Remix competitions. Reasons why you should be doing them
Before I tell you why I think remix competitions are fantastic for the beginner, whilst still being good for the moderate and professional.Let me first give you some background on myself and why I think this.
As a teenager the nearest I came to producing music was as a DJ. My only experience with music production was playing a little with music 2000 on the PlayStation one back in the late 90s and having a mess with Reason in my younger years. Nothing like an actual song ever came of it. In fact nothing ever came of it at all.
Roll-on, two months down the line I had tried NI Machine which I’m not a fan of. Certainly not for the beginner. Fruity loops which I still can’t understand now, Reactor, Ableton, Bitwig, anything I could get my hands on. While I was messing around with Cubase the most because of what I had learned off my friend. It kept crashing my computer. Although when I first tried Ableton it seemed backwards to me, Ableton was the one I found most natural to work with. Their shortcut keys made more sense because I was a regular Windows user at work and their shortcut keys are similar. *Don’t worry this is in a review on DAWS.
But even with the workflow of Ableton I was still just messing around I suppose and that’s when I discovered remix competitions.
So one night round an old friends house. The sort of friend you see every six months. Close enough that you can pick up straightaway where you left off but you don’t see often enough to know what they did last week. My friend was and is into hip-hop as his main love for music. So while visiting him we were messing around with making beats on Cubase.
I was just impressed at how far music production had come. Using a little midi to make beats and the great memories of music 2000 popped in my head and I was hooked. That was a night the change my life.
Oh! There's prizes too if you're into all that
Of course there are other reasons for entering the competitions, the prizes for one can be fantastic. Some of the prizes producers would never be able to afford in their lifetime and this would be their only chance. But I’ve never looked at the prizes as an incentive to enter competitions, most I have entered I couldn’t even tell you the prize. I’ve always viewed them as a way for me to gain experience, gain a fantastic network, get great feedback, learn and to develop as a music producer.
These are just some of the reasons that I think you should do remix competitions. If you have any questions or comments feel free. If you disagree with anything I’ve said, have any questions, or just want to tell me I’m full of s**t feel free to drop me an email firstname.lastname@example.org
This will be a video on remixing tips
Actual helpful Feedback for Feedback
The first thing I noticed as I was studying up on remix competitions, was feedback. The positive kind of feedback from other producers regardless of quality. They would pick out good points rather than just trash a song. But then if a producer asked “give it me straight up, don’t hold back!” Other producers would give their fair opinion. I soon realised that if I was ever going to progress, real feedback was something that I was going to need a lot of. Something that still rings true today.
Test it for yourself, go find a remix competition and read the feedback on songs, then find original songs and see the feedback on them. You’ll see for yourself, people give more genuine feedback when they are involved themselves, then they do otherwise.
Which leads us to the first reason you should be doing remix competitions. Genuine feedback, as opposed to just happy feedback. You’ll find there is a big difference.
One of the main things I love and still love now about remix competitions is the variety. Hearing how other people think the exact same sounds as you have been given should sound.
My first real remix was a reggae song. All I envisioned was drum and bass/jungle. Nothing else popped in my head, but when the competition was over my mind was blown. I couldn’t believe how someone had changed the same stems as I had into a trance song while still keeping with the original. I heard heavy-metal versions, beautiful lullaby versions, and the ones that surprised me re-envision reggae versions. This diversity taught me a lot.
I was able to speak to the creators of these different genres, speak quite freely asking how and why.
Whilst as I said above I got feedback on my own song, when I felt it was a bit too much praise, I asked for more critique, which was delivered. Not with “your drums are rubbish” “your hats are way off” but with “Have you tried side-chaining your drums? Do know what side-chaining is? would you like some help?” Positive helpful feedback! No at the time I didn’t know what side chaining was and it was then that I learnt thanks to the feedback.
Now we have skipped a reason as to why you should be doing remix competitions, it is already written above but without being mentioned. And that’s networking. Networking through a common goal. Which is of course remixing.
I guarantee if you enter a remix competition you will come away with at least one contact, that you speak to again.
After my fourth or fifth remix not only did I have online friends around the world I had truly talented musicians willing to send live stems for my own use. All of which I am still in contact with today on a regular basis and still use their stems on tracks I produce now. Whether that be a vocal, a piano riff, or some of my favourites “live” saxophone.
These are the sort of stems no sample pack could ever give you an cost you something money can’t buy. Friendship.
I will honestly say roughly 60% of my online conversations these days are with people whom I have either entered remix competitions with or met through remix competitions.
Now would be a good time to move on to time frames. Finishing songs. How many of you out there have unfinished tracks? All of you! Because everybody has unfinished tracks.
How many of you out there have more than five unfinished tracks? I bet we’re still looking at least 50%. Now how many of you have 10 or more unfinished tracks? I still think the percentage of be quite high but 20%-30%.
Now let me rephrase the question. How many of you have unfinished tracks you wish you’d finished? I bet were still talking roughly the same percentages. Why? Because you don’t have a deadline. Remix competitions give you a deadline. They make you go with your gut instinct.
I have 5 unfinished tracks at present. One of which is a remix I’m working on anyway. One was that I missed the deadline for. Two were samples for the wecreated. One is a long-term project I’m just trying to fit in between bits.
But none of them I am bothered that I’m not finished.
One of the best remixes I made was on a short deadline, 12 hours I think probably made the whole thing in six. I placed in the competition, I didn’t win it but I placed.
I feel this is due to the deadline, I had to make decisions I would normally have taken a day over, I didn’t have time to mess around with drums, getting the right hi hat. I had to choose and move on.
You see we all make the right decisions with our gut, but when we start thinking about them and giving ourselves different options, that’s when we lose track of the ultimate goal of finishing a banging track.
Just as a side note, I would advise you to avoid most if not all Facebook groups, when it comes to music production.
Not so much for DAW orientated like Cubase group, Ableton group, FL studio group, these are very informative when it comes to the software.
I mean House music massive, Trap bangers, Drum and Bass heads (If these are real groups I’m not talking about them specific) these groups are not places to get feedback. They are filled with trolls and two-faced idiots. These are fan pages for the genres, not pages for the music producer.
So if you did take my advice I have a go at a remix competition, just a link let me know what you think and I shall come give you some feedback. Good luck