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How to gather the right remixing parts from stem files

There are many ways to embark on a new remix project, but the ‘salvage and rebuild’ tactic we’re about to demonstrate is one of the best.

Once you’ve got the stems for the track you're remixing, listen carefully to them, looking out for elements that can be taken out of context and used to build your own piece. Once that’s done, you’ll have your own ‘construction kit’ with which to piece together a completely original track. Incidentally, doing this can be a great way to revitalise old tracks and projects of your own that have fallen out of favour.

For loads more remixing tips and advice, pick up the September 2018 edition of Future Music.

Step 1: Listen to the stems carefully. As you listen, note down what hits you like and which ones inspire you. As you play through again, mute and unmute tracks and try different combinations. Are there any ‘supporting players’ that deserve a shot as focal-point key parts?

Step 2: What are the key ‘hooks’? Are there underrated moments that were hidden? What would sound great if you heard it in a sample pack? What parts could be twisted and turned out-of-context to make something new? Solo them and gather them into a folder.

Step 3: Gather beats, hits, synths, instrument lines, vocals and anything juicy from the original track, and go through the stems one last time to make sure there are no moments of wonder you’ve missed. In the end, you’ll have your own ‘construction kit’ to inspire a new tune.