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How Do DJs Remix Songs How Do DJs Remix Songs


How Do DJs Remix Songs

Written by: Faunie Linton

Learn how DJs remix songs and create unique versions of your favorite tracks. Discover techniques, tools, and tips to master the art of remixing.

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Remixing has become an influential practice in the music industry, allowing DJs and producers to put their own unique spin on existing songs. With the rise of digital technology, remixing has become more accessible than ever, enabling artists to manipulate and rearrange elements of a song to create a fresh and exciting version.

In this article, we will delve into the world of remixing, exploring the process and techniques involved in creating compelling remixes. Whether you are a DJ looking to expand your repertoire or simply curious about how remixes are made, this guide will provide you with valuable insights.

Remixing is not just about adding a few beats or changing the tempo of a song; it requires a deep understanding of the original track and the ability to reimagine it in a way that enhances its appeal. It is a creative process that involves selecting the right songs, analyzing their components, and applying various effects and techniques to create a remix that is both recognizable and innovative.

Throughout this article, we will discuss the step-by-step process of remixing, including song selection, analysis, extraction of elements, applying effects, arrangement, mixing, and mastering. We will also touch upon the importance of sharing and releasing your remixes to reach a wider audience. By the end of this article, you will have a solid understanding of the art of remixing and be ready to embark on your own remixing journey.

So, let’s dive in and explore the exciting world of remixing!


Understanding Remixing

Remixing is the art of taking an existing song and reimagining it by adding new elements, rearranging the structure, or applying various effects and techniques to create a unique version. Remixing allows DJs and producers to put their own creative stamp on a song, giving it a fresh sound and making it suitable for different environments like clubs or radio play.

Remixes can take various forms, from subtle changes to a complete overhaul of the original song. Some remixes may focus on enhancing the existing elements, such as adding a catchy beat or extending the chorus, while others may experiment with different genres, tempos, or even incorporate samples from other songs.

Understanding the core elements of a song is essential before embarking on a remixing project. This includes analyzing the song’s structure, instrumentation, vocals, and overall mood. By understanding these elements, you can make informed decisions about which aspects to emphasize, alter, or enhance in your remix.

Remixing requires a combination of technical skills and creativity. It involves working with digital audio workstations (DAWs) and software tools to manipulate the individual tracks of a song, such as isolating vocals or isolating specific instruments. These tools allow remixers to extract, rearrange, and modify each element of the song, giving them complete control over the remixing process.

While remixing offers a myriad of possibilities for artistic expression, it is important to respect the original song and the intentions of the original artist. Remixing should be approached with creativity and originality while still maintaining the essence of the original track. The goal is to create something new and exciting while staying true to the spirit of the original composition.

Next, we will explore in detail the process of selecting songs for remixing and how to analyze the original track to identify its key elements and potential areas for improvement.


Selecting Songs for Remixing

Choosing the right song for a remix is crucial to ensure a successful and engaging end result. When selecting a song, consider factors such as popularity, genre compatibility, and personal connection. Here are some key steps to help you in the process:

  1. Identify popular and recognizable songs: Remixing a well-known song can attract more attention and create broader appeal. Look for tracks that have gained popularity in the mainstream or within your target audience.
  2. Consider genre compatibility: Select songs that complement your style as a DJ or producer. If you specialize in a particular genre, choose tracks that align with that style to maintain consistency and cater to your existing fanbase.
  3. Seek personal connection: Choosing songs that resonate with you on a personal level can ignite your creativity and passion for the remixing process. When you feel connected to the original track, you are more likely to bring out its best elements and create a captivating remix.
  4. Look for potential in the original track: Analyze the song’s structure, melodies, vocals, and instrumentation to identify areas where you can add your own unique touch. Look for elements that have the potential for enhancement or experimentation.
  5. Consider licensing and copyright: Ensure that you have the necessary licenses or permissions to remix the selected song. Respect the copyright and intellectual property of the original artist, and make sure to comply with the legal requirements for remixing.

Once you have chosen a song to remix, it’s time to move on to the next step: analyzing the original track. This involves breaking down the song’s components to understand its structure, arrangement, and key elements. By doing so, you will gain valuable insights that will inform your remixing decisions and help you create a compelling and unique version of the song.


