Week 5 EMP Remix
This is the first time I have ever remixed a song, and the first time using Ableton live as my DAW. Given my lack of experience and exposure to electronic music, I had a hard time finishing this project. All in all, although this remix is a bit different than what I imagined and wanted, the quality of the final outcome is satisfactory.
To create this remix, I have done extensive research and experiment on different genres as I am not familiar with electronic music. Originally, I wanted to remix the song in the style of IDM, so I have researched on artists like Aphex Twin and Plaid. However, I realised that I lack the skill of creating original and cool sounding synths and drums, and the style would not fit the original song all that much. Afterwards, I tried to create a general EDM/ house style remix, referencing from artists like Avicii, Skrillex and Deadmau5. After some experimentation, I feel like the style would not fit the original song, but I also think I have earned some experience on how to create electronic music after these experimentations. Finally, I moved on to try remix the song into pop/ electronic pop which I am relatively familiar with. I have mainly researched on young pop/ hip hop artists like Post Malone, Rich Brian, Joji, Higher Brothers and the record label 88rising, as well as different remixes of pop song from various YouTube artists.
As our lesson in SAE for electronic music production is fairly brief and introductory, there are a lot of skills I do not know about and sounds I do not know how to recreate. I embraced the convenience of YouTube videos and watched a lot of tutorial videos on electronic music production. The main two channels I have watched are Andrew Huang who focus on general electronic music skill and AcesToAces who focus on how to recreate song of different electronic music genres.
When it comes to actually creating the tracks, I started by laying down the backbone of a remix, namely rhythm and harmony. For rhythm, I have taken notes from the artists I am referencing and added a trap/ hip hop style drum beat to the song. The beat was created using an 808 drum rack preset in Ableton live, but I spiced the beat up by replacing the classic 808 sounds using different samples I found on puremagnetik.com as well as some samples I recorded last trimester. To make the normal trap beat sound more interesting I have added two more rhythmic layer by using a guitar strumming sample from the original stems and a mallet sounding appregiator. For harmony, I have laid chords using mallet sounds as I have always been pretty obsessed with them and I have been using them as elements in my own music of different styles including rock and pop. Also, to further build the atmosphere, I have added some synth keys and synth pads. However, I could not quite find the correct sound for harmony in the chorus, so I used the original guitar track instead.
After setting the backbone of the remix, I go on working on the vocal and adding some melodies. The original vocal is a bit dull and thin for this kind of style, and the backing vocals do not come in until the later half of the song. So, I duplicated the vocal stem into a few different tracks, re-pitching them, tweeking with formants and adding different audio effects like distortion so they sound more interesting. For melody, I have created a synth sound using the operator based on different saw waves. Furthermore, I warped the original backing vocals to create a weirder sound to act as countermelodies.
The combination of these elements has become my draft of the remix. After sending the draft to the original producer, our fellow classmate Luke Johnstone as well as the original artists, they have agreed on the style and the overall approach of the remix. Furthermore, after showing the remix in our class, I have been suggested to add a few drops into the remix. So, I go back revisiting my referencing artists but I found that their drops are pretty subtle and is not what I am looking for. I ended up using an EDM style approach for the drop by layering some re-pitched sub808 bass, some drip sound from samples I found on freesound.org, some white noise with an automated filter, some reversed crash samples as well as some samples for drop building that I also found on freesound.org.
Overall, this has been a fun, rewarding and horizon-broadening experience for me. I have managed to learnt a lot of different tricks on electronic music production by trouble-shooting problems during the production by watching hours of YouTube tutorial videos. This has also introduce a different mentality and methodology of song-writing as I grow up learning classical music and rock music and have little to no exposure to electronic music.
You can listen to the track on the "Soundtrack" page of this website:
or through the link below: