Let’s focus in on the “DJ” approach as part of our “The Art of the REMIX” blog series highlighting our Shuffle REMIX project. Shuffle is part of our EVO library, and we brought in a great crew of talented DJs/Remixers/Writers to rock out cuts from our past Shuffle projects.
Back in my DJ days, I used to love getting my hands on a great edit – especially for a classic cut. It’s a different approach to the complete overhaul we scribbled about last time in regards to what S1 and VohnBeatz did. This is a way for a producer or DJ to take a cut and make it more dancefloor friendly. It’s pretty common to extend groove sections to make it easier to work out longer blends. Or often times a DJ will fatten up the beat a little for extra thump, or just rearrange the overall cut in a way to keep the party moving.
Since most DJs don’t have access to the original tracks and are just working with what they have on wax, it was more about splicing and accenting. However, in recent years, more bootlegs have emerged in which some studio mole released the original reels to a major producer type, and the edits of classic cuts have been way more expansive and consequently waaaayyyyy cooler.
For example, last week here in Dallas, De La Soul’s legendary DJ Maseo played a set at Josey Records (perhaps the coolest record store in the US, if I do say so me, myself and I). And he blended in edits of classic joints from Marvin, Stevie, Kool and the Gang, and Funkadelic – and it was clear these were put together from the original reels and obviously not done at the time the songs were originally recorded.
A couple of our producers took the edit approach to their remix work on our EVO project.
Jeedo is a beat connoisseur and producer from Detroit with ties to Dilla, who does a brilliant job merging together the worlds of Detroit’s rich techno and hip-hop legacies. He requested a chance to work with Adrian Quesada’s “Funky Festivities” from Shuffle 5 and took the edit approach on what was a loose, funky latin break cut. After simple tweaks on the arrangement and changing out the drums/rhythm, it re-emerged as a punchier dancefloor jam. Simple choices proving less is more, and making it a cut a DJ could work with in peak hours.
I guess DJs hear something magical in Adrian Quesada’s approach to his FirstCom work because Demarkus Lewis – best known for killer deep house cuts – also took on an AQ jam, “Carnival Vibes,” and turned it into a 4-on-the-floor Brazilian House burner. Again, by merely rearranging the sections and beefing up the drums, Lewis took a cut that has a nice Azymuth-influenced feel and turned it into a massive frenetic house anthem. Simple tweaks, huge results.
And the cool thing is how easily they’ll slide into your projects as well. Anyone looking for something urban, youthful and energetic will be hard-pressed to find music that hits the right note the way these remixes do. Or if you wanna do summin’ really special – tap into your inner DJ and work the original and the remix into the same project. You’ll love the creative possibilities.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Jeff "Skin" Wade and his partner Ruben Ayala are the production team that oversees and develops the Velocity Label for FirstCom. He's a full-on music and basketball nerd and his family seems OK with tolerating him, which is nice.