Unsung Skills of the Remixer
Remixing has become a very popular way of getting into the music business recently but, contrary to what some people think, it isn’t simply an “easy way out”. While it’s true that you don’t have the pressure of coming up with great lyrics and a catchy musical hook there are a huge number of roles that you do have to take on in order to succeed.
In addition to the usual “producer” roles of musician, songwriter (in a musical sense anyway), sound designer/programmer, mix engineer and, quite possibly, mastering engineer you also need to have a number of additional skills. You need to be a negotiator (to get the best deal that you can), a diplomat (to be able to try to keep everybody happy at once), a promoter (to be able to raise your profile from nothing to the point where you get the job), a translator (in a musical rather than linguistic sense), an alchemist (to be able to turn an R&B ballad into a “big room” extended dance track), a quantum physicist (to be able to time-stretch vocals to fairly extreme extents and make it sound like you haven’t done anything) and, finally, a time-traveller (to be able to do all of the above within often ridiculously short deadlines).
Aside from the obvious benefits of actually getting the gig as a remixer these additional skills can certainly help you out in your own productions in the future… so what have you got to lose? Fire up the DeLorean and start remixing!
Simon Langford, author of The Remix Manual is a professional music producer and remixer, with close to ten years of experience. He has worked on over 300 remixes, and has had tracks of his own in the UK National Top 20 Singles Chart and the US Billboard Dance Chart. Simon has remixed artists including Rihanna, Robbie Williams, Sugababes, INXS, and many more. He has written a series of articles for Sound on Sound magazine on remixing.