Check out our insider’s guide with pro tips from our remix contest judge and veteran producer Pheek.
STEP 1: FIND A SUITABLE REMIX CONTEST.
Pheek: “The challenge in remixing is creating your own style. It is important for music producers to explore many genres, but if you are looking to win a contest you must stick to what you know best.”
Do: remix music that you love. Take the original idea and transform it completely. Pick a track that you can interpret in a whole new way. Approach your remix with a clear vision from the start, it will increase your chances of success in the contest.
Don’t: be a serial remixer and enter multiple contests at the same time. Keep focused and wisely pick 1-2 contests based upon your tastes and strengths as a producer. If your remix has nothing in common with the artist or the original track, revise your plans and find a remix competition that does.
Great websites that regularly host remix contests:
STEP 2: ANALYZE THE ARTIST’S BACKGROUND
Pheek: “Research the artists. Check past releases, listen to their podcasts, dig into their charts and online stores. Do they make organic or synthetic flavoured music? Are they into effects or raw sounds? What aesthetic do they lean towards? Try to find a common dominator in their tastes.”
Do: Create a folder on your computer for reference tracks and use them for inspiration and ideas for specific sounds in the future.
Don’t: Try to contact an artist via email or social media to get attention.
STEP 3. CONCEPTUALIZE YOUR REMIX.
Pheek: “Focus on a hook of the track, work with only a few notes and specific sounds, determine the feel of the percussion. Search for the missing or hidden feeling in the track and detach yourself from the core of the original. This is the start of a new concept for your remix.”
Don’t: repeat the track’s original structure and overall concept. You need to stand out. Make a new musical idea and support that idea throughout entire track. Throw in a twist and pull out a surprise at 2/3 of the song, this keeps listeners on their toes.,
TRY: Import a song in your DAW and use the waveform to take note of how it is structured. Use this for pointers on building your own remix.
STEP 4. UPGRADE YOUR IDEA
Pheek: “During a contest, judges listen to 100+ variations of the same song. Think of what you can do to standout to a judge within the competition. Make your sound original and strive to grab people’s attention.”
Do: Tweak the track into something new, while keeping the essence of the original. Focus on melody by playing it with a different instrument or by adding harmony. Process sounds with effects such as delay, filter or chorus, to give them new color. Another remix instant-upgrade trick is to add vocals or recorded sounds. Again this takes the original structure and represents it in a surprising way.
STEP 5.GET FEEDBACK
Pheek: “Get feedback on your remix from local DJs, or followers on Soundcloud and people you trust before submitting to a contest. Though keep your tracks private as some contests won’t allow public posting of remixes. Read the rules and guidelines of all contests you enter as they will explain everything you need to know.”
DO: Keep your track to yourself or amongst friends until your final version is rock solid and remember that people sometimes comment because they feel the need to say something…
Try:Contact 5 producers to get a true feel for what people think. Keep note of ideas or feedback. We tend to over estimate our memory and it is also practical for future projects.
Good luck and remember: even if you don’t win, you are still bettering your skills as a producer, remixer and artist.