Well, you are here because you want to learn how to remix a song.
Remixing a song is easy for those who are already in music production and know how to use their DAW and instruments to manipulate the things and get something valuable.
But it’s not easy for those who are new in music production and don’t know things like creating beats and melodies, recording vocals and other instruments and mix them up to produce quality music.
However, if you are a newbie in audio production then read this article which will teach you all the basic steps to start your own home recording studio and producing music like a pro.
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Okay, assuming you are an experienced music producer and want to remix songs here are 27 killer tips that help you in that.
27 Killer Tips to Remix a Song!
Remixing is not as simple as you think. However, it’s different from making an original song. Sometimes it seems easier than the originals because ideas already exist. But oftentimes it can be difficult.
Just like originals, you could be ended up wondering where to start. It could be overwhelming when you sit against your DAW and running your mind which combinations of sounds would be well suited with the song.
However, if you master remixing songs you can open the new door to name fame and money from your studio. So learning remix songs is a great skill.
You would be contracted for an official remix for a release, or you can start a youtube channel for the remix versions of the songs. There are unlimited possibilities of income and fame when you mastered this skill.
With that said, let us dig into the 27 tips to remix a song…
1. Make it Creative
The first and most important rule of music or any other art is to make your compositions creative. Don’t copy others or if you copy others then do it smartly, so that the creativity glimpse in your work.
Everybody loves creativity and nobody loves the duplicate work so make your remix as more creative as you can. After all, creativity is the key to success in music production.
Every person who is a success in this field has a creative mind and love to experiment with their creations to serve each time something new.
Creativity is a golden rule to get success so always try to make your remix more creative.
2. Pick the Song That You Wanna Remix
The second and obvious step is to pick a song for the remix. Here you can ask me if its an obvious step why I’m discussing here?
Okay, here is the answer.
Pick the right song, not the wrong.
Some songs don’t have many possibilities to be remixed and some have great possibilities. You have to run your creative mind and find the right song.
The main rule of finding the right song for remixing is its rhythm. Along with the rhythm, melody parts, gaps and transitions are also important to add your own creations in the song.
So observe the songs and choose the right one that has the possibility to punch your own music.
Okay, assuming you’ve chosen the right song here comes to the next step…
3. Find The Key and BPM
Now import your song into the DAW (FL Studio and Logic Pro X are best) and find the base key and BPM.
Both Logic Pro X and FL Studio have the feature to find and adjust the BPM of the song. Keep in mind that in both the DAWs the song is automatically stretch to adjust Tempo so before importing the song into your DAW make sure the default time stretch on import setting is turned off.
You can manually find the BPM of the song by playing the song with DAW metronome and adjust the tempo while playing the song.
At some point, you can listen to that the metronome and the beat are matching with each other. Make sure the first beat of the song is on the starting of the bar in the workspace, otherwise you will end up with the wrong tempo.
It needs precise listening skill and frequently adjusting the bar with the beat of the song to match the tempo.
Finally, you will find the BPM of the song.
Finding the base note is not difficult if you have the knowledge of chord progression and capable of matching the scales of the songs in the keyboard. You can easily find the base note of the song playing a guitar or keyboard with the song.
Now come to the next one…
4. Listen to the Gaps Between Music
You need to add your own music in the song to produce the remixed version. To punch your music parts you need to find the gaps in the song track.
It is another important skill of a remix artist – Finding the gap.
However, this should be done in the very first step when you are finding the song to remix. If the song has no gaps you can get rid of the original music and failed to create a good remix.
So, listen to the song and find the gaps where you see the possibilities to fill some music. Always, note down the time and sequence on the notepad for future reference in the process.
5. Game Plan is Crucial
Before getting started you have to plan your process. You’ve found the gaps, wrote down the time and sequences. Now its time to think about the music.
Which type of music you are going to add in the song. Who is your audience? Are you making the remix for clubs or it’s for youtube and radio. Keep in mind all approaches need a different type of remix.
It’s better to listen to other remix songs and get some ideas of how they are remixed.
When you listen to different types of remix songs you’ll get a clear idea about which type of music you should add in the song.
6. Plan the Remixing
Now you have a basic idea of the music you are going to add in the song to create your remixed version. Now its time to plan the remixing.
Get the references that you note down in the notebook and plan your music in your mind.
Go for all the gaps and sequences that you’ve written down and plan which type of music you are going to add. Plan the tones, beats, bass lines, and chords, etc.
