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Referencing the original or demo version of the song

From: Remixing Techniques: Arranging and Song Form

Video: Referencing the original or demo version of the song

When I reference the original version or demo version of a song before working on a club mix, it's a somewhat similar process to that of a radio remix. With a club mix, however, my goal is for the chord changes to be a bit more minimal, more static, as I'm looking to create more tension and release within the arrangement. So, as I listen to the original, I think about whether or not the song lends itself to that sort of treatment. And if the answer is no, then I may even pass on doing the remix. I'll begin by importing the original version of the song, and I will change my view in Ableton from Clip view to Arrange view, by hitting the Tab key.

Referencing the original or demo version of the song

When I reference the original version or demo version of a song before working on a club mix, it's a somewhat similar process to that of a radio remix. With a club mix, however, my goal is for the chord changes to be a bit more minimal, more static, as I'm looking to create more tension and release within the arrangement. So, as I listen to the original, I think about whether or not the song lends itself to that sort of treatment. And if the answer is no, then I may even pass on doing the remix. I'll begin by importing the original version of the song, and I will change my view in Ableton from Clip view to Arrange view, by hitting the Tab key.

Inside the Assets folder, I have Waiting in the Road. That's the name of the song. And Ableton will take a moment to populate the waveform, and there we go. I will double-click on the audio file up here, and you can see that Ableton went ahead and added all these warp markers into the track. It just automatically did this. So, I'm going to turn off the Warp feature and slide the starting point all the way to the left of the audio file. As you can see, there was a little bit of room there, and I pulled it all the way to the left.

Now this will enable us to listen to the original version of the song without any sort of time stretching. We are basically listening to the raw audio file. So let's play it for a moment. (music playing) That gives me a good idea of what the song is about, in terms of chord progressions, the melody of the lead vocal, the BPM.

For those of you who have watched my course, Remix Techniques: Time Stretching, you may recognize this song. It's called Waiting in the Road, by Jody Nardone. And there's a chapter in that course dedicated to taking a vocal that's in a different time signature--in the case of this song, it's in six-eight time-- and modifying it to fit a four-four time or what we call four-on-the-floor dance feel. So, I encourage you to reference that course when it comes to this song, because as we move into the next movie where I bring vocal in, that work has already been done.

But before we move on, let's just take a moment and think about what's going on musically. It's the same set of chord changes really cycling through the whole song. This is exactly the kind of song I like to sink my teeth into for remixing. Because this song incorporates the same chord changes through basically the entire song, I know that I can fairly easily re-harmonize these if I choose to do so, for a club mix setting. In other words, there are no key changes in this song, there aren't a whole bunch of chord changes happening in the course of the chorus or the verse of the prechorus that will force me to have to use those same chord changes in a club mix.

I'm going for a more minimal or static, basically less musical changes. I would like to have that option when doing a remix. And as I listen to the original, I can already tell, because of the repetition of chords in the original, that I'll be able to approach the club remix in a similar fashion. For those of you who are trained musicians, this mindset can sometimes be elusive, because we are so used to making our parts "musical" and melodic, not static. But you have to keep in mind that the end goal of a club remix is to get people to dance and keep them dancing, especially if the dance floor is already full.

It's a completely different setting than listening to the radio in your car or home, and it's actually very important to spend some time in clubs prior to working on remixing, so that you can experience first-hand what the energy of a packed dance floor feels like.

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This video is part of

Image for Remixing Techniques: Arranging and Song Form
Remixing Techniques: Arranging and Song Form

31 video lessons · 5604 viewers

Josh Harris
Author

 
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  1. 2m 59s
    1. Welcome
      1m 17s
    2. What you should know before watching this course
      23s
    3. Why did we record this course in four different DAWs?
      49s
    4. Using the exercise files
      30s
  2. 4m 58s
    1. A general overview of musical arranging
      2m 4s
    2. An overview of remix arranging
      1m 34s
    3. An overview of radio and club arranging
      1m 20s
  3. 51m 30s
    1. Referencing the original or demo version of the song
      3m 2s
    2. Listening to stems and deciding on the musical direction
      4m 36s
    3. Creating a sketch arrangement
      8m 36s
    4. Developing the drums and bass
      13m 31s
    5. Adding synths
      8m 43s
    6. Adding guitars
      7m 49s
    7. Arranging the rest of the song
      5m 13s
  4. 51m 54s
    1. Referencing the original or demo version of the song
      5m 7s
    2. Listening to stems and deciding on the musical direction
      3m 42s
    3. Time stretching stems and creating a sketch arrangement
      11m 18s
    4. Developing the drums and bass
      11m 10s
    5. Adding synths
      10m 30s
    6. Working from the hype backwards
      4m 27s
    7. Arranging the rest of the song
      5m 40s
  5. 18m 31s
    1. Trimming down the club version
      3m 32s
    2. Identifying arrangement changes within the body of the song
      9m 44s
    3. Listening through the final arrangement
      5m 15s
  6. 19m 38s
    1. Adding a vocoder
      5m 36s
    2. Adding filtered delays to vocals
      7m 42s
    3. Adding drum fills
      6m 20s
  7. 14m 48s
    1. Listening through the final radio mix
      4m 12s
    2. Listening through the final club mix
      6m 47s
    3. Listening through the final radio edit
      3m 49s
  8. 38s
    1. Final thoughts and next steps
      38s

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