If you want to find out more about remixes, you’ve come to the right place.
Hybrid Minds know a thing or two about them: they’ve added their own unique melodic style to eight tracks (six officially and two cheeky bootlegs) over the years.
Recently they’ve gone under the studio scalpel on a whole new level themselves: their debut album Mountains has just been completely turned on its head and rehashed by some of the genre’s elite.
“Mountains did better than we expected and because it was such a large project we wanted to keep the momentum going” says Josh, one half of the duo. “We also thought it would be interesting to see what other producers’ would choose to do with our original tracks.”
“A lot of different styles of drum & bass feature on the album; the likes of InsideInfo and Neonlight have come up with really heavy versions whilst Lenzman and Jakwob have gone for more chilled styles – it’s a really nice mix.”
So, as producers who know the ins and outs of remixes from both ends, what are their top tips on a successful remix?
You need to like certain aspects of the original
“You don’t have to necessarily like the whole track, but it really helps if there are certain aspects of it you like, because you can draw from them and then take the original in your own direction.”
Respect the original producer and their work
“Making the remix different to the original is important but then again there are times when the artist you’re remixing will want you to use the exact same vocal or synth or they’ll ask you not to go too bonkers with it. When it’s a classic track you don’t really want to alter it too much. For example, when we remixed By Your Side by S.P.Y, we didn’t change it too much because it’s one of those tracks that can’t really get any better, so we kept it pretty much the same but added some of our own elements. Appreciating and respecting the work of the original producer is very important.”
Don’t force it – just let it happen
“You can’t force things when it comes to remixes and sometimes you have to just a give it a go to find out whether or not it will sound good. It should all fall into place quite naturally and easily as you’ve already been handed the vocals and other components of the song. If you find it’s not working, it’s important to start again and try a different approach – or scrap it altogether – as there’s no point carrying on with something you’re not completely happy with.”
Listen to different genres
“It’s really good fun listening to music from other genres and imagining what a drum & bass version of that song would sound like. For example, when we heard Youth by Daughter, we thought the vocal would sound good in a club so we made a bootleg of it. When we’re listening to music we try and pick out certain aspects that we think would work in our tracks, like nice piano riffs, for example. I listen to a lot of acoustic artists such as Daughter and Ben Howard because there are elements in their music which can be incorporated into ours.”
Hybrid Minds’ all time favourite remixes:
T.E.E.D – Garden (Calibre Remix)
“This is one of our favourite tracks – let alone remixes – of all time. The way Calibre remixed it is so creative; he’s only taken a snippet of the vocal and used it to perfection along with the rolling keys and bassline. The whole feeling of the track is just perfect.”
CHVRCHES – Lies (Tourist Remix)
“Tourist absolutely smashed this. We heard this remix before the original so to us, this feels like the original. He really stripped back the original, which lets the amazing vocal stand out even more. The way the drums come in slowly and gradually build is perfect. He’s just achieved so much with so little.”
Bloc Party – Where Is Home (Burial Remix)
“This is an example of Burial doing what he does best. Everything about this track is perfect; the crunchy beats, the deep sombre bass and pads, the beautiful keys and pitched vocals. It’s one of those pieces of music that could just loop all day without you realising you’ve been looking into space and dribbling for twelve hours.”