Analyzing the Original Song

Before diving into the remixing process, it is crucial to thoroughly analyze the original song. This analysis allows you to understand the structure, arrangement, and key elements of the track, serving as a foundation for your remix. Here’s a breakdown of the key components to consider when analyzing the original song:

  • Structure: Pay attention to the song’s overall structure, including the intro, verses, choruses, bridges, and outros. Understanding the song’s structure will help you determine where to make changes or additions in your remix.
  • Instrumentation: Identify the instruments used in the original song and how they interact with each other. Listen closely to the roles and contributions of each instrument to gain insights into how to incorporate them or replace them with different sounds in your remix.
  • Vocals: Analyze the vocals in the original song, including the lead vocals, harmonies, and backing vocals. Take note of the vocal melodies and how they interact with the instrumental elements. Consider whether you want to maintain the integrity of the vocals or experiment with new vocal arrangements in your remix.
  • Mood and Energy: Pay attention to the overall mood and energy of the original song. Does it have a chill, uplifting, or energetic vibe? Understanding the mood and energy will help you determine how you want to approach your remix, whether you want to maintain the same vibe or add your own twist.
  • Key Elements: Identify the signature elements of the song, such as catchy hooks, memorable melodies, or unique sound effects. These key elements can serve as the focal points of your remix, allowing you to build upon them or create variations that make your remix stand out.

By analyzing these components, you gain a deep understanding of the original song, allowing you to make informed decisions during the remixing process. It’s important to strike a balance between staying true to the essence of the original track and infusing your own creativity and style into the remix.

Once you have analyzed the original song, the next step is to isolate and extract specific elements from the track, such as vocals, instrumentals, or samples, which we will explore in the next section.


Isolating and Extracting Song Elements

After analyzing the original song, the next step in the remixing process is to isolate and extract specific elements from the track. This involves separating vocals, instrumentals, samples, and other elements to have more control and flexibility in the remixing process. Here’s a breakdown of the key techniques used to isolate and extract song elements:

  1. Using stems: If available, stems are individual tracks of a song that are provided by the original artist or obtained through remix competitions or websites. Stems typically include vocals, drums, bass, and other important elements. Using stems allows for greater control and precision when remixing.
  2. Isolating vocals: If stems are not available, isolating vocals can be done using techniques like phase cancellation or EQing. Phase cancellation involves inverting the phase of the instrumental track and mixing it with the original song, canceling out the instrumental elements and leaving only the vocals. EQing involves emphasizing the vocal frequencies and reducing or eliminating other frequencies.
  3. Extracting instrumentals: Extracting instrumentals can be challenging, especially if you don’t have access to stems. However, techniques like EQing, filtering, or using specialized software can help minimize other elements and isolate the instrumental parts. It may not be perfect, but it can provide you with a usable instrumental track.
  4. Sampling: Sampling involves taking small sections of the original song and incorporating them into your remix. This can be done using sampling software or plugins. Sampling can add a familiar and nostalgic touch to your remix while adding your own creative twist.

Remember that the extraction techniques mentioned above should be used ethically and within the bounds of legality. Always respect the copyright and intellectual property of the original artist and seek proper permissions or licenses when necessary.

Isolating and extracting song elements allows you to have more control over the remixing process, enabling you to manipulate and rearrange specific parts of the song. Once you have the desired elements isolated, you can begin applying various effects and techniques to enhance and transform them, as we will explore in the next section.


Applying Effects and Techniques

Once you have isolated and extracted the desired song elements for your remix, it’s time to apply various effects and techniques to enhance and transform them. This step allows you to add your own creative touch and create a unique sonic experience. Here are some key effects and techniques commonly used in remixing:

  • Equalization (EQ): EQing involves adjusting the frequency balance of individual elements to enhance their clarity and presence. Use EQ to emphasize certain frequencies, cut unwanted frequencies, or create space in the mix.
  • Compression: Compression controls the dynamic range of a sound by reducing the volume of louder parts and boosting quieter parts. It helps to even out the sound and add sustain or punch to individual elements.
  • Reverb and Delay: Reverb adds a sense of space and depth to sounds, while delay creates echoes and repetitions. Use these effects to add ambience, create textures, and enhance the overall atmosphere of your remix.
  • Filtering: Filtering involves sweeping certain frequencies in and out of a sound. Use high-pass or low-pass filters to remove unwanted frequencies or create dramatic filter sweeps for added impact.
  • Pitch-shifting and Time-stretching: Pitch-shifting allows you to change the pitch of a sound while maintaining its tempo, while time-stretching alters the tempo of a sound without changing its pitch. These techniques can help you create interesting variations and manipulate the original elements of the song.
  • Sampling and chopping: Sampling involves taking small sections of the original song or other sources and incorporating them into your remix. Chopping refers to slicing and rearranging these samples to create unique patterns and variations.
  • Layering: Layering involves combining multiple sounds or elements together to create a richer and more complex sound. Experiment with layering different instruments, vocals, or samples to add depth and texture to your remix.
  • Automation: Automation allows you to dynamically control various parameters, such as volume, pan, or effects, over time. Use automation to create movement and add excitement to your remix.

Remember to experiment and trust your ears during the editing and mixing process. Each remix is unique, and the effects and techniques you choose will depend on your artistic vision and the desired outcome.

Once you have applied the effects and techniques, it’s time to arrange your remix by structuring the elements in a way that creates a compelling and engaging musical journey. That’s what we’ll explore in the next section.


Arranging the Remix

Arranging the remix is a crucial phase in the remixing process, as it involves structuring and organizing the elements to create a cohesive and engaging musical experience. The arrangement is responsible for the flow and progression of the remix, ensuring that it captures the attention of listeners and keeps them engaged from start to finish. Here are some key considerations when arranging your remix:

  1. Intro: Start your remix with an attention-grabbing intro that sets the tone and mood of the track. Consider using elements from the original song or incorporating unique sounds to create anticipation and intrigue.
  2. Verse and Chorus: Designate specific sections for the verse and chorus, mirroring the structure of the original song. You can choose to keep the original vocal hooks or create new ones to give your remix a fresh twist.
  3. Build-ups and Drops: Create tension and excitement by incorporating build-ups and drops in your remix. Build-ups gradually increase the intensity and energy, while drops release the energy and create impactful moments in the track.
  4. Breakdowns: Include breakdowns in your arrangement to provide contrast and allow the listener to take a brief respite before the track continues. Experiment with different effects, textures, or stripped-down elements during the breakdown to create interest.
  5. Transitions: Ensure smooth transitions between different sections of your remix. Use techniques like filters, effects, or fills to seamlessly transition from verse to chorus or from one segment to another.
  6. Variations and Surprises: Introduce variations and surprises throughout the arrangement to keep the listeners engaged. These could involve adding new elements, changing the rhythm, or incorporating unexpected sounds or samples.
  7. Build Dynamics: Pay attention to the dynamics of your remix. Build up the energy gradually over time, and create climactic moments by layering elements, adding effects, or increasing the intensity of the arrangement.
  8. Outro: Design a satisfying outro that provides a sense of closure to your remix. Consider how you want to leave the listener – whether with a lingering emotion, a powerful last moment, or a smooth transition to the next track.

Experiment with different arrangements, and don’t be afraid to make changes as you progress. Trust your creative instincts and listen to the track as a whole to ensure a cohesive and engaging remix that stands out from the original.

Once you have arranged your remix, the next step is to focus on mixing and mastering to ensure the final product sounds polished and professional. We’ll delve into that in the next section.


Mixing and Mastering the Remix

Mixing and mastering are essential steps in the remixing process to ensure that your track sounds balanced, polished, and ready for distribution. Mixing involves blending and balancing the individual elements of the remix, while mastering focuses on optimizing the overall sound and preparing it for various platforms and playback systems. Here’s a breakdown of the key steps in mixing and mastering your remix:


  1. Volume and panning: Set appropriate volume levels for each element in the mix, ensuring they complement each other and no element overpowers the others. Use panning to create a sense of width and space in the stereo field, placing instruments and effects in specific locations.
  2. Equalization (EQ): Apply EQ to each element to enhance clarity and balance in the mix. Use EQ to remove any unwanted frequencies, carve out space for each instrument, and make adjustments to achieve a pleasing tonal balance.
  3. Compression and dynamic processing: Use compression to control the dynamic range of individual elements and create a more cohesive sound. Apply other dynamic processing techniques like limiting, parallel compression, or sidechain compression if needed.
  4. Effects and spatial processing: Experiment with reverb, delay, modulation, and other effects to add depth, space, and texture to the mix. Be mindful of not overusing effects, ensuring they enhance the elements without overpowering them.
  5. Stereo imaging: Adjust the stereo image of your mix, considering the placement and width of instruments and effects. Use techniques like stereo widening or mid-side processing to create a pleasing stereo spread.


