclusively as a whole stereo mix. But getting access to the stems of a song will allow a producer to really do their magic to a song in the remix stage.
Some artists put their stems online so that they can be easily remixed. Odds are good that this is the best way to get access to the stems of a song, so look around online for stems released by artists.
Decide on a Direction
It’s best to know what the road map is for a remix when altering a whole song. The producer should know what they want to do, and decide how they want to get there. This can mean deciding on a genre, a beat, or even just an overall vibe that they want to create. Figure out the intentions first before a remix starts, and then follow them loosely throughout the entirety of the project.
How To Make a Good Remix
Making a good remix is something that is almost entirely subjective. However, there are generally some important things to focus on when creating a remix that will make the songs more successful and exciting. Here are some things to consider and be intentional about when creating a remix.
Highlight the Original Song
Although remixing is technically making a new track, it’s not creating a new song. Try to make sure that when remixing, the track still can be recognized as the original song even underneath all of the changes. While there are some cases where the best remixes take the original stems and turn them into abstract recreations of the original, it’s most common to make the remix still recognizable as the original.
Alter the Arrangement
When making a remix, one of the best ways to alter the original song is to actually change the arrangement as a whole. This can mean cutting out an intro, adding instrumental, moving choruses, and other shifts in the song.
These are highly impactful changes that generally don’t take a lot of work, but can create a whole world of difference in the song. While changing musical elements and effects can be massively important, don’t overlook the simple power that changing the arrangement has.
Change the Musical Elements
There are tons of ways to change the musical elements of a song around. Some great elements to focus on are the bassline, harmony, and instrumental melodies of the original song. When these elements are altered or entirely changed in a remix, that can introduce an incredible new flair and exciting shift in the song as a whole. Don’t be afraid to take a lot of elements of the original song to the chopping block; you might actually be bringing the song to the next level.
How To Remix Legally
When remixing, there are a lot of things to focus on in the legal area of music creation. It can be very easy to just take the stems of any song and remix it, but if the producer doesn’t have express permission from the original artist or label, it will technically be illegal to post that remix anywhere.
Some artists release stems with the intention that they will be remixed, which allows producers to freely use their stems. However, if that’s not the case, make sure to obtain the permission of the original artist before posting a remix online.
How Unison Can Help
Often, one of the best ways to change how a song sounds is to apply new instruments and sounds to the song. This can be done by applying new presets to MIDI instruments. In a world where most default presets generally aren’t that good, Unison has a large variety of Serum Presets available to artists and producers who want to take their remixes to the next level.
Another great way to enhance the harmonies inside of songs is to bring in new chords and other complex musical elements through the Unison MIDI packs. These incredible chords are sure to bring out exciting new flavors in a remix and add a new level of depth to the track.
All of these incredible resources and more can be found at Unison. Your greatest music is right around the corner, and Unison is here to help make sure you get there with as much style as possible. Check it out today.