Illustration: Violeta Noy
Two-time Splice remix contest winner, Kotek, shares his best tips and practices for approaching a remix.
1. Do your research
The Splice team is very good about not discriminating against play counts or votes and really digging through each and every submission to ensure that it’s a fair playing field for everyone involved. At the end of the day, the grand prize winner will always be selected by the artist hosting the competition. This is very important to note when creating your remix. Do a little research into the artists involved – what kind of music do they write or promote? If you’re remixing an Excision song for example, it might not be the best idea to produce a tropical house track.
2. Stay true to your style and brand
However, it’s also very important to stay true to your style. Remix the song the way you imagine it and don’t get caught up in following the latest trend or re-creating a sound that isn’t yours. That being said, it’s important to know which contests to enter and which not to. If the host artist isn’t known to enjoy your primary production genre, it might not be ideal to enter that contest. What I did to Nervo’s song might make it seem like I don’t follow my own advice – the original track is a chill, tropical house track, but my remix is far from it. So keep in mind, it’s not as much about the genre that you choose to write your remix in, but more about keeping the message of the original song intact.
3. Analyze the track
Win or lose, there’s always something to gain from working on a track that has been released by a big artist. If you’ve noticed any of the past contests on Splice, you’ll surely recognize the artists involved. The first thing I do before I even consider changing things in the track is analyze everything. Pay close attention to every detail in the song. Look at where each instrument is placed in the frequency spectrum. Look at peak dB levels, panning, how long the reverb tails are, etc. All the secrets for making a clean mix are sitting right in front of you. It’s like taking a puzzle out of the box that’s already solved. Try to mix your sounds into the track by matching the levels provided.
4. Less is more
Try to keep your remixes short and engaging. There’s nothing I hate more than what I call the shampoo arrangement: “lather, rinse, repeat,” “break, build, drop, break, build, drop.” By the time you’ve listened to half the song, you know what’s coming up next. Keep your arrangement simple and interesting by subtly changing certain aspects of the song to keep listeners engaged. Once you understand how to follow these ‘rules’ and techniques, you’ll be able to bend and break them to create something truly outside of the box that’s unique to you.
June 11, 2018