Eelke Kleijn - 10 Remixing Tips

From today we are going to feature a lot of articles of music production by top producers around the world! First one of this series is Dutch genius Eelke Kleijn, who wants to share his knowledge with 10 Remixing Tips. Enjoy and spread the word!

1. A remix needs to be a remix.

You should use parts (recognizably) from the original track. Some of my earliest remixes often sounded so different that they could easily have been originals. Nowadays I try to remix only those tracks which I think are good by itself already, and want to improve upon. There is still the occasion remix that doesn’t sound like the original at all, but I really try to keep the original in there as much as possible. If you can’t do anything exciting with the parts you got, maybe you should ask yourself why you are remixing it in the first place.

2. Don’t remix everything by everyone.

This might be more of a general tip, but nowadays there’s way too much releases that look something along the lines of ’1 original with 4+ remixes’. We really would be much better off if people started to write originals again. As a DJ I am not really super excited when I get packs like these and generally skip through them really fast or just pick 1 track, especially when they all sound somewhat the same. Also as a remixer I tend to not do remixes if, besides myself, there are lots of other remixers.

3. Try to deviate (enough) from the original.

I just said a remix should sound like a remix. That doesn’t mean it should be a direct copy. And a different bassline and drums doesn’t count.. ! ;-) It makes no sense to release a house track with house remixes which all sound alike. This sort of goes hand in hand with the second tip. Make your remix stand out.

4. A good idea is made quickly.

If you find yourself adding layer upon layer it’s usually not going anywhere. My best ideas are usually simple. If you get excited from a kick, a bassline and one or two sounds, it’s usually good and more importantly; it leaves room to take the track somewhere.

5. Use only the best elements from the original.

Don’t feel forced to use everything. Often I find myself with a folder of 20 files of which 10 don’t really work in my track. You don’t have to use everything, I personally prefer to use a couple of elements that really define the original.

6. Use effects.

I like to play around with audio files; distort them, filter them, cut them up, bounce and go again. This will often lead to really nice (and unpredictable) results. The most recognizable audio parts I try to keep relatively clean so they stay recognizable. But for those 10 sounds you didn’t like anyway, this can be a major inspirational tool.

7. Work for a couple of hours at a time.

This might not go for anyone, but I like to work for a couple of hours, take a break, and listen again after an hour or even the next day. I’ve done remixes where, after listening again the next day, I instantly knew what was wrong or missing.

8. Make your remixes stand out… from each other.

Often when you have a hit record, people ask you to remix their track and ‘make it sound like’ that hit record. This is okay, for one or two remixes. But in general try to keep remixes different from each other, after hearing the same preset sound a couple of times people really do get bored.

9. Work at a time that gets you excited.

Being a full time producer, I would often go into the studio first thing in the morning and write dance music. After a while however, I found out I have difficulties writing electronic music that early. Late afternoons and evenings are better for me because you sort of get in that ‘party mood’. This is more of a general production tips and doesn’t go for everyone, but it did help me a lot and really took some time to figure out.

10. Most importantly. Be happy with your remix.

Don’t release it just because you need to remix a track and it needs to be finished. Yes there are deadlines, and promises, but in the end you need to be happy with the result and if you are not, start again. Some of my best remixes (for instance, Surrender by Way Out West) were preceded by crappy versions I didn’t like. Sometimes decisions to start over really give the best result.

Listen to some of his latest tracks:

Way Out West – Surrender (Eelke Kleijn Remix)
Dave Shtorn – Magic Moments – (Eelke Kleijn’s Magical Dub Ride)

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