Hey, aspiring remix artists, are you ready to release your House Music remix, but you want to make sure you sound like a pro? This tutorial is your roadmap to pumping out infectious beats and building drops that ignite the dance floor. Let's dive into the world of Future House Music and EDM remixing with this easy How To Guide:
‣ Studio Monitors or Headphones: Accurate sound representation is crucial. Headphones can work while on-the-go, but proper monitors will reveal all the nuances of your mix. When you think you're done with the mix, be sure to give it the car–audio test to make sure all your sounds are properly balanced. I personally like to use the SteelSeries Arctis Nova headphones when mixing.
‣ Digital Audio Workstation (DAW): Your sonic playground. Popular choices include Ableton Live, FL Studio, Logic Pro X, or Reason. I personally use Logic and Reason to make all my beats and to produce sounds. Pick one and let's get going!
‣ Samples and VSTs: Build your sonic arsenal with drum kits, synths, and samples specifically tailored for Future House and EDM songs. If you're just looking for loops, there are plenty free resources abound, check out Splice, Loopcloud, or sample libraries from your favorite labels and grab some killer loops and samples to use on your new remix.
Find Your Inspiration
‣ Sift Through The Crates: Immerse yourself in popular Future House and EDM tracks. Discover new artists, playlists, and remixes to expand your sonic palette. A great place to find awesome House Remixes is on YouTube. You have to pick the right one. Take this one for example: Robin S - Show Me Love (KEVU Bootleg). Now listen to the original: Robin S. - Show Me Love. Huge difference, right?
The reason that you want to listen to current remixes is so that you can really get a feel for what Future House Music is supposed to sound like, or if you just need inspiration, then this is a great way to get started. Another reason is because, you want to make sure that if you're going to remix something, then it has to be the best one out there so DJs will actually spin it. If it's trash, no one is touching it. This is why you need to be the best one out there, so you gets play.
‣ Your Target: Choose a song that you love that you feel the world needs a House Music remix of, and then get started adding your unique twist to your approach. Analyze the original structure of the song you want to remix, the key elements, and all of the energy levels. Some people try to match the energy of a song when they make remixes, but great artists try to blow the listener's mind when they hear how insane the beat and vocal patterns of their favorite song is now. Make sure that you don't choose a song that already has an epic remix of it, you want to dare to be different. Do a song that would make a great Future House Remix, like, maybe the vocals are awesome, but it needs a new beat.
Deconstruct & Isolate
‣ Let's Get To Work: Drop your chosen track into your DAW. Use tempo detection tools to match the BPM and ensure seamless blending. Some DAWs automatically do this step for you, as long as you have your BPM already set before you drop the clips into your workstation. Identify and extract key components like drums, vocals, basslines, synths, and melodic hooks. You can use audio editors, phase cancellation, or dedicated stem separation tools to do this for you. Just look around online for apps that can help you isolate tracks, unless you have a Pioneer DDJ-FLX10 DJ Controller that comes with stem building built into the controller.
Build Your Groove
‣ Drums: Lay down your track's foundation with punchy kicks, snappy snares, and grooving hi-hats. Experiment with layering and processing to create a driving rhythm. But, make sure it has a consistent beat. No one wants to have to stop dancing and start looking around the room while wondering if the beat is ever going to drop. Try to use one kick on the first measure of every 1/4 bar. A steady kick-kick-kick-kick the whole measure is what the club DJs are looking for. Next, is the high hat and crash. Never start your song out with a crash. The DJ won't like having to look for a clean loop to let the two songs mash up without a hitch, that alone could get your song skipped in the playlist. So, make sure your beats can easily match up by providing a basic 808 kick and some high hat work combinations going on, less is more for your first few measures of the song. Most of your wow–factor in your remix is going to come from your drops and your synths, not necessarily from fancy kicks and funky rhythms. This is a remix for dancing, which means that you want to remix this with the focus on consistent dancing and how well you can blend the track in and out.
‣ Bassline: Craft a catchy bassline that complements the drums and adds low-end swagger. Play with notes, rhythms, and sound design to find your sweet spot. Make sure you don't flood the track with too much overwhelming bass that will destroy the mix.
‣ Vox: When it comes to vocals, do not add any in the intro or the outro of your song. If you chop the voice, make sure you still use the full vocal stem instead of just chopping it the whole time. These are people's favorite songs and they want to hear their favorite lines from these songs, but they don't want to hear them on repeat the entire time, they want to actually hear the song. So don't make the song unrecognizable, but do give it your own flair.
Layer & Spice Up
‣ Melodics: Introduce synths, leads, arpeggios, or chopped-up vocal samples to add melodic layers and hooks. Use sidechain compression to make them duck under the kick for extra punch. You can use effects to spice things up on your track like risers, filters, sweeps, chorus, delay, and reverb. Use transitions to build tension and anticipation before dropping the bomb.
Chopping & Looping
‣ Resample & Repitch: Don't be afraid to chop, loop, and manipulate vocal snippets, synth phrases, or drum hits to create new textures and rhythms. Play with pitch and speed to add unexpected flavors. Inject your own personality! Experiment with sound design, creative processing, and unconventional sampling to set your remix apart.
‣ Choose Wisely: If you're going to use samples, make sure they're not annoying. I'm talking alarm clocks, cop sirens, or anything that potentially turns people off. This is a rework of your favorite song, so don't ruin it with basic goofiness, go pro. You've really got to hone–in on the synths, because they're going to lead your entire track, they're the star of the track. The more wilder the synth, the more shocking it will be to the listener for them to hear their favorite song remixed this way.
Mix & Master
‣ Balance & Clarity: Use EQ, compression, and panning to ensure all elements sit well in the mix, with clarity and separation. Don't overcook it, maintain the dynamic range! Make sure that you give your track the car test. This step is super important! Everything must be balanced, and a car stereo will tell you where you're off.
‣ Mastering Polish: Subtle mastering can give your track that professional sheen. Use EQ, compression, and limiters to enhance loudness and overall sonic character. When you add compression, it helps to raise the volume without peaking the audio. Look into these tools, play around with them, and remember that they're at your disposal.
Practice & Refine
‣ Listen Back: Take breaks and come back to your remix with fresh ears. Fix anything that sticks out, refine the arrangement, and polish the mix until it shines.
‣ Get Feedback: Share your work with trusted friends, online communities, or producers for constructive criticism. Learn from their feedback and keep refining your craft.
* Bonus Tips
Learn Music Theory: Understanding basic chords, scales, and key signatures can unlock further creative possibilities.
Collaboration is Key: Team up with other producers, singers, or musicians to add new dimensions to your sound.
Don't Stop Learning: Explore tutorials, online courses, and workshops to hone your skills and discover new techniques.
Remember, the journey is just as important as the destination. Embrace the experimentation, let your creativity flow, and most importantly, have fun! The dance floor awaits your sonic boom!
Now go forth, young grasshopper, and make those speakers jump!