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How to Make a Remix: a Tutorial for Producers and DJs


Remixing songs is fun and challenging because you have to balance the original track and the ideas you want to bring to it.

Remixing is much more than just having fun. It is also a process that bears strategic significance. We will tell you how DJs and producers make remixes and how can you do it too. We will also outline some essential remixing tips.


Preparing for the process

So where do you start? Let’s go through the necessary steps.


Get stem files (basics)

Stems are instrumental tracks that make up a song. That is, these are recordings of parts of musical instruments and vocals. You can get these files from the producer or label. You can also find stem files in various remix contests.


Define the vibe of the track

After retrieving and loading the stem files into the DAW, define the key and tempo. To create the right atmosphere, you need to know this information, it will help you understand what needs to be changed in the original track to create the desired remix.

Usually, the ability to define and change the speed of a track is built into a music production program. Make the tempo of the track faster to add dynamics to it, or slow it down if you want to make it quieter. Also, change the key of the track to control the atmosphere of the song.


Only leave what you like

Now that you’re certain about your atmosphere, listen to all stems and decide what is worth leaving and what’s better to delete. Determine for yourself which parts you like best and leave them for use in the remix. That being said, make sure to leave enough material from the original stems so that listeners can identify the song that was remixed.


Remixing Tips

So, you are ready to create your remix. Now let’s get down to some important tips for this stage.


Genre change

The creation of a remix in a new genre can radically change its energy and make it even more unique. If you stick too much to the original, you will end up with a remix that closely resembles the original song. We can assume that you will not get the desired effect from the created remix.


Give your track new percussion

To change the mood of the entire track, you also need to work on the percussion. You can add new tools or completely replace those that were in the original project. Keep in mind that the sounds you pick should be relevant to the genre you want to remix.


Work on the vocal track

To make your remix even more energetic, work with the vocal track and add new harmonies to it. Use a vocal editor, duplicate your track and process it additionally. Experiment until you get the sound effect you want. You will immediately feel when you get the sound you want.


Work with chords

Another way to make the song sound different is to change the chord progression. This option will work for you even if you want to keep the original key of the song. You can simply change the order in which the chords will sound, this will help you change the track so that it is significantly different from the original.


Adjust vocals to be different

The main element of most remixes is vocals. If you try to add some extra effects to the vocals, it can help create a good effect and create a new atmosphere. For example, you can add more delay if there was not enough delay in the original track. Some virtual instruments allow you to create unique textures that can dramatically change vocals and achieve great effect.


Summing up

While working with a remix keep these basic rules in mind: make sure the elements that remind the listeners of the original track are still present in the remix, so that it is recognizable; add your creative and sensual vision to transform the song, because adding new elements only will not give the effect you can get by adding new instruments based on the original song tracks and your own sense of taste.

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