  1. Dynamics processing: Apply gentle compression and limiting to the final mix to refine its overall dynamic range and achieve a more polished sound. This step ensures that the mix sounds consistent and translates well across different playback systems.
  2. Equalization (EQ): Make subtle EQ adjustments during the mastering process to address any tonal imbalances and ensure a balanced frequency response for the final mix.
  3. Stereo enhancement: Use stereo enhancement techniques sparingly during mastering to widen the stereo image and add depth, giving the track a more immersive and engaging sound.
  4. Final level adjustment: Adjust the overall volume level of the track to ensure that it meets the desired loudness standards and is ready for distribution on various platforms.
  5. Metadata and format: Embed relevant metadata (such as track name, artist, and album art) into the final file, and export it in the appropriate format (.wav or .mp3) for distribution.

While mixing and mastering can be complex processes, it’s important to trust your ears and take breaks to listen to the mix with fresh ears. Don’t hesitate to seek feedback from others and make revisions as necessary to achieve the desired result. Once your remix is mixed and mastered, it’s time to share and release it to the world, which we’ll discuss in the next section.


Sharing and Releasing the Remix

Once your remix is mixed and mastered, it’s time to share and release it to the world. Sharing your remix allows you to connect with your audience, gain exposure, and receive feedback on your work. Here are some steps to consider when sharing and releasing your remix:

  1. Choose appropriate platforms: Determine the platforms where you want to share and distribute your remix. This can include popular streaming platforms like SoundCloud, YouTube, or Spotify, as well as DJ mix sharing platforms or your personal website or social media channels.
  2. Create engaging artwork and metadata: Design captivating artwork that represents your remix and catches the attention of potential listeners. Embed relevant metadata, including the remix title, artist name, and any other pertinent information.
  3. Write a compelling description: Craft a thoughtful and engaging description for your remix. Give some background information about the original song, explain your approach to the remix, and highlight any unique aspects or features that will intrigue potential listeners.
  4. Promote your remix: Utilize social media platforms, DJ communities, music blogs, or online forums to promote your remix. Reach out to your network, engage with other remixers and artists, and consider collaborating or participating in remix contests to expand your reach.
  5. Engage with your audience: Respond to comments and feedback from listeners to build connections and show appreciation for their support. Engaging with your audience can help you build a loyal fanbase and gain valuable insights for future remixes.
  6. Consider official release: If your remix stands out and gains traction, you may consider approaching the original artist or their record label for an official release. This can provide additional exposure and potentially open doors for collaboration opportunities in the future.
  7. Respect copyright and licensing: Always respect the original artist’s copyright and licensing terms when sharing and releasing your remix. If necessary, seek proper permissions and licenses to avoid any legal complications.

Remember that sharing and receiving feedback on your remix is an essential part of the remixing journey. Embrace the opportunity to connect with fellow music enthusiasts and grow as a remixer and artist. Keep refining your skills, exploring new genres, and experimenting with different remixing techniques to continuously improve.

Now that you are equipped with the knowledge of remixing, from selecting songs to sharing your final creation, it’s time to embark on your remixing journey and showcase your unique creativity to the world!



Remixing is a powerful form of artistic expression that allows DJs and producers to put their own spin on existing songs. The remixing process involves selecting the right songs, analyzing their elements, isolating and extracting specific parts, applying effects and techniques, arranging the remix, and mixing and mastering the final product.

Throughout this article, we have explored the various steps and considerations involved in creating a compelling remix. From understanding the art of remixing to selecting suitable songs, analyzing the original track, isolating elements, applying effects, arranging the remix, and finally, sharing and releasing it to the world.

Remixing requires a combination of technical skills, creativity, and a deep understanding of the original song. It’s important to respect the intentions of the original artist while adding your unique touch and maintaining a balance between familiarity and innovation.

Remember to experiment, trust your instincts, and continuously refine your skills. Engage with your audience, seek feedback, and collaborate with fellow artists to grow and improve as a remixer. Building a strong online presence and promoting your remixes will help create visibility and gain recognition in the industry.

Whether you are an aspiring DJ, producer, or simply passionate about music, remixing offers an exciting way to express your creativity and connect with a wider audience. So, embrace the art of remixing, keep pushing boundaries, and let your unique remixes shine!

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