Nothing makes a party pop off more than a smashing remix to a timeless classic, which makes the idea of remixing popular songs seem like low-hanging fruit to newer producers who want to drive up their stream count.
But 999/1000 times, these remixes tend to be forgettable, immemorable, and add nothing to the original record. And it’s a shame to see producers toil away in the studio to make another remix nobody will listen to.
So to celebrate the release of her latest remix, we sat down with Arielle Free, a talented producer in her own right and host on BBC Radio 1, to find out the secret to what it takes to have your remix of a timeless classic stand out to a radio show curator perspective like her.
Stream Arielle Free’s Latest Remix Below
Gorgon City has been on the steady climb to stardom for years, blending club-friendly records with infectious vocals and melodies.
Taking the high energy of the group’s original release, Arielle has reworked it in her own fashion to include softer pianos and more space for the hypnotic vocal to work its magic. These are the exact decisions she’ll chat about in a second but before we dive into her advice, listen to the track below a few times over to really soak in what a masterclass in remixes this track truly is.
‘Since day dot I’ve adored Gorgon City’s music… I got completely obsessed with their ‘Olympia’ LP. I remember Creamfields 2021 when they dropped ‘Tell Me It’s True’. So to have their trust and freedom to put my spin on it, is beyond incredible. I hope I’ve kept the magic of the original I love and adore with a bit of my sound and energy sprinkled on top.’ – Arielle Free
Add Your Own Magic To It
First and foremost my main rule for anyone remixing is to always add your sound to it.
If you’re producing, you’ll have found key elements that you use for your music-making, moments that become synonymous with you, and the tracks you’re creating. If the track you’re editing isn’t usually what you’d create, make sure you sprinkle your magic on it.
Nothing stands out more than those personal touches.
Know Who Your Remix Is For
Where do you want to hear the remix played? Would you like to make it a radio-friendly edit, one that is accessible to those who are not necessarily into dance music?
Do you want to invite people in? Or maybe you want to see the music heads lose themselves on the dance floor to it? Is it a club track, or a festival track? Do you want to see it added to playlists that people can vibe to? Who do you want to make a dance to it? Everyone? The house heads? The techno ravers?
I always find when listening to remix submissions for my shows, the ones that stand out most are the ones that have a clear vision of who it’s for.
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Keep It Simple
Don’t overcomplicate things when it comes to a remix.
You want to add your personality, that is key! That doesn’t necessarily mean you have to chuck everything at it. What are the elements of the track you’re remixing that you love? Do you want to amplify these moments, or do you want to strip them of those and replace them with completely different elements?
Take it down a different path? Sometimes the most beautiful remixes are the ones that have the main ingredient from the original with simple additions.
Don’t Force It
If you’ve started but you’re struggling to complete the project, take a break. I once saw Sorley post about doing just 30 minutes of producing a day.
He was in a bit of a music-making block but bringing in a small routine each day it allowed his creativity to start flowing again without putting too much pressure on himself. I did this myself recently. I was losing confidence with every creation and doubting whether I’m good enough to complete a whole track or what my sound is.
I’ve spent most of my career curating other people’s music into my shows so there’s an element of imposter syndrome whenever I start making music.
Make Sure It’s Accessible For Everyone
If you want your remix to be played on the radio I’d always say try to create or amplify the hook. If there’s a banging chorus already, highlight moments of that chorus so it sticks out even more!
Radio is for everyone so you need to grab those who wouldn’t immediately choose to listen to a dance track. If you can grab the hook and make it stand out even more you’ve probably got more of a chance of a radio station playing it over the original. My biggest advice when people ask me why their records are not getting played on the radio is to ask “is it accessible to everyone.”
That underground club track isn’t going to be selected for the airwaves its home is the club and that’s not a bad thing!
Rework a song you love
The easiest way for a remix to stand out is to remix a song you LOVE.
If you already love it you’ll have the determination and discipline to create something magical quickly and with gusto. If you love it already, you’ll be full of ideas about where you want to take it. Positive vibes, personality, and passion.