Schools Training

The Growing Role Of Remix In Popular Music

15 NOV 2013
Career Path : Arts and Entertainment

Massive careers have been based on remixing skills. Norman Cook — Fatboy Slim — has won two Brit Awards, ten MTV Video Music Awards, and almost single-handedly popularised the big beat genre. This he accomplished largely by using electronic remixing and production skills, creating a stable of enduring dancefloor classics that include the instantly-recognizable Praise You and Right Here, Right Now. Perhaps the most famous and enduringly influential remix thus far, though, was Tom Holkenborg’s work on the Elvis Presley track A Little Less Conversation. Holkenborg, better known as Junkie XL, climbed to the official No. 1 slot in more than 20 countries, and his work — credited to ‘Elvis vs. JXL’ — was a worldwide phenomenon when used to advertise the 2002 World Cup.

Not everyone can be Fatboy Slim or JXL, but remixing is an extremely saleable skillset. Everyone from jobbing studio hands to mix-master DJs, who perform in clubs all over the planet, have plenty of opportunity to work. Film schools in Canada are a great way to break into the field.

There have been an incalculable number of recordings made since Édouard-Léon Scott de Martinville first recorded sound — using his invention, the phonautograph — in 1860. Most of them aren’t in surround sound, or even stereo. One of the most profitable aspects of learning to remix is reviving or refurbishing older material, readying it for rerelease, or for themes in advertising and on movie soundtracks.

Professional remixes are also very often contracted by original recording artists, who include the work as ‘bonus tracks’ on albums. Further, up-and-coming performers use remixes of their work to combine it with sounds that are instantly recognizable as being authored by more established acts, so as to align themselves in the public consciousness with proven stars.

As with any creative work intended to earn a living, dealing with self-promotion at the same time as devoting yourself to your remixing endeavors can seem an impossible mountain to climb. Getting in on the ground floor of a niche or style that’s going to be big has built many fortunes, and the growing role of remix in popular music seems set to be another such success story.

Let’s assume you have all the relevant skills, along with the necessary charisma and an aptitude for working hard. Perhaps the next most important thing is to build a network of viable connections. And that’s where DJ school comes in. People who work in the industry know other people who work in the industry, and that’s how careers are built.

As soon as you’re financially able, make recordings of your work. Professional training is a great way to pursue this ambition, also, and film schools in Canada are well-equipped to make it happen for you. Recording engineers, technicians, even graphic artists can use mutual product to promote themselves, also, and there’s every likelihood that studio time will be part of your coursework.

Visit Trebas Institute for more information on other music career boosters like audio courses.