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In this course, author Josh Harris demonstrates constructing a remix using only a pre-existing vocal track as a starting point. The course shows how to time-stretch vocals, offers suggestions for establishing a musical direction, and explains how to audition and layer Apple loops. The course also covers programming beats using synths, generating vocal samples, arranging the remix, and creating master-quality final mixes.
Establishing a musical direction. I find this to be actually one of the most important parts of the process. Some of my favorite remixes over the last 10 years are the ones where I stepped back, sat down, and took time to figure out my musical direction prior to starting my actual remix. I love to sit back and just listen to the vocals. It's actually a very, very inspiring process to just listen to nothing but the vocals. Hopefully, the vocals for your remix will inspire you.
I like to sit back and listen to the song maybe two or three times from start to finish. This way you can make sure that there's no key changes, nothing that happens two and a half, three minutes into the song that catches you off guard. It's always good to think ahead. That's really the important part of listening to these vocals. In addition to just the pure enjoyment of listening to well recorded vocals by themselves, I usually find my creative inspiration at this part of the process.
It's very exciting to me to sit back and actually forget about the music that was underneath these vocals in the original version. That's something that you have to be careful of. I actually don't like to listen to the original versions of songs too many times and there have been times where I've actually not heard the original version and just been sent the vocals and I purposefully did not seek out the original version because I didn't want it to steer me in any sort of direction. I don't like to listen to the vocals too many times, it burns my ears out and clouds my perspective.
This is a theme that we will cover in upcoming movies as well. Keeping perspective on your creative work is extremely important. If you're just listening to 8 bars or 16 bars are just Verse 1 and Chorus 1 over and over and over, you will absolutely lose creative perspective and it will be very difficult to sort of pull yourself back and imagine sum of all parts as a whole as opposed to just a section here or a section there. I love to listen to other people's remixes.
That's actually something I do even when I'm not working on remixes just to get a vibe, a direction, it's very exciting to seek out what other remixers and producers are doing because sometimes I'll hear a base sound or a baseline or a set of chord changes and go that's really cool. I think I'd like to implement that into a track sometime. That being said, I make it a point not to copy or knock off another person's work. There is a fine line between hearing a musical idea, a musical riff, a baseline, a track, a set of chord changes and then actually completely copying it and ripping them off.
That's not what I mean. I like to get inspiration from hearing the way that someone arranged a song, the base sound they chose, the baseline they played, the drums, the vocal editing, all these things play a part in my mind and help me establish a creative direction prior to programming any drums or playing any keyboard parts. I'd like to think of my studio as an extension of my brain. When I get an idea, whether it's a drum loop, a baseline, a keyboard part or even a melody, I'd like to be able to sit down and immediately capture that idea.
It's really important to think of the studio this way. It's also very easy to get tripped up and hung up in the electronics, the software. So I encourage you to think about music away from the computer, prior to actually starting your remix. It's important for you to find your voice, be original. There's nothing wrong with inspiration and paying tribute to your inspirations within a track but it's very important for you to establish your own sound.
If you hear ten other guys that are doing the same thing that you are doing, it's going to be very difficult to stand out and separate yourself. So all of these things play a very important part in establishing a musical direction prior to sitting down and even listening to the first drum loop. I hope these tips and suggestions help you. The more you work, you'll come up with your own list and hopefully, these five suggestions will get you going in a direction sooner than later.
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