This week, I’ll highlight more 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!
The newest of the services in this discussion, Full Tilt remix was founded by members of the original Select Mix team, including T.J. Hess, and Ben McMillan. The formula of what gets the Full Tilt remix treatment is similar to which tracks make it to Select Mix – danceable songs (at least when they’re done with it) that you might hear on the radio: be they clubby, or top 40ish, or even rock. Sometimes there is duplication in track selections among the services (and not just between Select and Full Tilt). Best bet: visit the websites of the services you’re interested in, and listen to samples before ordering. The competition between services only heats up the creative process, and results in better mixes for all of us. Some of my favorite Full Tilt remixes are Ben’s treatment of rock songs. Extending beats or breaks to hip hop songs is not as challenging as turning a staid rock song into a dance floor hit. It takes more skill to pull this off.
Ultimix (and Funkymix)
I believe Ultimix is the longest continuously-running remix services in the U.S. Ultimix was founded by remixer Brad Hinkle (who previously worked for Hot Tracks – which would have beat out Ultimix in the longevity department if it hadn’t gone dormant and been resurrected in the past few months). Ultimix distinguished itself early on with higher quality standards than their competitors. This standard of quality exists to this day, but is less noteworthy now, as the spread of quality audio technology has made the differences in attention to detail harder to discern between services. Unlike Select and Full Tilt (which primarily have the “all in one” approach), Ultimix has historically had many different offshoots (satellite services) over the years, specializing in more specific genres. Today, Jeff Richards runs Ultimix with their primary two services: the signature Ultimix service, which is primarily club/house based, often with club versions of popular hits remixed and/or restructured, and a sprinkling of radio mixshow hits, at their original tempos, and Funkymix, which is hip-hop/urban in nature, but always radio-friendly (clean edits). Their consistent quality and brand longevity add to their popularity to this day.
Xmix has been around for a long time as well, and gone through many changes, over the years. They have several regular current “product lines” as well as some that seem to appear “from time to time”. Xmix Dance focuses on dance mixes, sometimes of current hits from other genres, and sometimes of songs that are natively “house”. If you use mainstream club and/or house, the specific song selections on this series are well chosen, and the mixes are easy to program. Xmix Urban is hip-hop & r&b, all radio-friendly. Xmix Chartbusters focuses squarely on radio music that doesn’t otherwise fit neatly into the other two categories, and may have a reggaeton song remixed, right next to a pop/rock song, right next to a country song. Xmix Club Classics remixes a rotatating stable of the songs most mobile DJs might use at an event. As much as I like this last series, especially based on my mobile business, I must say that I find the results to be spotty, at best. If you take a song from 1978 (for example) and make it sound more like 2007 is that a good thing? Sometimes yes, often times no. But, it depends on your personal tastes and who your audience is. If you’re playing an overly souped-up remix (of a “classic” song) in a club it’s different than playing that same song at a 40th Birthday party. Other services in the Xmix arsenal include Dancehall Devastation (reggae and reggaeton), Short Cutz, and Essential Megamixes.
Spice up your music library with great remixes!
For more information on these services, listen to samples, and buy their services go to:
www.xmix.comUntil next week!
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 email@example.com
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