Remix It!

February 26, 2008 by Steve Sharp

He can claim it all he wants, but Puff Daddy, P. Diddy, or (just) Diddy can claim he invented the remix all he wants, but he didn’t. I believe that remixing first began when stereo was introduced in the early 1960s, and soon the single versions deliberately sounded “hotter” than the album versions of the same songs – with stereo and mono versions differing considerably sometimes. In the meantime, reggae producers in Jamaica were experimenting with “dub” versions for the “B” sides of singles. Flash forward towards the disco revolution of the 1970s, and the rise of the DJ along with it, the concepts of beatmixing and scratching, and remixes began to be commissioned to feed this market.Remixes run the gamut from simply extending a song or portions of a song to completely new versions of a song, with few, if any, elements of the original recording included in the remix. By the late 80s, not only were the record labels issuing remixes they had commissioned, DJ-created labels began creating remixes. Some remixes are pure magic, creating a new work that enhances the original song in ways that even the artist never imagined. Others are horrible (which to me means “overdone” usually) and make you wonder “what the hell were they thinking”? Part of the fun is debating such things with other DJs. I know people who love certain mixes that I would never play in a million years, because I think it’s crap, and vice-versa. And what is the value of medlies and megamixes? Some DJs love ‘em, while other DJs think of them as “canned” mixes for lazy DJs.

While remix service labels should get permission from the original label to remix their materials, some do, and some don’t. The “bootleg” element of this segment is also fueled in recent years by a steep drop in costs to produce a remix (what can be done on a desktop computer for around $1200, would have taken a $25,000 studio to produce, ten years ago), coupled with the rise of the internet (instant distribution). Many, many labels have come and gone over the years. This week and next, I’ll highlight some of the best of the current group of American remix labels – remixes made by DJs for DJs: a great way to perform better beat mixes, and enhance your performance!

Select Mix

As with at least one other remix company before them, Select Mix began as an offshoot of a radio mixshow. In order to play certain songs in a mix, there needed to be a useable mix of it. When there wasn’t one, they would create one to use on the radio show. But why stop there? Make this new mix available for other DJs. In 2004, Select Mix did just that. Select mixes typically remain pretty faithful to the original production, with most of their alterations being structural. Select pays particular attention to up and coming mixshow hits from multiple genres, and their issues are usually very timely. They also have an old school series, a rewind series (older, but not old enough to be “old school”), and a slow jam series. Last year, Select took over the reigns of one of the original remix labels, Hot Tracks, and resurrected their Street Tracks series, as an urban remix series, with the focus being on clubs and some of the tracks being “dirty” and typically not playable for radio shows or mobile DJs. Other than some selections on Street Tracks, all other Select Mix products are “radio-friendly”. Run by Scott Thomas and programmed by DJ Jynxx, more information and audio samples can be found at selectmix.com.

Winner!

Congratulations to Lance Hill, of Sound Bytes Entertainment, of Kalkaska, Michigan who correctly identified the artist Pink as Alecia Moore. Lance will be receiving 5 back issues of Prime Cuts Monthy CDs. Nice!

More great remix service information, next time!

Steve Sharp is a DJ in Southern California who has been spinning since 1981. In addition to running his own successful single-op business, Signature Entertainment, he also creates a weekly radio remix show for Bo’s Saturday Night Party on B95.1 FM. Steve is one of the few people who can not only play the hits, but gets involved in the story behind them and can often tell you who produced, directed and published the song and how their actions affect the music industry.
If you would like to contact Steve, he can be reached at thatdj@aol.com

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Steve Sharp Steve Sharp (12 Posts)

Steve Sharp is a veteran of mobile D.J.ing, clubs, and radio in Southern California. He’s driven to deliver for his clients, both his private clients, and business clients, which also include representative stints for D.J. manufacturers, such as Hercules, Denon, and Virtual D.J.


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