The State Of The Remix/Mash-Up

To start off, JD and I would like to thank everyone who’s stopped by the site so far.  We’re glad that people have been participating by leaving comments as well as hitting us up via facebook and twitter.  We appreciate both the positive feedback as well as the constructive criticism.   We also welcome any ideas that you would like to see discussed.  Today’s topic has been something we’ve both been thinking about, and when Alex K from Anthem Kingz mentioned it this past week, I figured it was time to write it up.

First of all,  I wanna briefly mention the terminology —  The word “remix” vs. “mash-up”.  A REMIX is a term that covers almost any product a DJ can put out in which he/she has changed the song, while MASH-UP usually refers to mixes which incorporate more than one genre.  However, over the last 4-5 years, those two words have almost been “blurred” together.  The word MASH-UP has now seemingly taken on a broader meaning, much like the word REMIX.  Now many DJs use the word MASH very loosely to cover all types of mixes including Party Breaks, Transitions, Segues, Blends, B-More’s, and any other type of mix you can think of.  Not a big deal at all, but I figured I should get this out of the way to avoid any confusion later on.

With that said, we all know the remix game has changed quite a bit over the last 10 years or so.  I’m not gonna waste time talking about what you can do on computers and how technology has changed the game drastically.  Everyone knows that.  What  amazes me is how much better most remixers have gotten over the last 3-4 years.  I think everyone has had the dream where you go back in time, while still knowing all you know today.  You make a fortune via betting sports, buying stock in Apple, etc.  Well lately, my dream is I can go back in time to ’06-’07, and be a remixer on Crooklyn Clan!  Knowing what I know now about production, I feel I could have easily gone on that site and ran ishhh.  Maybe I dream small, but it’s a fun thought.  And that statement definitely is not to knock the remixers on Clan back then.  It just shows how the game has changed, and I’m sure I’m not the only one who’s ever had that dream.  I am one of the million other DJs who’ve gotten better at remixing in the last few years.

As for everyone getting better,  alot of people credit technology for this, but I only agree somewhat.  Most of the technology that DJs use to make remixes hasn’t come THAT far from where it was 3-4 years ago.  To me, the reason most DJs have evolved is pure necessity.  Can you name a big DJ who hasn’t made any of his/her own remixes?  Very hard to.  Having your own mixes to play is almost a requirement of a DJ these days.  While the general public (random people who go out to dance at clubs) may not really care, it’s likely that the people who book you do.  Plus, having your own remixes is a great way to get your name out, as well as add another dimension to your website and resume.  EVERYONE wants to remix these days, and most DJs do.  Hence, as a DJ, you have to keep building your remix skills.  No arguing that.

Besides the general quality of remixes changing, the music that people are mixing has been changing as well.  There’s a lot of talk between DJs that MASH-UPs (in the early “genre-combining” sense of the word) are DEAD.  That’s another statement which I do not entirely believe.  There’s still tons of DJs creating and playing Mash Ups in clubs these days.  What has changed is that as a remixer, its much tougher to get any attention from creating a Mash-Up.  The Inhumanz got a lot of attention with their remix of 50 over NIN because they were one of the first putting those kind of tracks out on wax.  Fast forward to 2010, and think about how much shine you would get for doing something similar.  I’m sure you’re close, non-dj buddies would think your remix of Lil Wayne over Pearl Jam was amazing.  You’re girlfriend would probably feel your remix of the latest Rnb song over the Sweet Dreams beat.  Club goers would likely still dance to your new re-drum using the Tipsy, Coolie Dance, Billie Jean, or Hollaback Girl drums.  But to anyone in the industry, stuff like that has just been done way too much to draw any attention anymore.

Party Breaks seemed to be viewed in a much similar light.  Although a good break may still get played in the club before or after the song which it samples, it appears as though we will never see another “Be Faithful” or “The Franklynz” ever again :(     Scoop and DJ Kool acapellas are readily available to all DJs and now Party Breaks, like Mash-Ups are just way too common.

So what kinda stuff is getting all the attention these days?  It seems as though creating uptempo electro/house remixes of slower urban tracks is quite the rage at the moment.  Remixers like Chew-Fu, LMFAO, and Jump Smokers have built a huge following doing this. They do original production in a unique style that they can each be recognized for.  Also, it helps exponentially to be remixing whatever song is hottest the moment.  That’s something that the three names above all do, and also something both JD and I have seen success from doing as well.  Another way to gain attention is by quickly doing a remix that involves a current event.  DJ Serafin gained some good attention from his “Get Stroke My Tiger” mash, which we discussed in an interview with him a couple weeks ago.  The Jump Smokers got a huge buzz off of their song involving Chris Brown, while he was still a hot topic.  Just remember though, nowadays, there’s alot more DJs acting on the three formulas above.  You have to really be on your game to get any recognition from a remix these days.  Just look at how many “Pants on the Ground” remixes came out the VERY NEXT DAY after General Larry Platt debuted his song on Idol!!  Really, there were so many, it was almost impossible for one particular mix of that to get noticed.  Amazing, when you think about it.

So overall, it’s pretty tough to say whether or not the remix game has changed for the best or not.  Quality is always better than quantity, however in this case, we seem to have both.  Whatever your view is on this topic, I think we can all agree that more people actually seem to care about the state of remixing these days.  Just look at how many people participated in our “Bootleg Rage” discussion from Thursday!!  As with that post, JD and I are definitely curious to hear what people have to say about this topic as well – so as always, feel free to email us or comment on the post.

–Spring–

5 comments

  1. Guys I’m hooked on these posts like crack. In the 80’s a remix was simply re-ordering the individual tracks of the original song, i.e. extending the drums track or by simply adding a bigger kick or what have you. Thus, the term “remix”. The remix game will continue to evolve and change and, with anything, the “cream will rise to the top”. Creative people will shine and biters will be recognized.

  2. I come from the super old school where a remix was a whole differnet song with a few elements that let you know that it was from the orginal song. T

    Then i got tired of the remix trend of just putting your mom’s pops and your lil cuz, little lay lay on your song and calling it a remix, using the same beat same track. Mad Boring!

    I have been djing for 20+years and now with Serato you do have to put yourself in a different lane, and i’m looking at trying to remix my own joints.

    You kinda have to, with the onslaught of mp3 downloads and what ever. When i used to work( still do) on the radio you would get songs about a month befoe every body else. Now everybody gets them at the same time. Hell sometimes before radio.

    So I’m trying to get my skills up and learn this art to be able to break out and play a KIZ-ONE special edit of “Cold Get Dumb” by mantronix( really just dated myself) that nobody has heard.

    Sidebar* Can anybody point in the direction on noob remixing. websites, youtube anything would be great.

    Dig’n the site.
    Keep bang’n!

  3. I loved your blog theme! Did you develop it yourself or is it downloadalbe from somehwere?

  4. thanks for the great topic!!!

  5. Glad you guys all enjoy the site!!

    You all have good points about the origin of the word “Remix”. I probably should have gone back a bit further.

    Kiz – I think if you search Ableton (that’s our program of choice) tutorials on youtube or even google, I think you should be able to find some decent ones. JD and I are actually working on some as we speak, and we hope to make that a section on the site very soon!

    Teeth – We actually had someone design the page for us. It’s all based on Word Press, but just redesigned. If you’d like something like this done, just email us and we could put you in touch with our designer.

    Spring

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