The much-respected global DJ/Producer Randall Jones, has just made a long overdue return to Bedrock (he first appeared on the label way back in 2003) with his immaculate ’53 Stickup’EP, which is a perfect creative statement for 2019. The title track is an instantly loveable, hip-swinging, grooving, melodious beauty. Deeply delicious and perfectly timeless, it stands out as masterful house music at its finest.
Nick Muir is a producer and DJ of the highest order, he’s also a musician and composer, and is widely recognized as one scene’s most respected creative mavericks. When he stepped up to remix ’53 Stickup’ he rebuilt and relocated the track onto peak-time floors, highlighting hypnotic looped melodies within a sophisticated ever-mutating arrangement. Have a listen below.
On this ocassion, we asked Nick a few key tips to successfully remix a track:
1. It’s Not A New Track
Remember it’s a “remix”, not a new track. The clue is in the title. Originally a 12” remix was the phrase used for a rework of a track, invariably a pop song on 7” vinyl, which was done to make the song into something that could work on the dancefloor and that DJs could use. It was a way of promoting the track to a wider audience and to have some fun with it along the way. It’s still kind of like that, except that these days we are mostly remixing tracks that are made specifically for the dancefloor. The point I’m making here is that, in my opinion, it’s good practice to use at least some recognizable material from the original. You’d be surprised how many people don’t.
When you’re remixing, consider the genre of the track and maybe go for something different. If the original is a straight-ahead Progressive track at 122 bpm, perhaps something slightly faster with a more jacking (swung) groove could work, for example. This is where your DJ head could help you, most of the DJs I know who are worth their salt have a good appreciation of what works in various different genres and are able to call on that when they’re playing. Same goes for remixing. This is useful as you might catch the ear of a DJ who isn’t into the original.
You might want to aim the track at a different context, for example, if the original is a peak-time banger, why not chill it out and make it something that could work in the afternoon or at the boat party? Again, this is useful to the artist and label who commissioned the remix because it widens the scope of situations in which the track might get played. Also, the artist will love you for putting a new spin on the track as they will have listened to it so much during the course of writing it, that they can only hear it one way. A new treatment will help them re-attach to their own work.
4. Take Chances
Don’t be afraid to take chances with a remix. After all, the original is there, set in stone, so it might be good to do something daring and original to complement it. For example, take an element, maybe even something quite insignificant from the original and go to town on it – blow it up out of all proportion, double it, stretch it, sample it, play a tune with that sample, repeat it over and over, build with it, process it etc. etc. That’s the thing with current music technology – you are only limited by your imagination. If I can hear someone using their imagination in a remix in an exciting and engaging way, it immediately catches my attention.
5. Go The Extra Mile
Lastly, give the remix some love. Go the extra mile to make it sound spectacular if you can. Take the original mix as a benchmark of quality and try and surpass it. This usually involves doing 10 times the amount of work you think you have to, but it’s worth it and will stand you in good stead for future commissions. You have to breathe life into your remix, get the music jumping out of those speakers, make it so you can hear your own enthusiasm in the music. Work the drums so that it galvanizes the dance floor and gives people the energy they’ve come out to hear. Dance music is a life-affirming thing – so give it life!
Randall Jones’s ‘53 Stickup’ EP is already available on Bedrock. Grab your copy here.