It takes time to picture out all the gaps in the song but when you go through that way, you will end up with a great remix.
7. Get Ready for Experiments
Remix a song is all about experiments. So get ready to experiment. The more you experiment the more you will learn. When you start experimenting with new beats, melody parts, and other fillers what you get is a perfect composition that people love to listen to.
There are countless opportunities in adding your version of music when you come to remix a song.
So do some experiments in your remix.
8. Listen to Other Remix Songs
It’s said that learn from others experience is far better and time saving then learn from your own experiences.
Listen to other remix songs available in the market and those suit your genre and get the idea of how you would implement all the things on your remix songs.
Be an observer. Observe other songs and learn how those remix makers used the beats, music parts, FX, etc in the soundtrack and then come up with your song. Experiment by adding similar music parts, beats, etc.
But beware of ending with copying those songs. Just get the core idea of how they remixed the song and implement those ideas on your song.
9. Cut and Edit the Song
Cutting and editing the parts of the song is one of the most important parts of remixing. We actually don’t need the whole song in the remix version.
Sometimes we just need only a few parts of the song or sometimes we need 80 to 90 percent of the song. We add our own music between the cuttings or join them instead.
There are several approaches to cutting and editing of the song that we want to remix. It’s your creativity how you use those approaches to get the best remix version.
In my case, I always like to do experiments by cutting the intro, outro, and choruses of an original track.
10. Don’t Overdo The cutting and Pasting
As I said above cutting and pasting the stems of the song is a general work in remixing but always respect the original song.
Don’t overdo the editing otherwise the taste of the original song will get lost and you will ruin the song totally.
Instead, find the signature music of the song and use it in stems to add the flour of the song. You can also record your own version of that signature music. Its a common practice among the remix makers.
11. Arrange your Remix
Now its time to arrange the remix. As I said above, you can add your own beats and melody parts in the gaps. There are tons of possibilities when you run your mind to punch your music on the song.
I always start with adding kick drum and percussion on the track, then come to the melody section and add my own intros, and outros. Oftentimes I used to listen and play the signature music and add that music to the intro and other sections.
Music is all about experimenting so you need to experiment. Only take care of the flavor of the song not ruined.
12. Join Parts from the Artist’s Other Songs
You can also experiment with the other songs of those artists.
Find and collect the other songs of the artists that are in the same genre and almost the same tempo. Now import those songs to the track and cut the best parts of the songs and add those parts to the song that you want to remix.
It’s an optional tip because there’s a chance you won’t find any similar song by the artist. But if you find its a leverage to your remix.
13. Use Original Track Stems
When experimenting with your own music using the original tracks’ stems. Always keep in mind that you are not the original composer of the song and you should respect the original composition.
When cut the original songs stems always merge the original with your own music and what you get a remix that your listeners like to listen to.
14. Process the Stems
When you listen to other remix songs you will observe that most of the remixes have processed stems of the original songs. You can use these techniques to process the stems of the song.
- Reverse and chop up the endings
- Use heavy distortion to bass sounds
- Chop, loop, slice, and reverse of the original song to create your own version of melodies.
- You can add phase shift, reverb, and filtering, distortion, and other effects to tease the listener.
- You can add FX to change the sound of the original stem to get the modified version of the song.
15. Keep the taste of Original Song
As I’ve said in the 13th tip keep the original stems alive or you will lose the flavor of the song. Sometimes we heavily process the stems and end up with a totally different track.
Don’t do that. Instead, add a taste of the effects in the stems while keeping the originality of the song intact.
16. Record Your Own Melodies
While remixing a song recording your own melody parts and chord progression make the remix more attractive. So always try to add your own music in the remix.
However, if you are not familiar with playing keyboards or guitar etc you can use stock music in the remix songs.
17. Collaborate with Other artists
If you are not a musician and don’t want to use stock music there is another approach you can use – Collaborate with other musicians.
Okay, it needs extra money and time to collaborate with other musicians but what you get in results would be a masterpiece.
But the first rule to get the same you want from the musicians is to come up with a picture of the proposed music in your mind. Only then you can tell your musicians to play the melody parts you want.
So, before hiring other musicians or collaborating with them plan your melody and rhythm parts in advance.
18. Use the Needed Parts
When you cut the stems of the original song don’t just delete them because they can be used in the future. As you go further you need the original stems to hold the flavor of the song in the remix.
Whenever you feel you need the original song’s parts, use them in the track.
