The "remix" has been a key marketing and creative concept in the music industry for years. Business savvy record labels have been releasing alternate mixes of hit songs in order to reach larger audiences since 12-inch record singles became popular in the late 1970s. Today, the remixing craze is in high gear, driven by the rise of electronic music (from dance to hip-hop), the proliferation of affordable remixing tools (such as powerful laptop computers and amazing music production software programs), the Internet (for ease of distribution and websites that host serious remixing contests), and national ad campaigns that use the term "remix" as a catchphrase for marketing everything from soft drinks to magazines.
However, behind the remixing craze lies a serious craft. In fact, beginning in 1998, the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences (NARAS, The Grammy people) recognized the technical and creative skills necessary to be an accomplished remixer and created a specific award category for Best Remixed Recording. This is very much deserved, especially since Remixing has been culturally significant over the years as an incubator for new music and technical innovation. Indeed, the practice of remixing has helped to foster many innovative music production techniques and sounds that have ultimately bubbled up through the underground into today's popular music.
This course focuses on the production techniques employed by the pros, professional remixers who earn money from their remixes and, occasionally, even a Grammy or two. To keep up with the class, you will need a powerful DAW program and a good understanding of your software. Your DAW program must have excellent audio editing, mixing, MIDI sequencing, and tempo mapping and warping capabilities. In addition, you'll need plenty of virtual instruments and effects for composing new parts and sound design. A few examples of DAW programs that meet all of these criteria are: Pro Tools, Live, Logic, and Reason.
The skills required to remix have a lot of practical applications beyond simply producing remixes. In this class you will learn not only the technical skills necessary to produce professional sounding remixes, but also how to "think outside the box," to hear a song's possibilities beyond its original arrangement and musical style. These skills will translate seamlessly to many areas of your own musical endeavors, from producing original material to thinking of ways for an artist to reach new audiences.
In this course, you will produce remixes based on several different types of source material: stereo masters, a cappellas, breakout tracks (Stems), and multitrack sessions. As the lessons progress, each remixing assignment will tackle another side of the remixing process that is more challenging than the last. Along the journey, you will learn to:
- Identify the differences between an original and remixed version of a song
- Legally obtain material for remixing
- Employ appropriate virtual instruments and effects to remix a song
- Sound design effective "ear candy" for your remix
- Recognize the difference between warping and recycling audio
- Understand ticks-based versus sample-based tracks
- Tempo map a song
- Perform flawless tempo changes
- Compose new tracks that fit perfectly over the original song
- Remix practically any type of source material
- Build DJ friendly songs
- Produce professional sounding remixes
- Prepare your remixes for distribution and live performance
Author & Instructor
Erik Hawkins is a composer, producer, remixer, and author whose talents and technical expertise have leaders in the music industry calling him a "taste maker." He has worked with and remixed a variety of top artists, including Irene Cara, Digital Underground, Conscious Daughters, Strypper, Brenda Russell, and DJ Sasha. His own progressive dance music tracks have been used by major television networks and film studios, including ABC, CBS, MTV, Nickelodian, and New Line Cinema. Some of the TV shows and films in which his music can be heard include Ugly Betty, CSI:Miami, Burn Notice, Big Brother, The Last Day of Summer, The Disaster Movie, and The Informers.
More than one hundred of his articles have appeared in the industry's top publications, including Electronic Musician, Mix, and Keyboard. He's had monthly columns in Remix, MC2, and DigiZine. He has authored several books, including Studio-in-a-Box (ArtistPro, 2001) and the Complete Guide to Remixing (Berklee Press, 2003).
For lots of cool music production tips and tricks, check out his Berklee Online blog page:http://blogs.online.berklee.edu/erikhawkins
To hear more samples of his music, visit his Web sites:
Online Courses Taught by Erik
- Pro Tools 101
- Pro Tools 110
- Producing Music with Reason
- Programming and Producing Drum Beats
Do you have the pre-requisite knowledge required for this course? Take our self-assessment quiz to find out
- Any DAW software program with comprehensive MIDI, virtual instruments, effects and audio capabilities. For example, Pro Tools, Live, Cubase, Sonar, Logic, and Reason.
- PC Web Browser: Firefox (recommended), Chrome, Internet Explorer (or Edge)
- Mac Web Browser: Firefox (recommended), Chrome, Safari
- Flash Player: current version
- Adobe Reader: current version
- USB to MIDI keyboard controller
- High quality external audio interface (recommended)
- Studio quality monitor speakers (recommended)
- Windows 7 or higher or Mac OSX 10.7 or higher
- 4 GB RAM or more
- At least 20 GB of free hard disk space