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In this course, author Josh Harris demonstrates time-stretching techniques in four of the major digital audio workstations: Pro Tools, Logic Pro, Reason, and Ableton Live. Josh covers the basic time-stretching treatments, where minimal tempo adjustment is needed, and then moves into more difficult territory—remixing at a much slower or faster tempo than what the original tracks were recorded at—where time stretching is pushed to the extreme. Another technique shows how to create a composite vocal from multiple time-stretched tracks. Each lesson employs real-world musical examples to clearly show where each time-stretching technique is useful and how the results of time stretching affect the sound of a song.
One of the most frequently asked questions I'm asked is how to get ahold of vocals to create your own remixes. Well, one way that seems to be growing in popularity are what are known as remix contests. Over the last few years, I have noticed that these contests are becoming more and more popular. And some major-label artists are even going this route in addition to commissioning certain remixers to remix their tracks. While you'll most likely be competing with many other remixers for those coveted few spots on the project, it's a great way to force you to create a finished track. In other words, even if your remix is not chosen for the final package, you now have something that you can put on your remix reel.
Another good way to get ahold of A capella vocal Stems is to approach local bands or artists in your area. If you know of local artist or bands that might be open to having their music remixed, this can be a great way to get started. In fact, when I lived in Nashville in the late 1990s, I began my remixing career this way. I was in several bands, and I had several artist friends, and I simply asked them for their vocals, and I worked up my own remixes which then became my remixing reel which I then use when I moved to New York to network and pick up further work.
Cut your teeth on a smaller stage before stepping onto a bigger stage. Spending those couple of years remixing at the local level paid big dividends for me when I started to get opportunities to remix major label artists years later. I cut my teeth on a smaller stage as a remixer before stepping onto a bigger one. Remember that you only have one chance to make a first impression. And finally, contact the record label directly by the artist's or band's A&R or management. Follow the groups or artists that you are interested in and contact the label directly, although this can be a tedious process unless you have some prior knowledge of the A&R person who is assigned to that particular project.
But don't be discouraged, there are wonderful resources like the A&R registry that will provide you with a current list of record label personnel. Also, if you happen to know an artist or band's manager, that is a fantastic way in as well. However, you go about finding A capellas, make sure that you're able to do a good job on the remix. Nobody wins if you are cranking on mixes that bands or artists just don't like. Everyone needs to start somewhere. So by no means am I attempting to discourage anyone from dreaming big or being ambitious, but as remixers, we have to maintain perspective on whether or not we're doing good work.
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