19. Train Your Ears
Ear training is crucial for every newbie music producer. As a music producer who also performs the job of a mix engineer, it’s important to train their ear to get the best mixing out.
However for ear training, there are many courses and apps available in the market, here is the best course that I always suggest my readers join.
20. Create YOUR Signature
Signature is a part that comes several times in the soundtrack.
In remix songs, signature parts are very common. remix makers often use a signature melody or rhythm part in their track to make it more enjoyable.
There are 2 approaches creating a signature for the remix song.
- You can add your own signature music
- Or you can modify the signature music of the original song and use it in your remix track.
When you add signature music always keep in mind that overusing music parts can be overwhelming for the listeners so don’t overdo it.
21. Add a HOOK
HOOKS are used to change the feel of music in between the song. You can use the hook to keep the listeners refreshed.
When listeners listen to the same chord progression and beat in the remix they would get bored. So hook is the best thing to make them feel refresh with the music.
You can use some other chord progression or beat changing to create a hook in between the song. It’s all depends on your creativity how you use the hook to tie your listeners with the song.
22. Don’t Overdo
Caution: Overdoing anything leads to ruin the results.
Whatever you do to create your remix song don’t overdo those processes. Whether its adding beats, FX to the stems, creating a hook, adding basslines, adding signature in the song don’t overuse any of them or you will end up with a bad soundtrack that your listeners don’t like.
23. Mix it
As a music producer, you need mixing skill to perfectly mix things. However, a remix is quite different than normal songs, the process of mixing is never changed.
You have to balance all the tracks, adding effects, mix busses, adding automation and all the necessary processes that you do in a normal mix.
The only difference in mixing a remix song is adding FX effects and processing the stems.
However, if you are a good mix engineer you can tackle all the hurdles comes in mxing remix songs but if you are a newbie I suggest you read some of your articles to get familiar with the mixing process.
- Gain Staging: Secret to Get Good Levels In Your Mix
- Step-by-Step Audio Mixing Guide For Logic Pro-X [Video]
- Compressor Settings For Vocals
24. Master it
After mixing the last process is mastering. Mastering is not for everyone as it needs extra hardware and skills. So, you should always send your track to the mastering studio to get the best output.
However, if you can’t afford the cost of mastering charged by the pro mastering studios, you can master it yourself. There are tons of mastering tutorials available on the internet.
Leverage those resources and use some great mastering software to get the better master. Here is the review of one of the best mastering software that every music producer must have in their studio.
25. Alternative Mix
Sometimes it happens that you come up with several different ideas for a remix song.
Maybe you use those ideas in one track and ruin the originality of the song. Or you can be confused which one is better to implement in your remix?
In this situation what should you do?
Make alternative mixes of the same song and listen to them after completing all the versions. Take the decision which one is better for listeners and then release that version as your final track.
Alternative mixing also helps you when you get a contract to remix a song by the producers. You can send them more than one remix version of the song and ask them to make a decision which one is better.
So, if you come up with more then one idea to remix a song, use the alternative mix approach.
26. Follow the Deadline
Always follow the deadline.
In music where creativity is needed, we often forget about the deadlines and get messes with the same track for days or even months. We always want to create a masterpiece and in this process, we forget the importance of the deadline.
Following the deadline is especially important when you get the contract from the producers. You must finalize the remix them before the final delivery date.
So always follow the deadline. You can also create virtual deadlines to make the process faster.
27. Distribute It
The last step for remix a song is to distribute it to the marketing channels.
If you are working for producers then you need to send them the remix and alternative versions of the remix and if you are working for yourself you need to distribute it to various marketing and distributing platforms.
- CD and DVDs
- and many more.
To distribute your song easily on the music marketplaces you can use the music distribution services. I have a separate article on the best music distribution services.
Conclusion: 27 Killer Tips to Remix a Song
Well, here were the 27 tips to remix a song and distribute that to make name, fame, and money. remixing a song is not as tough as you think. You can easily learn to remix songs by just observing what other remix artists are doing.
Listen, observe and implement those approaches on your songs and you will see how soon you will master remixing.
There are tons of opportunities in the world of remixing. You just need some experience by listening to others and ultimately it will be very easy for you.
Now it’s your time to remix your favorite song. Make sure when you complete your version of remix post the link in the comment section of this article. Till then bookmark this article. Your creations inspire others so don’t forget to comment below.
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Gautam Roy is a recording engineer and a blogger from India. He loves music, writing and travelling. He is also an active investor and a successful entrepreneur.