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Remixes of hit songs from decades prior – or sometimes, a few days ago – is popular among DJs and listeners alike. Cynical music fans might blame it on a lack of originality and creativity, which is ironic: ample measures of both go into creating a remix. Done well, it can give a tired old song (or one that’s still as earworms as the day it was released) a fresh treatment.

Here’s some information that both seasoned DJs and closet disc jockeys can benefit from the next time they’re having a creative block in the studio.


Shut Up and Dance

When remixing, it’s sometimes necessary to remind yourself why most songs get remixed in the first place: to make them more fun to dance to! The “danceability” of a mix largely comes down to its tempo and beat, so the rhythm section (drums, bass, auxiliary percussion like cowbell, shakers, etc.) is key. Just by speeding up a hit rock or jazz ballad, you can allow people to hear it in a brand new way that makes it hard not to move their bodies.


Goldilocks: The Remix

While the whole point of doing a remix is about changing the original song, there are undoubtedly different extremes to which this concept can be taken. You’ve probably listened to some remixes unsuspectingly because they’re so close to the original version. On the other hand, some DJs get lost in their studio and take it way too far. The end product usually sounds so outlandish, and unlike the music, it was derived from that very few people on Earth would want to hear it. The trick to a good mix is finding the Goldilocks zone between these extremes. Since we’re dealing with an art form, sticking that landing means something different for every song.


DJ: Mix it Your Way

Being cognizant of what’s going on in the music helps DJs stay relevant. Ultimately, however, each artist needs to follow their vision. Just make the kind of music that you want to hear. If you’re lucky, there might be others out there who like it too.