Working with someone else’s material is a vital part of learning from other’s successes and mistakes. I guess the equivalent in animation to doing a remix would be all these parodies of pixar and disney movies which are directly inspired by existing material but add to it their personal perspective,
The main challenge in doing a remix is ending up with a result that makes you remember the original part but takes you to a place the original didn’t take you before. But you know what? That’s hardly any news and you probably read that a million times before so I’m gonna try and tell you my experience and maybe it’ll help you with your own remixes.
So I started openly taking inspiration from other artists when I read an article about how progressive rock legend Steven Wilson re-recorded Yes songs in his spare time and I tried doing the same with artists I really looked up to like Kevin Parker or Pedro Aznar. The process would be as simple as carefully listening to the song and then re-record every sound with whatever samples and instruments I had at hand. Artistically speaking this has little value but it helps training your ear (or eye) and pushing your technical capabilities to uncharted territory. But RedSoul92, these are not remixes they’re simply makeovers! Yes I know, and not matter how good you think you are these clones will always be lesser versions of what the original material was, so unless you plan on living under the shadow of someone you look up to I suggest keeping these exercises as technical experiments, in other words, we should restrain from trying to sound exactly like someone, we should restrain from trying to get the exact same style as someone we admire because the truth is we’ll never get to do that due to this simple fact:
We’re not who we aspire to be, we are who we are.
Now after doing these re-recording experiments some time went by and I noticed how many of my records were now sounding like these songs I had copied. I had successfully mimicked their style! woop woop.
But what about my style?
I took a music production course and one of the exercises was about remixing one of our colleagues. I was happy to embark on this new challenge so as soon as I got the required samples I did the remix. But I didn’t stop to think about my colleagues style, hell I didn’t even listen to the goddamn original song and the result was, well the result was a completely different song on it’s own. It didn’t sound anything like the original one. Yay.
Was this a failed attempt?
I think I was blinded by the thrill of doing a song with someone else’s samples, my inspiration came directly from the samples and not the song per se so I guess in this case we’re not talking about a remix at all. Nonetheless it was a fruitful experience that drove me to explore new soundscapes and it definitely pushed me out of my comfort zone but it was not a remix. And this failed remix attempt repeated itself several times after that with the same result, songs that got too far away from the original.
Is there such a thing as excessive creativity?
I’m currently telling myself I need to find a middle point between getting too far away from the original and re-recording a song to the finest detail. My last attempt is in my 2019 June 1 9 9 X podcast, a remix of Tony Hawk’s Underground 2 ending credits song. I still need some time to distance myself from the track but my guess is that it’s an okay remix cause it takes the original track and adds some intensity to it but I still ask myself if I’m not cutting myself short by actively limiting my creativity in order to get more down to earth results. The short answer to this question is don’t limit your creativity, the long answer is somewhere between the lines of this block of text I’ve just written.